The Twitter Domain Rush: Don’t Get “Twit-jacked”

My previous post on Twitter got me thinking about what other companies had registered language-specific domains for their Twitter accounts.

Turns out, most companies haven’t even registered Twitter accounts for their primary brands.

Like who?

Apple, for one.

Here we have someone who apparently likes apples but isn’t Apple:

twitter_apple

It appear that Microsoft reserved its account early on, though nothing is there. Microsoft does have about a dozen Twitter accounts that do include content.

twitter_msft

Coke — someone who drinks Coke, but not the company.

twitter_coke

While Pepsi does have a Twitter account.

twitter_pepsi

The Wall Street Journal has an article out about this domain name rush.

So many questions come to mind:

  • Will Twitter enforce trademarks for valid holders? Usually, the WIPO does this with domain names, but this isn’t actually a domain name in the traditional sense.
  • What percentage of the millions of new Twitter accounts being registered every day simply squatters hoping to make a quick buck? That is, how much of Twitter’s growth actual growth?
  • And what about third-party domain marketplaces — will we see them emerge? Or will Twitter start its own marketplace?

In the meantime, if you’re thinking about reserving a Twitter domain, do it now before getting Twit-jacked…

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

3 thoughts on “The Twitter Domain Rush: Don’t Get “Twit-jacked””

  1. Facebook is leting people take vanity URL’s and I’ve had the nickname Mac since 1980 (before the first computer of a similar name). When I tried to get the URL they refused because it is a trademark.
    Apple computers and Apple records shared the same name, but the computer people had to sign a deal that they would never be in the music business – it is not a trademark violation if you are not in the same business.
    Coke on twitter can refer to the white powder that some people illegally use and speaking as a former Microsoftee of 9 years, we all know that MS will not allow anything close to their name to be used (remember the MikeRoweSoft domain lawsuit?).
    Apple, a red fruit.
    Red Hat, well that’s just a red hat.
    oracle or delphi, the Oracle OF Delphi is what, 3500 years old.

    Most names have a reference to society that people can use and as long as they can prove that they really are not stepping on the toes of a giant, then they can possibly get away with it.

    Then again, the easiest way to take Coke back from the person who signed up to use it is for the soft drink company to send lawyers at Twitter and … poof

  2. We are facing this issue at my company too, on a number of fronts. We have a few distinct brand offerings, and are in the process of trying to register some accounts on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
    What is the protocol if we find someone sitting on one of our brand names? And are Internet companies developing policies whereby they respond to brand name reclamation requests? There has to be a more orderly and efficient method besides getting lawyers involved.

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