And it won't be cheap, either.
To raise some much-needed money, the site formerly known as Twitter is apparently moving forward with plans to sell off inactive usernames.
As Forbes reports, X-formerly-Twitter is building out its account-selling infrastructure — and even has a team, known as @Handle, tasked with trying to make it happen.
According to emails reviewed by Forbes, the @Handle team has even begun soliciting potential buyers by asking them to pay a $50,000 flat fee to start the purchase process. It's unclear how much more an inactive account buyer would have to pay to get access to any accounts they might want to purchase, but per those emails the magazine viewed, the company has purportedly updated its inactive username guidelines and fees.
If those updates have been made, however, they seem to be internal only. A perusal of the Internet Archive shows that the company's username registration and inactive account pages don't seem to have changed at all in recent months, suggesting that any new information about the inactive account process is being floated to would-be handle buyers before the general public.
To be fair, people have bought and sold Twitter handles for most of the time the site has existed. The practice became so prevalent that at one point, unofficial marketplaces began springing up to meet the growing demand — but in those cases, the company itself hasn't been the one brokering those sales or making money off of them.
Though it's easy to view this alleged handle selloff as a cash grab amid the company's astonishing revenue and value loss under Elon Musk's ownership, the mercurial businessman has apparently been working on the idea for a while.
Shortly after taking the reins last fall, Musk took to Twitter to complain about all the inactive accounts on the site, saying he was interested in "freeing up" those accounts that had been "consumed by bots/trolls." In response, one user suggested creating a "Handle Marketplace" where users can sell off their unwanted handles and Twitter could pocket a fee.
By the next month, as the New York Times reported in January 2023, internal discussions about selling old accounts had ensued.
Although X has seized at least two accounts for its own purposes, the company hasn't, as Forbes points out, annexed the @Handle username. With zero followers, zero liked posts, and a hella-defunct website, @Handle seems very ripe (read: inactive) for the picking — especially if the username marketplace will be operating under the same, well, handle.
In its reporting, Forbes did acknowledge that it's unclear whether any account sales processes had been initiated — though we'd reckon, per our two cents, that once it does happen, either the new account holder or Musk himself will make some kind of self-promotional announcement.
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