Top 10 Stories of 2011: #7 How to get a Twitter username that is already taken


More people have been warming to Twitter over the past year, but when they go to sign up for an account, they often find the Twitter username they want (much like a domain name) is already taken. 

The number seven story in this year’s Top 10 is How to get a Twitter username, that’s already taken, a story I wrote in June after successfully obtaining @Fusible, a username that was registered by someone else, but never used. 

Many Twitter stories published here have garnered plenty of attention by sites like TechCrunch, such as Twitter winning a dispute for the typo (missing a ‘t’) and Twitter going after (extra ‘t’). 

But the story of how to get a Twitter username to this day still attracts readers, even months after being written.   

Just a couple weeks ago, Jon Mitchell a writer for the popular tech news site ReadWriteWeb, published an article using the steps detailed in my post, and he was able to get the Twitter handle he wanted.  “Thanks to J.B. at Fusible for showing me how this works. I can’t believe it, but it really does!”, wrote Jon.

It’s not a silver bullet, but submitting an Impersonation Claim with Twitter, gives you a much better chance of getting a response, than simply opening a Help ticket with the microblogging site.


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 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

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:

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