Twitter is planning to sell usernames through online auctions, according to a The New York Times report. To boost revenue for the company, the microblogging website is having internal discussions to conduct online auctions where people can bid for the usernames. Twitter’s new boss, Elon Musk has been signaling toward freeing up usernames that have been taken by inactive users. It is still unclear if the plan will affect all usernames or only some of them.
In December last year, Musk tweeted that Twitter would soon start freeing up 1.5 billion usernames, adding that inactive accounts would be deleted. Earlier in November, Musk responded to a tweet saying that he was interested in freeing up accounts with desired usernames.
In October 2022, messaging app Telegram announced that will it hold an auction for usernames, for both individual accounts and channels, through a marketplace built on top of the TON blockchain.
The report about the company selling usernames comes as the social network’s owner has been looking for ways to generate revenue for the company. Since Musk took over Twitter in October, the platform has been through several major changes. Most of them were made to mend the company’s dire finances. Weeks after taking ownership of the company, Musk fired about half of its 7,500-strong workforce. Moving forward, a revamped version of ‘Twitter Blue’ was launched so users pay for verification badges. Earlier this month, the company said it plans to lift its ban on political ads in the “coming weeks.”
Presently, Twitter’s username squatting policy does not allow the buying and selling of usernames. However, still, people have been able to buy coveted Twitter usernames on the black market for years. The practice has also attracted hackers in the past. In 2020, a teenager in Florida was taken into custody after hacking the micro-blogging platform and obtaining high-profile usernames to sell in the black market. The hacker compromised several high-profile accounts, including those belonging to Musk, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates.