One of the tedious labors on Mastodon is searching for users, for which you’ll need the user’s entire handle (i.e. [email protected]), not just their name (i.e. Jane Doe). This makes searching for the few brands that do have Mastodon accounts difficult. Ad Age was unable to verify the number of brands with legitimate accounts on the platform, though it did find plenty of fraudulent accounts sitting on brand’s names, such as [email protected] and [email protected].
Not even brands that are pausing activity on Twitter, such as North Face and automotive manufacturer Stellantis, appear to be moving to Mastodon.
The lack of brands on the platform probably has much to do with its low numbers. Rochko, Mastodon’s founder, reported this week that for the first time the platform reached over 1 million monthly users, but this pales in comparison to Twitter’s 238 million daily active users, a number which, according to Musk, appears to be growing even amid the chaos (or perhaps because of it). There are just over 4,000 servers on Mastodon, while there are about 6.7 million on Discord, according to reports.
Fooji’s Morton said Mastodon in its current state only appeals to people who are “very online”—or highly tuned in to internet culture—and that technical difficulties in setting up accounts and navigating the platform make connecting with mainstream audiences a “nonstarter.”
These onboarding difficulties have been well documented over the past week, and include large delays in receiving confirmation emails upon registering and having to create entirely new accounts just to enter a new server.
It is worth noting that these difficulties have been exacerbated as the influx of new users has strained the platform’s ability to manage traffic. Rochko is Mastodon’s only full-time employee, and the team helping him appears to be made up of only three people.
Going forward, Mastodon may be able to scale more effectively to meet new demand, assuming it remains strong. And users frustrated with Twitter could find real value in Mastodon’s decentralized, open-source model. But for brands, there appears to be little reason to experiment with the platform in its current state.