Hey Instagrammers. This is the follow along blog post with the earlier blog post where we talk about what happens if you really need a name and that’s already taken.
So first off, this happens all the time. Every time you want to create a new account this happens because as it turns out that Instagram has like 600 million+ registered users. A lot of those are inactive. A lot of accounts are just sitting there not doing anything or someone else already has them.
It’s kind of like, pretty much everywhere else on the Internet, like buying domains. It’s really hard to get good domains anymore because they’re all taken. Instagram has the same problem.
So if you find something, let’s say an account name, that you really want, you to think it’s perfect for what you’re doing, it really just comes down to one of two things;
Is it being used?
If it is being used you can just tell by looking at it. How many followers do they have? How many posts do they have? When’s the last time they posted? Go to the first or the last post in their feed and then look at the time stamp underneath it.
That’s generally a good way of telling if it’s been in the last three or four months I would consider it ‘active’.
2) And the other thing is whether or not you can figure out some way of prying it from the person.
So the first question whether or not it’s active You just have to go and look at it. If it is active. I personally see just giving up at that point. It doesn’t really make sense. It’s really hard to pry a used account from someone once something they’re actually using if they have no use for it then it’s a totally different question.
So if that’s the case just give up.
But if it’s a case that it’s inactive like you went and looked at it and has been used since 2014 or even a year and a half ago. Then proceed to the next step. Now in this step, you do one of two things. One you just try to reach out to them and start a dialogue about what they want. Are they using the account? What they would want in return for the account? A lot of times people would just give it to you for free because they’re nice people. Don’t count on that though.
Other times you have to buy them from people and then a lot of times you just can’t. They won’t sell it to you or you can’t even get a hold of them. That happens all the time but almost 50 percent of the times you find an inactive account they either don’t respond or they just don’t want to sell it to you or just give it to you at all.
The only thing you can really do if that’s the case if you’re just stonewalled every single step in the process, especially in the U.S. at least, you can file a trademark. When you file a trademark, then you can essentially submit that to Instagram. And sometimes they will rule in your favor and take the account for you.
It’s a little heavy handed I’ll say that much. If you have the money and the time and you really really want your account, then it is an option for you. Just keep in mind it takes months of time. Hundreds of dollars. A lot of attention and attention to detail and we don’t actually know necessarily if it will work every single time.
I mean if I gave it a success rate I’d say probably 60 percent of the time it works. The really the key is if you are to file a trademark to take someone’s account, come down to whether or not you’re in the same industry (roughly) and whether or not people would confuse your trademark with their name.
So a lot of times that you can do is you can just file a trademark that’s identical to what their’s is and then pick an industry that’s similar enough.
Sometimes it’s a little bit hard with the trademark office because they want to make sure you’re actually a business, but there are other ways of getting around that. And then you have to make sure that the names are similar enough.
So in Instagram, you don’t have spaces in the names you have an ‘@’ symbol. Sometimes they’ll say that that’s not similar enough to your name. So if you want to do that make sure that you trademark something in the Internet space or social media or something it has to do with the account because it has to look like, if a consumer actually saw it, they might actually get confused about it, they might think that your business and that account are related.
That’s really your only shot there. You want to actually trademark it, the best way to do it is just online. I mean you could do it if you go out and get a lawyer and have them manually do it, but’s it’ll be really expensive.
There are simpler ways.
One option is Legal Zoom I mean they charge you like $200 to do it. They’re a little more expensive but their service is a lot better.
Another option is like Trademark Plus,
There’s a bunch of these services and they work fine.
Trademark Plus is 50 bucks, but they don’t give you as much support. They don’t walk you through it as well, their products just a little crappier. So if you couldn’t deal with that, pick which one fits your budget.