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Brand protection is something not only businesses need to pay attention to. It is a concern even for bloggers who are trying to establish their online identity. Branding is important for bloggers that seek long-term success.
The following are some of the most important points to know in ensuring brand protection in the context of blogging.
Getting your own domain name
Are you really serious with your blogging? If you are, you shouldn’t just settle with a free domain provided by a free blogging platform. It’s important to register your own domain name, especially one that bears your blog name. If you continue using a “yourblogname.wordpress.com” or “yourblogname.blogspot.com” and your blog is slowly attracting traffic, it’s not unusual for others to register the corresponding .com, .net, .org, or other domain name for your blog. This is usually being done so they can sell your suitable domain name to you for a considerably higher price. Worse, they could be doing it to steal the entirety of your blog’s identity or brand.
There’s no reason not to get your own domain name. There are many domain name registrars now that can offer good deal especially if you are buying several of them. If you are running multiple blogs, you can get domains for a cheaper price if you get them in bulk.
Trademarking a blog name
If you are eyeing to turn your blog into a major online presence, you can greatly benefit from trademark registration. Successful blogs easily become the target of imitation. Many would want to ride on the success of a blog that is getting a huge amount of subscribers and visitors. Worse, opportunists may try to take away a blog’s name (along with its identity) by registering the trademark for it.
Yes, it’s not going be easy for anyone to just claim trademark for somebody else’s blog name. They would have to prove that they really own it, it is unique, and that it already has a strong reputation. However, they can always find ways to steal what they want to steal. They can put up a similar blog and use the target (victim) name. Nothing is impossible for a determined usurper.
On the other hand, brand protection does not stop with trademark registration. Once you have your trademark registration approved, you also have to actively protect it. You have to call out those who are using your blog name or using something similar but obviously associable with your name and brand. Nobody would do this for you. Patent and trademark authorities are not obliged to warn or demand appropriate action from trademark infringers. You need to send an email to the offending party clearly explaining your assertion. If you don’t get the desired response, you can then proceed to litigation.
Being mindful of scammers and trolls
As you establish your reputation online, it’s not remotely possible that scammers and trolls will try to use your blog’s identity in their malevolent endeavors. In the process, they can harm your brand as they associate your name with negative activities. If you start receiving comments or emails that accuse you of things you did not do, don’t just dismiss these as spam or scams. Learn more about the issue and promptly address it.
Establishing presence across online platforms
If you are running a blog, it is advisable to open corresponding accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, and other social media or online platforms. Doing this will prevent others from setting up online accounts that may be perceived to be associated with your blog. You don’t have to regularly post anything in these accounts. Occasional activity is enough. What’s important is that you stake your claim on these important online platforms to prevent others from leeching off your brand name or from using your blog’s reputation for their advantage.
Doing this is also important to prevent anyone from involving your brand in unflattering activities. You wouldn’t want anyone on social media posting comments that don’t really reflect your real opinion. Likewise, you wouldn’t want anyone to post comments on other blogs using your name, especially if these comments are defamatory and are bound to solicit disfavor to your blog.
Content removal or addition
One of the most sensible things you can do if you want to protect your brand name or reputation online is to set up Google Alerts about your brand or name. This is to receive notifications whenever your name is mentioned in newly published content online. This way you can evaluate if this is good or bad, and you can come up with the right response.
If it’s good, you can use it to promote your brand. Otherwise, you can request the website administrator to take down the content that is adverse to your online reputation. Not every site administrator, however, would willingly take down the content (that mentions your blog) they publish. In such cases, you can negotiate to have content addition instead of content deletion. For example, if the content mentions something factually negative about your blog, you can request to have the site post new content that presents your side or that provides updates on the efforts you are doing to address the negative issue.
Working with other bloggers
Collaborating with other bloggers is a good idea in ensuring brand protection. Establishing good relationships with other bloggers is mutually beneficial as not every blogger is a competitor. Often, fellow bloggers can help you spot potential threats to your brand or online reputation. It would be better to make friends with other bloggers instead of treating them as competitors you want to destroy or overtake.
Successful blogging is not just about posting good content online. You also need to make sure that you protect your brand and image. Your blog is like a product and assaults on its credibility and reputation can make it unpalatable to readers or visitors.