Ever since Elon Musk took over Twitter late last year, things went from bad to worse on the microblogging site. Many users want to go out, and they hope there is a worthy alternative waiting in the wings. Although the newly launched Meta Threads are now enjoying all attentionthe other major alternative to Twitter—Bluesky—is, in many ways, the most obvious successor.
For one thing, the Bluesky did this former Twitter guru Jack Dorsey, who has money from Twitter (to the tune of $13 million), and was originally conceptualized when Jack was still running Twitter full-time. Dorsey Bluesky launched in 2019 as a Twitter side-projectthen cut the platform as a public benefit corporation in 2021. Open source and decentralized, Bluesky should be cut from the same cloth as mastodon and the rest of the the Fediverse, although some critics will tell you it’s a different animal entirely. Over the past few years, the company has been hiring people and quietly building a reputation for itself and, this week, it is celebrating a personal development: an analysis by a data firm shows that Bluesky is official has a million users. While that may not sound like much following the recent development of Threads, it’s actually more than you might think.
What’s impressive about Bluesky’s numbers is that they’ve come to use a invitation only sign up model. Anyone can do it now join Threadsa fact that allows the Meta app to Download records are broken and net 30 million users of something in the time earlier this week. However, to get to Bluesky, the platform requires you to be invited by another current user. Current users can recruit new people by sending them a invitation code, which is then used to set up an account. This process angered some but also created a significant level of buzz—as Bluesky is an exclusive club that web users are asked to join.
Bluesky’s current strategy is about building excitement and creating FOMO. However, once the platform opens up the sign-up process to everyone, it’s easy to imagine that the number of users will grow by leaps and bounds.
Early reviews of Bluesky are also good. Back in May, Wired’s Kate Knibbs did an initial walkthrough on the platform where he described it as having a “disruptive, infectious energy fuck-around, like everyone chucking a Red Bull on a Friday afternoon and the boss’s out of town.” Another early adopter, Jay Peters of The Verge, same nature the platform as his “favorite Twitter clone yet.” If such buzz is a sign of future popularity, then Bluesky may be in a good position moving forward.
Bluesky Launches First Paid Feature: Domain Linked Usernames
The other thing Bluesky has going for it besides mystery and exclusivity is that it’s a little…well…weird. Meanwhile Gizmodo’s own reporters found themselves quite underwhelmed through Threads’ first user experience, Bluesky has the potential to be awesome enough to keep us interested. Case in point, the platform launched its first paid feature this week and it sure isn’t good.
Announced by a blog post earlier this week, Bluesky’s new feature allows you to buy and manage web domains directly through its platform, while also using said domains as official usernames. To do this, Bluesky has partnered Namecheap, which it describes as an ICANN accredited domain name registrar. In short: Bluesky basically asks you to buy your own username. Prices fluctuate but are pretty reasonable (from the screenshots, it looks like they range from $18 to $40 per year). More importantly for Bluesky, this feature kills many birds with one stone. Those birds include: identity verification and income generation.
Bluesky promised an ad-free experience for users, but the platform must generate income somehow. As a result, it is now looking for alternative ways to do that out of the ordinary surveillance capitalism route. Selling users their own username was apparently the first solution they came up with.
“Traditionally, social media companies support business costs through advertising,” the Bluesky Team said in just blog it. “While advertising can subsidize services to make them free to the end user, it has negative long-term consequences such as incentivizing platforms to lock in their users. audiences, the user becomes the product.”
At the same time, the company needs a way to authenticate users — the same as Twitter blue check mark in old. Bluesky says that using personally purchased domains helps it verify that its users are who they say they are. Bluesky claiming that the new domain feature is a “decentralized way for us to achieve a level of account verification.”