Every startups nightmare! You got the name, its domain name is available and you do a massive check to see if all social network accounts are available. And they are, except for one. We started with the name Convert Insights around 2 years ago, it was a domain I had for a long time and because of the short and double-“ee” in it we thought it was work using. We instantly ordered all related tld’s and reserved all names of social networks. But @reedge was occupied by a Swedish guy and was more or less inactive.
Getting Inactive Twitter Account
So according to the Twitter helpdesk the inactive twitter accounts can be given away, but the process is not that transparent. The term inactive does not mean there no tweets, apparently login in to an account also counts, so you cannot really tell if an account is inactive. I tried 12 months ago and just after I posted my first ticket, the guy posted one stupid tweet and damn, my ticket was closed immediately.
Six months ago I thought to have more luck, since no tweets since and I send my support second ticket to Twitter. It closed within a week, without any comment. I opened a second one and that also was closed within a day without a comment. So far for the great Twitter support.
On My Knees
You might ask why did you not contact the person? Well I followed the account @reedge from our own account @reedgecom but that did not do it. You cannot DM the person since inactive account usually does not follow you back. So there is really no way of actually getting in contact with the owner. But last week I noticed something in my Hootsuite account. @reedge now had a real name attached to it. Did I miss that or what? So using LinkedIn I found one person in Sweden with that name. I found a group he was member of and that way I could send him a direct message… then waiting started…
Price of $$.$$$
Since I visualized the exchange of message already I thought this was going to cost us a lot of money. Being a bootstrapping company that is not where you can to spend your personal savings on: a twitter account. But I guess there is some work I have to on the personal level, since apparently not everyone things like me… my Swedish friend replied within 2 days with the news “Sure! It’s just an old nickname from my youth anyway; I haven’t used the name for years : ) I found a better username for myself so I’ll just switch in a few hours and the old one should be available, ok?”
Could it be that easy? Indeed the same day he renamed the account and it was free. Then is was only some struggle renaming my old account to the new one(to keep the followers) and the new one to the old one (and making it private for old links to keep working.) and now we are the ‘owner’ of @reedge and the old one @reedgecom.
Two Lessons Learned
The first is that Twitter support (thanx @aw – Update: Sept. 2012 currently @aw is different person so no need to tweet her) is actually very helpful once you get an inactive account, but do not bother them asking for one. The second is that not everyone is thinking to make some money off me, there actually people genuinely trying to help without having other motives. That last bit was actually a surprise since it reveals a interesting nature inside me, what would I have done it I owned a great name. With all my history in selling and buying domains I probably would have asked money for that transaction and therefore expecting the same. So it’s a excellent quality to help people along in live, and not everything is in it for the money… so take advantage of me good mood this week… I’ll pay it forward (wonder what shows up in the comments?).
And Ronald I own you a great lunch in Stockholm!