Twitter’s moving forward with the next stage of its subscription revenue plan, with its new ‘Verification for Organizations’ program now available to businesses around the world, expanding the scope of its updated verification badge system.
Except there’s not really any verification involved, as such, and it costs a lot, for not much in return.
Here’s a look at how you can sign up, what you get for doing so, and whether it’s worth the money.
First off, Twitter’s Verification for Organizations program is now available to all businesses by clicking on the dedicated section in your options menu on desktop, or heading to this link.
As you can see in this updated feature list, posted by app researcher Nima Owji, the benefits of Twitter’s Verified Organizations program are:
- A gold checkmark for your brand profile in the app, along with a square profile frame, in order to better identify your official brand account. Which kind of seems like a concession that Twitter has eroded the value of the original blue checkmark with its new paid verification program, which is why it’s had to add another level of verification.
- Once your business is signed up, you can then also identify the personal accounts of your employees as being affiliated with your business, which will automatically subscribe them to Twitter Blue, giving them a blue checkmark. In addition, they’ll also get a small brand icon appended to their username, which will help to better identify them as official staff profiles in the app. A key benefit of this, at least in theory, is that if a person leaves your company, they’ll lose their verification marker, which has been a criticism of the legacy verification system (i.e. people keeping their blue tick even though they’re no longer spokespeople for a notable business or organization). Once you’ve added affiliate accounts, they’ll be listed in a new tab on your brand profile, providing another means of verification for staff
- Your business will also get priority in reporting impersonation in the app, which will ensure that Twitter takes action against imitator profiles
- Finally, you’ll also get priority support from Twitter staff, which is also a key enticement in Meta’s new Meta Verified plan. I’m not sure how effectively Twitter will be able to support this, given its culled 80% of its staff, but this is part of the offer within its brand verification package.
But as noted, there’s no actual verification included in the process. Twitter does note that all applications will be ‘reviewed for authenticity’, but if you’re willing to pay, it’s likely that Twitter will take your cash, as there are no thresholds for qualification, nor is there a systematic process for confirmation and approval.
Though the price alone could be considered a barrier in some sense. At launch, Twitter’s charging $US1,000 per month for the gold tick. In addition to this, for every staff member profile that you add as an affiliate, that’s an extra $US50 per month.
So it’s pretty steep, and while big brands may be able to afford it, and may be willing to pay to protect their brand identity in the app, most small businesses won’t be able to take on that level of cost - and the majority of businesses are SMBs.
That’s not to mention businesses in developing markets, which also won’t be able to afford it. Right now, in all the regions where Twitter Blue and Verified for Organizations is available, the price is the same, which could lead to various issues with impersonation, in many places.
Even more interesting - Twitter’s not even charging the majority of big businesses for a gold tick, with its 500 biggest advertisers, and the 10,000 most-followed organizations in the app, being given access to the program for free, as both a means of maintaining relationships with those paying the bills, and as a form of peer pressure to prompt other brands to also pay up.
Which is a smart strategy, but it means that the businesses who were most likely to pay don’t have to, which will impact overall take-up.
So is it worth the money, and should you be considering signing on to the program?
Well, no, in the majority of cases, probably not.
Sure, there will be some benefit to having the more official brand marker in the app, especially, as noted, since Twitter has eroded the value of the traditional blue tick. But a grand a month is a lot to pay, for something that will likely deliver minor benefit.
Which has been the flaw in Twitter’s renewed approach to verification all along. Charging for subscriptions makes sense, in terms of asking your top users to pay for additional functionality, while implementing a form of identity verification for all users could also provide real, functional value in the app. But Twitter hasn’t offered anything like this on either front within its new push, it’s just asking for people to pay for the same access and utility that it’s always offered for free.
That’s the issue that people have had, and will have again here. Snapchat, for example, has seen solid success with its Snapchat+ subscription program, because it’s offering add-ons that users actually want, while even Meta’s verification scheme offers direct support access, a key feature that many have been seeking.
Twitter’s offering a few random functional additions as part of Twitter Blue, which no one’s been overly excited about. And for brands, it’s offering nothing but a gold checkmark and a square PFP - for $12,000 a year.
Like, maybe, if it were offering advanced analytics, improved research tools, trend insights, competitor analytics - maybe if there was something more than just a visual marker, it could be worth it.
But instead, Twitter’s essentially saying ‘we’ve de-valued our original verification program, now we want you to pay to fix it’.
So, no, for most brands, it’s absolutely not something that should be a consideration, at least, not until Elon and Co. come up with some actually valuable subscription features.
Will that open up more brands to impersonation? Yes, but that’s still a systematic issue at Twitter’s end, that they’re asking you to pay to fix. I don’t see why anyone should be charged for that, but maybe, if you’re a really big fan of Elon, and you really think that one of the world’s richest people needs your money, you should sign on.
But overall, this is just another element in Musk’s flawed strategy, which is reliant on goodwill, and his own popularity, to bring in more money for the platform.
Musk had originally outlined a plan for Twitter to eventually bring in 50% of its revenue from subscriptions, which he now seems to have revised based on initial response to the updated Twitter Blue offering.
In order to generate 50% of Twitter’s revenue from Twitter Blue subscriptions, it would need around 24 million people to sign up. Thus far, only around 600k users are paying. Musk acknowledged this in a recent interview with the BBC, noting that a million subscribers would be a good additional revenue stream, which is far from his original goal - but maybe, with brands signing up for this new pro package, he still sees a path to this working out as planned.
But it won’t. Very few businesses can or should pay for a gold tick, and I’d be amazed if it sees any significant take-up, outside of those that Twitter’s gifted membership to in this initial phase.
But maybe, some brands will pull the trigger - maybe seeing their competitors with a good tick will be enough to push some to act.
We’ll see what happens, but the bottom line is that it’s a lot of money, for not much value in return, at least at this stage.