February 7, 2012 7 Comments
I joined Pinterest in 2010. I joined the site so early that I was able to get the perfect user name for me: Elle.
Today, Pinterest took my name away.
Apparently the Elle brand (presumably of magazine and fashion fame) decided they wanted a presence on Pinterest, and wrote to them requesting the name Elle. Pinterest force-changed my name, then sent me mail saying I had to forfeit my name because of a trademark request.
The trademark thing is a crock: Elle is too common a name, and they’ve been spanked before trying to defend it. It’s got to be about business, about exposure for Elle and hits for the site. Pinterest just caved. No doubt Elle will fill their pinboards with all manner of beautiful imagery, and bring thousands of Elle magazine and fashion followers to the site. And Pinterest isn’t alone. Twitter does it too, and probably many others I’m not even aware of.
Even understanding the business aspect of it, it still sucks. I mean, if any of us wanted our chosen name on a social networking site, and it was taken, we’d be shit out of luck. I’d have to choose Elle123 or ElleToo or use any number of tricks to get a unique name. And it’s not a big deal. Other Elles got there first. It’s a fact of internet life.
Unless you’re a company forcing your way onto a site who’ll lick your boots for traffic. I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. Just annoyed.
Update 2/8: Please be nice to the poor newbie currently inhabiting the name. Pinterest didn’t have the foresight to reserve it after kicking me off (it can be as simple as parking it on a fake account, people!), so there’s likely to be a series of soon-to-be-disappointed new users on that URL. I’m sure we’ll be able to tell when the Elle brand finally claims it.
Update 2/13: And Elle Magazine has finally claimed the username. Took them long enough. What was the rush taking it from me, then? :P
Update 2/17: So they finally half-heartedly put 5 pins up, 4 days after claiming the name. Their description is a copy/paste of their Twitter description: “the official Twitter page of ELLE Magazine, the number one fashion magazine in the world.” Couldn’t even be arsed to change “Twitter” to “Pinterest.” Seriously? This is what I gave up my name for?