Although it can be good to invest in an old, defunct domain name because (unless it was blacklisted or had questionable content) of search engine optimisation benefits, I’m not wholly convinced the same can be said of Twitter usernames.
I’ve just read about TwitterCounter introducing a new alert service to tell you when a previously used but now inactive Twitter username becomes available.
Apparently, Twitter has announced that names which have been inactive for six months will be deleted — effectively released for reuse.
There’s the trouble, though. How do you know what was lurking in that stream of tweets? Chances are high that accounts like this were the haven of spammers. Humans may not have a long memory, but search engines and other automated services do.
Does this also open up the possibility of Twitter squatting? Sure, we have verified accounts now for celebrities and other public figures, but what if other genuine accounts, for whatever reason, slip out of use and are then taken on by nefarious individuals?
Maybe I’m making too much of this. I personally don’t see a huge number of people wanting to nab a name. Given that you could have to wait up to six months, you wouldn’t likely want this for your main Twitter account if all you want to do is to get on and tweet.
If you like the idea you can sign up here.