AKQA liberates its Twitter name
There is some controversy over what AKQA stands for. I was initially told it was an acronym for "All known questions answered." Then I heard it was founder Ajaz Ahmed's initials. Whatever, it's a top agency brand. But it was faced with an embarrassing dilemma for a digitally savvy shop: Somebody had taken its Twitter name. @AKQA sat dormant, presumably taken by a squatter. Posts would refer to "@akqa," only the agency didn't have the account. Twitter, with only a few dozen employees, doesn't make it easy for companies in that situation. AKQA reps followed the account but were unable to direct message the holder because the DM function was disabled. At first, the agency was told there would be a nine-month waiting period. After two months of complaints to Twitter, AKQA has finally gotten its name back. They sent e-mail requests to both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. That didn't get them very far. Finally, they got ahold of Twitter CEO Evan Williams. @ev had bad news: The shop would need to wait nine months to get the dormant account. So, AKQA turned to the old-fashioned route: connections. The San Francisco shop found an employee who knew someone at Twitter to get control of the account. The experience brings up an interesting point. Twitter was made for individuals, yet it's become important for corporations. The case shows the opportunity the company has in providing some level of services (for a fee, I'd hope) to corporations who see it as an important communication channel.
—Posted by Brian Morrissey
I have the same issue with my blog. Someone has taken the @adverblog account, and is using it to publish my blog feed. I got in touch with Twitter several times but nobody ever replied. I know I'm definitely not as big as AKQA, but I hope that "a twitter individual" out there will read this call for help!
Posted by: Martina | May 15, 2009 9:50:54 AM
My comments are: What happen to the other person. Did AKQA and Twitter make him go M.I.A. or D.W.A.T.?
Twitter: @MATSNL65 @infuz
Posted by: Langston Richardson | May 15, 2009 12:26:25 PM
Yep yep, ran into multiple cases of this. Twitter squatting (twisquatting) is the new domain camping. Took about 2 months to get back a cut and paste reply that stated their policy which they have no interest in enforcing.
Posted by: Bill | May 15, 2009 3:11:33 PM
@matsnl65: the account wasn't being used. My understanding is Twitter follows a similar approach to email services in taking back accounts that are dormant and putting them back in circulation.
Posted by: Brian Morrissey | May 15, 2009 3:21:52 PM
I created the @akqa twitter account when I was working for AKQA some time ago. We were working on a campaign that did some twitter integration, so I needed an account to test with. Back then Oprah wasn't tweeting, it was no big deal -- I forgot about the account. Then, about a month ago, I realized I still had it -- I re-enabled it and for a while watched random people sign up, like 150 of them. So I came up with a benign alternate-reality game that would revolve around giving the account back to AKQA, but also creating a little publicity for my own project -- the game was suppose to launch next week. AKQA found a contact at twitter first (good for them). But the way twitter took the account away is lame -- it was sneaky and dishonest.
AKQA should be better at securing its digital assettes (sic) before Oprah gets the chance to do it. When I started at AKQA (2007), I discovered with astonishment that their Wikipedia page was "deleted for blatant advertising". So I wrote a new one. It hasn't _really_ been edited since (5th hit on Google now, used to be 2nd).
Suggestion for AKQA: ask Molly to follow techcrunch and create an @akqa account for every single startup she reads about. It will save you a lot of time during the NBT.
Posted by: abs | May 15, 2009 6:55:25 PM
gotta agree with abs...it's VERY straightforward to reclaim twitter usernames, i've done so with ease for 20+ fortune 500 brands.
these are pretty important agency skills/relationships imo
Posted by: ethan | May 17, 2009 4:35:56 AM
abs - the direct message feature was disabled . There was no way to reach the person that registered the account. You left the account stagnant and you *knew* it was gaining followers and you were going to promote yourself with it? Wow. Where are you working now?
So you were working at AKQA and the Twitter account was registered to AKQA by you, an AKQA employee, on payroll, for an AKQA campaign, and you are saying that AKQA should be better at securing its digital assets? Sounds like it was AKQA's property all along, and taking the account "away" was lame? How do arrive at that conclusion?
The account was inactive and after two requests/tickets to Twitter just expired @ 1 month each (meaning, they never helped me) along with multiple emails we had to eventually go through contacts.
I am very angry.
Posted by: Molly | May 20, 2009 12:31:34 AM
I didn't know I had the account until fairly recently. You couldn't get a hold of me, because the emails went to my AKQA email that no longer exists, since I left AKQA (this is interesting: should someone monitor ex-employees mailboxes and look for some keywords, like 'twitter'?).
I was absolutely going to send you the account details (vs. selling it or doing anything else horrible with it). Yeah, I was planning a really cool, benign, AKQA-style micro campaign (micro: one tweet) as a part of handing over the account details to you. I wouldn't get too upset over the micro campaign, especially since it never happened.
I didn't feel terribly obliged to give the account back to AKQA right away since AKQA treated me really, really badly toward the end of my tenure there. And, you know, it took a little while to decide that yes, I should turn the account over. Like, if somebody slaps you a lot, and then you find that somebody's wallet with hella money in it, it might take a little while for you to give that wallet to its rightful owner.
I said "the __way__ twitter took the account was lame", not the fact that they did -- that's totally understandable.
Was there a company-wide email asking people if they knew anything about the account?
I'm not telling you where I'm working -- it's a secret.
Yes, AKQA should have a policy of creating @akqa vanity names for *every* *single* *website* that gets funding. Period. As soon as it gets funding.
Posted by: abs | May 20, 2009 6:31:07 PM
I think it should be "AKQA _is_ ..."
But what do I know, I'm not a PR expert.
Posted by: ef | May 21, 2009 3:56:28 AM
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