X, previously recognized as Twitter, seems to be accelerating its initiative to market inactive user handles, aligning with a strategy earlier hinted at by owner Elon Musk.
According to a recent report by Forbes, the transition at X, once known as Twitter, is picking up pace with the sale of dormant user handles now underway. A unit within the company, named the @Handle Team, has rolled out a commercial avenue for securing rights to handles that have been long abandoned by their initial registrants.
Selected potential purchasers have received direct communication from X, proposing a uniform fee of $50,000 to commence the transaction.
These insights emerge from emails, excerpts of which Forbes has confidentially reviewed but chosen not to disclose in full. The emails were sent by individuals currently employed at X and draw attention to the updated protocols and pricing structures for @handle transactions recently put in place by the company.
Forbes reached out to X’s press email for comments, receiving only an automated reply stating: “Busy now, please check back later.” The blueprint for Musk’s company to initiate such a sales mechanism has been a subject of speculation for several months.
Musk himself, as early as November 2022, mentioned on the platform that a “vast number” of user handles had been secured by “bots and trolls,” announcing intentions to “free them up next month.” This prompted a user to propose a “Handle Marketplace” for account sales, which would include a transaction fee for the site.
Discussions on the commercialization of X/Twitter handles by X employees were on the table as early as the following month, according to a report by The New York Times in January, with Musk signaling his intent to liberate up to 1.5 billion usernames “soon.” X initiated the process of deactivating dormant accounts in May.
Despite these moves, as of Friday evening, the username registration guidelines on X’s official website still read: “unfortunately, we cannot release inactive usernames at this time.” Concurrently, the platform’s policy on inactivity cautions users to sign in at least once every 30 days to prevent being categorized as inactive, yet it notes that X is not currently reclaiming unused usernames.
Ironically, Musk might find it beneficial to apply his platform’s new sales strategy to acquire the @handle account, which itself has been silent since 2019. In a twist of fate, its final tweet alluded to a comeback, though the website it pointed to had long ceased to operate.
X’s present guidelines urge users to sign in at least every 30 days to maintain their account’s active status.
In a move to generate extra income, late October saw the debut of X’s “Premium+ Tier,” a new subscription level priced at $16 monthly that provides an ad-free experience. Subscribers to this tier not only enjoy the absence of ads but also benefit from enhanced visibility of their replies on the platform, effectively boosting their interactions.