Staving Off Social Media Squatters - InformationWeek
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12/14/2010
12:45 PM
Michele Warren
Michele Warren
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Staving Off Social Media Squatters

The digital age has given us many wonderful things--among them, smartphones, online shopping (and banking), telecommuting, and social networking. But as with anything else, there's a darker side too. Alas, thanks to technology, we now have some not-so-wonderful things to contend with: Spam. Viruses and malware. Identity theft.

The digital age has given us many wonderful things--among them, smartphones, online shopping (and banking), telecommuting, and social networking. But as with anything else, there's a darker side too. Alas, thanks to technology, we now have some not-so-wonderful things to contend with: Spam. Viruses and malware. Identity theft.Then there's social media-based brand squatting and hijacking. Simply put, this is when someone misappropriates a consumer or brand identity on Facebook or Twitter or some other social networking site.

Trademarkia, a legal search engine, is hoping to stop social media squatters in their tracks. The company, which provides a visual search engine for millions of trademarked business names, logos, and slogans, has now launched a set of services aimed at helping businesses protect and build their brand names in the social networking milieu.

The new social management tools are being targeted at small businesses, which account for about 90% of Trademarkia's customer base, says Raj Abhyanker, CEO of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. "Effective brand management is important for every company, whether big or small," he says. "This new service brings big-brand capabilities to small businesses across the country."

Trademarkia's social media portfolio consists of three tools. First, customers can monitor their brand names for infringement or misappropriation by doing a username search and requesting alerts whenever those brands are misused by someone not connected with the company. Second, businesses that want to maintain a social media presence but don't have the resources to post content on a regular basis can have Trademarkia do the work for them. For a monthly fee of $29, Trademarkia will do one Tweet, one Facebook post, and one blog post per week. Third, customers can take action if their brand names are misappropriated. For $185, a Trademarkia attorney will issue a Cease and Desist letter to the offending party.

Trademarkia allows users to manage their brand identities across 500-plus social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Foursquare, Digg, and Flickr. The Web-based service automatically generates more than 6 million social media pages for every trademark searched. Abhyanker says the search engine is easy to use, allowing customers to search by name, category, keyword, or one of several other criteria. Users can see search results in full view or as thumbnails for quick scanning.

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