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    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Worried About Online Identity Theft?

    Mashable published an article today about protecting online identity, and it touched on a very interesting form of identity theft that we rarely think about - brandjacking. In short, brandjacking is loosely defined as abusing, exploiting, or maliciously stealing a brand's identify for one's own notoriety. Example - the recent Amazon scandal resulted in a Live Journal blogger claiming responsibility for the hack, despite the fact that Amazon dismissed his claim, and admitted it was an internal error. The blogger brandjacked Amazon's ordeal for his own glory.

    When you consider the accessibility and simplicity of publishing via a number of social networking applications, the potential for brandjacking is huge. As the Mashable article suggests, a golden rule in controlling brand messaging and content is to have presence in the social media space. Own your brand name - create accounts on all major social media networks so that others will have more difficulty trying to claim your identity. More importantly, participate and moderate what's being said when it involves your brand! This is a basic service offered by social media agencies. If you don't have an agency in place, this task is still a critical one that needs to be completed.

    Bottom line - if your brand has no voice, but conversation is taking place, you will lose control of the discussion. This leaves a brand completely vulnerable, and places it's very reputation in the hands of consumers. Given the infinite reach of social media networks, every brand needs to get online and engage with their audience regularly. Things can happen very quickly online (just ask Domino's), and news spreads like wildfire, so don't try to set it and forget it. Create it, manage it, and monitor it - daily!

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