October 3, 2013 · Filed Under Announcements
, KnowEm News
· Comments Off on The New KnowEm – Announcing our latest APIs and Enterprise v2
We’ve had a lot going on lately at KnowEm and we are very excited to share some of what we have been working on in the labs with you!
Just this past April we officially turned 4 years old, a feat we are quite proud of. It seems like just yesterday we were working on drafting a press release for our initial launch. Since then it has been a great trip and we have had some awesome clients, accomplishments, and products. Well now we have some more stuff up our sleeve and we would love to show you what we’ve been up to!
The KnowEm API – Yes, it’s here. By popular demand we have built an API to perform username searches for our partners. This API will give you the ability to search KnowEm’s database of over 500 social networks for username availability (coming soon: Domain and Trademark Search APIs). If you are interested in learning more please let us know by scheduling a call using our Contact Form. Not only do we have a username search API, but we also have a full e-commerce API which lets you place new orders and retrieve information on all your orders with KnowEm. Now you can easily integrate the KnowEm suite of products and tools right into your existing site or dashboard.
View of the main dashboard
Verion 2 of the KnowEm Enterprise Dashboard is also something we’re really excited to show you. The newest iteration of our free Enterprise Dashboard which allows agencies, re-sellers and volume customers the ability to manage multiple accounts in one central location has gone mobile! With lots of new features such as sub-account hierarchical permissions, more detailed social research, customized themes, and a new, faster responsive design, you’re going to want to see how you can leverage all this social information for your customers. Contact us to schedule a call for a full demo:
Along with the release of version 2 of this dashboard, we are pleased to announce the ability to completely white label the entire system with your own company logo, colors and brand. This gives your organization the ability to offer your customers everything KnowEm has to offer:
Social Media Brand, Product, Trademark or Username profile registration and protection on over 500 social networks.
Brand/Trademark infringement Takedown information and assistance for every social network in our database.
Social Media monitoring for the use (or misuse) of your Brand, Product, Trademark or Username.
Domain registration to protect your brand from cybersquatting on over 100 TLDs and extensions.
Trademark Search and Registration on the entire USPTO Trademark database (AU, China and EU coming soon)
Your own version of our dashboard will include full administrative control over everything, providing you with the ability to create new customer accounts, allowing your customers to place and review orders on their own, and to assign managers within your organization for each customer – basically everything you need as a turn key solution for complete Social Media brand management and protection.
If you’re interested in checking out any of these great new features or have any questions about our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us today and we would be happy to schedule an online Webex demonstration for you and your team!
One of the more common questions we get asked at KnowEm from customers and prospective clients is “Why do we need to worry about all these social networks? I haven’t even heard of half of them; why do they even matter and how do they help my brand?”
Our response is simple. No one knows when the next twitter, facebook, or foursquare is going to burst onto the Social Media scene and capture massive traffic growth. I will never forget a phone call I had with one of our clients where I was going over all the new social media networks where we had reserved his brand name. He specifically asked a question about a small little site called “Pinterest” — his exact words to me were “Why should we care about this site, it seems pointless! I doubt it will take off and it feels like a waste of a signup.”
This phone conversation happened around the middle of June back in 2011. That was a little before the massive traffic explosion Pinterest experienced on its meteoric rise to become the major new contender in social media business marketing that it is today. You can see the timeline of its growth on the compete graph below:
Pinterest is a perfect example of a social media site whose traffic blew up after we were already able to make sure our current clients’ trademarks were reserved on the site. Here’s one explanation I always like to give to clients when they inquire about these brand new social startups where their brand or username has been reserved. “If I told you 6 years ago that a site consisting of 140 characters of text would be in the top 10 most visited sites internationally, used by the fortune 100 (and just about everyone else) for customer support and major marketing campaigns, would you believe me?” The answer is most commonly “No,” of course, because who could have predicted the Twitter revolution? Well, except for the occasional know-it-all social media
expert guru ninja master that is on the call and knows everything about social media and has 30k followers on twitter – but follows double that.
At KnowEm we realize not every player in the social media race is going to take off like the lucky ones, but that’s why we track so many (just about 600 right now). There is a good chance you might never use some of the accounts that you’re signed up on. But are you ready to take the risk of not reserving your trademarked brand, product or username on the next Twitter?
Here’s another not uncommon example of a similar case study: An unscrupulous competitor decided to target a well-known brand name on a new Latin social media network which was young enough to be under the radar for most people. Using black hat SEO techniques they were able to get this site ranking for a variety of competitive terms that probably made them a lot of money selling counterfeit medication:
If you notice the third result down, Lacoctelera.net (translated, “The Shaker”) is a simple community / blogging related site where someone was able to reserve and claim the name “Percocet®” before the brand holder was aware the network even existed. Doing some simple link building, the black hat was able to get it to rank for 7 or 8 different terms that we found, all of which were ranking in the top 5. (Hey Endo Pharmaceuticals, talk to us, we can help!).
The moral of the story, and the value in a service like KnowEm, is that no one can predict when the next big twitter, facebook or pinterest is going to hit. So why not be safe than sorry? It is much easier, cheaper and faster to preemptively claim a name than to bring in the legal team and try to reclaim it.
