Good news for Twitter Blue fans – you can now lock in your paid-for checkmark for a year at a time, with Twitter adding new annual payment tiers for its misguided ‘verification’ scheme.
As you can see in this example, under Twitter’s new annual payment scheme for Twitter Blue, you can save around 13% per annum for your blue tick, which also comes with tweet editing, the ability to post longer videos, priority ranking of replies (maybe), half the ads (probably), etc.
But the prices, which increase on iOS (in order to avoid Apple’s 30% in-app fees) are pretty steep in some regions.
I live in Australia, and there is approximately zero chance that I would be paying $19 per month for a graphic in an app, especially when the ‘value’ of that endorsement is effectively being eroded by the very program that you’re buying into.
(Also worth noting here: The Android pricing for the new program is the same as iOS, so yes, Twitter is also offsetting Google Play store charges with its variable pricing, not just Apple’s fees).
Look, I don’t really know why anyone would buy into this. Twitter’s service is eroding day by day, with regular errors and outages, that worsen the user experience. But now they want you to pay for it?
To be fair, some people will glean some value from buying a blue tick – but anyone can also click on that checkmark and see that you’ve bought it. So is it really worth it? Does it really give you more perceived importance or status in the app?
Of course, this will change once Twitter decides to flip the switch, and take away all the ‘legacy’ blue ticks, which will prompt those users to also assess whether they really want the marker or not. Then all users will be either subscribed to Twitter Blue or not, which could make it more valuable – but again, everybody knows now that you can just buy it, so it’s not the endorsement that it once was. And with even representatives from the Taliban buying up blue ticks to feign legitimacy, it all seems a bit flawed, and not worth the money.
Which is also reflected in the current take-up stats. According to research conducted by Travis Brown, around 225,000 people have signed up for the new Twitter Blue program thus far. Which is a lot – but it’s also nowhere near the amount of interest that Twitter will need to make this a relevant consideration, from a revenue or bot-battling perspective.
For example, Elon’s stated target for subscription revenue, at this stage, is half of Twitter’s revenue intake. If we go by what Twitter generated in Q2 this year, the last time it reported its performance, that means we’re looking at around $1.18 billion for the three-month period – or just over $393 million per month. Half of that is $196.66m – so Elon’s keen to make close to $200 per month from subscriptions, in order to reduce the app’s reliance on advertisers, and thereby enable it to operate with fewer brand safety restrictions and moderation rules.
Based on $8 intake per subscription, that would require around 24.6 million paying subscribers – or 100x the current Twitter Blue take-up.
If Twitter wanted to push that further, and use this program as a means to weed out bots (i.e. once everyone is paying, the only non-verified users will be bot accounts), you would assume that Twitter would need around 70% of its user based signed up – or 167 million paying users.
Neither of these is going to happen – and when you also factor in the ongoing problems with the program, in verifying the wrong people (because there’s no actual verification process in place, you just pay and get a tick), it’s just a broken, messy, disjointed exercise, that’s done little more than add a whole range of random badges to accounts in the app.
I mean, Twitter’s making money from it. At 225k subscribers, that’s an extra $1.8 million per month, at a time when Twitter desperately needs it. But it’s a drop in the ocean when you also consider that the app has lost 40% of its overall revenue, due, at least in part, to ongoing concerns about the direction that the app is heading.
But if you really want a blue tick on your account, for whatever reason, now you can keep it in place for 12 months at a time.
I mean, it seems more like Twitter’s internal team is getting concerned about users churning month-over-month, but if you’re going to spend the money anyway, you can save yourself 13% through this process.
If you want – though if this same Twitter Blue program is running in January next year, I’ll be very surprised. And if it gets shut down, good luck getting a refund on your annual payment.