Twitter is considering selling usernames through online auctions

From Yahoo Finance:

Elon Musk throwing more up against the Twitter wall and just seeing if it sticks. The latest proposal outlined in “The New York Times” has Twitter considering selling user names to generate some new revenue. Engineers have reportedly discussed running online auctions for in-demand names.

Now Elon tweeted last month that he wants to free up some of the 1.5 billion usernames that have remained inactive for a year or more. As of now, Twitter’s rules forbid the buying and selling of handles. This on– look, on the 30,000-foot view, looks like a good idea, but one that really tinkers with the margins. How significant could the revenue be for selling a few–

. . . .

I really think that it speaks to the larger picture of . . . the dire straits that it seems like Twitter is in at this point. They’re really struggling to diversify their revenue. They’re kind of throwing anything– everything against the wall and really seeing what sticks.

Link to the rest at Yahoo Finance

10 thoughts on “Twitter is considering selling usernames through online auctions”

  1. It reminds me a great deal of the landrush for domain names… with the same probable results concerning interlopers, typosquatters, etc. I suspect El0n Mu5k expects to profit from it, without regard to silly things like “legality” and “auctioning off someone else’s name as a means of harassment.”† I’ll be waiting very eagerly indeed to see the auctions for “@mjmicklewhite”, “@natalieherschlag”, and “@winonahorowitz”!

    † Or of forcing someone in hiding to come out where they can be found — the dark side of the vastly-amusing police “round up the open-warrant losers by sending them prize notices” trick. Unfortunately, it can work with victims just as readily… and not just by the cops, but by less-honorable employers of force and coercion (for some value of “honorable”).

    • Hmm. If someone can be brought out from what they feel is justified hiding – whether from organized law or organized crime (the line is getting blurrier every day) – by the desire to claim a “prize” or retain a Twitter handle – I would submit that their value system is extremely skewed.

      An interesting thought occurred to me, though. Unless he has reversed himself, and I have not heard about such, @RealDonaldTrump has been “inactive” for more than a year now. I’d be tempted to bid a dollar or two for that one…

  2. It does make sense for there to be a better way that ‘first come first served’ (or, ‘who has the better lawyers’) when many people have legitimate cause to use the same name.

    while you currently aren’t allowed to sell an account, you can have the account owned by a business and then sell the business and it’s ‘assets’ (aka, the account)

    And better for Twitter to make the money than cybersquatters.

  3. Throwing ideas out there to see if there is demand is not a bad way for a new owner to explore possibilities. In fact, it’s a good sign.

    When you buy an engine on its last legs, you have to tinker with lots of things to get it running smoothly (and profitably) again. Why not explore the possibilities cheaply (by looking at demand with little cost) instead of just charging down the same old rut?

    • Which rather begs the question: Was Guano really on its last legs? By whose measure? Based on what data?

      Having been around waaaaaaaay too many of these public-to-private-as-a-“rescue” transactions in my time — both in the defense industries and the entertainment industries — I’m more than a bit skeptical. Liars; damned liars; statistics; …investment analysts and accountants (especially those who go anywhere near tax). Everything that I’ve seen is a pre-hoc rationalization, which is just fancy language for “I want to do this, now make it sound compelled!”

      • Given how the previous owners were threatening legal action when the current owner seemed like he might welsh on the deal rather than saying “well, we’re sorry you don’t want it anymore, come back if you change your mind,” I’m inclined to say something was rotten in the birdhouse.

        • “something” ≠ “the specific justification for the action taken”

          I agree that something was rotten in the guano, but raise my eyes a bit at how much of that rot was in “core financial conditions” given the amount of depreciation typically at issue. (One can only say “typically” because the full details that support numbers on publicly available tax returns — especially in tech industries — is itself rather speculative.) And in my experience, that “how much” matters a lot to determining whether one is operating on “speculative advantage” or “necessity to act.” (That’s also my take on S&S, from much closer to the numbers.)

      • My take is he wanted to do something, anything, to get back at the (blankety blanks) messing with him. (“*They* started it!”) “Rescuing” twitter or free speech has nothing to do with it. It’ revenge, pure and simple.

        It cost him a few tens of billions but he got lucky and now they get to sweat like he sweated in ’21.

        “A dish served cold.”

  4. Remember that Jack Dorsey apologized after the first layoffs were announce about the bad state that Twitter was left in?

    the rate that they were burning through money is not made up.

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