First, fast, furious...Bangladeshi business blog

We provide
--social media strategies for Bangladeshi businesses worldwide
--public speaking on Bangladeshi businesses and social media
--paid product/service/website reviews of Bangladeshi companies

Interested to place an advertisement for your business?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do an identity check for your brand online

There was a time in mid 90s that me and some of my techno-guru friends got excited about starting a domain name business. Plain and simple... you keep on buying domain names of prospective big companies of Bangladesh with the hope of selling it to them in future in higher prices, provided if they would ever wake up from sleep to get a website for their brand name, business etc.

Certainly unethical and a bit risky venture it was, but we did realise that not only company domains but also city domains were still up for grabs. For example, in 1995, domains like,,, etc. (major divisional headquarters) were available. We could sense money in the making and started all out efforts to start this 'business' at any cost. We started making lengthy lists of potential 'target' companies, establishments who had no clue then what even websites were and why would they need one. We were excited to experience the desktop based reach of this 'business' and the chance of getting rich overnight.

However, it was no question of ethics or legality that constrained us from launching our venture in the long run. We experienced 'entrepreneurial hiccups' due to three major setbacks. Firstly, none of us had any foreign credit cards with which to buy the domain names online. Secondly, there were not many among our network of relatives or 'boro bhais' who used to possess a prized international credit card. Lastly, some uncles and contacts who happened to possess credit cards did not have any idea what this 'domain business' was all about, so they were extremely reluctant to leak their sensitive credit card information to a bunch of part time neighbourhood troublemakers (us) and they were petrified to learn that the transaction would take place over the internet. So end of our business venture. We got back to discussing higher education, Bangladeshi politics, band music and girls.

Recently with the advent of Twitter, many similar ID or name hijackers seem to have 'booked' Twitter user names for some Bangladesh brands. Check out the Twitter accounts for Grameenphone, Banglalink, Grameen (with Yunus' photo), Aktel, Citycell, bdjobs etc. 'Ke ba kahara' seem to have very cleverly reserved the unique user names perhaps hoping that they can reach to a deal with those companies to bargain for those Twitter accounts. The use of Twitter among businesses is increasing in leaps and bounds in the west and its a matter of time when Bangladeshi brands, and celebrities will catch the Twitter fever. Its also possible that some of these 'reserved' but dead Twitter accounts might be owned by genuine employees from the company, they just haven't figured out what to do with it yet.

However, to spoil the party of the 'name kidnappers', Twitter has recently made some changes in its policies. Read them here. This means that the party is over for those who might want to reserve the brand names or operate them with fake tweets. On the other hand, I am not aware of many companies actively pursuing any social media strategy to engage the Bangladeshi consumers, both at home and abroad. So perhaps they are either not aware or don't bother if their brand identities are being hijacked online. Every one out of five internet users of Bangladesh has an account in Facebook for example, and I am not sure if any traditional market research, media research company have taken up any survey on the use of social media among various age groups in Bangladesh and how the businesses can make use of new media to connect their brand with the netsumers. The opportunities are vast how social media blended with mobile phones can change business dynamics in Bangladesh. Please don't wait for foreign think-tanks to come to Radisson and tell you that.


Kabir said...

Everything has a time which creates excitement and values.I still remember there were so much domain name businesses in USA in early 90s. You just need a catchy domain name and business profile to raise $50 mill dollars easily for a new venture. Just think about, domain was sold over $20 million it does not have any value.

Kabir said...

I am wrong, actually it was sold $350 millions in second time