Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

How to get verified on Twitter

Screenshot of Stephen Fry's verified Twitter account

Since their launch in June 2008, ‘verified’ accounts on Twitter have had an air of mystery surrounding them. We know that they are there to indicate the real, official accounts for celebrities, journalists and brands, but the methods of getting verified are somewhat shrouded in secrecy. The official FAQ about verified accounts avoids giving a direct answer to the question. So how does one get verified?

1. Not necessarily by having lots of followers

My favourite example is @caitlinmoran – her official Twitter account with close to 500,000 followers, but it’s not ‘verified’.

Update: Since this article was written in November 2013, Caitlin Moran’s account has been verified. But @daraobriain has almost 2 million followers and no magical blue tick.

Yet, some lesser known celebrities like @garydelaney (under 45,000 followers) are verified. And that’s not the lowest – The Huffington Post wrote about verified accounts that have low follower counts last year. A year on and one of those, @dabackwudz, still only has 127 followers, but with the big blue tick still intact.

2. Linking your Twitter profile and your official web site reciprocally

Going back to the official FAQ, Twitter recommends that the URL in your Twitter profile is your official web site, and that the home page of your web site also links back to your Twitter page. This won’t necessarily get you verified – it certainly hasn’t in my case – but it will help people deduce that your account is the official one.

3. Asking Twitter to verify you

There isn’t a simple form to fill out, but there are apparently multiple ways of doing this, according to this WikiHow article. Apparently sending a direct message to the @verified account is one way, but you can also contact Twitter through other means.

If someone is impersonating you on Twitter, fill out this form; you will need to fax (yes, fax!) some identifying documents to them. Hopefully Twitter will shut down the impersonating account, and, if you are lucky, will also grant your account verified status. That’s because you’ve proved that you are at risk of being impersonated and so a verified account would be beneficial to you. Being a recognisable brand/person or having a trademark will definitely help you here.

However, speaking from personal experience, this is no guarantee. Ages ago I asked Twitter to shut down an account impersonating me (because a certain sad individual obviously had way too much time on their hands) and provided my identification. Whilst the account was shut down, my own account was not blessed with the blue tick of awesome.

4. Advertise with Twitter

Allegedly, spending at least $15,000 per year on advertising through Twitter will get you the magical blue verified badge. But Twitter has also been known to revoke this verified status at the end of advertising campaigns if they are not renewed.

5. Pay a dodgy-looking company to do it for you

When researching for this article, I found at least one dodgy-looking web site that ‘guarantees’ verified status for a £250 fee. This particular one has a grammatical error on the home page, no obvious company name (although it is run by ‘Instant Social Media Ltd’ in Manchester, according to the WHOIS record) and placeholder ‘lorem ipsum dollar‘ text in its blog. I’d suggest avoiding them and doing it yourself.

6. Sometimes Twitter gets it wrong

Last year, at the height of the phone-hacking inquiry, Twitter inadvertently verified a fake account impersonating Wendy Deng, the wife of Rupert Murdoch. It was quickly revoked when the error came to light, but it’s proof that Twitter isn’t infallible.

7. You can get verified on Facebook and Google+ too

Like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ offer verified accounts, and they also keep the procedure for getting verified a secret. However, creating reciprocal links is also recommended for Google+, as per this article. It’s probably likely the doing the above will work for Facebook and Google+ – except of course for advertising as Google+ doesn’t have advertisements on it yet.

8. Resign yourself to the fact that you’re just not that important

Whilst being verified is a big status symbol, and a boost to your ego, unless you are notable you will probably never get verified status. Twitter is a company and therefore can make its own rules up, but I like to think of it this way: if you’re important enough to have a Wikipedia article about you and pass its notability guidelines, then you’re probably important enough to have a verified Twitter account. I’m certainly not, and, chances are, neither are you.

Even though @stephenfry follows me on Twitter.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve reported the verifiedbytwitter.co.uk domain name to Nominet. As someone who is also followed by @stephenfry, I felt it was my duty 😉

    Email sent:
    =====
    It has been brought to my attention that the domain name:
    verifiedbytwitter.co.uk
    (registered by Heart Internet Ltd t/a Heart Internet [Tag = HEARTINTERNET] )

    is a “bad faith” registration and should, under the terms of the Nominet domain name agreement, be suspended/deregistered.

    I’m making this request based on the following evidence:
    * The domain name is registered to “Instant Social Media Ltd” which is not in existence according to Companies House
    * The address on the domain name is invalid (St Peters House, St Peters,MANCHESTER, M2 5DB) – M2 5DB, according to Royal Mail, is the postcode for Manchester City Council, Town Hall,Albert Square,MANCHESTER
    * They fail to provide a trading name and address on their website despite this being a requirement of the Companies Act
    * Twitter does not offer “paid” or guaranteed verification services: https://support.twitter.com/articles/119135-faqs-about-verified-accounts
    * Their own Twitter account is not verified https://twitter.com/Social_MediaUK which makes it look like they cannot provide the service themselves.
    * Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter Inc and they do not allow their trademark to be used in domain names https://about.twitter.com/press/brand-assets