One of Elon Musk’s key strategies to drive millions of dollars in revenue into Twitter has hit a major hurdle.
On Monday evening (US time), Mr Musk tweeted that he was “holding back” on reintroducing the controversial Twitter Blue subscription service.
That announcement came amid advertisers who were leaving Twitter after being unsure of the new owner’s plans for the social media company. Advertising accounts for 90 percent of Twitter’s current revenue.
Twitter Blue was revamped and relaunched shortly after he acquired the company, allowing users to add a blue tick next to their profile for $12 ($8) per month — previously only used to verify the identity of notable people or organizations was used.
Mr Musk said allowing people to buy blue ticks would be a “great leveller”.
However, when the new Twitter Blue took action, nefarious users began, as many had predicted, to impersonate individuals and organizations that had the verified tick.
The new Twitter Blue was withdrawn after a chaotic few days.
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Twitter Blue relaunch delayed
“Delaying the relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence to stop impersonation,” Musk said.
“Will likely use different color checks for organizations than for individuals.”
After stopping Twitter Blue, Mr Musk originally announced that purchasable blue ticks would be back by around November 18th.
This deadline has now also been postponed.
He gave no indication Monday as to when Twitter Blue might be back.
As reported by The New York Timesaround 140,000 people out of 238 million users subscribed to the new Twitter Blue before it was removed.
That would have equated to about $1.7 million (US$1.12 million) in sales. In reality, the income would have been less, as some people would have already paid $5 for the previous iteration of the subscription service that didn’t include a blue tick.
Website Mashable said that in a “best-case scenario,” it’s hoped Twitter Blue could be part of a plan to bring Twitter about $132 million ($88 million) in revenue annually.
But a series of high-profile incidents led to the product being withdrawn.
An account mimicking pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and sporting a blue tick announced that insulin medicine would now be free. That temporarily sent the company’s stock plummeting before it was clear the tweet was from a scammer.
Game maker Nintendo was also impersonated, as was Elon Musk himself by comedian Kathy Griffin.
The company is trying to figure out how it can both show users that an account is official – of the person or organization it claims to be – and allow users to add the coveted blue mark to their profiles.
As Mr Musk has indicated, different color markings can now be used to differentiate accounts.
But a big sticking point is whether it’s desirable for users to spend $12 on a blue tick when everything indicates that the user paid Mr. Musk $12.
Musk tells employees things they already know
Technology website Platformer has also reported that Mr Musk has spent part of his time at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters telling the remaining employees things they already know.
“During a Sunday meeting, Musk explained the concept of native advertising to the team, although the staff already knew the format well, according to a person who was there,” the website reads.
Native advertising is advertising that is more integrated into the content of a platform, e.g. B. Articles, videos and in the case of Twitter, tweets.
“(Mr. Musk) said that the company’s ads “should look like tweets,” an employee said, even though the company’s ads are already tweets.”
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