What is X’s ‘Verified Only Reply’ option?
X looks set to continue its push on X Premium sign-ups with a new option in development that would enable you to restrict your post replies to verified users only in the app.
What does App Researcher Nima Owji say about it?
As said by the app researcher Nima Owji, X may soon provide a new “Verified Only” reply restriction option on posts, which would mean that only paying users, those directly mentioned in the post, would be able to respond to it.
All users would still be able to quote any post, so there would still be a reply option for non-subscribers. But the idea, again, is that X is aiming to drive more interactions among paying users, with the impetus then ideally prompting more X users to sign up to X Premium to engage with all posts.
It has become a common element in most of X’s latest projects. Its coming video call option is also set to be an X Premium exclusive.
X is also looking to add Premium-only polls, Premium-only Spaces, and various other elements with paid user restrictions.
It will also impact overall engagement, given that fewer than 0.5% of X users are signed up to its Premium package.
X is looking to address this, too, via a new, cheaper subscription option.
Last week, in an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, X owner Elon Musk noted that a “lower priced tier” for X Premium is coming as another means to drive more take-up.
Why is Musk insisting so much on a subscription fee for X premium?
Musk is of the view that charging a subscription fee is the only way to combat bot armies by making it cost-prohibitive for them to create thousands of profiles in the app.
It is the reason why he is continuing to push for X Premium subscriptions despite limited interest in the program thus far.
Mentions of the coming “X Basic” package have also now been spotted in the back-end code of the app.
Is there any inside knowledge on how much cheaper this new package is going to be?
There has yet to be a word on how much cheaper this new package will be or what restrictions it might have in comparison to the current Premium package.
But X really wants to make its paid verification offering work. In that case, it will need to offer variable options, catering to developing regions, where $US8 per month is expensive, while also providing more appeal to the vast majority of X users who never actually post anything in the app.
Because most of the incentives of X Premium thus far relate to posting and reach. And given that 80% of its users don’t post, there is not a heap of benefit from there.
A cheaper alternative, then, is a logical option, though even then, it is difficult to see X Premium reaching the take-up levels it would require to be an effective bot deterrent, as Musk envisions.
What is the main concept behind this new option in the X premium here?
The main concept here is that if enough people sign up and get their verification tick, then the bot accounts will stand out in the app because they will be the only ones that won’t have a checkmark beside their username.
For this to be effective, X would need the majority of its 250 million users to sign up. Still, if 80% of them never post, as X recently acknowledged, then the required number here is much smaller, and X really only needs to appeal to this active user cluster, at least in the beginning.
If X can get the majority of the 50 million or so active, posting users to sign up, that would be a major first step. It still has a long way to go on even this lesser target.
But that is a more achievable goal for the X team, as opposed to pushing for all users to sign on to its Premium package.
It still would not equate to bot engagement, with bots able to like posts and inflate user counts. It is another element that its verification program could address if non-verified accounts primarily follow an account.
You would know they have likely paid for that audience, but this is the main aim for the first stage, eventually ensuring that the majority of interactions in the app are coming from paid subscribers. It is helping to push down bot influence.
It still seems unlikely to work, based on past examples of paid social options. But if Snapchat+ can get 5 million subscribers, X Premium should also be able to drive at least similar numbers, and maybe, through gradual pushes, it will become a more significant consideration.
What should be the strategy of X for its current and upcoming packages?
X needs to get all its packages right, as well as its pricing. But with broader functionality and exclusive tools, more people might be interested.
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