The Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized social network Bluesky has launched a paid domain service in partnership with Namecheap as a way for users to verify their identity. In a post discussing its plans to make Bluesky sustainable, the team said “users become the product” when a company relies on ads. Since Bluesky set out to “build a protocol where users can own their data,” it chose to explore “other avenues of monetization” instead. It’s worth noting that the social app started as a project funded by Twitter, but it has lost its connection to the website after Elon Musk took over.
Since earning by ads isn’t an option, the team thought of offering paid services, starting with domain names. Users can already set up custom domain names to use with Bluesky, but they have to go through a separate process with a domain registrar first. This integration will supposedly allow them to do so in under a few minutes. They can simply log into their account, search for a domain name to use as a handle and then pay for it all within Bluesky’s interface. For a Twitter competitor that doesn’t have a centralized verification system, using a domain name is the best way for a user to verify that they are who they say they are. US Senators, for instance, have apparently been using the senate.gov domain to verify their identities.
Users who use the integrated service will be able to manage their domain settings and configurations within Bluesky, and they can forward emails sent to their domains to an address of their choice. They can also choose to redirect their domain to their Bluesky profile or any URL they want. And in the event they decide to leave the platform or to use another registrar, they can transfer their domain away.
Based on Bluesky’s announcement, domain integration is just the first in what could be several paid services available on the platform. It says it’s exploring other services it “can bundle to users to provide a more seamless experience.” That said, Bluesky is still in private beta, and those interested will have to join a waitlist before they can get in.
This post originally appeared on TechToday.