How to Acquire an Inactive Twitter Username

by Peter Attia on February 14, 2012

There are tons of Twitter accounts registered every day that just sit there completely inactive. It’s completely harmless, but it gets frustrating when it’s a name you want.

If you have a brand name and notice the twitter account for your name is taken, it’s easy enough to get it back. You can just fill out their trademark form and acquire it. But what about when it’s a random account name you want?

My Situation

For complete vanity purposes, I wanted my full name as my Twitter handle. The only issue is that someone else registered it a few years ago, tweeted once, and then left it for dead. This drove me nuts!

I tried filling out the personal impersonation form on Twitter, but since the guy had the same name as me, he wasn’t impersonating me (it was worth a shot!). I had pretty much given up at this point, but then Jeffrey Crews suggested I claim my name as a brand and fill out the impersonation form as a brand name, since I owned PeterAttia.com.

I had never really thought about playing my own name off as a brand name, but in hindsight I can’t believe I didn’t think of that from the beginning. I went back to the impersonation form and filled it out as a company instead: as if my own name was my company name. I set up an email from my domain name and explained that people end up on the other handle thinking it’s me.

After about a week, they moved my twitter name over to the new username. I was able to keep all my current followers and lists, which was a plus.

Using the same method for other names

You could use this process for any inactive Twitter handle really. Even if it’s not an actual brand name, you could just buy a domain name for that username (doesn’t have to be .com), put up a quick wordpress page and boom! You can get any inactive account you want.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacob February 22, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Did you fill out the Trademark form (which requires a trademark registration number) or did you fill out the impersonation form saying “My company is being impersonated.” and “I want to report a brand or entity impersonation not involving trademark.”

Reply

Peter Attia February 23, 2012 at 1:08 am

Hey Jacob,

My fault! I gave the wrong form. The one you need is for someone impersonating your company/trademark.

You can find the form here – https://support.twitter.com/forms/impersonation

Hope that helps!
-Peter

Reply

Alan November 17, 2012 at 3:30 am

Hey Peter, had you registered your domain name prior to that twitter account being created?

Reply

Peter Attia November 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Hey Alan,

No I did not. The account was created before I purchased the domain.

-Peter

Reply

Ted smith December 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Hey Peter, does this still work

Reply

Peter Attia December 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Ted, I haven’t tried this in about a year, but the forms are still active, so it would be worth a shot!

Reply

Angie December 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

I tried it a few weeks ago and it didn’t work. I own the website and, of course, I have an email address from the site. The account I want hasn’t tweeted since 2007! It only has one tweet from September, 2007, no profile picture, no link to website, no bio, no following, one follower (another inactive egg that doesn’t tweet since their first update in 2012) and yet it hasn’t been released by Twitter.

When I filled the form, I did notice there used to be a “description” field that is not available now (it would have allowed me to elaborate my case)

However, despite all that, I didn’t get my handle as Twitter considers there’s “not enough evidence of impersonation”

Reply

Nikhil Phirke February 17, 2013 at 2:57 am

Hi, I am launching a new website. The domain name is available, facebook username is also available but the twitter username is taken and the guy have tweeted only once and was inactive since July 2012. I had a look on ‘Report a trademark issue’, it says to enter registration number..I don’t have one yet..can I still acquire that username? Actually I’m soon launching my ecommerce website and I would love to have that username.

Reply

Peter Attia February 18, 2013 at 10:16 am

Nikhil,

You don’t want to use the trademark form. You want to use the Impersonation form here – https://support.twitter.com/forms/impersonation and then click “someone is impersonating my brand”. Hope that helps!

-Peter

Reply

Sam April 13, 2013 at 4:59 am

Thanks for the helpful post I just submitted the impersonation form and hopefully I will get the twitter name. The twitter name is for my legit site that is about 5 months old so I hopefully have a good chance of getting it back.

Reply

Adrien heckstall July 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

hi peter,

I have followed your advise saying that someone is empersonating my brand (i have website, etc…) using the my brand name as organisation and they responded it is not sufficient:

“Thank you for contacting us. It appears that you have not provided sufficient evidence that the account you are reporting is impersonating you. If there is information on the account that shows a clear intent to assume your real identity, please reply to this email with a detailed description of the information. This could include @replies, links to reproduced content, or other Tweets.”

Reply

Peter Attia July 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Adrien,

You want to fill out the brand impersonation form, not the personal impersonation form.

-Peter

Reply

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