Musk’s paid verification plan has seen more back and forth decision making than a post Tinder date text message. Just days after its initial launch, the $8 verification plan was suspended last month after complaints of fraud. It is now back with an increased price of $11 per month – however this price increase only applies to iOS devices.
Why? Because Twitter, evidently, has worked out that Apple’s 30% in-app payment tax will cut into the potential profits from the program too much, so rather than trying to work out an alternative system, or maybe give people even more for their dollar, Twitter’s instead looking to pass on the tax directly to users. This means that iOS users will be, disappointingly, paying a 37% mark-up, for absolutely nothing extra.
Regarding the benefits that the plan does offer, these are mainly algorithmic. Let’s take a closer look.
Firstly, Twitter will list tweets from paying subscribers higher, effectively limiting the exposure of tweets from those who can’t/won’t pay. Another benefit is that blue tick subscribers will (maybe) see half the amount of ads. Elon promised this as a feature of his new Blue plan at the beginning, but various commentators and internal advisors have since noted that this might not be workable due to the impact it would have on Twitter’s ad revenue, versus the income they might get from subscriptions. Essentially, this will only be offered if enough people sign-up for Twitter Blue. As such, I wouldn’t hold your breath. This makes the genuinity of the plan’s benefits fairly questionable.
Elon has also repeatedly flagged his plans to add more YouTube-like video posting options. He continues this streak promising blue subscribers the ability to post longer form video content onto Twitter. Again, this might be a take-up based element, as the added cost of hosting longer videos, if people do start doing so, will stack up pretty quickly.
Additionally, plan users will also get access to Tweet editing, 1080p video uploads, reader mode, and a blue checkmark – through importantly, this will now come after your account has been reviewed.
Following the plan’s failure and cancellation six weeks ago, Twitter, this time around, is also looking to stamp out the impersonation issues that marred the initial launch, with a new set of parameters designed to ensure that people can’t just buy a blue tick, change their name to a brand, and dupe people by masquerading as the official business account.
The new subscription takes further security measures such as phone number verification, prevention of handle name changes and the addition of gold checkmarks for official brand accounts. Why such obvious measures weren’t taken in the first place, I don’t know.
Nevertheless, with a more secure measure in check, Twitter’s key challenge, then, will be the labour time required for manual review, and how Twitter plans to tackle this, especially if they’re going to have to manually check every time a blue checkmark account changes its profile image.