What’s In A Social Media Name?


One must be mindful of company name when joining social media outlets.

Facebook and Twitter have millions of users so one assumes this tool would be on the forefront of any business person’s mind before making a huge name announcement. Alas, last week Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced that Netflix has transformed its DVD via mail side of the business into Qwikster. This change makes sense with streaming video gaining popularity while one-day Qwikster may go the way of cassette tapes. Although, that is neither here nor there. The real issue at hand is that the people at Netflix neglected to check to see what social media impacts or hurdles the new name would have before this announcement. To this day, over a week after the announcement, when a search is done for “Qwikster” on Twitter the fake accounts appear towards the top including @QwiksterRentals. The last tweet from this account was to @Netflix on how to best reach them in case Qwikster (the unresearched name) wanted the account. :)  Can you say “Squatters?”

This leads me to the original and current owner of @Qwikster  Jason Castillo and his possibility of “going to the bank” off of Netflix’s error. This pot smoking, elmo loving man may actually benefit from Netflix’s snafu.

From Twitter -

Selling user names: Unless you have been specifically permitted to do so in a separate agreement with Twitter, you agree that you will not reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, trade or resell the Services for any purpose, where “Services” is defined as follows: Your use of Twitter’s products, services and web sites (referred to collectively as the “Services” in this document and excluding any services provided to you by Twitter under a separate written agreement) is subject to the terms of a legal agreement between you and Twitter.

After reading this one may think the @Qwikster owner is out of luck. But according to this article, CNN hired James Cox, the original owner of @CNNbrk as a “consultant.” Part of his consulting contract stated he must give control of @CNNbrk to CNN.

Win / Win for social media squatters?

On a local note there is a @SteeleJantz parody in full swing.
For those that don’t follow college football; Steele Jantz is Iowa State University’s star quarterback. This Twitter user has taken extra steps to set up a store front with shirts baring the phrase “Babe Slayer”, “#FlexinFriday” and “Real Steele.” The only problem I see with these shirts is the use of Steele’s image (#2 jersey taken from a photo off the ISU site) on the Real Steele shirt. There are no logos visible. It appears this person has really done their research and closely follows the rules set by Twitter’s Parody Policy. 

Now, what if the real Steele Jantz wants his handle name, when say he is drafted into the NFL? From our conversation it seems as if this poser is looking for a career in tweeting full-time for Jantz in the near future.

Now, what are the takeaways from these fiascoes?

  1. Don’t be hasty in naming your business or in selecting Twitter handles.
  2. If you know a company or celebrity that hasn’t claimed their name get it and reap the rewards! Muahaha!
  3. Reserve you childrens’ Twitter handles and URLs as soon as they come from the womb, lest they become the next @SeeleJantz (what a ROCKSTAR name!)

Names are a huge business when it comes to Branding. Are you taking the right steps to assure your brand is represented correctly in social media?

Food for thought….

Haley Meckstroth

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