Company Note to Self: Protect the Brand!



We can all probably agree that as we work our way through this current economic situation we are going to see more scams and attempted scams than thief-mpever. Everyone is looking to make a buck and what better way than to either use good old fashioned extortion or play on the fears of those suffering the most. Ahh, isn’t it a beautiful time we live in?

In 2008 the practice of brandjacking picked up the pace and we can only imagine that it will not slow down anytime soon. Clickz covers a report that was done by MarkMonitor and released earlier this week. Leading the pack is that time honored practice of cybersquatting. While this is less likely to happen with bigger brands because of their legal clout and prowess it must be becoming more popular across the board.

Cybersquatting, the practice of acquiring a Web address or domain name that infringes on the trademark of another business, rose 18 percent in 2008 to a total 440,584 instances identified in Q4, though no specific examples were disclosed. In 2007 cybersquatting rose 33 percent, including more than 380,000 exploits observed by MarkMonitor during the final three months of that year.

If you or your company have not taken every precaution by now to protect all opportunities to protect your brand online in social media and domains then you are inviting trouble. Ask Hollywood celebrities and even industry celebrities what havoc can be wreaked when someone takes hold of your brand / image and starts to parade around as if they were that person. Online identity theft not applies to financials these days does it?

Typosquatting which taking a URL of a common mistyped domain was popular as was pay per click abuse as well. Few industries were spared from increases:

  • Apparel: 28 percent
  • Automotive: 21 percent
  • Consumer electronics: 2 percent
  • Consumer package goods: -9 percent
  • Financial: -6 percent
  • Food beverage: 17 percent
  • High tech: 21 percent
  • Luxury: Not available
  • Media: 11 percent

Also increasing in popularity were phishing tactics but the financial sector is beginning to manage this issue better.

Who is not doing well, though, are the small social networks who may not have the staff or money to police these concerns effectively. These have become prime targets and will likely continue to be until they can police themselves.

All of this simply serves to remind everyone that the online world we live in not only holds plenty of opportunity for legitimate business. Criminals and those who check any morals and ethics at the door now have a much bigger playing field to create trouble in. Add that to the fact that any money is harder to come by these days and you have a recipe for trouble.

So what are you doing to protect your brand?