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I got a bit of notoriety a couple years back by tweeting for Roger Sterling... A bunch of folks got notoriety posing as characters from a TV show that we didn't have anything to do with. One might say we stole the brand. One would be correct.
It was just fan fiction fun and I even shook Matt Weiner's hand at one point and he seemed amused that we would go to such lengths.
But there's a more sinister side of stealing someone's brand -- just as people steal your personal identity, there are people stealing Brand Identities. They pretend to be your bank, your Internet provider, or even a restaurant.
So today I set up a little blog-site at www.brandidentitytheft.com where, for now, I plan to post little snippets of Brand Identity Theft.
Let's start with Applebees...
Interesting thing came up today, there seemed to be two, IDENTICAL Twitter Handles leading you to two DIFFERENT Applebee's
You've got the real @Applebees and then the fake one, @AppIebees, which uses a capital letter i to mimic a lower case L... In Arial at least, which is the font of choice for Twitter and many of its clones.
They took the wall paper, the logo, and they even made themselves look kind of "verified" by adding text (Twitter should really strip out the HTML ✓ checkbox to keep people from pretending to be "Verified").
Of course, I think the recent image of a sheik linked with the text, "Improvised explosive device?" should have been a tip off, but regardless of the clues that this isn't a real Applebees site, they have over 800 followers.
I'm sure Twitter would boot appibees if @applebees asked -- after all, it's clear intent to deceive fried mozzarella stick lovers! But then, Applebees proper might not even know they're being spoofed -- with the misspelling any software they use to monitor mentions would go unnoticed, and the link looks so similar THEY might even miss the fact that this is an impostor, lurking in the tweets.