Squatting 2.0

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:

So basically nobody in Salesforce.com knows who @salesforce is and nobody at Dell knows who @dell is.

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.

Update: Looks like ExxonMobil was “brandjacked” on Twitter, which goes beyond mere squatting. Javier Heredia has a humorous take on what kind of damage brandjacking could cause.

This entry was published on June 20, 2008 at 1:49 PM. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Squatting 2.0

  1. Rachel Luxemburg on said:

    You got me curious, so I went and checked on Adobe. @Adobe is camped, as are a few of our products, but some others have been grabbed by Adobe folks. So it’s a mixed bag for us.

    Rachel Luxemburg
    Community Manager, Adobe

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