The answer turns out to be soon for some and later for others, but the question remains - how will we know when that name is finally available?Last week after Twitter's Chirp conference, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land asked Twitter Co-founder Evan Williams when we would begin to see the release of inactive and deleted Twitter usernames back into the wild.
According to Sullivan, Twitter is still trying to figure out the proper way to handle the situation, as some usernames have been used but have recently sat inactive, while others were swept up in mass name claims by squatters and others still have simply been abandoned. (Sullivan notes an anecdote by Williams of one person who registered more than 10,000 names in one fell swoop but has done nothing with them.)
So if you've been eyeballing that perfect Twitter username, just watching it sit there and do nothing, TwitterClaims claims to have the answer. Simply enter your email address and give the site up to ten names that you're looking forward to having and the service will email you when the name becomes available. The service checks once an hour to see if the name is available and once it is, it emails you to let you know. Simple.
It looks like anyone can claim a name, so once it becomes available and the notifiction is set, it's on. You'll still have to get there first, and others can be getting the same notification about that same username.