The Market for Instagram Usernames
If you’re setting up an Instagram account and have thought of the perfect username that reflects your individuality or mission, you may realize that an inactive account has the username. Having the correct username for companies and influencers trying to jumpstart an Instagram presence is valuable.
An inactive account is one that a user abandoned or hasn’t used for an extended period. If the profile has the username you so desperately need, there’s no direct way to obtain it, but there are several things you can do.
Can You Get an Inactive Instagram Username?
Claiming an Instagram username can be tricky. Even when another user quits logging into their account, there are some rules and workarounds involved with claiming an inactive account’s username. Instagram users don’t have the option to fill out a form and claim a username; it just isn’t that simple.
Fortunately, Instagram does purge inactive accounts. But, you may not have the time to wait. We’ve included all of your options for obtaining an Instagram username in this article.
Buying an Instagram Username
There are numerous secondary markets where holders of good usernames can sell them for sums ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
For the most part, the people making money selling names are those who staked out their accounts in the early days and had the foresight to pick usernames that other people or businesses will eventually want.
Sometimes, a name becomes valuable because a movie, show, or album comes out. Suddenly, ‘BigBangTheory’ goes from being an excellent account for a physics student to being a highly sought-after property. If the profile becomes “inactive,” you may be able to get the username.
If you choose to purchase an Instagram username, do beware: It’s important to buy a username from a reputable source. In 2021, Instagram banned hundreds of accounts for stolen usernames. Hackers confiscated usernames from innocent account owners and sold them to unsuspecting users.
Finding Their Contact Information
Just because the account is inactive doesn’t mean that the owner isn’t around. It may be that they would be delighted to sell you their old profile. However, getting in touch with them may be the tricky part.
Of course, you can send a Direct Message on the Instagram platform itself. Though, if the person isn’t active on Instagram, there’s a good chance that they won’t see your DM for quite some time if they even see it at all.
You can check the account’s bio to try and get information about it. There are a few things to look for here.
Some people put a contact e-mail address in their bio or even their personal website’s URL. If that’s the case, your quest is probably already successful.
Other people are more privacy-minded 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 pages or LinkedIn bio. If you have this person’s name, you can always search through different social media sites and message them.
If you have no idea how much to offer, you might look up similar accounts at Instagram account market sites like InstaSale and see the pricing of profiles with similarities.
Will Instagram Delete Inactive Accounts?
Yes, they will delete inactive accounts, although the time it takes for them varies depending on the website’s needs.
For example, purges usually happen at random, or at least they seem random. Often these purges occur at the end of the year.
Wait for an Instagram Purge
If the account you want is genuinely inactive and doesn’t have much or any content on it, there is an excellent chance that it will eventually get purged from the Instagram database. It’s no guarantee, but the inactive account you want may get dropped, and the username will become available again.
Instagram does not announce the schedule for its purges, so you won’t get a heads up to alert you to start trying to grab any usernames on your list. The best way to detect a purge is to follow one of the perennially popular Instagram accounts with a relatively stable follower list and check their follower count daily.
If they have thousands of followers, then at least some of those followers are undoubtedly spam accounts or bots, and a purge will cut their follower list by some non-trivial quantity of users. If your monitored account goes from 9,341 followers to 9,102 followers overnight (and there’s not some apparent scandalous post driving the loss), the odds are good that Instagram did a purge, and some usernames are now up for grabs.
Trademark or Copyright the Name
You can go through the process of getting a patent online. Once the patent gets obtained, you can report the inactive account to Instagram. Although this may take time and an additional expense, this is an option for you.
Many users have reported success by asking Instagram to transfer an account. When you hold a trademark on a name, you can argue that your customers’ existing accounts are confusing. Copyright infringement can be an effective way to obtain your Instagram username.
If you hold such a trademark or copyright, you can file a copyright/trademark violation report and attempt to claim the name as your own.
If the account is active and frequently used, you may have difficulty succeeding with this method.
