Always New Mistakes

September 22, 2008

Would you buy a cool Twitter name?

Filed under: Blogs — Tags: , , , , , , , — Alex Barrera @ 12:07 pm

Leo Borj asks a very interesting question, should we start registering potentially valuable Twitter names, like if they were domains? This is a very common practice with domain names known as cyber squatting. You register a domain name with the idea of selling it in a future for a higher price to a 3rd party. You could also call it, name speculation. The domain squatting is a quite profitable market, albeit it sometimes touches some ethic boundaries. Anyway, the real question is, is it worth doing the same with Twitter names?

In my opinion, it might be worth trying, although there is a fundamental flaw. With domain names, it gets down to who registers it first (except in cases where you can probe that someone else is using a registered mark with nasty intentions and even though, it’s hard to get it back if you aren’t a multimillionaire corporation). In Twitter that law doesn’t holds, or better of, doesn’t holds always. Instead you have the following general condition:

We reserve the right to modify or terminate the Twitter.com service for any reason, without notice at any time.

As you can see, if you play the squatting game, you have a very high risk of having your account suspended if Twitter deems so.

Another question that arises me is, would people follow an account that isn’t from a real person nor a company nor a brand? I mean, would you follow a Twitter user named: @sexy_toys ? Personally I wouldn’t, but hey, I’m sure some people would if that account follows them first (the problem with this is that after the recent spam limits imposed by Twitter you have a fair chance of having the account suspended).

And finally, would you sell your Twitter account, either directly to 3rd persons or indirectly selling ad Tweets? I’m sure this is going to hit hard, I do think it would work if you play it well. Some basic ground rules I would like to see:

  • Don’t spam your followers. Some recommendations are ok, but don’t transform the account into a damn billboard
  • Don’t advertise things that no one cares about or that don’t have nothing to do with your Twitter audience.
  • Don’t advertise or recommend something you don’t like or haven’t tested. It’s bad for your followers and it’s bad for your reputation.

After all, I’m a true believer of what Dave Winer sometime said: “because perfectly targeted advertising is just information.

What are your opinions on the matter?

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