If you were an early adopter of the Twitter platform, chances are you were rewarded with the username of your choice. However as Twitter's popularity grew, handles or profile names that don't use numbers or strange spellings have become increasingly harder to come by.
It's bad enough that Twitter limits your creativity in this area to 15 characters, but these days it seems like when you finally settle on a username, it's probably not available. While that's an annoying enough on it's own, the frustration grows exponentially when you discover the account is dormant.
Durr Match Media
This was precisely the situation we encountered when trying to register a Twitter account for Direct Match Media. Unfortunately, the full business name is one character too long to be used as a username. The next obvious choice was @DirectMatch but unfortunately that was taken by someone who'd tweeted all of one time roughly two years ago.
Did I mention how frustrating that is?
Thankfully, there are options available should you find yourself having to resort to a less-than-optimal Twitter name such as our former handle of @DirMatchMedia (no matter how hard I tried to keep myself from doing so, I ALWAYS read it as "durr match media").
Twitter's Trademark & Impersonation Policies
Fellow SEO, Joe Hall tweeted several months ago that he'd successfully acquired the Twitter handle for his company 22 Media. When I asked him how he pulled it off, Joe pointed me to Twitter's official Trademark policy.
If you own the corresponding trademark for the Twitter name you're trying to get, it's a pretty straight forward process. Simply fill out the form, provide the requested documentation, and a Twitter rep will get back to you.
For the rest of us who haven't registered our business names as trademarks, Twitter has an impersonation policy which also mentioned "misuse" of the account. Now THAT was something I felt I could justify, I mean not using a Twitter account certainly qualifies as misuse right?
Anyway, I clicked on the link, selected the corresponding options you see in the image below, and filled out the requested information. On Joe's advice, I mentioned that Direct Match Media is corporation registered and in good standing with the state of Illinois (to hopefully lend some legitimacy to my claim on the name) and explained that I was seeking to use the account for business purposes.
A couple of days later I received an email from Twitter asking which account name I'd like to swap out for the requested name. One day after my response (typed as fast as my overly-excited geek fingers could manage), Direct Match Media had the new and improved Twitter handle of @DirectMatch!
Will It Work For You?
If you're seeking to acquire a Twitter name for your business and the current account holder has let the account become dormant, I suspect a process similar to ours will work for you. If you want the name for personal reasons, I suspect you'll have a tougher time convincing the powers that be, but it might still be worth a shot.
If you try to claim a taken Twitter name using this process, we'd love to hear how it goes. Or, if you've acquired or failed to acquire a name using different methods, we'd love to hear those as well.
Or, you could always tweet us at the new and improved account name of @DirectMatch!