A couple of days ago I commented on Forrest W. Kobayashi post about Twitter names. I said that I had successfully claimed an inactive user name (@fernando) and said I’d search for the info on the process and post about it because the author thought it was not possible.
And it turns out that he was right. When I got my user name changed (January 09) it was possible to ask Twitter for a name which was inactive (nine months without any activity), but later they decided that they would not do it anymore. I suppose that it was too much work and they just gave up, so I was quite lucky!
This is the original post in Get Satisfaction in which a Twitter employee outlined the process you had to follow to claim an inactive user name.
And here you can see that the don’t do it anymore.
Just as a last check, I tried to change the user name in another account I own, and in a few minutes I received an email in which Twitter said that they don’t do this anymore. You can see below the email I received in January 09 and the email I’ve just received. Only in a few cases they only will make this kind of changes:
If your user name request concerns impersonation, trademark infringement, brand squatting, copyright, or another Terms of Service violation