How to get a Twitter username that’s already taken (Hint: It’s easy, I got mine)

Fusible on Twitter

A big hat tip to Robert Borhi of DomainReport.ca who wrote an article that led me to pursue getting the Twitter username @fusible, after I had been using the Twitter username @fusiblenetwork for a couple years now.

The post caught my attention because it mentioned TweetClaims, a service I had written about in late April.  Robert’s article however directed me to a story on another blog called Standing On Giants written by Kyle Reed that provided step-by-step instructions on the how-to of getting a Twitter username that’s already taken.

I followed the steps described by Kyle and it took all of six days from the time I started for Twitter to replace the username.

There are a couple of changes to be noted in Kyle’s how-to.  But what’s important to stress is Kyle’s opening point, “what I am about to tell you will only work if the twitter account you are going after is inactive. And when I say inactive it has to have set dorment for probably 6 months to a year.”

The account I pursued is @fusible, an account that had NEVER tweeted [see for yourselves], not even once in years of being online.  My goal was to replace @fusiblenetwork [my original account].

Twitter’s Terms of Service are clear on this: “To keep your account active, be sure to log in and Tweet (i.e., post an update) within 6 months of your last update. Accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity.”

FACEBOOK:  Become a fan of Fusible.com

Step 1: Submit an Impersonation Claim

As Kyle instructs in his post, I submitted an Impersonation Claim on Wednesday June 8, because the response time on impersonation claims versus other claims is much faster according to Kyle.  In my claim, I stated that the individual behind @fusible had never tweeted since first registering the username.

Within minutes, I received an e-mail from Twitter stating, “This is an auto-confirmation that we have received your request. Twitter will reply to your report as soon as possible.”

Step 2: Receive a message from Twitter Support

By Monday, less than seven days after my claim was first submitted, I received a message from Twitter Support with the following information.

Thanks for providing this information. In order to process a username transfer, please choose from one of the following options:

1. If you would like the name to replace the username on an existing Twitter account that you’re already using, reply to this email and list that account’s current username.
2. If you don’t have a Twitter account or would like to create a new account for use with the requested username, please create an account with a placeholder username that we’ll change (@tempname123, for example). You can sign up for an account here: https://twitter.com/signup

Step 3: Choose an Option

I chose option # 1, and replied back with @fusiblenetwork (which at the time had been my existing account).

Still at this point, there was no guarantee that Twitter would be able to make the requested transfer.

But in my case, they did.  On Tuesday June 14, I received an e-mail from Twitter Support stating they had associated @fusible with @fusiblenetwork.

The difference between my experience and Kyle’s experience, is that his username was released to the public, and Kyle had to register it quickly.  Whereas in my case, Twitter simply replaced my existing username with the username I had requested, guaranteeing someone else wouldn’t have a shot at snapping up the name before I could register it.

Talking about this story: ReadWriteWeb

43 comments
nicolegarcialopez
nicolegarcialopez

The information above is out of date. Twitter has this announcement on their website:

"We're currently unable to accommodate individual requests for inactive or suspended usernames. We may release all inactive and/or suspended usernames in the future, but have not yet set a date for doing so. Follow @Support to be updated when inactive usernames become available."

https://support.twitter.com/forms/general?subtopic=suspended


bmuery
bmuery

Hi J.B. Could you please explain how you can reply to an email with your Twitter username or what exactly is being requested? 

AmorRays
AmorRays

I tried it and it didn't work, even though I have the domain.com for the twitter handle I was trying to get.  Fustrated because the user has never tweeted.

JasonWeber
JasonWeber

There is no option to add additional information anymore (e.g. - "The Twitter username I'd like has been inactive for 5 years", etc.).  I'm still in the process of waiting to see what Twitter will do, but I'm in the exact same situation as you are with my company.

maxpen
maxpen

Do you need to own a twitter name that has a similar name in order to be able to take the main name?

