If you create an Instagram account and have thought of the perfect username that reflects your individuality or mission, you may find that the username is taken by an inactive account. For companies and influencers trying to launch an Instagram presence, having the right username is valuable.
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An inactive account is an account that has been abandoned or has not been used for a long time. If the account has the username you desperately need, there is no direct way to get it. But there are several things you can do.
Buy an Instagram username
There are many secondary markets where holders of good usernames can sell them for amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
For the most part, the people who make money selling names are the ones who staked out their accounts at the beginning and had the foresight to choose names that other users would eventually want.
Sometimes a name becomes valuable because a movie, show or album comes out, and suddenly “BigBangTheory” goes from being a big account for a physics student to a highly sought-after property. If the account becomes “inactive”, you may be able to get the username.
Find their contact information
Just because the account is inactive does not mean that the account owner is not there. They may be perfectly happy to sell you their old account. However, getting in touch with them can be the trickiest part.
Of course, you can send a message directly to the Instagram platform itself. However, if the person is not active on Instagram, chances are they won’t see your DM for a while if they don’t see it at all.
You can view the account biography to try to get information about the account. There are a few things to look for here.
Some people have actually put a contact email address in their biography or even the URL of their personal website. If this is the case, your search is probably already successful.
Other people are more privacy conscious and don’t put that kind of direct contact information there. However, they may include links or references to their other social media accounts, such as their Facebook page or LinkedIn biography. If you have that person’s name; you can always search other social networking sites and send them a message.
If you don’t know how much to offer, you can search for similar accounts on Instagram account marketplace sites such as InstaSale and find out which comparable accounts are listed.
Can you get an inactive Instagram username?
Instagram will eventually purge inactive users. This provides another way to obtain your username.
Will Instagram delete inactive accounts?
Yes, they will delete inactive accounts, although the time required to do so will vary depending on the needs of the website.
For example, purges usually occur randomly, or at least appear to be random. These purges often take place at the end of the year.
Wait for an Instagram purge
If the account you want is truly inactive and contains little or no content, chances are it will eventually be deleted from the Instagram database. This is not a guarantee, but it is possible that the desired inactive account will be deleted and the username will become available again.
Instagram does not announce the schedule of its purges, so you won’t have to warn you to start trying to retrieve usernames from your list. The best way to detect a purge is to track one of the ever-popular Instagram accounts that has a relatively stable subscriber list and check the number of subscribers on a daily basis.
If they have thousands of followers, then at least some of those followers are undoubtedly spam accounts or bots, and a purge will cut off their list of followers by a non-trivial amount of users. If your monitored account goes from 9,341 subscribers to 9,102 subscribers overnight (and there is no apparent scandalous publication causing the loss), chances are good that Instagram has purged, and some usernames are now up for grabs.
Trademark or copyright the name
You can follow the process of obtaining a patent online. Once you have obtained your certificate, you can report the inactive account to Instagram. While this may take time and incur additional expense, it is an option for you.
Many users have reported their success by requesting Instagram to transfer an account. When you have a mark on a name, you may claim that the existing account is confusing to your clients. Copyright infringement can be an effective way to obtain your Instagram username.
If you own such a trademark or copyright, you can file a copyright/trademark infringement report and try to claim the name as your own.
If the account is active and frequently used, you may have difficulty succeeding with this method.
Obtaining a new trademark is a complicated and expensive process, but obtaining a copyright is relatively simple. Every time you create something original, you have an implied copyright; you can file an official copyright registration to cement your legal claim, but the claim is created by the act of creating the work, not by the act of filing the claim.
Choose a similar name
Although it may seem obvious, choosing a similar username is the easiest way to set up your Instagram account. Adding an underscore or a number is simple and effective.
Instagram usernames can be up to 30 characters long and can contain letters, numbers, periods, and underscores. This gives you some flexibility to create a name that is close to your dream name. You may have to use a little imagination, but the rest should be fairly simple.
If you run a business, add a city or location to your name. You can do the same for last names or other names as well. This can help maintain your brand and add a quick local identifier that can work in your favor. You can also add the type of business to the name.
Workarounds for major brands
If you are a large company or a more established brand, adding “official” or “real” at the end of your Instagram account name may also work. Artists with common names often do it, so do you.
However, you need to be careful about emulating established brands. If you create an account for Microsoft Software, it is a legal account name – but if you achieve a level of success and visibility where Microsoft sees your account, they will quickly close you down using the same branding and copyright tools I just described. You can’t encroach on the protected intellectual property of others as much as they can encroach on your own.
If you are unable to obtain a username but there is no account with that username, remember that some accounts are defined as private. If this is the case, the username will not be available and you will not be able to search for the account.