The most publicized of Elon Musk‘s ten thousand Twitter revenue ideas is his $8 auto-verification system, Twitter Blue, which has caused so much chaos in its first few days that it has been “paused.” But there is one theory that might make sense, provided you have faith in Musk and assume Twitter will survive after all this.
An idea behind this is that Twitter has never really fostered an economy based on its creators. Unlike YouTube and Twitch, which pay their top contributors, it does not pay its users who generate significant amounts of traffic and revenue through their content. Musk appears to be open to the idea of paying users to upload material on the network, despite the fact that his “pay $8 for verification” approach is the polar opposite of that, taxing producers.
After taking over, one of his first inquiries to the public was how much YouTube paid its creators, which is 45% of the company’s revenue. His confidence that he could “defeat that” remains unshaken despite the upheaval that has ensued. It was discussed once more, this time with greater depth, in a recent phone chat.
“Let’s just get a bunch of content creators that we think are cool on YouTube and say, ‘Hey, would you consider putting your content on Twitter, and we’ll pay you 10% more than YouTube and see how it goes?’” Musk said.
It’s worth noting right off the bat that this concept might be pitched as an exclusive agreement. That is, you can no longer publish such material to YouTube unless you consent to, for example, a 55 percent income share with Twitter.
Usage of Twitter continues to rise. One thing is for sure: it isn’t boring!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 10, 2022
That’s a huge gamble for creators with large YouTube followings, especially considering that advertisers have already begun to flee YouTube under Musk’s leadership and that we have no idea how much money can be made from Twitter ads compared to YouTube ads. Given the unknowns, it may be difficult for creators to make the decision to sign exclusive contracts.
With Blue, Twitter users will be able to upload longer videos, improve their quality to 1080p, and monetize their content. Consequently, this plan has a better chance of coming to fruition than many of Musk’s other ideas. However, there are a few things about the plan that makes me pause for thought.
For one, Twitter’s video quality has historically been bad, so I worry if the platform has the technical infrastructure to sustain widespread uploads of extended, high-quality video. Half of the company’s employees were recently let go, including a large number of engineers, so it’s unclear who will be in charge of keeping the project on track.
Moreover, Twitter has issues with making money. Just as I was saying, how much will ads pay when Twitter’s top sponsors continually leave the platform, a situation that neither YouTube nor Twitch has to deal with? And with Musk having indicated that Twitter is on the verge of bankruptcy and him having to sell Tesla stock to keep it afloat, how much money does the firm actually have to distribute to creators?
I’m not suggesting that nobody ever thinks about getting paid for their Twitter posts. However, given the current Twitter landscape in the Musk era, I would approach this notion with extreme care due to the several variables that would need to converge for it to be even remotely possible.
Twitter Blue, Elon Musk’s $8 auto-verification system, has been so controversial in its first few days that the company has “paused” it. Blue was the most publicized of Elon Musk’s ten thousand ideas for making money off of Twitter. But there is a notion that could work, so long as you trust Musk and assume Twitter will be fine in the end.
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