Welcome to “How I’m Starting a Toy Company” Blog. Where “I” is former tech entrepreneur D.S.

This entry is about how we acquired a Pinterest username that was already taken and registered to a different user.

If your social media username is already taken, trying to get it or buy it is an effort. And, it is a different process for each social media channel.

Earlier this year, we bought our domain name (from Sedo for some $600; it was lollipup.com). We thought acquiring the domain name was the hardest  and most expensive part. This is not necessarily the case these days if one wants to acquire the social media handles as well.

I’ll only explain how we secured our Pinterest username here.

1) The Pinterest username is the username indicated in your Pinterest settings. Pinterest/________

2) If your username is already taken, there are two ways one can try to acquire it.

– A: Trademark Infringement. If another person or company is using your username, AND this person or company is infringing on your trademark, then you can petition the social media channel (Pinterest in this case) to assign to you the username.

For laymen and non-lawyers (I went to law school), trademark infringement requires two things: (1) you must have trademark rights in the name (register your trademark with the USPTO), and (2) the company that is using your trademark must be using it in a way to create “confusion” with consumers. The question here is something like “Would consumers believe that this other company is affiliated with yours?” For example, if you are Versace and you don’t have your @Versace username, you would need to show that the person or company that does have the @Versace username is using it to post pictures of your clothes or clothes that are similar to yours. If the person or company that is using the @Versace username is using it to post pictures of Dog Clothes, you would fail to make the case for “confusion”. And you would not be able to acquire your username via this mechanism.

– B: Asking the User in Possession of your Handle. We would have failed to make the case under A. The other way one can acquire a Pinterest username is by asking the person that does have it if they would be so willing to assign it to them. We asked Pinterest how we could facilitate a transition if the person would be willing to give it to us. The Pinterest team let us know that as long as the user changes their username to something else in their Pinterest settings page, Pinterest immediately releases it as “available”. So, if the possessor of the username changed his/her username to something else, we could theoretically register it (as long as someone else did not beat us to the punch). This is how we ended up acquiring and registering our Pinterest handle @lollipup!

– I reached out to the person behind the Pinterest @lollipup username (via Facebook actually because I couldn’t figure out how else to reach out to them)
– I explained that I was starting this new company and what it was about and asked if they might consider giving or selling to me their Pinterest handle @lollipup
– I offered $200 for this
– They said yes! And, we picked a day and time that we would both log into our Pinterest accounts at the same time and do the the switch. As soon as they changed their Pinterest username to something else, they message us and said “done”, and we then in turn immediately changed our Pinterest username to @lollipup (to match our domain).

Wrapped this up today actually!

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