November 10

The $8 controversy

Not even a week after Elon Musk takes over Twitter, he’s started to float the idea of turning the ad-supported platform into a freemium service – charging, potentially, $8 per month for those that wish to enjoy the privilege of having a blue checkmark next to their name.

Once that started to float around, the pushback started almost immediately. Celebrities like author Stephen King threatened to leave the platform. Some others, like AOC, even questioned whether charging for a blue checkmark was limiting people’s free speech.

I’ll admit when I first heard about the idea to start charging for the blue checkmark – I didn’t know what to make of it. It seemed like Musk was throwing spaghetti at the wall to try to figure out some sort of way to recoup some of the money that he invested into Twitter. But after it sank in a while, it makes sense… and probably should have been implemented years ago.

The celebrities, politicians, and influencers that have verified accounts arguably get the most benefit from Twitter. The platform allows them to continue to build their audience – and the bigger the audience they have, the more valuable their personal brands become. It can be argued that those verified accounts with big followings also add the most value to Twitter, as their content is worth something. But we’re talking $8/month here. The ROI for them is immense.

And why should those influencers get access to some special feature that others can’t have access to? With it being a paid feature, everybody has the ability to access the benefit.

From a business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. Who doesn’t want some recurring revenue coming in each month? It’s a nice revenue stream that helps mitigate the ebbs and flows of an advertising network.

So fair enough, Elon. I see that $8/month. The only question that some like Casey Neistat have is where to send the check.

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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