Get A Move On, Twitter – Just How Hard Is It To Release Inactive Usernames?

Twitter has some policy on inactive usernames, which it defines as an account which “hasn’t been logged into or updated in over 6 months.”

Inactive accounts may be automatically removed from Twitter. To keep your account active, be sure to log in and post an update within 6 months of your last update. Accounts that have no followers, followings, or updates may be considered squatting accounts and immediately removed from circulation, so do please avoid this if possible!

Checking a profile page will reveal the last update of an account. If six months have passed since the last update, the account is considered inactive. If an account doesn’t have any updates, it may be a recent account that’s not in use yet, or it may be a name squatter account. Twitter is currently working on bulk-releasing all inactive usernames. We are not releasing inactive accounts on an individual basis at this time unless in cases of Terms of Service violations.

That’s fine, but this page was last updated by @crystal in November 2008. That’s almost 18 months ago – they could and should have bulk-released all these inactive accounts three times over by now.

I’ve written before about how usernames on Twitter are slowly accumulating the same kind of value as regular domain names. I’ve had several clients wishing to obtain profiles on Twitter, only to find the name they desire has already been taken by somebody who hasn’t updated since 2007. And unless they have a strong legal position, there’s nothing they can do about it.

I’m no programmer, so maybe somebody could tell why it’s so difficult to:

  1. Scan the Twitter username database and list all the accounts who haven’t updated in six months
  2. Delete those accounts

Twitter could then put out an announcement saying all inactive usernames have been reset, and this process could be repeated twice a year.

Lots of Twitter web-based tools and applications let you file your network by inactivity. Sure, ALL of Twitter is a much bigger job, but I don’t need this by close of business today.

Just hopefully within the next six months.