In today’s blog, we are going to take a dive into the world of rare and collectible Instagram usernames. If you didn’t know already, there is a whole world out there of people who want to buy up all the rare and collectibles they can get their hands on. From collectors of Pokemon cards that go on to auctions and get sold for over $100,000 to single-digit car number plates in Dubai, UAE that get sold for up to $9 million, there are collectors of all kinds and shapes in this world. And so, it should come as no surprise that there is a whole society of collectors of usernames on social media.
To put things into perspective, a single character username on Instagram can go up to $100,000. A common first-name username like David or Joshua can go for an easy $10,000. And, well, you get the idea.
What Makes a Username Rare?
To start with, only one person can have a given username on a given social network. So, that definitely makes it pretty rare in and of itself. If you somehow get your hands on @ahmed, well, no one else can have the same username. It’s all yours, and it’s unique. And this makes a username super rare, especially for popular social networks like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
Rarity is not just about having a handle of a first name that a million other people in the world have as their name, but only you have as your username. But, rarity also comes from the brand-ability or the cool-factor. A name like @police or @pizza, or @motor can be highly valuable as it is a noun and highly brandable. A name like @a1 will definitely have a cool factor to it as it’s only 2 letters short and is both the first number and the first letter of the English language.
Similarly, handles like @dragon or @dracula may be sought after for certain buyers. And, well, you get the idea.
To sum it up, here is what makes usernames unique: the length of the username (the shorter, the more collectible), the first-name value or noun factor (if its a famous first name or a noun), and the cult-collectible factor (if it’s a fictional character like @ironman or @dracula)
Understanding the Hashtag Value
In most scenarios, the usernames are traded for the ‘cool-factor’ where a buyer wants a name because it means something to them (say, they are a fan of the Narcos series and they want the name @pablo), or perhaps they want to flex their short handles like @r or @a1 or, maybe, they just want a handle that perfectly matches their name like @aaron or @david.
Cool factor aside, usernames that are common first names or nouns also have something we call a ‘hashtag value.’ For example, the handle @italy is a well-known noun and a hashtag with 132 million posts using it (as of Nov 2020). With that in mind, just having the username ‘Italy’ in and of itself will generate your page a lot of traffic. Imagine the number of people who go to Instagram and look for ‘Italy,’ and anytime they do, you’ll pop up at the top result.
A username with 100s of millions of hashtags will easily get tens of thousands of, if not more, profile visits every week naturally.
Understanding the Brand-ability
Like domains, having a perfect username that perfectly matches your brand name and website is an important aspect of building a credible social presence. Unique domains can go for millions of dollars on auction, so it should be no surprise that there are plenty of brands that would spend a fair amount on getting their hands on the right username that matches their brand name.
Of course, this raises the question of whether the brand name they need is rare or not, which defines the transaction’s value. I mean, if a brand wants to take up the name @alive – then that is definitely a unique name and can easily go for $10k to $30k.
Restrictions in the Market Place
So, by now, you’re wondering, is it legal? I mean, is it okay for someone to sell their rare 2 digit username for $10k if there is a buyer who’s happy to pay the price? Well, that is a great question. And, there are two answers to this.
One, it is not illegal to sell Instagram usernames. Or usernames of any social media for that matter. I mean, you can’t go to jail for selling a username.
However, it is definitely against the ToS of any social network.
In other words, the market for this is thriving, and people who want it and have the money for it are getting the names they want.
It goes without saying that you can buy pretty much anything in this world for the right price. 🙂
Limitations of Claims
If you’ve browsed our website, you know we offer username claim services for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. We claim usernames on all social networks wherein the username you want is 6 characters or longer and; has been inactive for 2 years and not a first name.
For those that have a strong budget, we can assist with short claims and generic claims. With that said, claims for short and generic handles can be a tedious, expensive, and lengthy process.
The reason for this is pretty simple. Social networks very well know the value of rare usernames and the market that exists for them. So, to curb this trade practice, they don’t allow agencies the ability to claim such rare names even via a media portal. While we can get you that brand name that you need to match your domain and verify you on all networks, we still cannot claim a rare username via our access. For claims that are below 6 characters and/or generic, we hire help from much larger agencies that have internal portals.
Is it Worth it?
That is out of the question. Is a Pokemon or a Baseball card worth $100,000? Is a single-digit car number plate worth $15 million? If a person can afford it and they really want it, well, it’s definitely worth it. Of course, there is no ROI apart from the collectible, cool-factor, and flex-factor for users buying these for personal uses. Just as NFTs, there is no actual value in these. It’s only as valuable as the appetite of its next buyer.
For brands – well, this is different. Here, you have a high ROI and value that you get out of having a shorthand, easy-to-remember, and attractive username. Just as a brand wouldn’t mind paying a few million for the right domain name, paying several thousand on the right username is, in most cases, a no-brainer.
And that’s all for the rare and collectible Instagram usernames! Subscribe to our newsletter below and stay up to date with our blogs on all things social media!
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