You never know when the next Twitter is going to crop up. When a new service like Pinterest, Vine, or Skype appears, if you're not quick off the mark there's a high chance you'll miss out on your preferred username.
You want MarkWilsonWords? Sorry, that went ages ago… you'll have to settle for MarkWilsonWord09868. Getting stuck with a crappy username sucks, but it's very hard to monitor all of the new services that pop up so you can bag your ideal name as early as possible. This is something that EarlyClaim can help with.
It's a free service that seeks out new startups and reserves a username on your behalf - you just say what handle you'd like, and EarlyClaim does the hard work for you. For businesses, it is important to have a brand identity that is the same across different social networks (who is going to take notice of Coca Cola 1897 on Facebook?) but it's also something that is valuable to individuals.
How many times have you signed up for a site only to find that you're unable to secure the username of your choice and had to opt for something far inferior? Every time you use that service there is a constant reminder that you weren't fast enough at signing up.
EarlyClaim is described as a "ground zero for online identities". The service trawls the web for new startups, and as they appear it reserves your desired username for a few days. You also have the option of reserving a second and third choice of username, and this will be used should your first choice be deemed unsuitable by a particular site. To take advantage of this feature, you need to spread the word about EarlyClaim by sharing a personalised link through social networks.
If you're worried about becoming inundated with endless spam, the site claims that "EarlyClaim.com digests all out-bound communication, emails and messages from the startups, funnelling them into a single daily digest email to each user’s personal email".