Brand Hijacking

Josh Bourne ⬥ 2 July

This week, the Wall Street Journal reported on businesses’ struggle to protect their brands on Twitter. Many are concerned about unauthorized uses of their brand name on popular social media sites—Phil recently wrote a post about usersquatting, the uncertainty of harm that usersquatting inflicts and the ambiguity of enforcement mechanisms to put an end to these infringements—and as a result, many are defensively registering usernames to retain control over their brand. In the WSJ’s article, the sentiment offered by Lee Alexakos, Cedar Fair’s corporate vice president of marketing and advertising, “Our name is our brand, and like any company, we’re concerned with protecting that.”

This Twitter free for all—unauthorized registration and consumer confusion—can be expected in an unregulated space. Such behavior should get one wondering about how things will be in a newly expanded, unregulated domain name space.

The most recent issue of Marketing News briefly mentioned a survey released by the CMO Council about the concerns that marketing executives have over brand hijacking. The third page of this pdfhas some information on the survey. Participants were asked to identify the three types of counterfeiting, trademark infringement or online scams that hurt their businesses most. Cybersquatting was the top response at 28.4%. Also on the list was online scams and phishing using hijacked brands and trademarks, at 19.5%. Among respondents who tracked the financial damage involved in this type of hijacking, 39.6% said the cost was greater than 5% of sales and 8.2% said the cost was greater than 20% of sales.

As more and more brands struggle to recover from the damage inflicted by cybersquatters and brandjackers, it becomes increasingly obvious that the best way to deal with these issues is to prevent them from happening in the first place and being choosy about which 3rd party infringements to address and which to ignore. 

Tags: advertising, brand name, brandjackers, Cedar Fair, CMO Council, cybersquatting, domain names, Lee Alexakos, Marketing News, online scams, phishing, Social Media, trademark infringement, Twitter, usersquatting, Wall Street Journal

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