Don’t Forget to Lock Down Your Online Brand
Netflix, everyone’s favorite DVD-delivery and movie streaming site, has been a popular target for critics recently. The 60% price increase was tough to swallow but just when the press starts to move past that, they announce the Qwikster spinoff. But price complaints & qualms about the new name aside, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made a critical error before announcing the change – he didn’t lock down the new brand’s online presence. They took care of the domain, of course, and Qwikster.com has a nice splash page up to show off the new logo along with the promise of some XBox & popcorn, but they neglected a fairly popular site called Twitter. The @Qwikster username was already taken by a Mr. Jason Castillo who enjoys tweeting about soccer and was using an icon of a drug-using Sesame Street character when the announcement went out. It’s been a nightmare situation for Netflix, but it can serve as a very useful reminder for the rest of us.
When you announce a show, start a company or rebrand a service, don’t take chances – register everything. Take a few minutes and create accounts with the name everywhere you can think of. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the big three, but don’t overlook Meetup, LinkedIn and the fast-growing Google+. You may never wind up using them, but 20 minutes can save you from being the next #QwiksterGate and all the usernames are free. Domains are a little trickier, but at $9.99 a pop, it’s a fairly inexpensive way to protect yourself. If you can’t decide between www.(ShowName)onBroadway.com and www.(ShowName)onBWay.com, it’s better to bite the bullet and buy both. It’s true you’ll only use one, but you won’t have to overpay an opportunistic buyer who heard about your show and decided they should profit from it. We’d like to think those kinds of people aren’t out there, but the sad truth is that they are.