'KnowEm': The Protection from Identity Theft in Social Media

Identity Theft is a major concern in real life. But would you be as attentive if it involves your virtual life? We all heard about content theft, scrappers who steal our blog contents for own benefits. Now evoked a big question in the social media world:

“How far would you go to protect your banding? Beloved URL? And of course, your username! Should we be worrying and constantly on the look-out for our vanity URL & username in the world wide web?”

A new website called KnowEm.com, co-founded by Barry Wise, was launched recently. It enables you to monitor hundreds of popular social media sites to prevent identity theft. For starter, by going to the site, key in your username, or any brand name that associates with your business/current projects etc; you’ll get a full glimpse of the account availability of your keyword for 120 popular sites:

I know what you’re thinking. 120++?? And I’m perfectly sure, a majority of us don’t own even 20% of the sites listed! The laborious tasks of registering each of them would be..well, somewhat, crazy, unless your branding name means the world to you. KnowEm does provide the service of securing your identity in one-go over 120 social media websites, if you are willing to pay a fee of $64.95; and $9.95 additional for the auto-registrations for the upcoming social media sites.

Mouse-over shows the descriptions of the social media site

This would be good news for the reputed companies, also celebrities if they ever plan to take social media seriously and further ahead. It was mentioned in this piece of news that some big names are still available on almost 90% of some sites shown on KnowEm‘s list. Uh-oh…

The concerns?

As much as I think normal people like us won’t bother much to pay for the service, some of the big names in various industries may not think so, ONLY IF they plan to make social media part of their marketing strategy. In a news article of L.A.Times: Ignore Twitter? Major Brands Learn They’d Better Respond–And Quick, Jeremiah Owyang, a senior analyst at Forrester Research made his point regarding the matter,

“To stay safe in the social media minefield, brands need to make sure to secure their own domain names in the various online environments — before any squatters do — and then start to build a community there. Then when a crisis happens, online or off, brands can then use that community to their advantage.”

Considering social media has gone mainstream nowadays, not to mention the Twitter frenzy between Ashton Kutcher and CNN, now even Oprah Winfrey joins in the game; predicting more famous parties may dip their toes into social media soon enough. While Know’Em may be seen as an alternative to partially prevent the identity theft in social media, some also see it as a timely opportunity to profit while creating a name in social web.

Do you think the identity theft concern is over-exaggerated? Or they are right on the punch? Would there be a branding/username-grabbing spree on the social media web from now on? Would you pay for the service? Do share with us your opinions.

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Copyright © 2009 by Wong Ching Ya, All Rights Reserved, “‘KnowEm’: The Protection from Identity Theft in Social Media

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