KnowEm Review: How Much is Your Username Worth?

Some people are very particular about their brand identity, especially online.  Given how much money and effort goes into building a business, that does not seem at all unreasonable.  After all, one of the most popular kinds of identity theft is that which involves using a company name or well-known representative’s name on a forum or social networking service.  Fake leaks, bunk product announcements, gross slander, and all kinds of other mayhem can be caused this way, which is why it is important for any company to control all instances of its own username(s) across as many platforms as possible.  Otherwise, somebody else could be using it doing god-knows-what, but chances are that it won’t be good.

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KnowEm: It’s Like a Domain Check For Social Networking Usernames

The best way to understand KnowEm might be to compare KnowEm to the process of finding a domain name.  Several sites, especially hosts, make registering a domain name simple  by offering alternative domain names and checking other domain types.  Instead of only offering a yes/no answer on whether cooltoys.com is available, many sites offer results that check cooltoys.com, .net, .org, as well as synonyms for toys and cool.  By checking so many possibilities and putting them all in one place, the process of registering a new domain is made a lot much easier.

These are just a few of the networks Know 'Em covers

These are just a few of the social networks KnowEm covers

KnowEm does the same thing, but instead of checking domain name availability against DNS records, they check username availability against over 350 social media networks.  Some might ask how important it is for them to establish a unified presence across all existing social network sites, and that is a good question.  The answer is that it is akin to being as important as the land grab for domain names was at the end of the 90s and start of the new millennium.  The bottom line is that ownership of names could very well be the next hot property, and it certainly comes with both a carrot and a stick.

Before discussing the carrot and the stick, there are a few potential problems worth addressing.  The first is that there is really not much that can be done if a username is already taken, at least not from KnowEm’s end.  This means that established brands with existing Twitter, Facebook, and/or MySpace profiles may find that they have been beaten to the punch.  KnowEm is, however, ideal for those that are planning on building a brand rather than managing a brand until one looks at the prices.  The fact is that most of KnowEm’s offerings can be a bit pricey for a startup that is not sure where they will be in a year, and budgets are exceptionally tight in the current economy.  That being said, KnowEm does offer a free plan that they feel will entice users to upgrade.  This policy actually seems to be make a great deal of sense, and that is something that any savvy businessperson should enjoy in a supplier/partner.  With that out of the way, it is worth examining the carrot and the stick a bit more thoroughly.

Why Usernames Are Critical

The stick in this equation is surprisingly obvious: letting someone else run around with a name that is associated with a company, organization, or individual on social networking site is likely to cause chaos.  The carrot is potentially huge, and it really needs an example to be understood well.  Consider two brands, one of them new and one of them an established brand that is starting to recognize the value of social networking.  After all, who isn’t realizing that power of social networking these days?

Social Networks by Type

Social Networks by Type

The startup company starts a freebie account to manage a single profile across several sites, while the established firm decides to opt for a more feature-rich plan with some of the bells and whistles such as having bios/pictures automatically to new and upcoming social networking sites by uploaded by KnowEm.  The startup ensures that their brand is secure in the realm of popular social networking, as does the established brand, as KnowEm constantly patrols the web looking for new social networking sites.  Who knows when the next Facebook will be born?  The point is that KnowEm knows, as they have dedicated databases that track the popularity of hundreds of different social networking sites.  This lets both companies focus on their offerings and their message, not worrying about whether or not someone is going to steal their well-known ID on the next big social networking site.

How Much Does KnowEm Cost?

The good news is that KnowEm can be free, if one is willing to do all the work.  This approach is hard to argue with, as it essentially acts as a free way to reserve usernames.  There are limitations to the free account, which is aptly named the Free plan.  Other plans range from the $64.95 Essentials plan to the $599 Enterprise plan, with plans typically gaining features such as advanced automatic signups that include profiles, bios, and pictures, as well as alternate usernames.

Summary

If the idea of spending countless man-hours searching for, and signing up on hundreds of social networking sites sounds unappealing, consider how much time and money an individual or company might waste one sites that never gain any traction.  If the idea of wasting time and money on such a large scale seems unappealing, and it should, then it should certainly be worth investigating KnowEm further.

Nick Reese is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who believes anyone can transform their business and life they they’ve got guts and hustle. He’s also the co-founder of Broadband Now which aims to simplify the broadband shopping process.