And then it was $8. Final offer to keep that Twitter verification badge

Edwin Chabuka Avatar

Ever since Elon Musk let that sink in the Twitter HQ the raging debate has been, on his end, on how to make it more profitable. And the first order of business was charging Twitter subscribers a monthly fee to maintain their verification badge. The initial offer was US$20 a month. This is more than a premium Netflix subscription – US$11.99 or a subscription to Canva – US$12.99.

Twitter is currently planning to charge $19.99 for the new Twitter Blue subscription. Under the current plan, verified users would have 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue checkmark.

The Verge

With an estimated 400 000 verified Twitter subscribers that’s some decent revenue for a start. But US$20 for most seems quite unreasonable. It’s an investment a lot of people would have to justify before making. In a poll done by another Twitter user with almost 2 million participants, a healthy 81% voted to not pay anything for the verified badge.

Musk had to let this sink in as well and he later responded with his final offer of US$8 a month for the badge and also he says that “Price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity”. So we may see regional pricing similar to other services like Spotify where the individual plan costs US$3 in Zimbabwe and US$10 in the US.

What do I get if I give Twitter my US$8?

Elon also tweeted a couple of changes to how the verification badge will now work once you pay for it.

  • Priority treatment in mentions, replies, and searches where verified subscribers will show up higher on the list than non-verified subscribers.
  • The ability to post longer videos and audio. Current limit is 2 minutes 20 seconds.
  • 50% fewer ads (If I’m paying I would prefer NO ADS)
  • Paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with Twitter.
  • Secondary tags for public figures. It’s currently active for politicians but will come to other public figures like Academics, Bots, and Scientists. (Linkedin vibes)
  • Reward/pay content creators

Why this makes sense for Twitter Financially

When you look at businesses like Meta which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Alphabet which owns Google and YouTube and ByteDance which owns TikTok, they are all monetized through ads. And how it works is the platforms have an audience and businesses are looking for audiences to sell to.

So businesses will pay Meta, Alphabet, and ByteDance to have their ads shown to as much an audience as they are willing to pay for. Also, within these platforms as well, content creators can pay these same companies so that their channels can be shown to as many subscribers on that platform as they are willing to pay for. So a double bubble of revenue.

You also have content creators producing attractive content that attracts more subscribers to the platform they are producing content on and keeping that audience on the platform by regularly producing engaging content. The platforms then offer partner programs that reward creators for keeping the platform active, engaging, and ripe with fresh content.

Twitter on the other hand had not doubled down on this. They introduced ads where businesses can pay for their ads to be shown to as many Twitter subscribers as they are willing to pay for but that was it. Essentially a social network site that sometimes does ads.

For the verification badge, you did not need to pay anything. You just had to meet the 3 criteria they set.

The blue Verified badge  on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be authenticnotable, and active.

Twitter Help Centre

This will cease to be the case anymore as anyone with US$8 a month will be able to get the verification badge. As of 2019, about 400 000 subscribers had the verification badge. Now considering that total subscribers are 396.5 million and about 10% of these users are responsible for 92% of the tweets, that’s 39.6 million active users.

These active users are the ones most likely to pay for the badge and if they do it will equate to US$316 million in added revenue. Enough to offset their 2021 loss by US$95.39 million. And speaking of losses, Twitter only posted a positive net income twice in the past decade, in 2018 and 2019. It seems like a drastic change but the ship is sinking. And Elon wants to change that.

Is this the beginning of the end of the Twitter we know?

For the most part, it looks like it. Some definitions of certain elements of Twitter are going to change. We will definitely start seeing more ads, something YouTube recently implemented. We will begin to see longer videos and audio which can be a welcome change for content creators on the platform. The character limit can also experience some changes, all of which will start morphing Twitter from a social platform to a content creation one.

The Verification badge was built to it being a measure of the Authenticity, Notability, and Activity of a Twitter subscriber. In a way, it got its respect because it was earned. Now will soon be able to get it for 8 bucks. And when this goes live, it will be less of a source I can trust and more of a flashy way of looking cool on the platform with the perks of preferential treatment.

Think of the wealth of parody accounts that will be able to get the verified badge. There will be so much chaos and confusion as to which accounts are authentic and which ones aren’t. Something that Elon dismissed as “That already happens very frequently”.

But it also means that content creators with a following on this platform will soon be able to add Twitter as a source of income through partner rewards. A lot is going to change. Whether it’s good or bad is something only time will tell. For now, I leave you with some parting words from the Twitter Compliant Hotline Manager.

