The Folly of X’s Blue Tick Fiasco

It is quite baffling that X decided to offer the option to hide the blue tick in the first place, only to revoke it later on. This decision reflects poorly on X’s overall product strategy. By taking away the choice to hide the blue tick, X is essentially forcing users to display their verification status, whether they like it or not. This move is especially puzzling considering that X recently announced that all users with 2,500 verified followers will automatically receive a blue tick. The intention behind this decision seems to be to increase the visibility of blue ticks in order to distinguish real accounts from bots. However, the effectiveness of this strategy is questionable, given that the vast majority of users on X do not actively engage with the platform.

One of the key issues with X’s handling of the blue tick feature is the devaluation of its significance. Originally designed as a symbol of authenticity and status, the blue tick has now become a commodity that can be purchased by anyone willing to pay for it. This change in perception has led to a situation where the blue tick no longer holds the same value it once did. As a result, users are less inclined to pay for the feature, especially if they are not interested in the additional perks of X Premium. By forcing more users to display the blue tick, X is essentially trying to create a sense of peer pressure to encourage subscription upgrades. However, this approach is unlikely to be effective given the current state of the platform.

Despite Elon Musk’s ambitious projections for X Premium, the reality paints a very different picture. The platform has failed to attract a significant number of subscribers, with less than a million users opting for the Premium service. This underwhelming performance has had a direct impact on X’s revenue, which declined by half in 2023. Musk’s vision of generating billions in revenue from subscriptions seems far-fetched at this point. Incentives such as access to the Grok chatbot have not had the desired effect, and X is struggling to find ways to attract more paying users.

With mounting costs and declining revenue, the future of X appears increasingly uncertain. The platform’s reliance on advertising revenue has been hampered by advertiser hesitation, leading to a decrease in ad intake. Additionally, the failure to meet subscription targets raises questions about the sustainability of X’s current business model. Seeking additional investment and attempting to lure back ad partners may provide temporary relief, but the long-term viability of the platform remains in question. Splitting out the AI operations of xAI from the main X platform may help reduce overhead costs, but it remains to be seen if this will be enough to ensure X’s survival.

X’s handling of the blue tick feature and its struggles with the Premium subscription service highlight the company’s missteps in recent times. The devaluation of the blue tick, coupled with the underperformance of X Premium, point to a larger issue of sustainability for the platform. As Elon Musk attempts to navigate these challenges, it remains to be seen whether X will be able to overcome its current predicament and realize his ambitious vision for the platform.

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