The Twitter Domain Rush: Don’t Get “Twit-jacked”

My previous post on Twitter got me thinking about what other companies had registered language-specific domains for their Twitter accounts.

Turns out, most companies haven’t even registered Twitter accounts for their primary brands.

Like who?

Apple, for one.

Here we have someone who apparently likes apples but isn’t Apple:

twitter_apple

It appear that Microsoft reserved its account early on, though nothing is there. Microsoft does have about a dozen Twitter accounts that do include content.

twitter_msft

Coke — someone who drinks Coke, but not the company.

twitter_coke

While Pepsi does have a Twitter account.

twitter_pepsi

The Wall Street Journal has an article out about this domain name rush.

So many questions come to mind:

  • Will Twitter enforce trademarks for valid holders? Usually, the WIPO does this with domain names, but this isn’t actually a domain name in the traditional sense.
  • What percentage of the millions of new Twitter accounts being registered every day simply squatters hoping to make a quick buck? That is, how much of Twitter’s growth actual growth?
  • And what about third-party domain marketplaces — will we see them emerge? Or will Twitter start its own marketplace?

In the meantime, if you’re thinking about reserving a Twitter domain, do it now before getting Twit-jacked…

Twitter and Web Globalization

icann_es

ICANN recently launched its own Twitter feed. And since ICANN is a global organization, it launched more than one language feed — one in English and one in Spanish.

http://twitter.com/icann_en

http://twitter.com/icann_es

This is not the most scalable solution. And I’m not trying to pick on Twitter; the issue effects any multinational company or organization.

For instance, let’s say ICANN launches a Portuguese feed for Brazil. The address would have to read twitter.com/icann_pt_br. Similar challenges arise with French (Canada vs. France). And even the English and Spanish feeds are inherently going to exclude various flavors of the languages.

In addition, if I were wanting to be a pain, I could register icann_ru to beat ICANN to that address. And this highlights a larger emerging issue (and opportunity) as Twitter becomes more corporate and less personal — how to ensure that brand holders have access to their names. I always thought this would be a nice revenue source for Twitter, similar to the way that registries profit from domain registrations.

Ideally, Twitter would allow you to set up one address and then forward language-specific feeds to the subscriber based on their preference — sort of like how language negotiation works now with Web browsers. For instance, if I type in Google.com, the language I get aligns with the language preference of my browser.

But therein lies the challenge of Twitter — it doesn’t just send feeds to a browser. It sends the feeds to browsers and mobile devices and even Twitter apps, like Tweetie, which I use on occasion.

ICANN is now migrating its subscribers from icann_en to icann. No word yet on what will happen with icann_es.

What do you think Twitter should do to solve this issue?