Even The People Who Were Eager To Pay Elon Musk $8/Month Are Cancelling Their Blue Subscriptions
from the $8-please dept
It remains kind of shocking just how badly Elon Musk has screwed up Twitter. He drove away somewhere between 40% and 70% of the advertisers on the site before he took over. And the advertisers have been pretty blunt that the problem is that Elon Musk himself is a real liability. He’s made advertising on Twitter a brand risk. Hell, he’s actually made just using Twitter a brand risk.
As we’ve said from the beginning, a plan to diversify revenue away from advertising actually made a lot of sense. And Twitter actually had the skeleton of a good idea in its original Twitter Blue service that charged $5/month for some nice-to-have additional features. But the company did very little to market the service or the features, so it wasn’t getting much usage. I actually initially thought that if Musk really focused on making that service more valuable and more well known, it could be an interesting thing to grow alongside the advertising base.
Instead, Musk focused on (for no clear reason) making the main “benefit” of Twitter Blue be getting what used to be a blue “verified” checkmark, except removing the “verified” part of it, which was what gave it what little value it had. And, he bumped up the price to $8/month ($11 if purchased on an iOS device).
He basically made this is his big monetization bet… and it’s flopped. Embarrassingly so. Advertisers running away took away multiple billions of dollars in revenue, while Twitter Blue subscriptions have added… a few million dollars to the bottom line? Back in November, it became clear that a very small percentage of people were interested in paying. A followup in February found the numbers of paying subscribers was pitifully small. Musk’s plan to charge organizations a much higher fee to verify the organizations seems to have fallen flat as well.
Last month, he finally figured out how to remove the “legacy” blue verification checks, and seemed to hope that would drive those users to paying, but 97% of them had no interest.
And now it’s getting even worse.
Because remember that tiny number of folks who signed up for Twitter Blue when Musk first relaunched it in November? More than half of them have already ditched their subscriptions according to Matt Binder at Mashable.
Out of about 150,000 early subscribers to Twitter Blue, just around 68,157 have stuck around and maintained a paid subscription as of April 30. Subscriptions are $8 per month – $11 on mobile.
The total early subscriber numbers are linked directly to internal leaks published(opens in a new tab) by the Washington Post last year showing that a total of 150,000 users originally signed up for Twitter Blue within just a few days of its launch in November. Twitter temporarily disabled new signups for about a month shortly after those users subscribed as a result of accounts signing up for Blue with the intent to impersonate major brands on the platform.
That means around 81,843 users, or 54.5 percent, of Twitter users who subscribed to Twitter Blue when it first launched in November are no longer subscribed to the service.
I may not be an internet marketing genius, but when you lose more than 50% of your initial monthly subscribers within six months… that can’t be a good sign.
And, it might be even worse:
Furthermore, it’s also possible that a portion of those users that show up as subscribed have actually already canceled their plans and are continuing to receive Twitter Blue’s subscription service for free. In previous reporting for Gizmodo, journalist Steven Monacelli has spoken with numerous former Twitter Blue subscribers who just can’t get rid of their subscription, blue checkmark and all, even though they canceled and haven’t paid for months.
The article has a lot more details on how little benefit users paying the world’s richest man a monthly fee have received in return. Many users seemed to expect that having a blue checkmark next to their name would somehow give them credibility and followers. But mostly, it just looks pathetic, which is why many of them have very few followers, and aren’t magically gaining new ones.
Speaking of those Twitter Blue subscribers who have single-digit followers, Brown says(opens in a new tab) “collectively these people have paid Elon close to $100k and together got under 8k followers.”
For what it’s worth, it’s fun remembering the people who kept telling me that Elon had a “Midas touch,” and that he’d clearly turn Twitter into a profitable cash-generating machine.