Two strange things happened last week. The first is this fake Guinness advert that's caused quite an uproar. The second is Janet, an ExxonMobile employee speaking for the company on Twitter, was exposed as a fake. How do you handle this?
Brand-jacking, as Jeremiah likes to call it, is the cheapest and most effective means of making a protest we've seen in a while. Imagine what activists groups, wronged employees and even competitors can do pretending to be you? What's stopping me from registering a Twitter account as you and circulating fake news? If your answer is my good conscience, you should read the rest of this post.
Shel thinks think the solution is to claim everything. That would mean registering the RichardMillington domain and subscribing to every service possible (Jaiku, Plurk, Twitter, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Facebook, MySpace, etc etc) to claim my rightful name. That doesn't work for two reasons. The first is that I share my name with many other Richard Millingtons. The second is that new services will always be created. It's just not worth the time and effort to claim them all.
For the same reason you just can't monitor everything. Even with the greatest Google alerts and monitoring software out there, new services and comments can always slip through the net
A Simpler Solution
There is a simpler solution, just have a base of operations for all your online efforts. Somewhere for all your fans/followers/customers to see who and what you are.
For the corporate companies, that's your website. For the individuals, that's probably your blog or Facebook page. I suggest every company should have a page on their website (if not from the home page itself) that serves as their base of online operations. A page that lists the blogs of employees, YouTube adverts uploaded, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, everything that you want associated with your company. This will do two things. It will make it almost impossible for your company to be brandjacked (or at least brandjacked visible by people who care about you and your company), second it will publicise your efforts to those that do care. Lets turn the website from a page into a conduit.