Some marketing types have said that having your brand name verbed by others is heavenly, well beyond flattery, kind of like a marketer’s Shangri-la. As you may recall, we have explored the legal implications of the verbing of brands here, here, here, and here.

What about having your brand name used as a reference point in

by Mark Prus of NameFlashSM

Some of my name development clients are fans of long, keyword-rich names. Obviously the appeal of a search engine spotting your website is driving this approach.

Some of my naming clients are fans of short names that can be easily shared on Twitter.

Which approach is better?

I will

For the last month or so I’ve been following the antics of Twitter as they attempt to assert rights to the word "tweet". Based on their completely inconsistent—one might even say schizophrenic approach, I feel justified in using the word "antics".

Until very recently, Twitter didn’t seem to care much about what third-party apps were named. In fact, in a blog post from July 2009, founder Biz Stone said, "Regarding the use of the word Twitter in projects, we are a bit more wary although there are some exceptions here as well. After all, Twitter is the name of our service and our company so the potential for confusion is much higher. When folks ask us about naming their application with "Twitter" we generally respond by suggesting more original branding for their project. This avoids potential confusion down the line."

Note the phrasing: “suggesting more original branding”. What happens if the developers don’t take the suggestion? By allowing so many third party apps to use the name already, they’ve tacitly given permission for others to infringe on their trademark. If they then try to defend their trademark against the new filers, what can they say?


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twitterrificDownload-Spam Logo-

What does Twitter have in common with Kool-Aid, Mickey Mouse, and Spam? Maybe nothing, at least yet, but I predict that it will soon, unless Twitter retains some talented PR help in a hurry. Why?

The Kool-Aid, Mickey Mouse, and Spam brands all have spawned secondary or alternate and negative non-trademark meanings that have become part of the English language, meanings in each case that lack positive brand associations, to say the least. If Twitter is not careful it will find itself “following” the likes of Kool-Aid, Mickey Mouse, and Spam, and be in the similar undesirable position of tolerating language changes that distract from their brands and favorable brand messages, to be left watching others make generic use of their brand names to communicate a variety of ideas and meanings that are neither flattering nor brand building.


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What is Twitter? What’s a Tweet? Can I be Tweeted?  Will a Tweet hurt? Twitter is a micro-blogging portal that allows for sharing messages and links that are 140 characters or less and it is being talked about everywhere. This buzz is causing clients to ask questions, similar to those above, about what this space means for