Guest1
Guest1

i did it this morning and twitter hasn't send me any email yet 

tonieleevhoran
tonieleevhoran

could you please tell us what did you wrote on the 'additional requests/ forms' on the bottom of the impersonation claim? :(

Guest
Guest

On the twitter page there doesn't seem to be any option to add information like: "I also own the twitter app of this name, the domain name and facebook name". I have all of these and I assume this would lend weight to my claim. It also assumes you're a company with a company address. I want the twitter handle for a thing I'm trying to get off the ground which isn't an actual company yet.

Micala
Micala

Hi! When I try to the impersonation claim, the above options are given: my account was suspended, I can't sign into my account, my account has been hacked or compromised, someone is using my email address without my permission, I am being impersonated. Which do I select? Thank you!

Guest
Guest

RE: From Twitter in Response to Claiming Name of Inactive Account Hey everyone, Unfortunately I have also been unsuccessful thus far, in obtaining my real name without added numbers and symbols.  I checked to see if the account was active and it is not.  The person tweeted twice, their account is protected, and they are now married so technically their name is not the same.  Frustrating, I know.  If anyone finds out more recent information on this topic please post it here. Below is the response I received from Twitter. :/   Thank you for contacting us. It appears that you are requesting a username rather than reporting an account that is impersonating you. This form is only for reporting accounts that violate our impersonation policy. In general, adding numbers, underscores, or abbreviations can help you claim a great available username. To learn more about changing your username, see: https://support.twitter.com/articles/14609. If your username request relates to a Trademark you hold, you can review Twitter’s Trademark Policy here: http://support.twitter.com/entries/18367.

Gyutiful
Gyutiful

I received an email back requesting a faxed copy of my govt issued photo ID. Is this step new? [2] WHAT DO I DO?

fusibledotcom
fusibledotcom

If anyone has updates on the process since this story first posted, please let me know in the comments so I can update the story for others.

Brian Jeffries
Brian Jeffries

They will only change the name if you have a registered trademark of the current name you are trying to change it to. Also, the person with current name to be violating trademark terms. Couldn't change mine, went through all these steps and got no where. 

Guest
Guest

I received an email back requesting a faxed copy of my govt issued photo ID. Is this step new?

brussel
brussel

Will this still work?

ria
ria

Its not working for me :( they say that Im requesting an username rather than reporting someone who's impersonating you >< Is there another way? please help :(

Fusible.com
Fusible.com

Congrats! Can you share the name you got after the switch takes place?

Niklas
Niklas

Wow it worked. I just got a reply from them and replied with my twitter username so they can change it :) So happy now. It took about 2 weeks for me and i asume they will change it right away now then they read my mail :)

48-14
48-14

Hi, I'm one of the few that was able to get a Twitter name that was sitting doing nothing. The name @4814 was taking a few years ago by some who only had 3 tweets. I asked Twitter maybe 2 years ago and they said they're were not focused on releasing old names. Then I came across a blog that mentioned how to get the name. I'm actually searching for the original blog (yes I should have bookmarked it) and came across this one, so I'm going to share as much as I remember. Contact Twitter's support and select the option of impersonation. Trademarks are harder to deal with but if you can show proof that someone else is impersonating you and your brand, and especially if the account hasn't been used in years and most likely has an egg image, you stand a good chance. It will ask which account is impersonating you and which account of yours you would like to be renamed of the other account.   It took about a month for the whole process and all that happens is your account is renamed, so everything else stays exactly the same. You might have to take sometime and backtrack places you posted your Twitter name and change it to the new one.

Fusible.com
Fusible.com

Thanks for the update. Have you tried tweetclaims.com?  It's free and a good way to be alerted in the event the username you want becomes available.  I've signed up for it, but so far none of the names have been released by Twitter or deleted, that I'm watching.

Anoni
Anoni

I just tried it. It didn't work for me. I just sent them my concern and they replied right away. Unfortunately, they aren't really focusing into inactive usernames right now and they advised me to follow @support so I can see the list of inactive usernames they will release later. Bummer.

