How To Claim an Inactive Instagram Username Account

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 the username is taken by an inactive account. For companies and influencers trying to jumpstart an Instagram presence, having the right username is valuable.

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If you’re tracking your metrics, be sure to read our article explaining what makes for a reasonable engagement rate on Instagram.

An inactive account is one that was abandoned or hasn’t been used for a long time. If the account has the username that you so desperately need there’s no direct way to obtain it. But there are several things you can do.

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 all the way into the 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 names that other users would eventually want.

Sometimes a name becomes valuable because a movie or show or album comes out, and suddenly ‘BigBangTheory’ goes from being a great account for a physics student to being a highly sought-after property. If the account becomes “inactive,” you may be able to get the username.

 

Finding Their Contact Information

Just because the account is inactive doesn’t mean that the owner of the account isn’t around. It may be that they would be perfectly happy to sell you their old account. 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 bio of the account to try and get information about the account. There are a few things to look for here.

Some people actually 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 page or their LinkedIn bio. If you have this person’s name; you can always search through other social media sites and send them a message there.

If you have no idea how much to offer, you might look up similar accounts at Instagram account market sites like InstaSale and see what comparable accounts are being listed for.

Can You Get an Inactive Instagram Username?

Instagram will purge inactive users eventually. This offers another way to get your username.

Will Instagram Delete Inactive Accounts?

Yes, they will delete inactive accounts, although the time that it takes for them to do that varies depending on the website’s needs.

For example, purges usually happen at randomly, 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, then there is an excellent chance that it will eventually be purged from the Instagram database. It’s no guarantee, but it’s possible that the inactive account you want will be 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 that has a relatively stable follower’s 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 is going to 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 is 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 the existing account is causing confusion for your customers. 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 a complicated and expensive process, but getting a copyright 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 created by the act of creating the work, not by the act of filing the claim.

Choose a Similar Name

Although this may seem obvious, choosing a username that is similar 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 can contain letters, numbers, periods, and underscores. This gives you quite a bit of flexibility in creating a name that is close to the name of your dreams. 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. You can do the same for surnames or other names too. This 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 larger business or more established brand, adding ‘official’ or ‘real’ at the end of your Instagram account name 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. If you create an account for Microsoft Software, 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 that username remember that some accounts are set to private. If this is the case; the username will be unavailable and you won’t be able to search for the account.

 

8 thoughts on “How To Claim an Inactive Instagram Username Account”

Avatar grace says:
Ian: Unfortunately, I tried to create a new account during which an error occurred (As Instagram put it: “Something went wrong”) After hitting Try again a dozen times I gave up. Sure enough, the account now exists, but is not connected to my login. Yay! – I sent a help request, but sending a help request to Facebook is like talking to a cloud.

This happened to me too! I don’t know how to solve this problem.

Avatar Ian McIntosh says:
Unfortunately, I tried to create a new account during which an error occurred (As Instagram put it: “Something went wrong”) After hitting Try again a dozen times I gave up. Sure enough, the account now exists, but is not connected to my login. Yay! – I sent a help request, but sending a help request to Facebook is like talking to a cloud.
Avatar Steve S says:
Thank you for this information. I followed the part regarding the trade name, expecting it to take weeks, and within 4 hours it was changed!
Avatar Lamia says:
Hey how did you do this? I need help!
Avatar GCC BUZ says:
My story is different. I am building a brand and I have all the desired social media usernames except Instagram. Someone had created 1 on that name in 2014 and left it inactive since then. I reported instagram that this account is inactive and their shared photos and location map is conflicting my business. Instagram replied that they have deleted the contents and to submit a trademark to claim the username. And they deleted that account! (But username shows unavailable)
I applied for the trademark, but by the time I got it, the mail I was communicating became inactive. I submitted many requests via IP Infringement form but they turn down the request saying they don’t see the reported content infringing. I told them I am following up, then no anwer. And the wired thing is the copy pasted reply always contain words like ‘we are unclear that you are the right owner’. And they don’t reply how can I make it clear to them. My name is on the trademark, I am sending mails from the domain name.
Weird, isn’t it?
I can’t give up, I send them the filled form almost everyday. And they reply too.
I check everyday if the username became available. I had lot of expectation when it was past 6 months and one day after they removed the content. But no way.
They want my brand to be famous to listen to me. But I want this username to be famous. Ha ha ha
Avatar Sammy Aka Hoodies says:
I have a nickname and it’s Hoodies cause I always wear them so I thought it would be cool if I could have tha be my Instagram name and when I check the account had been inactive since 2012.. I tried Hoodie and Hoodiez and it was the exact same thing. Almost like the guy who made them were like yeah no ones getting this and it sucks cause it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never got the chance.
Avatar Taylor says:
How can i contact him? i’m not clear ok howyour spelled his email.
Avatar Nathan Juarez says:
Right now my Instagram name is “nnathanjuarezz”. Ived wanted the username “nj7” but it is taken by a inactive account. I’m not gonna use it for any business purposes but I really want that username bad but the account is inactive and I can’t have that name because it is already taken by a inactive account. So please having that username would help my account boost up because when I get that username “nj7” I’m looking forward to actually posting.
Avatar Silly Reviews says:
I’ve got the same url/username for all the popular social networks except Instagram. The username I need is not being used by anyone, but it is unavailable. This is very frustrating.
Avatar KT says:
Agreed, very frustrating indeed. Instagram needs to take inactive accounts with zero posts a lot more seriously!
Avatar Veronica D. Wolff says:
I am in the same boat. The IG username I want says it’s unavailable when I try to claim it, but then when I search it doesn’t exist. I cannot figure it out!

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