Brandjacking is the process of creating or aggregating content around a brand and then charging the brand for ceding control.
I did not coin the phrase. I first heard it on Lisa Barone’s article titled “Seth Godin Tries Out Brandjacking”. It all went down when Seth Godin launched his project, Brands in Public. Under this project he aimed to aggregate content about a brand on it own page. Think of it as an automated wikipedia like page which contains articles, tweets, blog posts etc. about the brand. Sounds like a good idea, isn’t it? The only problem here is that the brands don’t opt-in and they have to pay $400 a month to get complete control over the page.
Is this a wrong thing to do? According to Seth Godin, these conversations are happening all over the internet anyway. All he is trying to do is aggregate it and put it on one page. Further he believes that he is doing a service to the brand by giving them insight into what the internet is discussing about their brand. But according to Lisa Barone and other high profile bloggers, the intent behind this is not as noble as Seth Godin would like you to believe. First, the brands did not ask for this. And second they are being held to ransom.
Techcrunch’s Nik Cubrilovic put it best: “We were going to reach out to Godin yesterday, but instead figured we could write this story by aggregating what everybody in the world thinks of Squidoo, and then asking him to pay us $400 to remove the parts he may not agree with.”
Seth Godin has since reversed his position on Brands in Public and made the system opt-it. I give him points for listening to his critics and taking action quickly.