Sometimes it’s simply too late. We have new customer inquires every day from those that didn’t jump on the twitter bandwagon in time and now can’t reclaim their brand names on twitter even with legal help. If the person who owns the twitter handle of a known brand or trademark clearly states that they are not related to the company and doesn’t tweet as the company – there is nothing the trademark holder can do (short of bribing the squatter or paying them off). One of my favorite sodas, “Fanta®,” is a perfect example of this. A person claimed the registered trademark on twitter before the actual company did (Coca-Cola®) and has followed the twitter guidelines to the letter. As a result, Coca-Cola is unable to retrieve the name as long as the twitter member doesn’t attempt to represent Coca-Cola® or Fanta® in any way shape or form:
Is your brand secure? Does your brand run the risk of having someone take your name or intellectual property on a social media site? These are some serious questions you need to ask before you decide the best plan of action for you to take to insure the safety of your brand. If you have a product that runs a high risk of counterfeit, registering your brand using one of our brand protection packages might just not be enough, and that’s why we strongly suggest also using our monthly brand protection service, where our team will continue to register your name on all new and emerging social media sites that we find.
This is the reason why we built out our enterprise dashboard — A centralized location where you can view, monitor and manage all of your trademarks, brands, products and usernames on various social media networks. If you would like a webex demonstration of the product and other services that KnowEm offers feel free to contact us.
It was recently reported that the state of Israel purchased the Twitter username @Israel from a private individual named Israel Meléndez for an undisclosed sum, which by some reports may be as much as six figures. You read that right – the Nation of Israel paid for a Twitter username from some guy that runs a porn site in Miami. He gave the prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu his password, and then they handed him a check.
Since Twitter has a policy against name squatting and selling usernames, you have to wonder what Twitter thinks of this deal. Their policy states “attempts to sell, buy, or solicit other forms of payment in exchange for usernames are also violations and may result in permanent account suspension.” Israel Meléndez says they didn’t violate this clause because he was just relinquishing his own personal account, he didn’t create the account for the purposes of making a profit. Other reports state Twitter actually helped facilitate the sale, but Twitter hasn’t confirmed that.
At KnowEm we have clients inquiring every day about what they can do to get their company’s brand, trademark or username back if it has already been taken on a social network. We always advise them to use the proper channels and contact the website owner to ask about their policy in reclaiming names, which usually requires some lawyers to get involved. The truth is, however, that it can be a very difficult and time-consuming process. And as this story shows us, you might not get the outcome you want.
If the nation of Israel had to pay a six figure sum to reclaim their name on Twitter, what chance do you have of getting your branded username back if it’s already been taken? This is the primary reason a professional service like KnowEm is so valuable for brand and trademark owners who want to be proactive in Social Media. Think of it as brand insurance – no one can steal or squat on your name on the next big social network if you have already registered it.
A recent tweet by Andrew Nystrom of Red Bull brought attention to a growing trend we’ve noticed in Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook — that of Typosquatting. Typosquatting is a form of brandjacking/cybersquatting in which someone registers the misspelling of a brand or trademark term in an attempt to capture traffic from a legitimate well-known entity. In the case of social networks, this is done by using the misspelling of a username, such as in Justin Bieber’s case. The real @justinbieber has 5.2 million followers, but a misspelled dupe account of @justinbeiber (the i and e transposed) with zero tweets already has over 16,000 followers.
Typosquatting on domain names is not a new practice on the internet; it was clearly identified as a threat as early as 1995 by the Federal Trademark Dilution Act and targeted directly in 1999 with the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act which “established a cause of action for registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name confusingly similar to, or dilutive of, a trademark or personal name.” Eventually ICANN also established the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) for further protection against domain name squatting.
Like defensive domain registrations to prevent cybersquatting, trademark owners should acquire a company name, any trademarks, and any other important intellectual property brands on all social network sites.
Traverse Legal, 9/21/09
While this helps protect trademark owners from issues with misspelled domain names, there isn’t really anything in place yet which protects them on social networks. This was evidenced as early as a year go by reports concerning name misspellings being bought and sold on Twitter, and not just as usernames, but by API names as well. It seems wherever a user can supply content on a social network, there is the possibility of that content’s true owner being misrepresented.
So what can trademark owners do to protect their brands? They can wait until after their name has been squatted and issue a cease and desist to each social network and try and recover it, or they can use a service like KnowEm to proactively register their mark on popular social networks. For purposes of full disclosure I will point out that I am a co-founder of KnowEm, and I am happy to stand behind our service as the first and foremost social networking trademark protection firm on the internet.
You don’t necessarily have to rush out and use a professional service to protect misspellings of your trademark on every social network, but at the least you should consider monitoring not only the usage of your brand or mark, but several misspellings as well. Typosquatting has been around since domains existed and there’s no reason to believe it will go away anytime soon, especially with the continuing popularity and growth of social networks.
What exactly is social media identity theft? It’s a form of cybersquatting using social media sites. If you’ve ever attempted to join a social media, site or applied for an email account, and found that your first and last name were already taken, that may or may not have been social media identity theft, or cybersquatting.
InformationWeek reports SB 1411, which has been approved by the California Senate and the Assembly and now awaits the signature of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, makes it a misdemeanor “to knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud another person.”
There are laws for every possible thing under the sun. Do we need another law? Many argue there are sufficient laws in place that already make impersonation illegal. Will a law that directly addresses the issue of social media identity theft stop others from doing it? Maybe. Are there instances where it is OK to impersonate another person or corporation? Apparently it is acceptable like in the BP case where someone created a mock Twitter account.
I know I don’t want anyone stealing my online identity so I’ve done things to prevent that as much as I can. However it is still possible to create a persona that is mine and make a mockery out if it. That is not OK with me. Do you think there should be a law that prohibits social media identity theft?