Will Twitter give me my biz's Twitter handle if it's taken but inactive?
January 18, 2014 3:03 PM   Subscribe

I recently started a business and have registered the business name with various municipalities. The relevant Twitter account name is already taken, but has never tweeted and has 3 followers. Is there any chance I could get this handle from Twitter?

Many uber-famous-and-powerful people have handles like "MyName123" instead of "MyName" because someone got to the name before them.

But Twitter's Inactive Account Policy DOES say that if an account is inactive they may give it to another person. Is this an enforced policy? Has anyone worked with Twitter to reassign a Twitter handle? And do you think being a registered business might help things along?

I know that I could just make a MyName123 account but my business name is long enough that I can't think of an alternative that wouldn't be ungainly.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. I'm in the U.S.
posted by whenbynowandtreebyleaf to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Best answer: According to that policy you linked, if it's not a name you have trademarked, you are SOL until Twitter decides to start releasing inactive accounts. In other words, Twitter's policy says "We are working on it." Of course, you could still try anyway. Maybe claim your business name registration is like a trademark.

The alternative is to try to find the account owner and contact them. If it's for a business or organization, they either have a webpage or used to. Find it or use caches, etc. to find one that no longer exists.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:08 PM on January 18, 2014

In mid-2008, I was interning in the marketing department of an internet startup, and my boss took back our claimed-but-unused handle (a unique, trademarked name) by walking into Twitter's new office and asking nicely.

Later that year, I decided that I wanted my first name (not a hugely popular name, but ranked around 40th for about a decade) as a Twitter handle. It was claimed but inactive. I emailed Twitter and they gave it to me immediately.

I haven't tweeted using that handle in over 2 years (although I do log into the account occasionally), even though I know at least one other person is asking for it. In summary, times have changed.
posted by acidic at 3:27 PM on January 18, 2014

It used to be the case that if you knew someone at Twitter they could make a transfer happen. But lately I've heard that times have changed and that other than the trademark request strategy, you're basically SOL. I've been stalking a suspended twitter account for like 6 months now and it seems pretty clear at this point that even releasing suspended accounts is on hold for some reason.

Trying to get in touch with the owner and asking nicely (or offering money) is your best bet, but I've found in the past that people are very rarely interested in doing deals like that.
posted by heresiarch at 5:03 PM on January 18, 2014

A few years back I was able to get Twitter to release an account (with a handle that was one form of our name) to a company I worked for, but the person with the account was more or less impersonating the company, IIRC. It still took a bit of pressure.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:03 PM on January 18, 2014

Best answer: You'd think they would link to it right from that page, but you want to file a trademark claim, assuming you have one. (A trademark registration is a specific thing. I don't know what "registered business" and "registered with various municipalities" mean here, but they don't sound like it.) Yes, it works; I've done it for a client.

If not, you can take your chances going through support, but that seems to work less and less. There's also the "if you know someone who knows someone" path that I've seen some people use (annoyingly) but that depends upon your own connections.
posted by Su at 8:59 AM on January 21, 2014

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