Brandjacking

luxury robber by mr bingo

Brandjacking is an activity whereby someone acquires or otherwise assumes the online identity of another entity for the purposes of acquiring that person’s or business’s brand equity. The term combines the notions of ‘branding’ and ‘hijacking’, and has been used since at least 2007 when it appeared in a Business Week article. The tactic is often associated with use of individual and corporate identities on social media or Web 2.0 sites.

While similar to cybersquatting, identity theft, and phishing, brandjacking is usually particular to a politician, celebrity or business and more indirect in its nature. A brandjacker may attempt to use the reputation of its target for selfish reasons or seek to damage the reputation of its target for malicious or for political reasons. These reasons may not be directly financial, but the effects on the original brand-holder may often include financial loss – for example, negative publicity may result in the termination of a celebrity’s sponsorship deal, or, for a corporation, potentially lead to lost sales or a reduced share price.

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