Twitter Squatters Have Brands Upset At Twitter

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If you were the folks at Twitter and you are talking about offering commercial level services that are going to eventually generate the mythical revenue that everyone is yapping about wouldn’t hate to hear about enterprise unrest among the ranks? The issue of Twitter account squatting is nothing new. There has also been little mention of it in the news as of late. I actually made the mistake to think that maybe Twitter took control and really started to crack down on the practice.

Apparently not. AdAge is reporting that Twitter is in the process of ticking off more than a few of the hands that might feed them in the future. Of course, Twitter may now be in the position to tell anyone, paying now or possibly later, for their services that they will just have to wait until Twitter is good and ready. While the argument exists that they are truly that powerful it would be a shame that if they used that power as an excuse to ignore the needs of corporate clients.

AdAge reports

On Twitter’s @Hyundai page, there is a collection of 140-character blasts in English and Korean about oysters, cellphones and the Yankees. Clicking on a profile photo reveals a collage of scantily clad ladies bearing cleavage and more, and a caption saying, “Have a Lustful Day.”

This kind of stuff leaves the folks at Hyundai Motor America less than thrilled

After having contacted the social-media site’s headquarters repeatedly to evict the squatter without success, the frustrated automaker has gone so far as to contemplate legal action. “They simply haven’t responded to requests,” said Chris Hosford, VP-corporate communications at Hyundai Motor America. “Our brand name is extremely important to us. … We’re very disappointed that Twitter has shown no interest in protecting brand names.” Unable to use the handle, the company has resorted to sending out official company tweets from @HyundaiNews.

Ughh. The L word. No not that one you sick person but L for “legal”. Last thing any start up needs is the fun and games of legal issues to get in the way of putting together a better service and offering.

The article talks in greater detail about how celebrities have been afforded special badges but the corporate side of the ledger (you remember, the one that could make money) is left to fend for themselves for now. Twitter’s policies are there but there is no guarantee of remedy in a timely fashion so some companies are left to get creative. Of course, one could argue that a big brand being late to the game and not securing these names years ago is on the company. There are two sides to every coin, after all.

So what is Twitter doing, if anything?

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.”

Ahh yes. The old volume of requests complaint. That one might have worked when Twitter was the little start up that could but the recent influx of investment takes the air right out of that argument. HIRE SOME PEOPLE, TWITTER!

So it’s interesting to see that not everyone is bent out of shape on this issue

Not all marketers are ruffled, though. Pfizer doesn’t own the handle @Pfizer, and a mystery tweeter is regularity tweeting updates about the company. Ray Kerins, VP-worldwide communications at Pfizer, told Ad Age that the company isn’t planning to take any action. “We are obviously watching any site that discusses our company or our products,” Mr. Kerins said. “We’re going to continue to watch. These social communities are actually very self-policing.”

Wow, now there is either great confidence in the ability of people to keep the street clean or a level of naiveté that will end up badly when the next brand firestorm comes up for Pfizer and the fake account is at the center of it. Maybe the folks who make Viagra are suffering from one of those side effects than impair judgment. Just a thought.

What’s your experience with getting Twitter to help in these situations? Should Twitter care? Happy Monday Pilgrims, let’s hear it!


Twitter Squatters Have Brands Upset At Twitter
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