It comes as no surprise really and it may even be a sign that you have truly arrived, but Pinterest is seeing a proliferation of people serving as proxies for brands and celebrities.
Ars Technica reports of this growing concern that Pinterest is permitting to play out for now at least.
Each new social media service that crosses the threshold of public awareness sees two things: brands and celebrities rushing in to find out if they can use the service to their advantage and, right before that, squatters and jokers who got to the brand name first. The latest to experience this Wild West phenomenon is the visual bulletin board service, Pinterest, which recently announced a brief policy statement on usernames that hardly clears things up for companies, celebrities, and satirists alike.
I admit that I am not that interested in Pinterest quite yet on a personal level. That is not a cynical take on the service at all. There is no denying it is making an impact and that it can be good for users and marketers alike. I’m just not the right demographic as of yet.
But since people are flocking there in droves that means that the celebrities and brands are not going to be very far behind (oh happy day!). It’s at this point that things can get prickly for Pinterest. Just ask an other social media player just how troubling the identity side of the coin is. Cyber squatters are not generally folks of the highest moral make-up either which doesn’t give much hope to this situation ending well unless Pinterest steps in quickly.
So will they?
Pinterest recently posted an exceedingly brief statement of policy on “Trademark Infringement & Usernames.”
“Pinterest respects the trademark rights of others. Accounts with usernames, Pin Board names, or any other content that misleads others or violates another’s trademark may be updated, transferred or permanently suspended.”
Those who feel their usernames have been affected can register a complaint via Pinterest’s Trademark Complaint Form. Exactly what Pinterest will do remains vague. The company’s public relations firm, when asked about the exact process of investigating a complaint, simply directed Ars back to the following statement on their Trademark page.
“Pinterest will review your submission and take whatever action, in its sole discretion, it deems appropriate, including temporary or permanent removal of the trademark from the Pinterest site.”
There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to rapid growth and a “Wild West” mentality like that of the Internet. If we expect people to be respectful and simply “do the right” then we will get what we deserve. On the other hand, ask Google how it worked out for them with their real name policy.
In the Internet space there is no pleasing everyone. Pinterest may simply need to pin their hopes on the potential for people to move past the possible pilfering of their precious personality.
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