Getting a new trademark is complicated and expensive, but getting copyright protection is reasonably straightforward. Any time you create anything original, you have implicit copyright; you can file an official copyright registration to cement your legal claim, but the claim is made by referencing the work, not by the act of filing the claim. In other words, you must use the name consistently and prove the damages it could incorporate if someone else uses it.
Of course, you can also report a copyright issue directly to Instagram. Head over to this link on the Instagram website and file a report.
Choose a Similar Name
Although this may seem obvious, choosing a similar username is the simplest 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 contain letters, numbers, periods, and underscores. This specification gives you quite a bit of flexibility in creating a close name to the one you so desire. You may need to use a little imagination, but the rest should be straightforward enough.
Add a city or location to your name if you run a business. You can do the same for surnames or others. This move can help maintain your brand and add a quick local identifier that may work in your favor. You can also add the type of business to the name.
Workarounds For Larger Brands
If you’re a more significant business or a more established brand, adding ‘official’ or ‘real’ at the end of your Instagram account can work too. Artists with common names often do this, so you can too.
You do need to be careful about emulating established brands, however. Suppose you create an account for Microsoft Software. In that case, it’s a legal account name, but if you reach a level of success and visibility where Microsoft sees your account, they will shut you down promptly using the same trademark and copyright tools I described above. You can’t infringe on other people’s protected intellectual property just as much as they can’t intrude on yours.
If you’re having trouble obtaining a username but there are no accounts with it, remember that some get set to private. If this is the case, the username is unavailable, and you cannot search for the account.
Created Account But Can’t log in
Several users have reported that they’ve created a new Instagram account with the perfect username and received the “Sorry, Something Went Wrong” error message. Clicking the ‘Try Again’ option or trying to log in doesn’t work. Unfortunately, the username got taken, and you can’t log in. So what are you to do if this has happened?
- You can contact Instagram Support, which may or may not be helpful. If you have screenshots of the error message or username, that would be great.
- Try using a different application or web browser to log into your new Instagram account. This could be a simple glitch with the application.
- Log in with Facebook and see if your new account shows. Assuming you used similar login credentials, the new account may appear.
- Wait for a few hours, then try to log back into your Instagram account.
The above situation can be incredibly frustrating when you’ve created the perfect Instagram username and can’t access the account. Trying the tips we’ve outlined may help you regain access.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve included the answers to more of your frequently asked questions in this section.
Does Instagram delete inactive users?
Yes, but after some time. Although we don’t know the exact process, Instagram states that it’s essential to log into your account to avoid a purge. The company does not give time frames for when a profile gets purged.
What can I do if I need help with my Instagram account or username?
Instagram does have a help site that you can visit to get assistance or answers for various things. If you can’t access your account or if someone is accessing it unlawfully, check out the Instagram Help Center.
How long does it take for a username to become available after someone deletes their account?
Instagram has not given us the official word on this. Still, many users have reported they could take the name as soon as the original owner deleted their account. Keep in mind; that the owner needs to permanently delete their account. If you’re trying to buy a username from another user, be sure you’ve obtained the username before sending payment.
Can I request an inactive username?
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t exactly give us the green light on requesting usernames. Here is what the company has to say on the subject:
“If a username you want is being used by an account that seems inactive, you can choose an available version of the username. You can add periods, numbers, underscores, or abbreviations to help you come up with a username that’s not already in use.“
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t try, at least. It won’t hurt to contact Instagram and request a username you think is inactive.
What happens to a user name after Instagram bans the original account?
Perhaps you’ve tried a username that does not appear in your search results, and yet, you cannot claim it. You may have tried different variations of the coveted username, and still, you are left wanting.
If the original creator of the username you’re looking for violated Instagram’s T&Cs, Instagram could remove the entire account, including the username, to prevent future use. Although Instagram won’t notify you that the username doesn’t exist anymore, you can try the Help feature to check.
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