X is preparing to roll out a username marketplace — and is seeking buyers willing to pay up to $50,000 to gain control of their perfect handle, according to a new report.
Forbes, citing internal emails, reported that staff from the social media platform formerly known as Twitter have in some cases sent out the five-figure solicitations to buyers as part of an initiative to build the marketplace.
Currently, the site’s internal inactive account policy indicates it cannot release inactive handles. An account is considered inactive if no one has logged into it within the last 30 days, per the policy.
While no public-facing announcement has yet been made, the move appears to be a step toward making good on a promise Elon Musk has long assured users would happen by ridding the site of inactive accounts and dormant handles.
It would also improve the challenging financial circumstances in which the social media giant finds itself. Insider previously reported X’s valuation has dropped an average of nearly $70 million per day during Elon Musk’s first year of ownership, with the new valuation representing a 55% drop from the price Musk paid to take the company private.
An automated response to a request for comment from Insider from the X press team read, “busy now, please check back later.”
“Twitter is really going all-in on the monetization game, huh?” San Francisco investor Joe Maristela wrote in an X post responding to Forbes breaking the news. “It’s going to be interesting to see how this affects the platform in the long run. On one hand, it could be seen as a way to help people get access to handles they may have always wanted. On the other hand, it’s kind of a bummer that something that was once free is now being sold for such a high price.”
While it remains unclear exactly which handles may made available to buy or sell through the marketplace if and when it launches publicly, the announcement raises the question of what will happen to high-profile inactive accounts like @NPR — which left the platform in April after the news organization was labeled “government-funded media.”
Since Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the company, X has undergone significant shifts in its verification procedures and content moderation policies, as well as adding new features such as community notes, which allow users to add commentary on posts to clarify or add context.
Other features teased by Musk have yet to materialize, such as making X a centralized banking and financial services app or, as he said in an all-hands meeting on the anniversary of his takeover, a dating site.