Companies like Cedar Fair deal with Twitter imposters

Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009 8:57 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Amusement-park operator Cedar Fair LP received an email from a marketing consultant who had created a Twitter profile in the name of its Cedar Point amusement park. The consultant offered to relinquish control of the account in exchange for season passes to the Cedar Fair park and suggested that the company hire his firm to oversee its Twitter account.

Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, June 28, 2009 9:18 PM

Funny.. I was just talking with my fellow admins at work a few months ago about this very similar topic. We were pondering when cyber-squatting would start encroaching facebook and twitter to the point it becomes legal. Especially since the squatting law didnt span past domains.

Just another classic case of the laws not catching up with technology.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009 9:58 PM

I'm not lawyer, but I can guess with reasonable certainty that the same rules would apply. Trademark law is what it is, and this really isn't that different from domain name use.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009 10:09 PM

Well thats just it..

Pre 1999 because the laws weren't explicit for domains names.. So there were quite a bit of people getting away with holding names over peoples heads, especially if the companies wernt 30 lawyers deep, so they updated the laws to be a bit more specific.

The problem with twitter is its technically an account name under a service. Unlike TLDs where the name is overtly infringed upon (the user types in the company name.(dot whatever). Theres really nothing explicit about the handling of account names. Right now the moderation is mostly up to the provider (ie twitter, FB, etc).

I see trademark laws rewritten to accomodate this move in technology.. Like the TLDs of pre 1999, they wont leave it as is for people to discover the immediate loopholes.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009 11:36 PM

But trademark law is still pretty straight forward as is. If you use a mark in a way that can create confusion in the marketplace, and I think there's a strong argument that a Twitter account would, then it's infringement.

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Monday, June 29, 2009 3:02 AM

...sounds like extortion...

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Monday, June 29, 2009 6:46 AM

The consultant, David Goebel, president of Goebel Group Inc.,offered to relinquish control of the account in exchange for seasonpasses to the Cedar Fair park and suggested that the company hire hisfirm to oversee its Twitter account.

Mr. Goebel, who confirmed the incident, surrendered the account atCedar Fair's request but says he feels the company should have givenhis proposal "some consideration."

What kind of idiot would black mail a company for business, and then make a complete fool of himself by saying the company should had given it "some consideration?"


No wonder the world's in such an economic mess; if guys like this are running companies, I'm surprised we have an economy at all! The Invisible Hand is good, but I don't think it could deal with this level of stupidity.

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Monday, June 29, 2009 6:52 AM

Jeff said:
But trademark law is still pretty straight forward as is. If you use a mark in a way that can create confusion in the marketplace, and I think there's a strong argument that a Twitter account would, then it's infringement.

I completely agree. There is no doubt in my mind that its infringement.

I think the law is going to take it from the standpoint that the name of said company is still in the domain name "twitter.com/company" even though its a path in the domain which, generally speaking, the domain trademark law says you cant use someone elses' trademarked name in your domain, without permission from said company.

Our work conversation actually stemmed from an issue twitter ran into weeks ago, where they (twitter) were actually being sued by Tony La Russa for allowing the use of his name. At the time twitter claimed they dont have the comprehensive list of trademark names and cant easily search everyone.

This is why I think laws will be rewritten to be more explicit.. To protect the middle man from being the target, keep domains and accounts from being sqautted, and protect the trademarked company.

I also see Twitter (and the like) beefing their ToS.

This isnt the first time the laws are behind technology and it wont be the last.

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Monday, June 29, 2009 9:42 AM

You don't get hired by Apple by posing as them at trade shows, going up, giving them a copy of their business card, then asking for a new iMac, do you?

How can you take this guy seriously when he asked for season passes?

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Monday, June 29, 2009 11:31 AM

I suppose this is why Twitter is implementing a "verified account" feature.

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Monday, June 29, 2009 6:14 PM

Or Cedar Fair could take the easy way out and just not use Twitter anymore. Why should they deal with a website that lets people impersonate them? (Not to mention the fact that some of us think the Twitter concept is just really freaking stupid in the first place.)

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Monday, June 29, 2009 6:36 PM

If you live in tech circles, Twitter isn't just "a Website." Its importance is something to debate, but at the moment you can't just ignore it either.

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Monday, June 29, 2009 8:52 PM

What Jim S. said. Twitter is the future of the internet experience, and the future looks really freekin' stupid.

9:32 - I'm going to go to the bathroom.
9:36 - I didn't realize that I had to pee that bad. i love my new Softsoap.
9:58 - The Golden Girls is coming on! I can't wait!
10:04 - The Betty White is sooooo funny!
10:32 - i am so happy! Another episode is coming on! I'm making popcorn!

"Slowly put the i-phone on the ground and put you hands where I can see them." lol


edit - what's wrong with my spelling errors lately?

Last edited by LostKause, Tuesday, June 30, 2009 3:15 PM
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Monday, June 29, 2009 9:03 PM

Meh...I don't have time to read 140 characters. And by the time you get a tweet the news is already old.

I'm signing up for Flutter!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 8:53 AM

I suppose I could relate Moosh.. I typically stop at your 140th character. ;)

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9:27 AM

LostKause said:
What Jim S. said. Twitter is the future of the internet experience, and the future looks really freekin' stupid.

9:32 - I'm going to go to the bathroom.
9:36 - I didn't realize that I had to pee that bad. i love my new Softsoap.
9:58 - The Golden Girls si coming on! I can't wait!
10:04 - The Betty White is sooooo funny!
10:32 - i am so happy! Another episod is coming on! I'm making popcorn!

"Slowly put the i-phone on the ground and put you hand where I can see them." lol

Two words: Hash tags.

You could track the Iran uprising and several other major news stories on twitter (first hand reports, not rehased and spinned) before ANY other major broadcasting sites did. While you could follow it all on twitter, CNN was showing a rerun of Larry King Live.

I use twitter. My university is using twitter for news updates, allow coaches to talk to fans, and send out discount information and deals. I can follow woot.com, CNN, and other sites that push out updates with worthwhile information and you can interact back with. If you use twitter to follow idiots, the technology will be idiotic. Just like the telephone, fax, and email. Nothing different.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9:42 AM

The seven flaws of Twitter

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 11:10 AM

Hash tags and searching for crap on Twitter only categorizes the noise. It doesn't make it any more valuable.

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