How Much Do You Want for that Twitter Account?

4 years ago

Imagine your name is Justin Bieber. You're just a regular guy, selling insurance in Minneapolis, MN. Wife. Kids. And you set up a Twitter account so you can live-tweet the football game and weigh in on political issues.  Unfortunately, there's also this singer named Justin Bieber and you know the drill: tweens @replying every tweet you post, random questions about upcoming concert stops being passed your way, and middle aged women with raging cases of Bieber Fever DMing to ask if you'd take their daughter to prom.

Of course, everyone thinks you are the celebrity Justin Bieber since your handle is @justinbieber, whereas the singer ended up with @justinbieber2 since the obvious choice was already taken.

Would you sell the account if the Biebs contacted you?

Jamie Bell and Jamie Bell are ensconced in those types of negotiations since the non-famous Jamie Bell -- a musician in Canada -- snagged the simple @jamiebell whereas the actor, late to Twitter, ended up with @1jamiebell

Image: Melissa Ford

The problem is, how does one place a value on a Twitter account handle, especially since it's a free account on someone else's site?  What's a reasonable price to ask for if you happen to hold a Twitter handle desired by a major brand or celebrity?  Will this encourage people to squat on Twitter accounts so they can sell them in the future?  Should brands and celebrities care if they don't have the most basic version of a handle?  And who would want to have to wade through a bunch of @replies meant for someone else?

Should the non-famous Jamie Bell graciously turn over the handle to the famous Jamie Bell without expecting anything in return?

Who should own the most claim to a Twitter handle: the first person to sign up and use it, or the brand or celebrity most recognized by that name?

Questions questions questions.

What would you do if you shared a name with a brand or celebrity: would you sell/give away your Twitter handle, and what would you want (if anything) in return?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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