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Step forward the real PeopleMaps!

Where do I start? I guess the first place is that bastion of geek news, Techcrunch. More specifically, yesterday’s article about PeopleMaps.

What? We made Techcrunch? “Why didn’t you say? Hoorah!” I hear you cry.

We’ve been alerted (mostly in private you good souls, you) by many folks about the Techcrunch article – mainly in the spirit of “WTF”!!

The company that appeared on Techcrunch isn’t us, no. They couldn’t be us. They’re in a totally different business.

But why would they use our company name, when we’ve been using the name PeopleMaps since we started trading 9 years ago and already own tons of “PeopleMaps” web presence and ID’s?

http://www.peoplemaps.com

http://www.peoplemaps.co.uk

http://www.linkedin.com/companies/peoplemaps-ltd

http://twitter.com/peoplemaps

http://apps.facebook.com/peoplemaps/

http://www.facebook.com/PeopleMapsPersonalityApplications

http://www.youtube.com/peoplemaps

Heck, we’re all over the place (yeah, I know there’s tons of legacy stuff that’s out there and needs updating). Actual people, in real life, know me as @peoplemapsjulie (I have dubious friends, yes).

You’ve got to wonder who made that naming decision, no?

Step forward the real PeopleMaps…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Emily la Grange November 7, 2009, 4:54 am

    What is the latest state of play on this subject? I think it is quite shocking and don’t see the point of them brandjacking you guys… Lots of good advice has been hilighted above and I would love to hear how you get on!

  • dwlt November 1, 2009, 2:31 pm

    Ridiculous.

    Lots of good comments already, but speak to Yvonne at Pinsent Masons about the legal aspects – saw her do a session recently and seems to be really switched on about this kind of thing.

  • Caroline Melberg October 24, 2009, 3:19 pm

    I too wondered about the confusing naming, but this was a happy occurrence for me, because I went looking for the “other” PeopleMaps and found you by accident … and I’m really glad I did!

  • Tom Griffiths October 22, 2009, 11:52 am

    Having taken a brief look at their concept, site and feedback on TechCrunch I’m struggling to see how they differentiate from LinkedIn. Yes, they work across services but any conscientious LinkedIn user has imported from those already. Contrast this with you guys, with a proven, sustainable business model and lots of happy customers. I think they’ve harmed their chances of success more than yours with the decision, and I feel quite confident you’ll be able to maintain your dominance of the PeopleMaps name online.

  • Andy Hayes October 22, 2009, 10:56 am

    *sigh* A shame to have these kind of problems when you’re so focused on producing fantastic products & services.

    There’s lots of solid advice above, so I won’t repeat what others have said (since I agree) but I would ask: what’s your trademark status?

    The reason I ask is unfortunately the domain name system is tied to this, and in particular it is biased to the US trademark system versus the English system, so it would be prudent to file the appropriate paperwork if you haven’t already. I’m not qualified to give legal advice but I dare say the process isn’t THAT expensive and worth it for the peace of mind alone.

  • David Shieldhouse October 22, 2009, 8:44 am

    Just causes confusion … someone needs their arse smacked

  • Becky Cortino October 22, 2009, 4:35 am

    Sorry to hear about this stunning development. I don’t believe that branding encroachment by entities knows borders, in this global economy. Trying to understand that which is unacceptable doesn’t solve the matter at hand, as many incorrect scenarios and inaccurate accusations may be raised. What matters is what is, based on the known information (now in print). Chris’ points are good, but think seeking input from a source knowledgeable in such matters is a key next-step to protecting your established brand and product.

  • Lea Woodward October 22, 2009, 3:59 am

    It’s a shame that people feel the need to brandjack existing brands – and then trademark them for themselves… a pretty negative business move it seems, in this case.

    Chris & Mike have some very sensible advice. Basic legal advice is a good (although costly) move but having also been brandjacked in the past, I think Chris is right – focus on promoting your PeopleMaps as *the* brand. Play a bigger game, draw attention to the good stuff you’re doing and focus on your strategy.

    You’re obviously here to stay, given your track record…only time will tell if they are. In the meantime (although it’s hard, I know!), focus on your game and not theirs.

  • Robert Bell October 22, 2009, 3:49 am

    When I started We Swap Books it was a worry I had that someone could steal my company name. I was told by Business Gateway that if I could prove I had been using the name for 6 months before the name theft came to light, then legally I was in the right.

    I think you should contact them, asking them what’s going on and that kind of thing. Perhaps it would be best to get legal advice before contacting them though because it’s unlikely they will want to change their company name.

  • Mike Coulter October 22, 2009, 3:23 am

    Not good.

    Surprised this start-up didn’t do basic check re similar names.

    Pity too Techcrunch hasn’t commented on this aspect of story yet.

    Couple of thoughts:

    Based on these TC comments on the idea, maybe it won’t take-off and will end up in deadpool?:

    “I like the idea but in my opinion the product is less than half-baked.”

    “Wow, once you let it import your data there is no way to delete it or close your account. Proceed with caution!!!”

    “Pathetic since they require you to give your credit card info”

    2. Didn’t I hear somewhere that TechcrunchUK have been up in Edinburgh trying to build some sort of relationship? (Maybe wrong about this?) If so perhaps they might help sort this out via their columns?

    3. I’ll bring it up at EdCM tomorrow and see if any bright ideas/support/extention of debate unfolds.

    Hopefully with goodwill and good grace on all sides, fairness and karma will prevail.

  • Chris Garrett October 22, 2009, 2:51 am

    Seems there are three routes you can take

    1) Approach them (good luck)
    2) Legal advice (ouch)
    3) Push your brand hard (my preference)

    You will likely have to go all three, but my guess is they already are fully aware that they are using a name that is already taken, otherwise they would have gotten their first choice of domain, right? :) This means they went ahead anyway for some bizarre reason. Craziness but not unheard of on the interwebs :)

    EasyJet (I think) has been able to get domains taken down just for using “Easy” in them, IANAL but it seems you have a much better case. Talk to the domain bods if it gets to that stage, I hope though it doesn’t as it seems both companies are trying to do good things and this is just an unwelcome distraction.

    If it was me though I would be creating as much buzz as I could about YOUR brand and make sure every internet user hears about you in a positive light so there is no confusion. Create a viral storm.

  • Sarah Newton October 22, 2009, 2:46 am

    Obviously lack of any real research or thought on their behalf.

    I do sometimes find that US Companies can think they have the monopoly on names. Julia this is not right, ethical or good business practice. You need to make them aware and get the support of your fellow to put right this injustice….

    Plus it causes confusion for the customer which can never be good….

  • Val Heywood October 22, 2009, 2:44 am

    As I commented elsewhere yesterday – very strange that they should pick on this name without checking to see that it’s already in use? Wouldn’t that be the sensible thing to do?
    Smacks to me of stirring – Or is that my conspiracy theorist tendencies coming to the fore?

  • David Hood October 22, 2009, 1:43 am

    Yes, this is a problem. At best, it will result in some brand confusion in the marketplace for the customer/consumer, at worst it is pretty lazy marketing … one simple check on the internet and they would have found that in addition to a well established PeopleMaps brand already out there, the fact that you guys are mightily active in the ‘blogsphere’ would most certainly result in brand confusion.

    Simple good marketing practice!

    It actually weakens BOTH brands – so would make good sense if they reconsidered and changed the name of the product.

  • Mhairi October 21, 2009, 2:45 pm

    You should get legal advice.