Lately, my freelance writing business has been taking off online. So much so, that I really don’t market locally any more. If someone comes to me, fine, but otherwise, I just don’t have the time with the number of inquiries I get and the number of projects I apply for online.
A subset of the issue is my increasing concern about the value of the brand we are building here at ArcticLlama. Our name is catchy and easy to remember. Our only difficulty is in the number of people who cannot spell “arctic” (people don’t seem to remember the first ‘c’) or people who cannot spell “llama” (two ‘l’s). The latter was expected, the former was not.
Be that as it may, the ArcticLlama name is becoming known within the circles of those who need writers or editors and even those who need analysis and strategic consulting. This is very good news and we are very happy about it. However, there is a concern surrounding our name as well.
ArcticLlama is becoming known within the circles of those who need writers or editors…
With literally hundreds of websites out there that we may now, or someday, wish to use for business, networking, marketing, or just plain fun, how do we successfully reserve the name “ArcticLlama” on all of them? Already, I occasionally run into a service that I tried a few years ago using the name ArcticLlama, which was originally my anonymous online username of choice. (It was never already taken and it kept me from having to be Brian83203472.)
You can imagine the concern when I see the words, “The username ArcticLlama is already taken.” Fortunately, it has always been the case that I had already taken then name either as me (a few years ago) or as the business (and then forgot to do anything with it). So far, our strategy has been to go out and create accounts using a generic email address on every site we come across that we think might be useful now or in the future, or even sites we just don’t want someone else using our name on. Obviously, this is not efficient.
Getting a Trademark for Small Business Name Defense
A trademark is not a panacea. It certainly does not eliminate all potential for problems and abuse, but it most definitely can be helpful in some situations. The only reason we haven’t done it already is money. It costs $275 to file a trademark application. But, when your business is actually making you money, you have to invest in it. So, we are off to the trademark process. Stay tuned for updates and a Quick Guide. (We need to finalize that official name for those and trademark it too.)
Google Alerts for Small Business Name Defense
We have also setup Google Alerts with several key words and phrases. The best we can hope for from these is to get a notice of things going on with our name and phrases. Hopefully, being able to nip trouble in the bud will eliminate it altogether, something like removing graffiti right away may make it go away completely once taggers realize it isn’t worth spending the time on something that won’t be there tomorrow.
Copyscape for Small Business and Writers Name Defense
We are testing out a service called Copyscape as well. It is actually used to check for plagiarism which isn’t really a big concern of ours yet. It is difficult to steal much of our content because either it gets personalized (like this post) or because it only makes sense in the greater context. Stealing one page of content is one thing. Duplicating a dozen takes a little more effort than most scammers are willing to extend.
We’ll see how these and other tactics hold up under the harsh light of reality. In the meantime, are you protecting your good name? At the very least, you should be setting up Google Alerts on your domain names and business name, as well as your real name and online names. Use quotes to keep the alerts specific to you. For example, “Brian Nelson” brings only alerts on Brian Nelson as a specific phrase, not on a page that has something like, “Brian Smith is taller than Joe Nelson.”
Good luck. And go Good Guys.