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26 comments

What’s your take?

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  1. Wait

    How much is Twitter willing to pay to follow people like Ye, Donald Trump, and Elon Mask?

  2. Anonymous

    Without ADS social media platforms will not be profitable at all….l think Elon should have started his own social media platform rather than wasting $44 billion.

    1. The Empress

      It’s easy to start a social network. Ask Strive about Sasai. The trick is getting people to use it and keep on using it that’s where all the problems start.
      For some people Elon is a genius and the is the second coming of Jesus but for others, Elon is a genius but a morally bankrupt individual. The first group of people will follow him anywhere loudly cheering him on, but the second group will buy his cars but avoid everything else about him like the plague. But a Social Media Platform is about people being SOCIAL and strangely enough you need a lot more of the people that have no interest in the owner talking to each other basically doing their own thing to make the platform popular and and then hopefully profitable. Otherwise you just have a fan club which is a completely different thing altogether.
      Twitter has the people now all Elon has to do is make it profitable.

  3. Anonymous

    Dude made a big mistake by purchasing twitter …with the way FBI and CIA trying to control and
    censor the flow of information, he’s going to be more controversial than Mark Zuckerberg.

  4. Smokie

    The power of the green back even those the developed countries are finding it difficult to folk out 20usd …but on Elon side it is good business…..there are people who will want to keep that badge and out if the 400 000 you mentioned l bet half of them will be willing to pay more ….look at it this way the blue badge is for the elite and this is the way to show off their wealth

  5. Lancet 3 suicide drone

    I just hope twitter will stop working as an American propaganda machine.

  6. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Any time you poll people on whether they would like to get something for free or pay for it, not paying for it will always win.

    The interesting thing is some of the loudest voices against paying for the tick will be first in line once it begins. 😂

    1. The Empress

      I am betting that he will get at least 1 million people paying on top of the current checkmark figure.

  7. Wait

    With all the racism, hate, Nazism, MAGAs and of course Kanye West, you can’t pay me to be on Twitter.

    Twitter owned by Elon Musk further angers and alienates the advertisers and majority of Twitter users.

    The horse has already bolted from the barn. It’s futile to close the door. No advertisers want to put their adverts on Musks version og 4chan. The collateral damage of Musk owning a version of 4chan is going to bring down Telsa. Many users won’t want to be associated with a version of 4chan.

    Grab some popcorn and enjoy an Elon Musk meltdown.

  8. John Doe

    To all those who say talk is free or talk is cheap:

    Please pick up the phone, Kanye West and Elon Musk are calling.

  9. Will

    Many commentators here seem very eager to quickly forget that Elon Musk was very keen to get out of the contract to buy Twitter until it became absolutely clear he was going to be hugest meme loser by being forced to buy Twitter. Elon Musk had good reasons to want to get out of the contract; those reasons are he made his decision to buy Twitter on whim or while high as a kite on some mind altering substances. Musk’s Twitter adventure was not informed by reason.

    1. No

      A quality product and services of Adobe Photoshop etc. how many Zimbabweans are actually paying the monthly subscription. Then think of how many Zimbabweans are willing to buy whatever value that is Elon Musk’s Twitter?

      1. Ok

        Think of the millions of Zimbabweans who rely on Whatsapp as a vital communication tool. Then ask yourself how many Zimbabweans are willing or able to pay for the privilege of using Whatsapp.

        You will be surprised not many Zimbabweans would be unwilling or unable to pay a monthly subscription fee for the privilege to use Whatsapp.

        Then ask yourself what chance a 4chan clone has to survive as as a subscription service after alienating advertisers. Ye once thought he was untouchable and was drinking from the Musk cool-aid; see where he ended up?

        You don’t crap where you eat

        1. Why Bother

          8chan, 4chab, Truth, Parler, Daily Stormer, etc are free alternatives to Elon’s Twitter.

          Why would a sane person pay for the privilege when plenty of free alternatives are available.

          The answer is Twitter was acceptable and repectable. Elon’s Twitter is considering a subscription model because advertisers have already fired warning shots that they won’t pay for Elon’s free speech.

          Not even the Nazis will bother with a subscription Nazi Twitter, when alternatives like 4chan, Parler etc are available.

