By now just about everyone is aware of domain squatters — users who buy a web site domain name thinking or knowing that someone else will want it in the future, hoping to get money for it. But with the rise in popularity of services like Twitter, the problem is spreading to usernames as well. How bad is it? Consider this: 93 of the top 100 global brands aren’t in control of their brand names on Twitter, blogger Erik J. Heels points out.
While certainly not all of them will want and/or use their Twitter names, companies like Dell have proven that the service can be useful for promotional purposes. Further, one of the monetization models that Twitter is said to be considering is corporate Twitter accounts for brands, that they would pay for. If a brand doesn’t control its name on Twitter, though, that model could be problematic.
That’s why Heels is calling for the creation of a “Uniform Username Dispute Resolution Policy.” He notes that while a policy exists to thwart domain squatters with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, none exists for usernames on web services, which are increasingly becoming associated with brands.
I have to agree, I’ve had this problem for a while with the username I use for almost every service, parislemon. Every day in my feed reader, my ego-search feed (a Google alert for “parislemon”) shows me that some squatter is using the parislemon name on some sketchy site called DealsPlus (so sketchy that I won’t even link to it). Each day I get alerts that “parislemon” submits some shopping spam to this site. I would hope that people realize this isn’t me, but really, how would you know?
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