Fusible.com
Fusible.com

I couldn't tell you whether this method works or not in your particular situation. Twitter has a bunch of usernames that have been suspended even for years, and although they say they'll be released back to the public, the ones I have been watching, have not. It can't hurt to try. Please let me know if it worked out for you or not. I'm sure other readers may have the very same question. Good luck

Anoni
Anoni

Question! The account I want is taken and it's been inactive since 2009. To me, your example seems to target those with business purposes. I'm trying to get a name that I just find nice. Will this method work? When I checked out the Impersonation Claim, none of them really fits my situation, the closest is "I'm being impersonated" but is actually not. I just want this nice username who last posted last '09 about getting a follower. He's not follwing anyone, he has one follower who is also inactive. So my question is 1. will this method work for me? 2. what do I choose on the impersonation claim? thanks!

Rob
Rob

You're welcome, glad it worked out!  That was a helpful article I came across.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Wow! Hats off to you. It worked. Thanks a ton!

Scott
Scott

Boom! It worked! After over a year of trying to get the name I wanted it finally happened after reading this post. My first attempt was rejected since the name I requested is for my t-shirt company. They told me to fill out a business impersonation form instead. i did it, followed the same directions and BAM. @InstantClassic is now mine and I got to ditch the confusing @Instnt_Classic I was using before. Thanks!

Fusible.com
Fusible.com

Have you seen other great names like @beer recently that have become available?

Fusible.com
Fusible.com

Hey Luke and Blake, I actually got my name without using TweetClaims.  Twitter took care of it with no problems.  However, I do have a few names that I'm using TweetClaims for to watch -- and I'm hoping those will become available someday.

Blake Crosley
Blake Crosley

Hope you guys get the name you want. Exactly why Luke and I made the site. Cheers.

Fusible.com
Fusible.com

Thanks Kyle.  Your article was extremely helpful. And it was great to see Twitter be so responsive.

Fusible.com
Fusible.com

Did Twitter provide any explanation?  Did you provide a website or business with the same word?

Gnanes
Gnanes

I tried that and it didn't work with my name even though the account seems inactive.

salonpas
salonpas

Yeah, me too. The auto-reply from Twitter replied me like this: To confirm your identity, fax a copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport) to Twitter at 415-222-9958. Please write “Attention: User Safety, Twitter Inc.” at the top and include your ticket number (#).Once we have received your fax, we will review and process your report. We will not process your report until we receive your faxed ID. Well, it's a very serious thing to do, I guess. I'm out from this way.

Guest
Guest

I had the same experience as the readers who mention that this process no longer works. The username I was pursuing was registered 6+ months ago and has never been active. FYI, here's the response I received:Hello, 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. This help page explains how to find a Tweet's status link: https://support.twitter.com/articles/80586 Please note that this form is only for reporting accounts that violate our impersonation policy. If you are requesting a username, please review this help article here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/101299 . If your username request relates to a Trademark you hold, you can review Twitter’s Trademark Policy here: https://support.twitter.com/entries/18367 Thank you,Twitter Trust & Safety 

hello
hello

The method above no longer works. Twitter is asking for a faxed copy of a government issued picture ID to prove the impersonation. For the inquiries regarding to inactive usernames, it gives the following msg: "We're currently unable to accommodate individual requests for inactive or suspended usernames. We may release all inactive and/or suspended usernames in the future, but have not yet set a date for doing so. Follow @support to be updated when inactive usernames become available. Twitter may be able to transfer a username under our trademark policy. If you are writing on behalf of a trademarked brand and would like to submit a request, please file a trademark ticket."No luck for now.

Guesticles
Guesticles

Weird because clearly in the Twitter rules it states: Username Squatting: You may not engage in username squatting. Accounts that are inactive for more than 6 months may also be removed without further notice. So what's the point in having such a rule?