Cybersquatting does not only exist in the domaining world. Cybersquatting is rapidly occurring on other platforms, mainly social media accounts.
Cybersquatting is registering, trafficking, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else –Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
Squatters register your brand name in the form of Twitter handles, YouTube Channels, Fan Pages and other accounts. These users are known for being largely inactive once they register your account. What you need to be aware of is how dangerously active they are at cybersquatting on multiple platforms. Once a brand name is registered, squatters will hold the account for months and even years.
Cybersquatters come in many forms, including:
- People unaware of your existing brand name
- Users who want to sell you back the rights to your name
Whether your cybersquatter is an active threat or a clueless individual, cybersquatting creates a large branding head ache. One of the best ways to protect yourself from cybersquatting is to get there first. Register your brand name on as many channels as you plan to be active on.
Places you should be registering your Brand Name:
- Domain Name
- Twitter Handle
- Facebook Fan Pages
Policies Protecting Against Squatters
Twitter has separate polices to protect against inactive accounts and trademark violations.
Be sure to log in and Tweet (i.e., post an update) within 6 months of your last update. Accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity.
Trademark Policy Violations
When there is a clear intent to mislead others through the unauthorized use of a trademark, Twitter will suspend the account and notify the account holder.
If an account appears to be confusing users, but is not purposefully passing itself off as the trademarked good or service, we give the account holder an opportunity to clear up any potential confusion.
YouTube accounts can be reclaimed based on the inactivity of the account, including:
Not logging into the site for at least six months.Never having uploaded video content.Not actively partaking in watching or commenting on videos or channels.
photo credit: Corinne Day