This post is for all brand managers, although it will be most enlightening for those marketers that have been trying unsuccessfully to get your organization to experiment social media.
It’s time to explain to your organization that you need to defend your brand and marks within the social web. If you don’t grab your brand name on the various social media services out there, someone else will, and effectively Hijack your efforts. And the people who register your brand may (read: definitely will) say things that could damage your organization.
There is precedent for this type of behavior, the practice is known as cybersquatting. According to sources, Cybersquatting is when domain names that are being “squatted” are (sometimes but not always) being paid for through the registration process by the cybersquatters. Cybersquatters usually ask for prices far greater than that at which they purchased it. Some cybersquatters put up derogatory remarks about the person or company the domain is meant to represent in an effort to encourage the subject to buy the domain from them. This is the equivalent of Identity theft for brands. Over the last decade, the rules of land have been sorted out, but not without great cost and energy for those brands that were held up for ransom, and that cycle is starting again inside of the social web.
For instance, as reported last week by TechCrunch Tony La Russo, coach of the St. Louis Cardinals is suing Twitter over identity theft. This is happening more and more frequently; and it is not just personal brands, it is big companies.
I implore you, for the next 48 hours, take some time out of your busy day and register your brands and trademarks on the various different services. Hats off to the PR firm Perkett (and their Blog), a my behest they put a list of the top 30 social media sites that you need to register your brands on.
Don’t wait or you may find that someone else has already taken them.
Top Tier – Set up profiles, actively monitor for relevant content, drive traffic from your blog, etc.:
Technorati (“claim” your blog at minimum)
YouTube (along with other video distribution platforms: Vimeo, Viddler, Revver, Yahoo video, etc.)
Third Tier — Claim your name and monitor:
Brightkite (individual focus)
Friendster (international focus, Asia)
Identi.ca (alternative to Twitter)
MySpace (more for usage policy than an active corporate presence)
New York Times (TimesPeople)
Orkut (international focus, Brazil)
Picasa (alternative to Flickr, smaller community)
Plurk (alternative to Twitter, younger demographic)
If you think that there are other social media platforms that brands need to register on, please add a comment to this post and I will include them.