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.