How To Claim an Inactive Instagram Username Account

Posted by Jamie on February 20, 2019

Sometimes it’s tough coming up with cool usernames for all of the places we need them. When it’s something as visible and as heavily used as social media, a good username is even more important. Whether you’re an individual or a business, being know by something instantly recognizable is key. But what if your name of choice is already taken? What is the account is inactive? Can you claim inactive Instagram account names?

There is no direct way to ask Instagram to release an inactive name that has already been taken. There are ways to claim that name through more indirect means. You can make that name largely useless, you can monitor Instagram’s database housekeeping or you could trademark the name and apply for the name to be handed over.

None of these are guaranteed to work but they are the only ways I know of to claim inactive Instagram account names. The company couldn’t care less about what name you use and won’t help so you have to take matters into your own hands.

Render the username useless

If you have a specific surname or run a small business that wants to use Instagram for marketing, you can still ‘encourage’ the existing user to find another name. It’s sneaky and won’t always work but is worth a try.

All you need to do is to sign up for every other social network with that name and take the top level domain name for it too. As long as they haven’t got there first, you should be able to monopolize the name everywhere but Instagram. If the user then wants to use the same name elsewhere, they can’t. If they want to use the same name elsewhere, they will have to surrender the Instagram account name you’re after.

It’s a long shot but what other choice do you have?

Watch out for Instagram housekeeping

Instagram housekeeping refers to the periodic database cleanups the network runs to keep everything running smoothly. This is where the database is purged of inactive accounts, banned accounts, spam and fake accounts and all that good stuff. This is a prime opportunity to see if your username of choice becomes available.

Instagram doesn’t advertise when it does a database cleanup but you can tell. If you follow someone famous and one day they drop hundreds of followers without doing anything, chances are there was a cleanup. Now would be a good time to check for that username.

Again, it’s a long shot but you have few other options.

Trademark the name

The only way Instagram will budge on naming is if you have a trademark. Instagram has to toe the line when it comes to copyright and trademark and has a process in place where owners can exert their rights over their property. Instagram has a copyright and trademark violation process you can use to claim that account name.

The upside is that if you own the trademark, you can easily make your claim. The downside is getting a trademark can be a bit of a pain and can be time consuming and expensive.

Coming up with alternative Instagram account names

Coming up with an alternative Instagram account name is far easier and can be done right away. It may not reflect your exact name or brand but is simpler, faster and cheaper than any of the above methods. You may need to use a little imagination but the rest should be straightforward enough.

If you run a business, add a city or location to your name like ‘smithsbakeryLA’, ‘smithsbakeryinVegas’ or ‘smithsbakeryCA’. You can do the same for surnames or other names too. This can help maintain your brand and add a quick local identifier which may work in your favor.

You could also add your business type, ‘smithscupcakes’ or ‘brownsbrownies’, ‘copelandcoffee’ and so on. You then combine your name with your main offering which will work for you.

If you’re a larger business or more established brand, adding ‘official’ at the end of your Instagram account name can work too. Artists with common names often do this so you can too.

You could also use special characters or capitalization to differentiate your Instagram account name. Be careful how you use them though. Try to avoid adding hyphens as they can be difficult to remember or use.

If you’re running a business you could use a trending hashtag to generate a username that would resonate well for marketing. Go to a site like Top-hashtags.com and see what’s trending. If you can see a hashtag on there that would work, use something very similar as your Instagram account name.

Until Instagram comes up with a way to let you claim inactive account names, these are your options. I hope one of them works for you!

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