15 March, 2009

Personal Branding Infringement: How SEO Can Hurt

When I wrote this entry about my portfolio, I mentioned getting a domain name such as AmyInkOnline.com ... now as anyone in my family will tell you, I've been writing "Amy Ink" on the back of handmade greeting cards since I was a kid, as a play on the "Amy Incorporated" name. As a born entrepreneur, I liked the way this made me feel professional but creative at the same time. So imagine my surprise when I get a personal e-mail from another Amy shortly after that:

From: Amy Binder

Hello Amy,

It’s amazing the things you can find on the Web. As it turns out, we’re both Amys. I went to Temple, and you’re there now. And we both are using the same name for our business: AMY INK.

I wish you all the best in your endeavors, and I wanted to let you know that I registered the name AMY INK with the Pennsylvania Department of State Corporation Bureau back in 2001. I also own the AmyInk domain name (.com; .biz; and .net versions), and have branded “Amy Ink” as my service mark. So…before you go too far with publicizing your business name, you may want to change it somewhat to find one that’s uniquely yours.

Best regards,

We bounced a few e-mails back and forth after that. Apparently my portfolio site had been indexed by Google, which is a good thing, but I'm just glad it didn't cause any legal trouble. I never really meant to go into business as Amy Ink, it was just a fun catchphrase, and I'll still write it on the back of handmade cards as a gimmick, but my new domain name is www.amypospiech.com -- can't get any more original than that!!!

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