We’ve talked before about cyber-squatting. This is when someone registers a domain name that is the same or similar to a company or brand, in order to profit from that supposed association.
And last month – just as Britain’s got Talent was reaching its teary zenith – we revealed that not only had many of the contestants names been registered as domain names; but that some had had Facebook and Twitter accounts opened in their name too.
The registering of brand or celebrity names with social networks is a new development in cyber squatting. Now that Facebook has started to give out customised web addresses, and of course MySpace and Twitter allowing users to select their own /name extension, the cyber-squatting game has got a whole lot more complicated.
Consumers are increasingly using social networks to communicate with businesses. Sow now, not only do companies and individuals have to defend their brand by buying up all variations of their brand name as domains; they also have the dizzying task of registering their brand name with social networks too. And as new social networks are springing up all the time, this is going to be quite a task.
The New York Times put it like this: “somewhere out there on the Web, another new service or social network is on the rise, threatening to start yet another online land grab”.
To fill this need of brand owners, a few new services have been launched, which claim to protect brand names on social networking websites. Here’s a couple:
Namechk.com: Lets you check that your brand name is available across hundreds of social networks. Just type in the username you want, and it will let you know on which sites that username has been taken.
And then there is:
KnowEm.com: does the same sort of thing, but will also register your name at the sites, and then send you the username and password. For a fee of course.
I guess the first question is: are you using Social Networks to market your website? We hope that with our latest social media release you’re starting to get to grips with that! And have you found your name to already have been registered? Have you yourself tried registering a company name with a social network? Leave us a comment below.