Privacy · Product launch

When launching, should I restrict popular brand names as usernames?

Kyle Polich Data scientist developing ML/AI tools for the cloud.

Last updated on June 26th, 2020

We're launching our product in Beta. Users are able to pick usernames and just like on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., it's first come first serve to get your preferred username.


It occurs to me I might want to come up with a blacklist of usernames that I should reserve in order to avoid users "squatting" popular or trademarked usernames, for example `mystartup.com/profiles/starbucks`.


Do you think this effort is a this a waste of time? If not, what list of names should I reserve?

Tony Porter Building a contactless restaurant platform. AWS full stack engineer, looking for a co-founder.

June 26th, 2020

I'd add a clause similar to "Using another's trademark in a manner that may mislead or confuse others about your brand affiliation may be a violation" and add a facility to rename to a generic username in the first instance.


I've been involved in blacklists before and it can consume a lot of time, better served elsewhere in the first instance.

Jeries Jaber Founder CEO @photoboxi (first social media photo booth)

June 26th, 2020

Maybe you can tie into the TM database https://developer.uspto.gov/api-catalog. The other question is what to do about artist/celebrity names.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

July 1st, 2020

It will probably create an unnecessary headache to build block lists. Unless you can import trademarks like @Jeries said, or maybe a profanity filter, having a Terms of Use statement that includes policies on the use of trademarks and copyrighted material, and a procedure for handling disputes, it's not your job to BE the legal system. You probably only need to support a method by which applicable laws can be enforced. Think about how eBay manages counterfeit goods, how Twitter manages handles, or other sites handle copyright violations. Your mechanism is probably more important than your proactive stance.


Understand that trademarks don't prevent someone from using the same name. They only prevent someone from using a name that would lead an average person to confuse one brand for the other that actually holds the trademark. Starbucks coffee is not the same as Starbucks hunting trophies. One uses a green and white line drawing, the other uses a photo of a stag head. One is in beverages, the other is in taxidermy. While I can't give you a legal opinion, it's very unlikely that the less familiar use is a trademark violation.


My position would be that you do not need to create anything more complicated than a profanity filter.

Andrii Morozevych CTO, Smartphone App Dev: Limeapps.co.uk

July 3rd, 2020

Waist of time, in my opinion.


Just add a rules, that would allow you to take username from the user, if it is a trademark, or you think they registered it for squatting.


Then deal with it, when it is an actual problem.

Vadim Berman Cofounder & CEO @ Tisane Labs, ex-cofounder @ LinguaSys (acquired)

Last updated on July 4th, 2020

Interesting.


My startup's focus is detection of content abuse, and we are about to release a name validation/analysis API.


Obviously, I have a vested interest, but even if I didn't, I think plumbing not related to the core competency should not consume too many resources.


Our original intent was to handle issues like those described in these Quora posts: https://qr.ae/pNKxWD and https://qr.ae/pNKxWl - but company names are certainly detected.


Please feel free to contact me or visit our website.

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April 12th, 2021

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