Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recent book on online reputation brings up some trademark issues

I plan to review the 2008 book “Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online” (Andy Beal and Dr. Judy Strauss) soon on the books blog, but I wanted to note that some of the advice in the book bears on the ongoing debate on trademark law, Internet search engines, and domain names.

The authors provide a detailed discussion of how to take advantage of SEO, or search engine optimization, so for companies – especially smaller ones trying to become established with “brands” – wordmarks identifying companies and their products or services become very critical because their use is so likely to affect search engine results. Issues with this have sometimes appeared in court already. Skillful choice of workmarks and their use in metatags on the web is probably more effective than paying for placement.

The authors also discuss the best way for individuals to brand themselves (Ok “pinning a label on yourself” as my father used to say, as if I were Chicken Little) with domain names. To make your domain name unique, add your hometown and profession. That would answer problems where you have the same name as a celebrity. Now I can immediately think of some questions. If your profession is IT, should you get down to something like “mainframe” or “Web”? People’s careers have to shift gears so frequently these days that it sounds like you could put yourself in a box, even quicksand.

1 comment:

Andy Beal said...

Thanks for bringing up a problem faced by many people not lucky enough to own their own domain name.

One other idea, is to register one of the many new domain extensions. For example, you can get yourname.me if yourname.com is not available.

I hope you enjoy the book!