Late to Twitter? Brands may be out of luck


A few months back, I made a pleasant discovery: The popular social site Twitter would release inactive user names if you asked them to. This was great news for brands (and anyone else) who showed up late to the microblogging party and found their preferred name already taken. Sure enough, I made a request for a name that hadn't been used in two years and got it without a hitch. But now Twitter has decided to stop granting almost all similar requests. "Due to high ticket volume, Twitter Support is no longer releasing inactive user names unless in cases of trademark or copyright violation," an automated e-mail response told me when I requested another long-unused name this week. "We are working on releasing all inactive user names in the future, however, we will no longer manually release them on an individual basis." While I understand the reasoning, it's a shame that Twitter has left users (and potential users) in an awkward purgatory by refusing to release individual names or delete all inactive accounts. Brand-name stewards might still have a chance if they can argue "trademark or copyright violation." So, if you're lucky, you could get maliciously brandjacked, and then Twitter might listen to you.

—Posted by David Griner