You might have recently seen stories involving people’s Instagram accounts getting hacked, followed by phones suddenly losing service, and sometimes culminating in threatening messages from sketchy numbers.
Welcome to the world of SIM hijackers and user name marketplaces, where you can trade rare social media accounts –like @rainbow or @power– for Bitcoin from anonymous people on the Internet, and never know for certain if they were procured legally or if you will get scammed.
This post focuses on OG (which stands for “original”) user names for popular and rapidly-growing social media platforms and what you need to know before trying to buy one.
What Is the Price of Originality?
The tale is old as time: the best names (and often the shorter ones) are snagged by those who come first – as well as by celebrities and famous brands – getting the highly-coveted status of early adopters.
So what if you didn’t get a slice of the premium social media real estate? You will probably have to use numbers, dots, and underscores, or choose an acceptable word to complement your brand’s name (i.e.: hello, get, official, your product category, among others).
But what if you really desire a short name, ether for personal use or your next business venture, and do not want to settle with any of the above mechanisms?
Enter the underground OG marketplaces, such as OG Users or Swapd, where you can buy social media accounts from random people who don’t go by their real names and all transactions are conducted primarily in Bitcoin – at your own risk.
The most common markets operate like forums, where buyers and sellers post listings with their desired searches or offered goods, and popular dictionary words could run for thousands of dollars. The prices for low-tier accounts tend to start at $30 and sellers provide hints to prevent disclosing all characters in the user name to avoid getting them banned.
Buying an OG name can be a daunting task, so we decided to put it to the test and report on our findings, and the journey to “originality” was a total rollercoaster – see our recommendations below.
1. Create an Alias
You must start by building a completely new persona to protect your true identity from any unwanted tracking or attacks. Forget your real name and pick an alias that suits you best.
The next step is to ensure that you have burner accounts for absolutely everything you will use for transactions:
- Get a new Gmail account.
- Get a Google Voice VOIP phone number with your new Gmail – or alternatively create a Sudo account to get both an email and a number.
- Use the above burner accounts to sign up for Discord and Telegram (you might want to also get Kik).
Once you have all of the above, you can go ahead and create an account in OG Users and/or Swapd. Note: we recommend the first one, as the community tends to be less skeptical with disclosing account names, and they don’t pester new users with showing verification.
2. Learn the Lingo
There is an entire language, rich with acronyms, that is crucial to navigate OG marketplaces. Here are the most common terms that were stumbled upon with:
- OG = original (and highly sought-after) user name
- OGE = original email used to create the account in the first place (to make sure the account is secure and cannot be pulled back)
- MM = middleman who serves as intermediary between both parties to prevent scams (like a trusted escrow)
- C/O = current offer (the highest bid so far)
- BIN = buy it now (usually provided with the C/O)
- POF = proof of funds (seller’s request of proof that you can afford the account’s price and are a legitimate buyer)
- BTC = Bitcoin
- DWC = deal with care
- Stat = accounts with a high number of followers
- Cop = to get, receive, purchase, or steal (used interchangeably)
You might stumble upon other concepts such as “high tier” or “semi” or “clean” used to describe the user name’s quality. You could expect popular dictionary words to be considered high tier, while semis would refer to words that would go well with a niche topic, and clean are mostly pronounceable run-of-the-mill names.
3. Take Your Time to Research
Once you begin browsing the forums, make sure to spend enough time going through multiple posts to get an understanding of the accounts being sold and how much people offer for them, as well as the pricing thresholds for the different OG types.
2L and 3L user names will be more expensive than 4L (for obvious reasons) and prices for dictionary words will depend on their uniqueness. Below are some examples:
- @gay – $15,000
- @leader – $7,000
- @camel – $3,000
- @narc – $2,000
- @uranus – $1,600
Once you find any names that you want, you should start making offers using the C/O as your baseline and the BIN as your ceiling, but don’t rush to pay the full price as sellers will be open to negotiate with you.
At this point in time you will likely need to get a Bitcoin exchange account and wallet – if you don’t have one already.
Update: we noticed that a lot of great opportunities tend to show up on Discord’s private servers, which you might slowly get access to as you chat with different sellers, and it will give you a behind-the-scenes look into the world of underground OG marketplaces.
4. Get Bitcoin
The official currency in the OG marketplaces will be Bitcoin (BTC), however, some sellers will occasionally accept Cash App or PayPal.
If you didn’t ride the cryptocurrency wave yet, you will need to create an exchange account and wallet to be able to pay for the user names, but be mindful that there are certain limitations when buying Bitcoin from specific geographies.
We recommend using apps like Coinbase and Cash App to buy Bitcoin from the exchange as both charge decent fees. You will need to withdraw the BTC to a wallet to send to other people – we recommend Coinbase Wallet or Exodus.
Remember that verifying your identity with the exchanges might take a few days (and yes they will need your real identity).
A few important things worth noting: withdrawing Bitcoin to a wallet can take more than 30 minutes, as well as sending coins to another wallet, so keep that in mind before you panic. Also know that, despite the wonders of blockchain and cryptocurrency, using an incorrect wallet code would result in losing your precious coins forever.
Pay extra attention when conducting any Bitcoin transactions.
5. Proceed With Caution
At the beginning of this post we mentioned SIM hijackers, or individuals who will use deceptive tactics to hack into people’s phones, and steal their social media user names (and sometimes go as far as trying to empty their bank accounts). This ain’t a funny business.
Related: you should listen to this podcast about a Snapchat thief to know more about the world of hijackers and cybersecurity.
After corresponding with multiple people on OG Users and Discord, we can’t stress how important it is to deal with care, as you will encounter a large number of sketchy users who will go the extra length to scam you. Dealing with strangers who hide behind fake names and avatars can be very uncomfortable.
To determine if a seller is trustworthy, you should review their profile’s reputation and vouches (which can be found on OG Users), and always consider using a middleman. Legit sellers would not refuse this request, but you will have to foot the middleman’s bill, which tends to start at $8.
Many of the individuals that we chatted with were teenagers from all over the world who are doing this just for fun, however, you will still need to be extra vigilant if you are unsure about the other party.
Buying OG user names is not for the faint-hearted but it’s a risk worth taking that could pay off in the long run. There are many unique accounts with lots of potential being sold for affordable prices and the market is not very crowded.
We were lucky to find a few @s with branding potential and had the opportunity to work with sellers that were professional and trustworthy. The first seller even helped us when our initial attempt to login to the account was flagged as suspicious (which was extremely nerve-wracking) and connected us with a group of trusted people to solve the issue.
We have been looking into getting more OGs since – so be careful as it can also become an addiction.
Good luck and stay safe! 😷