Getting Back The John Chow Twitter Account

Anyone following me on Twitter will know that I’ve got back the JohnChow user name. Before, the name was held by a squatter and I was forced to use JohnChowDotCom. Getting back that name really wasn’t that hard. You don’t need to be a super powerful user or know anyone at Twitter. If your name has been taken by a squatter, here’s how to go about getting it back. Shout out to Martin Reed of Community Spark for supplying me with the correct Twitter email address.

Twitter Accounts Are Not For Life

If you do not post an update to your Twitter account for six months, it’s considered inactive and up for grabs to anyone who wants it. As it turns out, the squatter who registered JohnChow made one update on it and nothing else. To request an inactive name, send an email to [email protected] with the following information:

  • Your existing Twitter user name
  • The inactive user name you’d like to acquire
  • If you’d like to change the user name on your existing account , or if you’d like to add the user name to a new account

It can take 5 to 7 days for Twitter to process your request. I asked Twitter to change my user name from JohnChowDotCom to JohnChow. This way none of my followers, existing direct messages or replies are affected. However, all replies and direct messages going forward must be addressed to the new user name.

Re-register The Old User Name

The first thing I did after Twitter changed my user name was to re-register the old name so a squatter can’t get it. I have many old articles and videos pointing to the old name so I’m sure it’ll still get some traffic. The current tweet on the old account shows the following:

John Chow dot Com

To make sure the old account doesn’t become inactive, I’ve used Tweet Later to timestamp the above tweet to repeat every six months for the next hundred years. Squat on that!

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55 thoughts on “Getting Back The John Chow Twitter Account”

  1. Thanks John! I didn’t know that was allowed – thanks for sharing! very valuable info.

    1. Woooooow so you using 2 twitter accounts.

      1. No, he’s just using one now.

        1. I tried this today and I was denied by Twitter support. So it looks like this is no longer valid. Here is the message I received from Twitter support:

          “Due to high ticket volume, Twitter Support is unable to change usernames in cases of inactive accounts. Unless your user name issue involves Terms of Service violations, you’ll have to wait until all inactive user names are released. We’re working on a better long term solution for this.

          * If your user name request concerns impersonation, trademark infringement, copyright, or another Terms of Service violation, please submit a request to the Terms of Service group via the web form. If you’re unable to use our web form, please send your request to termstwitter.com for help from our Terms of Service group. “

    2. Way to go John!! Always nice to see someone reclaim what is theirs!!

  2. That didn’t seem too hard. I wonder if Twitter user names would ever be worth something? Like the old days with URL’s and registering the popular root. As big biz get’s into Twitter, you’d think companies would be willing to pay for their names if they were already registered by somebody else…up next, squatting for profits.

    Matt

    1. “Big bizz gets into Twitter”

      You seriously think so?

    2. BusinessX says:

      I would not have considered squatting on big boy Twitter names. Imagine some businesses would consider paying. Also keywords like business or pizza would be profitable (will be playing with twitter names to see who has what).

      But just like domain names, the price would have to be low enough to not have them balk.

  3. At least you did not have to pay for it and Twitter was accommodating.

  4. Harry Tran says:

    Wow a timestamped Tweet for the next hundred years? that is nice.

    Hopefully not too many people will start using a tweet later like program and just squat on a hundred thousand different names.

    But that is great info, first thing I did with a twitter account was sign up for one under my real name because other than your name what other brands are there but the ones you create, but your name is always going to be your brand for life or until you change it officially.

  5. Nice use of TweetLater… there actually is a good reason to use robots sometimes. 🙂

  6. Jon says:

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as squatters for twitter… I wish getting domains back was that easy as well!

    Jon
    http://Buzvia.com – Where’s Your Traffic Going?

  7. Wow, that’s really easy… a little too easy for my taste.

    1. Its not like the guy used it though – afterall it was an inactive accont

  8. Congratz, Glad to hear its back, I always ended up at the twitter.com/johnchow and then realized that you had dotcom now no more mistakes =)

  9. Amazing.. Thanks for the tip John ! 😀 Let me try it now 😛

  10. ScoobySnacks says:

    yeah i hate those freakin squatters too. i was disappointed to find out that ScoobySnacks.com is just a stupid igoogle portal. glad you got your rightful twitter back though 🙂

  11. james says:

    Now you’ve taught squatters how to squat a name for 100 years!~

  12. Has anyone ever made money from squatting a twitter account? I can’t see anyone paying for this.

    – Dave

  13. SEO Tips says:

    Very interesting never realised thats the way the Twitter accounts work. Kudos for getting your name back.

  14. Melissa says:

    I kind of liked the “JohnChowdotcom” username from a marketing standpoint. For people that didn’t know you and decided to follow you because someone else was following you, your website address is in your name! I know people did that at eBay at one time–used their website address as their username–but I’m not sure its still allowed.

    1. John Chow says:

      I still own the JohnChowDotCom username so I got all the bases covered.

