Why Twitter Blue For $8 Will Underperformby@davidolarinoye
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Why Twitter Blue For $8 Will Underperform

by David O.November 20th, 2022
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Twitter was bought by Elon Musk for $44 billion and now he has to make it profitable. The most famous idea he’s had so far is the $8 per month blue check subscription. Here is why it will underperform and what could work instead. Instead of selling the blue check, the idea is to sell a completely new experience of Twitter. I believe there are more and better ways to make money with Twitter than the blue check.
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When Elon Musk first offered to buy Twitter back in April 2022, he probably didn’t know what he was getting into. And yes, he figured that out later and tried to opt out. But the sale happened at a price tag of $44 billion, and the company is private. Now, Elon has to make it profitable. So far, the most famous idea he’s had is the $8 per month blue check subscription. Here is why it will underperform and what could work instead.

(If you are in a hurry, scroll down to the subheading: My Recommendations)

Path to Profitability

Elon started by cutting costs. He significantly trimmed the number of employees. And now, he is looking to drive topline revenue.

Twitter had 2 major revenue sources — ads and subscriptions (which do not include a blue checkmark). Apparently, the subscription allows users to upload longer videos. This is a significant value-add. It is not the only benefit of the $2.99 subscription, but it is the most notable.

Twitter is a tumultuous place. It is a place for arguments, a place for sarcasm, a place for ratio, a place for debate, and arguably the most political environment of all social media platforms. And so, Twitter invested in having teams for “content moderation.” This has silenced and amplified online voices, especially in the last 4 years.

The climax came when the 45th President of the USA was suspended on the platform. And all kinds of gaslighting from the different aisles of the political spectrum became a norm. The lockdown events of 2020 also added to the commotion.

Elon Musk identifies as an independent (as opposed to being either a Democrat or Republican) and hence wants to make the platform fair to both sides. Everyone has a right to speak their mind without the fear of being silenced or suppressed. This was the anchor of the free speech mission.

But the platform needs to have a clear path of profitability, especially now that Elon has spent a few billion acquiring it. The left-leaning side of the political spectrum, who feels cheated that Elon acquired the platform, got a number of companies to stop making ads on Twitter. In the bid to stop the site from generating revenue.

And here comes the billion-dollar question — should Elon rely on advertisers or subscribers?

The Flaw of the $8 Blue Check

Elon was trying to get people to pay for what they already use for free. The primary difference now was that anyone could have the “celebrity” blue checkmark. Many liked the idea, but it was also heavily criticized, mainly by those who already have a blue check.

Yes, it is true that some paid thousands of dollars to get the blue check through a backdoor arrangement under the previous management. And now, having to pay a subscription for it, plus not being different from every other user on the platform, was not fair in their eyes. Other public figures are just concerned that fake accounts will buy the blue check and do stupid things. Perhaps spread false rumors.

All that happened. And Elon had to take a step back for a bit with the blue check thing. But here are the real flaws and why it would underperform:

  1. If anybody can have a blue check, then its significance (and specialty) is lost. It is nothing but a sign of paid subscription
  2. People hate to pay for something they already use for free
  3. Subscriptions are hard to sell
  4. The initiative introduces confusion, especially about the future, rather than clarity

My Recommendations

I highly recommend ditching the $8 blue check thing if that is still possible. That’s because I believe there are more and better ways to make money with Twitter.

My first idea is to introduce Twitter Premium. This would be another app entirely. Same Twitter feed but far more features. Instead of selling the blue check, sell a completely new Twitter experience.

The price can go as high as $19 per month

People who start using it and find it awesome will tell others about it. And people will start to try it. Once they use it for a while and it is a significantly better experience, they will stay.

People who have a blue check can subscribe to Twitter Premium. People who don’t have a blue check can subscribe to Twitter Premium. People who just come to Twitter to read and just want a better experience will easily pay for it. There is no in-built opposition.

Twitter Premium will come with features that deal with bots, fast-track to Twitter support, a debate feature, betting pool on the side. Think of this — if people could bet on Twitter on the outcome of elections. And everybody on Premium can see the betting position of other people. They can also see their historical record on the betting pools. This would be a money-banger for Twitter.

The second idea is green checkmarks for creators. Anyone who wants to be a creator (or some kind of independent journalist) on select topics can fill out an application and submit it. And after review, they are given a green checkmark. This green checkmark includes the ability to get subscribers who pay them for their work.

This can also be embedded with Twitter Premium, such that instead of paying $19 per month for Premium, you could be paying $24 per month because you have included some creators. And as a result, you see things on their feed that isn’t available to everybody else.

There will be a new navigation option where you see only the “subscriber only” content from the creators you subscribe to. They will mostly be video, audio, or long-form written content. The usual tweet goes out to everybody else.

The 3rd idea is to streamline the process for a blue check. Let there be a defined process for it, and all existing blue checks must be reviewed. Getting a blue check must be only for a public figure, celebrity, or famous person or organization. The process must be transparent with fair standards. And it should remain free for the qualified.

For example, all applicants must submit proof of fame. If a person is about to be stripped of their blue check, they should be given the benefit of the doubt and asked to submit proof of fame.

The 4th idea is that all ads and tracking are prohibited for every premium user. But ads and tracking would still be available for the free Twitter.


With Twitter Premium, I strongly believe Twitter will attain profitability and emerge as the social media leader. I can only wish Elon Musk would see this.

People will pay for stuff as long as they know that it is a new value that serves them in the way they want. I wish Twitter success.

I rest my case.