Update: So, I was denied by Twitter. I applied these steps below to the ‘T’ and came back with nothing. Full disclosure so you don’t get a false hope that Twitter will magically give your desired profile name. In the end, Twitter determined there wasn’t enough evidence that @JoshBenson was impersonating me.
Good case, I guess since the kid has never tweeted. But it was worth a shot. And it’s worth a shot for you if you feel like there are ways the person with your desired handle is pretending to be you. Let us know in the comments section below. There are some good discussions happening down there with more on the story. Good luck.
Twitter squatting: steps to take over an inactive account
You just discovered Twitter, albeit, you’re several years behind the times. That’s okay! But now you notice a problem. Maybe your name is Bob Smith or Mary Jones. You find you’re a little disheartened when you go to register for Twitter and choose your full name as your handle but find the account it victim to Twitter squatting. Someone has registered the handle, but isn’t doing a thing with it. It just sits there. Quietly. Empty.
So many of us these days (including myself) have found that we’d love to have our full names as our Twitter handles, but someone else has already registered them. In my case, someone registered the account (@JoshBenson), but he (or she) hasn’t tweeted. Ever. The account just sits in the dark with nothing to offer.
At TweetBrander, we’re are looking into how to gain access to these accounts and put them to good use. Twitter hasn’t done much with their policy over the years even though many though there would be some sort of rule coming down the pike related to inactive accounts. It’s been debated time and time again on the developer’s blog. For now, it’s a waiting game.
But thanks to a post on ReadWriteWeb, there may be some good news regarding Twitter squatting. If you follow a few steps after having a few ducks in a row, you may have some luck. Here are the steps this user got to work for him. However, Twitter has seemed to have tightened their policies on impersonation claims, but it may be worth a shot.
Step 1: Gather Evidence of Impersonation
When this article was originally published, it was easier to liberate an account for a name you controlled, even if there was no clear evidence of impersonation. If it was a blank account that was just squatting on your name, this technique could still work. But Twitter recently began rejecting impersonation claims submitted without documented evidence of actual impersonation. Here’s the message you’ll get from Twitter if you don’t provide hard evidence of impersonation:
So before you file an impersonation claim with Twitter, make sure you have at least some of the following:
- Specific descriptions of content or behavior impersonating you
- A link to a page on your website containing an image owned by you that the impersonating account is using
- A link to one or more tweets in which this account is actively misleading people by claiming to be you
Step 2: Own Website/Email That Matches The Twitter Account
It’s much easier to get a domain name than a trademark, and you need to establish that the name or brand you’re after is indeed yours. You’re going to need a website and email address with the same name to give you a credible claim.
Step 2.5: If you already have a Twitter account with an alternative name, and you just want to change its name to the one you want, skip step 2.
Step 3: Register A Dummy Twitter Account With That Address
Sign up for a new Twitter account using the email address from step 1. The handle can be anything you want. When Twitter liberates your account, they’re going to merge it over to the dummy account, so you’re saving a step by giving them an existing account to use. I called mine @emotikonTEMP.
Step 4: Report The Account for Impersonation
The form you need is at support.twitter.com/forms/impersonation. Choose the bottom option, “I am being impersonated.” When you click that button, more options will appear. Choose the one that applies.
Once you’ve chosen the right option, a contact form will appear. Fill that out with all the relevant information and be sure to use the email address that clearly establishes your claim to the name. The optional Twitter username is the one from step 1.5 or 2. It says it’s optional, but it will save you a step.
Step 5: Wait A Little While
After you submit, you’ll get an auto-reply right away. Before too long, a human on the Twitter Trust and Safety team will follow up with you if there are any problems with your submission. If everything is in order, after a perfectly reasonable amount of time, you’ll get the glorious email.
After that, the account is yours! When you log in to the account you listed in step 3, it will have the name you’ve been waiting for.
Victory is mine.
— emotikon (@emotikon) December 13, 2011
We have reached out to Twitter for official comment since so many people want to know more on their policy, what’s planned for the future and what options they have now. We’ll follow up when and if we hear back. For now you can always read their Inactive Account Policy on their website to learn more as you plot your attack in figuring out how to get that Twitter handle that you fawn over (and most likely deserve). Good luck.[via: ReadWriteWeb]