Companies Monitor Your Comments
I read Andrew’s post regarding the ISO.mobi WIPO decision and I think people who post domain sales or commentary in public forums, domain blogs or other public venues should take notice. While many people think big companies won’t notice what is said about them in small niche forums, almost all companies closely monitor their trademarks and intellectual property online.
Any time someone mentions something about a company in a public venue, their post or site will probably be seen by that company, triggered by certain keywords or acronyms. Not only is it a way for people to ensure a blog post or article is viewed by the intended audience, but it’s also a way to attract unwanted attention. This pertains to people who are utilizing their First Amendment right to give their opinion about a company, and it also pertains to people who are selling trademark-related domain names or potentially infringing domain names.
In addition to this, people should also realize that it’s pretty simple for a company to track a person’s online presence. A simple DomainTools registrant report will show many of the publicly maintained domain names owned by a person. A company could then search Google for these domain names, and if they find one that the person listed on a domain forum at any point, the company now knows that person’s nickname. If they are investigating a TM domain name, they can search that person’s posting history on the forum to see if that person has ever listed a TM domain for sale. If this person has, they can claim that the person has a history of cybersquatting. It can be as easy as that.
When I started at AIG just after the Spitzer investigation, people were always cautious about sending emails, which can easily be tracked back to the sender and remain a perpetual paper trail. The saying was that if you would be embarrassed to see an email you sent posted on the cover of the New York Times, you shouldn’t send it. Likewise, you should be cautious about what you post in public or private forums. Everything can be tracked back to you and will be used against you.
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