A couple of weeks ago, Jorge Monasterio the founder of Avantla.com, offered this site a fantastic post titled, Managing An Athlete’s Online Brand: A 5-Step Getting Started Guide For Agents. The second step was to create social networking accounts while his third step said to create a Twitter account. Personally, I believe you can combine the two steps into one; Twitter, along with Facebook, are the two most social platforms I know of. Anyway, a digital communications agency caught wind of the post and thought that a property they represent would be a perfect fit for a follow up to Monasterio’s piece. I was interested in learning more.
On Monday, I talked with Michael Fertik, CEO of ReputationDefender and the genius behind a brand new creation: NameGrab. Michael is an entrepreneur, so we clicked right away. He started creating businesses straight out of law school, and has been very successful in his previous pursuits (when you get an endorsement from Dr. Phil, you’ve officially “made it”). He founded ReputationDefender in 2006, but only recently started marketing it after putting countless time and energy into its development. Today, there is roughly ninety people in his company with customers in spanning forty countries. His existing products allow a person to monitor his/her reputation on deep web contente that is not even visible through Google searches, remove unwanted contact information from websites, and publish information that one wants to come up through Google searches.
But what is NameGrab all about? Interestingly, it puts into motion an idea that I had been discussing with a colleague of mine a couple of weeks ago. As Monasterio stated in his excellent post,
The main point is to acquire these online properties, even if you don’t use them at first. It’s far better to have nothing on a Web page than to have cyber-squatters fill the page with advertisements.
The problem is that athletes and their agents do not want to spent the 10-30 minutes it takes to sign up for the hundreds of websites. And new social networking sites sprout up from the ground every day. How do you know which one will be the next Twitter? The safest bet is to at least reserve a piece of property on each one of them. The only property you can own is a user name.
Fertik, through NameGrab, has automated that system. For $100, he promises that an athlete or agent will be able to reserve three user names. Those user names will be confirmed by NameGrab and then the athlete/agent will have the opportunity to claim the email addresses associated with those names, if he/she so chooses. NameGrab has plans to include the purchasing of domain names with those user names and also may feature deals for sports agents who have more than three clients that they want to reserve names for.
It seems like a really cheap option that could save athletes and their agents a lot of drama and money in the future. Cybersquatting is becoming a big issue. Even college freshmen and first year medical students are finding their names taken by the time they want to register for many social networking sites.
I am currently giving NameGrab a test with the user names DarrenHeitner, Kyle McPherson (a baseball client of mine), and sportsagent. I will report back on my findings.