As many of you know I’ve recently joined Aria Systems, and have been deep in the bowels of billing and activity management for SaaS and gaming companies for about 3 weeks now (aside: it doesn’t surprise me we’re in a pretty unique niche position, since this stuff is hard to do right). Being of course the web 2.0 geek that I am, my immediate thought was to reach out to folks at Aria as well as customers on Twitter, Socialthing, Friendfeed, Linked in, etc.
As it turns out a bunch of us are on Twitter, including our CEO. Unfortunately, I was unable to pick up the @aria identifier, because as it turns out there’s a fellow in Teharan who was first in line. About a week after my initial foray into the name land grab, this tweet from Kingsley Joseph at salesforce crossed my Twhirl stream:
That’s when it hit me – we’re revisiting the days of URL squatting all over again. However this time marketing folks have to worry about not just one URL, but a bunch of identifiers strewn about the social web. While folks like Shel Israel claim it’s silly to have companies on social media communities because one cannot have conversation with a Coke bottle, these identifiers are a good way to reach someone at an organization when you don’t quite know who to reach. So I figure it’s only a matter of time before marketing types start having serious discussions about this.
So, here’s what the questions I’m taking out of this:
- Should we be able to extend trademarks and branding to social media communities as we have with URLs?
- Can an organization take legal action person who registered a trademark on a social community for trademark infringement? Will URL squatting disputes long past be considered as ammo for stare decisis?
- How do we even find the people who registered Aria, Salesforce, Dell, and other trademarks if they used a hotmail account or something of the sort? What would we do if we could contact them?
- How long will it take before an aftermarket develops for Twitter identifiers?
What’s your take on this? I’d love to hear from brand managers as well as Twitter/Socialthing/Friendfeed internal folks if you happen to come across this post.