Published on Micro Basics (http://www.ubasics.com)

Confessions of a twitter squatter

By stienman
Created Apr 20 2009 - 11:48am

I've started to squat twitter accounts.

There. I said it. I'm a twitter squatter. Sqwitter? Twuatter? Either way, according to myself, I'm the scum of the earth!

Many years ago I ran a business, and considered getting the domain name. A few months after that thought, it was purchased by someone else, and I missed out. I used a different name, but it's far from ideal - I had already built up some amount of brand recognition, and it was annoying to need to compromise.

Domains are so cheap now that if I have an idea I get the domain before thinking about it for too long - if I don't pursue it, I let the domain lapse in a year. I don't consider this squatting, as I'm not registering something that obviously points to another business/person, etc. I simply don't want to end up deciding to pursue an idea and finding that in the intervening time someone else took the name.

Twitter names are free, you merely require a different email address for each name, and use GMail's alias feature (username+whatever@gmail.com > username@gmail.com) one can sign up as many twitternames as they like.

Last fall I noticed that two businesses that I use don't have twitter names, and the associated names were available. I decided to register them, and perhaps post relevant info to them. I didn't contact the businesses directly, as I was afraid they would snap it up, and then not use it due to lack of time/resources to make it a good twitter feed.

Instead I decided to wait for them to become interested in twitter, find that their name was taken, and contact me - this shows at least a minimum of interest and a desire to put resources on it immediately (even if only to claim the name). I put a "This name registered to hold a spot for when the real [business] wants it - no charge, just msg me and it's yours" type message on each account.

Finally the last of the few that I registered have contacted me, and are using them very well. I thought that would be the end of my twitter squatting, but this morning I noticed another gap in twitter name coverage, and so I registered it. Hopefully they'll want to twitter themselves soon, but if not it'll be here for when they are.

-Adam


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