One lucky 15-year-old has swapped his Snapchat handle for a free trip around Europe. Darian Lipscomb and his family will enjoy a luxury stay on board the Carnival Horizon cruise ship during its maiden voyage next month.
Lipscomb registered the @CarnivalCruise name in 2012 to share pictures from his past stay on a Carnival Cruise. According to reports, Lipscomb has secured a trip worth more than $5,000 for agreeing to hand it over.
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The company has been working hard to secure it from him. A campaign fronted by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal was started in his hometown, Prospect, Virginia, to track him down.
However, the Snapchat Terms of Service state:
You will not buy, sell, rent or lease access to your Snapchat account, Snaps, a Snapchat username or a friend link without our written permission.
It is unknown whether Carnival Cruises has been given the go ahead by Snap. However, it isn’t uncommon for owners of valuable social media handles to receive these requests.
But how much have others been offered for their valuable social media handles?
Valuable social media handles: Single characters
Naoki Hiroshima, the owner of the @N Twitter handle, has received offers as high as $50,000 for his account.
Despite being a frequent target of hackers, Hiroshima has resisted these offers.
Likewise, Robert Scoble, founder of the Scobleizer blog, offered to donate $5,000 to charity in 2010 if Twitter would give him the @s username which has been unused for a number of years.
Shervin Pishevar, co-founder of Virgin Hyperloop, doubled the offer to $10,000. However, Twitter didn’t bite.
While there are no reports of solid offers being made for accounts on other social platforms, a Google search for “buy one letter Instagram handles” revealed an account-trading forum where one user was selling one to three letter Instagram handles for $5,000 to $100,000.
Chase Giunta was the original owner of the @Chase Twitter handle, having registered it in 2008 soon after Twitter launched.
However, visiting the account now will lead you to the account of financial services company JPMorgan Chase Bank.
Giunta had been using the handle to share negative messages about the company. The avatar used was similar to the company’s logo.
According to Giunta, he was approached by a broker working for the $370 billion company who offered him $20,000 to relinquish control of the handle.
Within hours of turning the offer down, he was contacted by Twitter regarding a trademark infringement. The account was suspended days later, allowing Chase to take control of the handle.
Likewise, the State of Israel purchased the @Israel Twitter handle from a Spanish man that had grown tired of receiving messages from people that assumed the account belonged to Israeli authorities.
“My account was basically unused because I was getting dozens of replies every day from people who thought the account belonged to the state of Israel,” Israel Meléndez told the New York Times.
He claims to have been paid a six figure sum, upwards of $100,000, to hand over the account. However, Israel claims to have paid a far smaller amount in a deal that was agreed with the consent of Twitter.
With close to a million followers, @cnnbrk was the most followed Twitter account when it was taken over by US news network CNN in 2009. The unofficial account had amassed such a large following by tweeting CNN’s breaking news stories.
However, CNN didn’t purchase the account or issue a trademark claim. Instead, they hired the account’s owner James Cox as a consultant. As part of the deal, CNN was granted access to the account despite it remaining in Cox’s possession.
As Cox was being paid for his services, rather than for the account, it didn’t breach Twitter’s terms of service.
The account has since amassed more than 54 million followers. However, it is unknown whether it is now owned by CNN or still belongs to Cox.
While there is little information on how these handles were secured, Bloomberg has also snapped up a number of rare Twitter handles over the years. Its haul includes @business, @markets, @technology, @luxury, @economics and @brexit.