Penned by Janet Thaeler
The Pinterest frenzy has reminded me of an issue I have with social networks – none of them have an easy way for brands to secure their brand name as profile names. So if you’re not fast, your brand name could be snatched up and getting it back is impossible or very difficult.
I’m clearly on the side that brands aren’t ruining Pinterest or any social network – they are helping it. You need businesses to ensure the profitability and long-term viability of the site. Most users of social networking sites won’t pay to use them, so you need brands. If the site isn’t profitable then it isn’t sustainable. In other words, no more Pinterest.
Rather than ignore or try to prohibit them, you should create boundaries. It’s obvious that Pinterest didn’t have a clear plan for brands. The setup process asks for a first and last name. There’s no easy way to reserve branded names if someone has taken it.
There are many profile names that have taken the name of well-known brands. Here are some examples:
You’ll often find that a person has claimed the name, sometimes someone who isn’t at all active on the site. This drives me crazy about Twitter too. People have profile names and don’t use their account, preventing someone else from getting it. And there is no way to contact them to figure out a way to get it back!
For example, just like on Pinterest, Barbie doesn’t have their brand name on Twitter. @Barbie is not run by Mattel, it’s run by someone spoofing Barbie (great for some laughs). Mattel has had to settle for @barbiestyle
Facebook has done the best job of the social networks to make this fair, although getting your username isn’t easy. But at least it’s possible (it helps if you have connections or spend a lot on advertising).
I believe the sites should put a time limit and if you’re not active for a year, send you a warning and then proceed to delete the account and put the username back into existance.
What do you think? And, have you grabbed your username on Pinterest yet?