As a frequent user of Twitter, one of the first things I did after setting up my account was to follow some of my favorite brands like Coca Cola, Apple, Cannon, Heinz to just name a few. Twitter has provides the platform for Big Brands to communicate immediately and effectively to new and existing customers. So why are so many of our favorite brands names on Twitter having such difficulties? Simply, they don’t control their brand names either through twitter account hijacking, twitter account squatters or unrelated individuals using the brand name account for their own personal benefit. The reality is that if you’re a Big Brand or somewhere in between you can do something to get your control of your account.
After a quick check here are some large corporations that don’t own their own twitter accounts:
http://twitter.com/Coke (not a real company account)
http://twitter.com/Heinz (not a real company account)
http://twitter.com/BMW (not a real company account)
http://twitter.com/Cannon (private account)
http://twitter.com/Loreal (not a company account)
Of all the Big Brands we tested only two were actual companies, Wegmans and CNN. The amount of free marketing and advertising possibilities these large corporations could take advantage on Twitter has been drastically reduced. As users embrace technologies that allow them to communicate with Big Brands, obtaining your username on twitter has become more important than ever.
If your brand name has been taken on twitter you do have options to potentially get control of your brand name. Here are some options you have of regaining control of your brand on twitter:
– Use the web form or email email@example.com along with the following information:
Your existing username, the username you want, along with an explanation your brand name being taken, detail if you are looking to start a new account or switch your account from your existing username to the new account name.
– After 9months of inactivity, Twitter will generally release the account back to its proper owner.
Policy: Twitter is not currently releasing inactive user names. Unless your user name issue involves Terms of Service violations, you’ll have to wait until all inactive user names are released. We’re working on a better long term solution for this, and we should have more news soon.
– Advise Twitter about abuse or misrepresentation, Twitter will shut down the account based on fraudulent activity.
Policy: If your user name request concerns impersonation, trademark infringement, copyright, or another Terms of Service violation, please submit a request to the Terms of Service group via the web form. Be sure to pick the right item from the drop down box for expedited help. Keep in mind that if there is no content and no intent to mislead, there is most likely no infringement.
– Twitter has instituted Twitter Verified Account, read more about Twitter Verified Accounts at http://twitter.com/help/verified.
– Post a complaint on Twitter’s getstatisfaction.com/twitter website.
– Secure legal counsel and have your counsel draft an action letter.
Big Brands know the value of using Twitter, take advantage of Twitters incredible growth and make sure to secure your brand name today. Protect your brand (even if you have no intent of using Twitter) make sure to take your name and secure it to prevent someone from hijacking your brand.