Beaten to the Tweet: Twitter Cybersquatters Have Hijacked Brands

by Pam Dyer

Beaten to the Tweet: Twitter Cybersquatters Have Hijacked Brands

Brandjacking is alive and well on Twitter.

Remember this phenomenon in the 90′s? The world’s largest marketers were racing to define an Internet presence, only to discover that squatters had already registered their brand names as domain names and were scuttling their messaging.

twitter_fail_whale

Image by Yu^2 via Flickr

It’s happening again, only this time it’s happening on Twitter. Many of the largest brands in the world have discovered that they can’t use their own corporate names because they’ve already been scooped up by people who aren’t affiliated with their companies.

Here are just a few:

The list goes on — you get the idea.

Especially in these tough economic times, it makes sense that brands would want to engage with their customers on the popular free platform  Brands need to be where their customers are, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that they are using Twitter. According to the latest data from ComScore, Twitter had 19.2 million users in October. And since budgets are being cut left and right, embracing Twitter is a wise business decision.

What’s a brand to do?

According to AdvertisingAge:

Twitter’s head of commercial products, Anamitra Banerji, said, “We understand brands’ frustration when it comes to account verification. We are working on ways to make the process easier and faster …. Given the volume of requests we receive, sometimes it might take a little while to close requests but we are trying to improve that too.” The social-media service, he said, is “[working] with business owners extensively to ensure that they own their trademarks/brand names on Twitter as our terms of service doesn’t allow name-squatting or impersonation.”

In August, Co-founder Biz Stone said that Twitter was in the first phase of rolling out commercial accounts, to goal being to lure businesses to pay for premium services. He also talked about creating new application programming interfaces (APIs) to create a “commercial layer” on top of the network. If brands are unhappy with Twitter’s network oversight, why would they choose to pay for premium services? Trust comes before monetization, yes?

The folks at Twitter should make it a priority to straighten all of this out and suspend the squatters’ accounts. How else to gain the respect and confidence of the businesses that figure prominently in Twitter’s quest for profitability?

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  • http://twitter.com/jankovitch/status/5690996926 jan kovitch

    RT @pamdyer: New post: Beaten to the Tweet: Twitter Cybersquatters Have Hijacked Brands http://bit.ly/2z1mLJ

  • http://twitter.com/jankovitch/status/5690996926 jan kovitch

    RT @pamdyer: New post: Beaten to the Tweet: Twitter Cybersquatters Have Hijacked Brands http://bit.ly/2z1mLJ

  • http://twitter.com/dan_holden/status/5692053328 Dan Holden

    RT @pamdyer Beaten to the Tweet: Twitter Cybersquatters Have Hijacked Brands | pamorama http://bit.ly/4EiIhZ

  • raydennis

    @pamdyer Pam nice post

    • raydennis

      @pamdyer Pam my pleasure

  • http://twitter.com/raydennis/status/5692081702 ray dennis

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  • http://www.ms-small-businesses.com/ Amy@Small Business Resources

    OMG!
    this is bad for known and big ones…

    can they buy it? just wondering :)

  • http://www.ms-small-businesses.com/ Amy@Small Business Resources

    OMG!
    this is bad for known and big ones…

    can they buy it? just wondering :)

  • http://twitter.com/stella_design/status/5746961886 Stella Design

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  • http://basicblogtips.com Ileane

    Hey Pam,

    Thanks for all of these stats. I can tell you have done your research. I can’t understand why people would want to claim the name of a brand if they aren’t going to send out any tweets. I assume this means they are sending DMs containing spam, but who knows what their motives are.

    Thanks again.
    @Ileane

  • http://ileane.wordpress.com ileane

    Hey Pam,

    Thanks for all of these stats. I can tell you have done your research. I can’t understand why people would want to claim the name of a brand if they aren’t going to send out any tweets. I assume this means they are sending DMs containing spam, but who knows what their motives are.

    Thanks again.
    @Ileane

  • http://www.skirting-and-bellows.com/scissor-lift-table-skirts jimmy @ lift table skirt

    I want to say that Hijacking brands is bad, and it really is, but you have to admire the human spirits ability to spot potential methods to profit..be it from good or bad practices.

  • http://www.skirting-and-bellows.com/scissor-lift-table-skirts jimmy @ lift table skirt

    I want to say that Hijacking brands is bad, and it really is, but you have to admire the human spirits ability to spot potential methods to profit..be it from good or bad practices.

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  • http://www.pamorama.net Pam Dyer

    Hi Ileane,

    Thanks for writing!

    When squatters sat on domain names in the 90s, they wanted the real-life brands to buy the domains from them at highly inflated prices. Some court cases happened as well. I'm guessing that today's Twitter squatters are trying to reap the same benefits — getting Walt Disney, for example, to make a huge offer to secure their brand name. It's about the money.

  • http://www.extremejohn.com Extreme John

    It's amazing to me how they get away with it and these massive companies just choose to do nothing about it, it would drive me crazy.

  • http://twitter.com/extremejohn/status/5786684768 extremejohn

    RT @pamdyer Beaten to the Tweet: Twitter Cybersquatters Have Hijacked Brands | pamorama http://bit.ly/4EiIhZ

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  • http://blog.paysonweb.com/ Dick Schaefer

    Twitter accused me of being a cybersquatter on some domains of my own! It takes awhile to clear this up when you have been suspended and the funny thing is that the name I did cybersquat on with a major brand name is still active. I suspect it wont be for long but I constantly tweet on it so maybe as long as there is activity I will be ok. As for these major companies that had their names pirated by squatters, that’s what happens when you have a clueless marketing dept.
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  • http://www.lowcarbgolfer.com boomerblogger

    Twitter accused me of being a cybersquatter on some domains of my own! It takes awhile to clear this up when you have been suspended and the funny thing is that the name I did cybersquat on with a major brand name is still active. I suspect it wont be for long but I constantly tweet on it so maybe as long as there is activity I will be ok. As for these major companies that had their names pirated by squatters, that’s what happens when you have a clueless marketing dept.
    .-= boomerblogger´s last blog ..Experienced Professional Golf Balls =-.

  • http://www.blacktwitters.com/ amby@black twitter

    This is strange but because of these only twiiter has started putting the band of “Verified” on the accounts which twitter thinks of any big brand or celebrities.

    Thanks for the resouce.

  • http://www.blacktwitters.com/ amby@black twitter

    This is strange but because of these only twiiter has started putting the band of “Verified” on the accounts which twitter thinks of any big brand or celebrities.

    Thanks for the resouce.

  • http://www.lianglian.cn/ Safety vests

    This is strange but because of these only twiiter has started putting the band of “Verified” on the accounts which twitter thinks of any big brand or celebrities.

  • http://www.lianglian.cn/ Safety vests

    This is strange but because of these only twiiter has started putting the band of “Verified” on the accounts which twitter thinks of any big brand or celebrities.

  • http://www.watchsuperstar.com/ james@ladies designer watches

    This was always going to happen….I wonder if Twitter will implement anything whereby users have to find some way of verifying who they are? maybe some sort of paid service for big brands will put of the frauds

  • http://www.watchsuperstar.com james@ladies designer watches

    This was always going to happen….I wonder if Twitter will implement anything whereby users have to find some way of verifying who they are? maybe some sort of paid service for big brands will put of the frauds

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