Oh Christ, Now Elon Musk Wants To Charge Businesses $1000 A Month For Fancy Gold Checkmarks
On Friday, the news broke that Twitter is being sued by Innisfree, which is not in fact the company that makes Cherry Blossom Dewy Glow Jelly Cream (my preferred springtime moisturizer), but rather an advisory company the site owes a ton of money to. Innisfree M&A Incorporated advised the social media site last May while it was negotiating the sale to Musk for $44 billion.
“As of December 23, 2022, Twitter remains in default of its obligations to Innisfree under the agreement in an amount of not less than $1,902,788.03,” the lawsuit says.
Now, $2 million is pocket change to Musk, personally, but this is far from the only company suing Twitter for unpaid bills. Musk has generally avoided paying the site's bills. Vendors have gone unpaid, rent has gone unpaid, and the severance to former Twitter executives and other employees has gone unpaid. And still, by his own estimation the site is hemorrhaging $4 million a day.
It's not going well!
By what we must assume is sheer coincidence, Musk has started back on his checkmark bullshit.
On Twitter, social media consultant Matt Navarra shared a screenshot of an email from Twitter product manager Evan Jones to an unknown business, in which the business is advised that a special gold checkmark — the checkmark that Twitter invented for businesses and media outlets — will soon cost $1000 a month.
Thanks for your interest in Verified Organizations. We're now opening the gates forearly access to our Organization plan.
As an early access subscriber, you'll get a gold checkmark for your organization and affiliation badges for its associates. Next week, we'll onboard you to our administration portal and you'll be eligible for Tweet Boosting, which will increase the reach and distribution for your organization and its affiliates whenever you tweet.
If you'd like to subscribe, Verified for Organizations is $1,000 per month, and $50 per additional affiliated handle per month with one month of free affiliations.
Let me know if you're interested and I can get you set up with a payment link.
Yeah ... that's not a thing a whole lot of businesses or media outlets are going to pay for, particularly with the way Musk is dutifully turning the site into a trash fire.
Also on Friday, Musk announced in a tweet that "[s]tarting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators for ads that appear in their reply threads," but that "[t]o be eligible, the account must be a subscriber to Twitter Blue Verified."
In response to a comment asking if accounts that are currently verified the normal way will lose their verified status if they subscribe to Twitter blue and then unsubscribe, Musk responded that "Twitter’s legacy Blue Verified is unfortunately deeply corrupted, so will sunset in a few months." Musk has yet to offer any proof that there was any actual "corruption" happening with regard to accounts that were verified prior to his Twitter Blue nonsense.
First of all, as someone with intimate knowledge of what advertisers pay for ad on online media these days, it's probably not going to even cover the $8 a month these suckers are spending on Twitter Blue.
But let's reason this whole thing out. Musk is going to take verified marks away from actual celebrities, journalists and others who met their previously set notability guidelines who don't want to cough up $8 — or look like the kind of suckers who would. Then he is going to take away checkmarks from businesses unless those businesses pay $1000 a month for a checkmark. Then he is going to try to sell ads with the appeal being that businesses will have their advertisements featured under the tweets of people who pay $8 a month to have a blue checkmark and are not in fact celebrities or notable in any way.
He also expects people to continue paying for a status symbol after it is no longer a status symbol. It's like ... people who are just looking for a status symbol aren't going to go out and pay retail for higher end Michael Kors products because Marshall's and TJ Maxx are full of the lower-end Michael Kors products. No one is going to look at someone wearing something with a Michael Kors label or a Calvin Klein label and assume that they have money, whereas that might have been the case many years ago.
So far, Twitter Blue doesn't seem to have been as popular as Musk had hoped. In fact, nearly all of the accounts I clocked smugly tweeting about how THEY are the celebrities now when Twitter Blue just launched no longer have their bought and paid for blue ticks. Clearly it was not as quite as exciting as they had hoped it would be, probably because no one actually did assume they were celebrities and treat them accordingly. This will be even less likely to happen once he takes the blue checkmarks away from all of the actual celebrities.
This is part and parcel of the Right's culture war. One of their biggest issues and pet peeves has always been the fact that movie stars, musical artists and other people with that kind of celebrity influence tend to skew liberal. What Musk wants is to replace actual celebrities with people who will pay him $8 a month and, more than that, he wants people to go along with him. He wants advertisers to go along with him. He wants advertisers to shell out piles of money to be featured under CryptoBro423792379's latest tweet. He wants people to look at those who pay $8 a month the way they look at movie stars or pop stars. Or credible journalists.
But that's probably not going to happen, because as all of his nonsense so far has proven, you can't just replace people who are actually interesting to others with Folger's Crystals and expect no one to notice. (Also something outlets hoping to replace writers with AI ought to consider)
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse