September 22, 2023

Twitter is changing its name. The bird app will migrate to a new domain and will officially become home to the website formerly known as Twitter, Elon Musk has announced.

Newly appointed Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino confirmed the move early Monday morning, Tweeting (Xing?) a picture of the company’s new logo projected on Twitter’s headquarters building.

The timeline of X is quite fascinating. Originally registered by a shell company in 1993, became home to one of the world’s first internet banks when Elon Musk officially launched it in December 1999. He merged it four months later with Peter Thiel’s Confinity, parent company to a niche little product called PayPal. According to Ashlee Vance’s book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest For A Fantastic Future,” Musk and Thiel were at odds over the new company’s name. “Musk kept championing, while most everyone else favored PayPal,” Vance wrote. X/PayPal ousted Musk as CEO in September 2000 (while he was away on his honeymoon) and replaced him with Peter Thiel. This would end the X chapter of Musk’s life. Until…

Musk bought the domain back from PayPal – by then bought and sold again by eBay – in 2017, citing sentimental value. In April 2022, as he prepared to buy Twitter, Musk filed three holding companies in Delaware with variations of the name “X Corp.” It was then revealed, during a corporate disclosure of a lawsuit brought on Twitter by Laura Loomer, that Twitter Inc. had been dissolved and replaced by X Corp.

Musk has often mused about creating a one-stop-shop for internet users, an “everything app” reminiscent of China’s WeChat. This latest change now brings him one step closer to that goal.

Though Musk tweeted that will redirect to Twitter, as of 7 a.m. Monday morning the domain was still parked with GoDaddy.

Despite this snafu, there is no doubt Musk has triggered an official rebrand as a large black X with white piping has replaced the iconic Twitter bird logo. Though Elon has changed the site’s logo in the past (tbt to the doge-twit era) this change seems to be more permanent.

The change offers more questions than answers. Will Musk be successful in transitioning Twitter from a communications platform into a do-it-all model? Does he risk shedding his user base and losing brand visibility? Will users flock to Threads? The Meta-owned competitor recorded 10 million signups in the first 7 hours of the app’s release but have reportedly suffered a precipitous drop off in engagement. Twitter still struggles to build and maintain an advertiser base and it’s unclear how X will tackle that issue.

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