Elon Musk’s company, X, is making waves in the Twitter world by selling dormant Twitter usernames for a whopping $50,000 each. Although the company’s website still claims they can’t release inactive usernames, an internal group known as @HandleTeam has quietly started working on a marketplace for these unused handles.
This move comes after Musk expressed his intention to free up usernames that had been taken over by bots and trolls. He initiated this idea in a Twitter thread and even mentioned a goal to start freeing them up the following month. This endeavor was inspired by a user’s suggestion, Paris Vegas, who proposed creating a Handle Marketplace where users could buy and sell usernames in an eBay-style auction format. Musk seemed to approve of the idea.
While Musk announced his intention to free up 1.5 billion usernames, there hasn’t been a public announcement regarding this yet. It’s worth noting that as of 2023, there are only 1.3 billion Twitter accounts, with just 237.8 million of them being active daily, according to DemandSage.
In January, The New York Times reported that X was considering selling usernames as a means to generate revenue. Although engineers discussed the possibility of such sales, nothing had been officially implemented at the time. It was suggested that only certain usernames, particularly those associated with famous individuals or brands, might hold significant value.
The irony of this situation lies in the fact that Elon Musk had previously removed the legacy blue checkmarks from Twitter accounts, alleging that some people had paid for them, rendering the verification process “totally corrupt.”
Twitter’s current handle policy encourages users to log in at least once every 30 days to keep their accounts active.
In addition to selling usernames, X recently introduced a “Premium+ Tier” of its service for $16 per month. This tier removes ads and provides increased visibility for the account holder’s replies on the platform, serving as another means of generating revenue.