Madhawa's Blog

i'm Madhawa Ranga following BSc. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Moratuwa.

Buying and Selling Twitter Accounts? April 19, 2009

Filed under: blog vs twitter,buying and selling twitter accounts — madhawa.h @ 1:45 pm

That Can’t Be Allowed Can it?

CNN has acquired “the services” of the creator of one of the most popular accounts on Twitter, which is “cnnbrk,” an account that posts CNN breaking news. Currently, the account has just under a million followers.

Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch spoke with James Cox, the account holder and has confirmation from CNN that the account is now in their possession. But it’s not like they just bought “the account”…

CNN has confirmed that it has taken control of the CNNbrk account, though the company isn’t viewing it as an “acquisition”. Rather, CNN has signed James Cox to a consultant contract agreement, which included the transfer of the account as part of its conditions. Any financial compensation due to Cox is being offered for his services, which happen to include his Twitter account along with teaching social media workshops, among other things (though I suspect he’s getting paid substantially more than the market rate for his consulting).

You see, you can’t sell Twitter accounts according to Twitter’s policy (at least in the form of squatting). But there is nothing in there about buying the people that run them.

“Name squatting and ‘user name for sale’ accounts will be permanently suspended,” Twitter says. “Attempts to sell or extort other forms of payment in exchange for user names will result in account suspension.” Twitter lists the following factors as taken into consideration to identify squatters:

– the number of accounts created

– creating accounts for the purpose of preventing others from using those account names

– creating accounts for the purpose of selling those accounts

– using feeds of third-party content to update and maintain accounts under the names of those third parties

We’re not sure that any of these factor into the Cox example. Probably not considering CNN is paying him who-knows-what for “his services.”

Twitter account “cnn” only has about 64,000 followers, and the latest tweet as if this writing is directing followers to follow “cnnbrk.”

CNN Tweet

Despite Twitter’s obvious rules against squatters, something tells me that Twitter squatting is going to become more of a problem after this, even if this wasn’t such a case.


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