CHICAGO, April 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Brand Vigil is an online brand protection and regulatory compliance tool that monitors social media for uses of brands and trademarks anywhere in the page name, account name, or blog name. This social media monitoring tool enables companies to easily and inexpensively identify the most problematic uses of their brands in social media, take action, and track enforcement through an intuitive and easy to use interface. Brand Vigil differs from existing social media monitoring tools, which tend to either (1) monitor all posts and tweets mentioning the brand and pre-selected keywords to measure social engagement; or (2) check a large number of obscure and irrelevant networks for only the exact trademark or brand name.
Why should companies use a social media monitoring tool to find unauthorized uses of their brands and trademarks in social media page, account, and blog names? These pages can make it difficult for consumers to find the official brand page, damage the brands, and even create liability for the brand owner. When internet users search for brands on social media and through search engines, these pages, accounts, and blogs show up in the search results, and are often indistinguishable from the official pages and accounts. Even when the results are actually viewed, it can be difficult to tell which is the official page or account. This is particularly true with social networks like Facebook, where all pages look similar except for the picture, name, and info, each of which can be easily changed without any technical skill or cost. The situation is even worse on Twitter where many recipients of tweets have never even seen the account page. In some cases, the unauthorized pages and accounts may have more fans or followers than the official brand page, such as the fake BP account created after the Gulf oil spill, which attracted four times more followers than the real BP Twitter account. They can even fool the media and other “experts” like the fake Exxon Twitter account that fooled a Forrester analyst.
While some of these pages and accounts are set up by imposters who spread misinformation and tarnish the brand, many others are set up by employees and affiliates including marketing department staff, retail location managers, franchisees and distributors, who are trying to reach out to their customers. While well-intentioned, these pages and accounts can unwittingly create liability for the brand owner. When they mistakenly engage in false advertising, infringe copyrights and trademarks, or disparage competitors, it is the brand owner who will most likely be sued. “Recent guidance and enforcement action from regulatory agencies such as the FTC, FDA, and FINRA also suggests that companies will increasingly be held responsible for social media communications sent by their employees and affiliates – whether the company knew about them or not. Using a social media monitoring tool like Brand Vigil can help companies get their social media houses in order to avoid such problems,” says Marc Trachtenberg, social media attorney and Brand Vigil creator.
About Brand Vigil
Brand Vigil currently monitors Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Blogger. It is web-based, and accessible from any computer with an internet connection, as well as many internet-connected mobile devices. Brand Vigil is available for direct subscription at http://www.brandvigil.com and as a white label solution for resellers. Free evaluation accounts are also available for the media.
About Marc Trachtenberg
Marc is an attorney whose practice focuses on domain name, Internet, social media, marketing, advertising, promotions, trademark, copyright, and privacy matters. He has extensively represented clients in matters involving use of brands online. In this capacity he has recommended brand-specific strategies to protect trademarks and copyrights, identified threats to clients’ online brand presence including domain name and social media abuse, and aggressively enforced these rights on behalf of clients, both informally through industry channels and social media site-specific dispute policies, as well as formally via litigation in federal court. Marc managed a unique law firm-run domain name registrar where he managed large domain portfolios for some of the world’s best known brands, and has helped recover more than 1,000 domain names in his career, both in the United States and internationally. He has also advised the Chinese government with regard to Internet products, phishing, and fraudulent domain registrar activity.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Marc was a software consultant who advised clients regarding enterprise-class software and web-based technology and also worked for a firm that designed regulatory compliance software and provided application development services to major pharmaceutical companies.