It’s Not Squatting Until Someone Else Wants It

But what do you think? If someone was early to the Twitter game and took the time to register 100 keyword accounts around the possibility that someday Twitter handles would be valuable, is that wrong? Now that it’s apparent that Twitter handles ARE ‘valuable’, but that person’s not using them, should he give them up – release them back into the Twitosphere? And what about you? Do you ‘own’ multiple Twitter handles? Did you secure the Twitter handle to match your domain name or does some ‘Twitter squatter’ have it now?

Election reaction
Creative Commons License photo credit: markhillary

As you can probably tell I’m a big fan of Jason Calacanis’s This Week In Startups web show. I learn a lot and I enjoy Jason’s quick wit. Jason is a very public figure who lays his opinions on the line and for that reason attracts a lot of haters. So many in fact, that the acknowledged term for them is ‘Jaters’.  I know I’m risking adding fuel to the fire, but this is more interesting than that, so here goes.

On a recent episode Jason volunteered that he ‘owned’ the Twitter handle @democrats. He mentions that he had a use for it – he’ll use it to cover politics – but that the DNC had called him and asked for it. Jason’s response was, “Well, what kind of arrangement would you like to make for it?” To which they replied, “Well when you give us the handle we’ll retweet it.” What ensues is a funny riffing session between Jason, Lon Harris, and Tyler Crowley. Listen carefully and you’ll get some insights into the kinds of things, apart from money, that could entice the owner of a domain (or Twitter handle) to part with it.

(Click arrow to play audio) @democrats

But what do you think? If someone was early to the Twitter game and took the time to register 100 keyword accounts around the possibility that someday Twitter handles would be valuable, is that wrong? Now that it’s apparent that Twitter handles ARE ‘valuable’, but that person’s not using them, should he give them up – release them back into the Twitosphere? And what about you? Do you ‘own’ multiple Twitter handles? Did you secure the Twitter handle to match your domain name or does some ‘Twitter squatter’ have it now?

My point is only that ANYTIME someone wants what someone else has, a MARKET grows. You can regulate it, but you can’t control human nature. If you’re angry and find yourself using the term ‘squatter’ you’re probably being irrational. Either that or you should call an IP attorney, at least for a consultation. In other words, GET OVER IT!

You’re Going To Wind Up With A Dot Com

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s another Jason Calacanis audio clip from This Week In Startups, episode 29.

Jason on ‘Dot Com’

The context is a domain/brand a caller mentioned in a previous ‘Ask Jason’ segment.

Jason Calacanis: Isn’t it amazing though Tyler? The people with the naming.
Tyler Crowley: I just found out… I think lean.ly is available. With the dot L-Y which seems to be the hot new…
Jim Lanzone: Hmm!
Jason: Oh…
Tyler: Don’t get you started with that?
Jason: gov.ly? (refers to earlier in the conversation)
Tyler: gov.ly?
Jason: gov.ly
Tyler: lov.ly gov.ly
Jason: lov.ly gov.ly… I hate that nonsense.
Tyler: Yeah.. L-Y’s catchin’ on, so is dot F-M
Jason: (Sighs)
Tyler: But it gives people more of an option to come up with names… You use Bit.ly all day long!
Jason: You know what, De.licio.us did this as well, and then when they were successful they wound up buying Delicious dot com.
You’re going to wind up with a dot com anyway, You might as well make the effort and spend the money to get it early. So you don’t have to re-brand it!