Almost every internet user is familiar with the feeling of trying to snag your desired username, only to discover that it’s already taken.
Even worse, many of these desired accounts are inactive, meaning that one’s potential username is lost to the annals of history.
But according to TikToker Neil (@tallneil), there’s still a chance you can get your username, and in a video with over 237,000 views, he reveals how.
@tallneil Replying to @damnimnotcreative how to get the username you want #usernames #domains #creators #creatortips #tiktokcreators ♬ original sound – tallneil
In summary, many websites have “inactive account” policies. This means that if an account is no longer in use, its username can be recycled and taken by another user.
To free up that inactive account, however, one has to take a few steps.
“I email support, and I specifically cite the inactive account policies,” Neil details. “These are, like, the magic words that you need to say.”
“The other magic word is ‘vacate.’ Vacate this username, and inactive account policy,” he continues.
At the video’s conclusion, he says that this specific example worked for the site Medium.
In a follow-up, he says to always message support first, not the user.
@tallneil Replying to @jdevola #greenscreen dm’ing an inactive account #usernames ♬ original sound – tallneil
This is because if one messages the user, they will log in to view the message—thus reactivating their account and resetting the timer on the inactive account policy.
If one can’t free up the account through the inactive account policy, there are still other methods one can use to get their desired username. Neil shows an example of this using the site Twitter.
@tallneil Replying to @raci #greenscreen how I got my twitter handle #twitter #usernames #creatortips ♬ original sound – tallneil
This tip is a little more complicated, as his desired handle was a suspended account. After Neil tried using the inactive account policy to no avail, he used other methods to try to get in contact with the account holder.
Using Twitter’s advanced search, he found users that had previously replied to the desired username’s tweets.
He reached out to those users, who provided him with the contact information for the user with his requested username.
“…I worked out an agreement with the account owner, and now I own this account,” he shares.
In comments, users asked about specific platforms’ policies regarding dead usernames. While information was scarce, Neil did say in comments that Instagram was “much harder” than sites like Medium.
Still, learning this gave some users hope.
“This is great advice, I’ve had some great usernames on sites I don’t use anymore,” a commenter wrote. “I hope this works well.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Neil via email.
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