@Qwikster Takes a Hit
For starters, it apparently didn't bother to check, or didn't care to know, that someone else had already taken the @Qwikster Twitter handle. Turns out it already belongs to a guy named Jason Castillo, who until recently had been using an image of a blunt-toking Elmo, and whose family-unfriendly Twitter feed offers more than the daily recommended dose of profanity. Castillo has since changed his Twitter image to a logo of FC Barcelona, but here's what he was using as of Monday night.
Castillo stumbled onto his 15 minutes of fame and got a bunch of new followers (he's past 10,000 at last check), thanks to Netflix's embarrassing miscue. He might try to cash in and sell the handle, and his Twitter feed suggests that he's been getting some offers. However, he'll need Twitter's approval to do so.
But this whole series of missteps makes one wonder what the heck is going on at Netflix these days as it deals with the backlash of a price increase and a decision to separate out its DVD and streaming businesses. Knee-jerk reaction, anyone?
Perhaps all is not lost, at least when it comes to Qwikster and Twitter. The company still should be able to find a suitable handle. In the meantime, the cyber-squatters smell blood (and money) in the water, having already snapped up @QwiksterDVD (its tweets are protected, so Netflix may have indeed snagged that one) and @Qwikster3, among others.
Netflix declined to comment when asked if it has obtained an official Twitter handle for its Qwikster service or if it was negotiating with Castillo.
In the meantime, the Qwikster trademark appears to be fair game. At last check, United States Patent and Trade Office doesn't have the Qwikster mark on file, and according to Trademarkia, anyone can try to apply for it for $159.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable