« January »
Jan 3 - Aisha Day
Jan 6 - Gnorbu Day
Jan 11 - Buzz Day
Jan 14 - Sloth Day
Jan 16 - Elephante Day
Jan 29 - Kacheek Day

The Advent Calendar is here for all of December!
It's Jordle... with Jordie! Can you guess today's word?
A searchable database of Neopets images
Earn NP from playing games!
Discover the characters of Neopia in our Book of Ages!
Your jnAccount! Your jnAccount: Log In or Register | New to Jellyneo? Click here!

Account Purges

An account purge has not occurred since October 2012! Because of this, some of the information in this guide may no longer be relevant. For the latest word from TNT on whether another purge will ever occur, keep an eye on the Editorial.

If you've been around Neopia for any length of time, chances are you've heard someone talking about "account purges." Even if you've got a vague idea of what a purge is, you might not be quite sure how it works or how it affects you. This guide will hopefully clear up all the facts you need!

What's An Account Purge?

Not everyone who joins Neopets decides to stay. Many people make accounts, play a few games, then decide a few days later that they don't have time for the site or that it doesn't suit them. Some give away their stuff and use the official Close Account page; others simply leave their accounts behind. As far as they're concerned, their involvement with Neopets is over.

Mynci in a Deckchair
'Neopia'? That sounds familiar... it was some 80s TV show, right?

However, while the users are gone from Neopia, their accounts aren't. Even if an account has been officially closed down, it still exists--it just can't be viewed. So over time, unused accounts pile up on the Neopets servers, taking up space. What's worse, the abandoned accounts take up names, too. Every Neopets user has to have a unique username; if you name your account Jennifer, then no other user can have the name Jennifer. Even if the original Jennifer is frozen, or hasn't been online since the day they first created their account, nobody else can have it.

The Neopets Team doesn't like this situation any more than ordinary users do, so they've added a rule to the Terms of Use:

8. Inactivity. We work very hard at making Neopets fun and enjoyable for everyone because we want you stay active. However, if you choose to stop playing on Neopets, we reserve the right to permanently erase your account and everything associated with your account including items or privileges that may have been licensed through the payment of money to us or our licensing partners. Currently, our policy is to terminate any account that has not been active for eighteen months.

TNT have decided that a user who hasn't logged into the site for a year and a half probably isn't coming back, and that it's okay to remove their account from the servers. This doesn't mean, however, that an inactive account will be removed eighteen months to the day after it was abandoned. Instead, large numbers of long-inactive accounts are deleted all at once, as a planned event. This is known as an account purge.

What Happens In An Account Purge?

During a purge, inactive accounts are deleted from the servers over a period of several days or weeks. This is done automatically by a computer program, so it can happen twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week--there's no member of TNT sitting in the office, pressing a button to delete each account. As a result, the speed with which accounts are deleted is exactly the same during "working" hours as it is in the middle of the night.

The deletion process tends to happen in alphabetical order, so accounts beginning with "A" vanish before accounts beginning with "Z". Numbers are considered to come before "A", while underscores are considered to come after "Z". However, accounts may be sorted into several batches, so it's possible that having finished deleting one set of accounts, the program may begin again at the start of the alphabet with a fresh batch.

Kyrii with a Chalkboard Showing the Letter A
...W, X, Y, Z, underscore. What do you mean, that's not how you learnt the alphabet at school?

When an account is deleted, it effectively vanishes from the site. Any pets, items, Neopoints, and petpages associated with it disappear. (However, if the user has won any site contests such as the Pet Spotlight, their entry will still be viewable in the archives even after the account is deleted. The same applies if they were ever mentioned by name in New Features or the editorial.)

Although many people claim that a deleted account's items are returned to Neopian shops or the Money Tree, in reality this does not happen--the items simply vanish. The same applies to Neopets and Petpets. So if that friend of yours who owns a one-of-a-kind item from the Smugglers' Cove hasn't been active for a while, you'd better make sure they come back soon if you don't want that treasure to disappear from Neopia forever!

Re-Creation and "Name Stalking"

Pteri Watching with a Telescope If you don't happen to be the owner of a long-inactive account, a purge may still be relevant to your interests. Many people take advantage of an account purge to make themselves a new side account or Neopet using one of the names that were deleted.

Typically, there is no announcement when a purge starts, ends, or reaches a certain point. The Neopets Team appear to view purges as back-end maintenance of relatively little interest to ordinary users, and the most notice that can be expected is a mention in the Neopian Times editorial. (Sometimes, inactivity warning notices may be emailed to long-gone players in anticipation of an upcoming purge, but these do not indicate that one is going to happen any time soon--for example, the 2010 purge took place in December after warning emails had been sent out in June.) If you're interested in snapping up a particular account name, you're going to have to employ a little patience and detective work.

The most common method of "name-stalking" is to keep an account's userlookup as your browser's homepage. If you log on one day to find that the lookup has been replaced by a message reading "Sorry, nobody by this name exists in Neopia. Try another username in the search box below!", you'll know the account has been deleted. Assuming the name fits the rules, you're free to create an account by the same name as soon as it disappears.

Not all accounts eligible for deletion will be purged; it's not known what might prevent an account from being deleted, but it does sometimes happen that an account will apparently escape the purge for no obvious reason. TNT won't respond to requests for specific accounts to be deleted, so if the account you're stalking simply won't go, you may be out of luck. In particular, there have been no known cases of an official Neopets Team staff account being deleted and recreated during a purge. This is probably deliberate, to prevent possible scamming attempts--so if your dream account name is "borovan" or "donna", you might have to think again.

Grundo with Fake Moustache
Nice try.

During a purge, users on the Neoboards will frequently collaborate to keep an eye on which accounts have been deleted, so players don't waste time checking a name beginning with "Q" over and over while the deletion process is still at "B". A handful of accounts beginning with each letter of the alphabet are chosen as "markers" for this purpose, so that rather than just saying "we're somewhere in the letter C", the board posters can say "we've passed ChocolateB but we're not yet at ChocolateZ".

No matter how excited you are, it's not a good idea to give other players on the Neoboards any hints about the account or pet name you're hoping to snap up. There are some mean people out there who might figure out what you're stalking and grab it quickly just to laugh at you. So don't even mention vague details like "a six-letter account name beginning with B" or "a pet name that's currently on a Starry Lupe"--it's better to be safe than sorry.

Protecting Your Account From Purges

Account purges are based entirely on how long it's been since the last time an account was accessed, not how long the user spent playing on the site or what they did while logged in. So even if you don't have the time to play Neopets at the moment, as long as you can spare two minutes to log in every year-and-a-half, your account will be safe. Have a nice hiatus, and we hope you can return to activity someday soon!

Abandoned Hospital
Wait, it's been HOW long since I last logged in?

If you're having trouble accessing an account due to difficulties with the password or email, you should send a ticket to the Neopets Team as soon as possible--don't wait for an account purge to be announced! The more information you provide and the sooner you do so, the earlier you should be able to regain access.

Help us improve!
Did you find what you were looking for on this page?

This article was written by: Dream