  15. Greg Ellison says:

    Very cool that you got JohnChow. Greg Ellison

  16. Mitch says:

    I’ve sent a few emails trying to get my name, but the Twitter folks have never written me back. I found something close, so I switched over, and it would be nice to get my real name back.

    1. John Chow says:

      The name you want must be inactive for six month before you can claim it. Twitter never answered my email. They just gave me the name back and didn’t tell me! I figure it once someone said JohnChowDotCom doesn’t work anymore.

  17. Jeff says:

    A quick clarification. When you say send the email to “[email protected]” do you mean to send it literally to “[email protected]” or “[email protected]” or “[email protected]”?

  18. I’m sorry you had to go through that. Not fun to deal with. Guess you showed them!!!

  19. Eric Hamm says:

    Thanks John, for pointing this out. Thankfully I’ve got my name registered on Twitter, but I also have one of my blog names registered for safe keeping. Now I know how to keep it safe using Timestamp. I’m starting to realize that Twitter names are almost as sought after as domain names (or at least will be soon enough). So I would definitely suggest that Twitter users grab up any names they think they might use in the near future. They’re going at an amazingly fast rate. Eric

  20. Congrats! I had seen the JohnChow account when the squatter had it. It made me register my name on Twitter just in case it would ever happen to me.

  21. Asher says:

    Hi John,

    Yes, I did realise that your Twitter account was GONE. Then, when I read further… oh – you got the account name that you wanted. Don’t you just love squatters?

    Asher

  22. Jennifer says:

    John,

    I noticed that your content word Twitter has been hooked with the WP Affiliate Pro plugin. I was not familiar with an affiliate program on Twitter. Please share, what information or earnings do you glean from this affiliate link?

    1. John Chow says:

      Twitter doesn’t have an affiliate program. The link just goes to my Twitter account. It’s neat way to get more followers.

  23. Congrats on getting your account back John. I am surprised whoever had it didn’t do more with it…

  24. John, how much are you selling the old twitter account for ?

    1. John Chow says:

      It’s not for sale.

  25. John, how much are you selling the old twitter account for?

  26. Ah, very good to know John and congratulations in getting it back. Did the squatter think they could hold it hostage for some ransom lol? The things people do…

  27. Congratz, Glad to hear its back

  28. you know the squatter must be pissed right now. HAHA suck it squatter.

  29. Psssst…. John, just wanted to give you a heads up… your sidebar “be my friend” widget still has your your old twitter account in it, that may explain the 13 peeps following you on that one 🙂

    great site by the way

  30. Reyn Aria says:

    Congratulations on getting you username John =)

    I’ve seen a lot of those people using famous names to get noticed on Twitter. Recently a guy named “Alex Mandossian” spamming me with a lot of DMs. Of course he’s not the real one. His account got banned now though. Lucky that that person who used “johnchow” username only got it for fun and not for fraud. Must be really careful from now on.

    1. John Chow says:

      The switch was auto. Twitter just changed my username from JohnChowDotCom to JohnChow so my followers don’t have to do anything on their end.

  31. Martin Reed says:

    Glad I could help you get your Twitter name back, John. I wasn’t sure you received my email as the auto-response (I assume it was an auto-response) I received back was completely blank!

    – Martin

  32. Interesting, so you didn’t have to email the squatter to “sell” it to you. Good to hear this can be done.

  33. Wow what luck coming across this. I have a friend who has this exact problem. Thanks, I’ll pass it on to her.

  34. Bryan says:

    Don’t count on this working unless you have a trademark or are being impersonated like John. Response I got:

    Due to high ticket volume, Twitter Support is unable to change usernames in cases of inactive accounts. Unless your user name issue involves Terms of Service violations, you’ll have to wait until all inactive user names are released. We’re working on a better long term solution for this.

    * If your user name request concerns impersonation, trademark infringement, copyright, or another Terms of Service violation, please submit a request to the Terms of Service group via the web form.

  35. Yeah – what Bryan said … TWITTER DOES NOT DO THIS ANYMORE (I guess you have to be special)

    From an email I just received trying to do just this:..

    *If you try to change user name or start a new account and see a “user name is already taken” error, it means the user name is not available for use. If this was a former user name of yours, you may have to restore your former account:
    http://help.twitter.com/forums/23786/entries/15359

    *Other common user name problems are here:
    http://help.twitter.com/forums/10713/entries/14608

    Due to high ticket volume, Twitter Support is no longer releasing inactive user names unless in cases of trademark or copyright violation. We are working on releasing all inactive user names in the future, however, we will no longer manually release them on an individual basis.

    Thanks!
    Twitter Support

    1. Craig says:

      Yeh, I got the same email. However it did say….

      We are working on releasing all inactive user names in the future, however, we will no longer manually release them on an individual basis..

      Guess I will have to wait for it to delete. Hopefully they tell us when they do release them!!

  36. I’ll squat on that if Tweet Later will stay online more than 5 years 😀

    -Mike

  37. Yea I suggested this to a friend with exact same situation. And it was a no go.

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