  10. Free Bird

    I honestly don’t care as much as the algorithm thinks i should, but i know Twitter is a big pile of doo-doo if you hang around the wrong twitterhoods. I think Paying for the blue tick definitely cuts down on a part of that, clearing out the low effort muck. $20 might have been a bitter pill for some, but $8 is the equivalent of a couple of coffee and bagel combos. For those that utilised their verifications as valuable digital assets, this isn’t much in reality. And if Musk succeeds in cloning the WeChat features he admired, the Blue Checks wont even need to leave the app to make the payments!

  11. The Empress

    Oh the Humanity…..people acting all surprised and angry that Twitter might make people pay for that Blue checkmark!
    Grow up!
    Did people honestly believe that Elon spent billions on Twitter and then was just going to be satisfied with being Chief Twit and was going to kiss all that money goodbye and leave it at that?
    This is a clever move made by a smart businessman tell people $20 and then say he is going to settle for $8.
    This might be a source of guaranteed revenue every month after all if you don’t have a checkmark just
    it might mean you and your opinions don’t matter or “gasp” you are poor!
    Sort of of how the Blue/green bubbles work on iPhone’s.

  12. THISDKAINTFREE

    First rule of Social Network Business.Never charge for something that was once available for free.Up in the towers of power Mr Musk doesn’t seem to have a lot of fans.It will be easy for his adversaries to destroy with his own aid.The dude should have put that $44B in THE BORING COMPANY than TWITTEr.

  13. Anonymous

    He is right about the confusion there are a number of parody accounts which have check marks
    Also paying the 8 means people having to give their credit card info

    1. Not an imposter

      Parody accounts exist to protect the authenticity of parody characters parody sites, parody whatever.

      It tells you the tweets are from the parody whatever and not an impster passing off as the real parody whatever.

      Parody whatever can be be bucks business that need protection from imposters

  14. Tom tom

    Zvima social media zvakubhohwa….unopinda pa fb and you read an article then ponzi full story on telegram, patelegram pacho obva wanzi pa twitter pa twitter ndopaunozoendeswa ku site yacho😤

    1. Garmin

      Iya! What kind of articles are you trying to read!

  15. Exodus

    You don’t crap where you eat. (Never mind Kanye West
    )
    * Audi

    * GM

    * General Mills

    * L’Oreal

    * Pfizer

    1. I have capped in my pants

      https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1588538640401018880

      See new Tweets
      Conversation
      Elon Musk
      @elonmusk
      Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.

      Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.
      4:28 PM · Nov 4, 2022
      ·Twitter for iPhone
      34.2K
      Retweets
      18K
      Quote Tweets
      243.8K
      Likes
      تركي
      @Turki_o0o0
      ·
      1h
      Replying to
      @elonmusk
      RS3_74 ツ
      @Ala_RS3
      ·
      7m
      Replying to
      @Turki_o0o0
      and
      @elonmusk
      bye bye HHHHHHHHH
      Patel Meet
      @mn_google
      ·
      1h
      Replying to
      @elonmusk
      Yassine Jouirane 🇲🇦
      @TMBFC
      ·
      1h
      Replying to
      @mn_google
      and
      @elonmusk
      They won’t be missed
      Show replies
      Geneva Olson
      @OlsonGeneva
      ·
      1h
      Replying to
      @elonmusk
      I came back to Twitter because of free speech

      1. Sub Twit

        Cant make sense of this thread, i must be too old😂 What I do know is that these type of people Elon is retrenching (ha! more proof of my age!) have reached critical mass in many other influential companies, and they will mess with him at every given chance. Never mind that only 300 accounts spammed the N word till it was trending, it was Elon! Never mind that no one noticed ads before, now Elon is literally r*ping their eyes with ads!! Never mind less impersonators, spam and bot accounts will be getting blue ticked, Elon the greedy pig of a billionaire is trying to ruthlessly milk users of their hard Starbucks money and must be stopped!!! Oh well, at least all this sort of entertaining! Elon is bringing African representation to all sorts of unexpected places😅

  16. The Empress

    Elon has no choice but to start charging for stuff. The man has some serious bills to pay to tune of $1 Billion a year in interest payments on the $13 Billon worth of loans he took out in order to buy Twitter. And when you consider the fact that Twitter was never been a profitable business in the past, making losses year in year out.
    So that means stuff was previously free on Twitter and any new features are going to probably come with a price tag attached.
    This is the new normal and we might as well get used to it since it’s only going to get worse.

  17. Anonymous

    In 2005 Rupert Murdoch paid $580m for MySpace. In 2009 he sold it for $35m

    In 2013 Yahoo paid $1.1bn for Tumblr. In 2019 they sold it for $3m.

    In 2022 Elon Musk paid £44bn for Twitter.