My Cease & Desist Letter From Snapchat

It’s been an honor to receive a “Cease & Desist” letter from one of the largest booming tech companies in the world — Snapchat. I mean it sucks they sent me one, and then claimed a domain; but, it makes for a great story. Feel free to read along if you’re interested!

How It All Started

Obv. an issue with the spacing here

Well, Snapchat launched in 2011, but up until a few months ago they didn’t let anyone create “custom” geofilters over locations. And when they did, well no one really took advantage of the potential it had.

Snapchat’s custom geofilters allow you to map an area with a custom design and create branding campaigns (note: NOT direct response) on steroids.

If you take a standard programmatic display campaign and mix that with crack, you get the power of Snapchat’s custom geofilters. Yup, seriously.

So, I started this with a buddy of mine a couple months back. I saw the opportunity to disrupt the way many companies run branding campaigns, and immediately hit up my buddy who became my partner in this. Our only goal was to get as many brands/SMB’s on board as possible.

So, I started this with a buddy of mine a couple months back. I saw the opportunity to disrupt the way many companies run branding campaigns, and immediately hit up my buddy who became my partner in this. Our only goal was to get as many brands/SMB’s on board as possible.

I wanted a domain that included the three main things attached to it: 1. the platform (Snapchat); 2. the product (filters); 3. our service (design).

I thought it would also be SEO friendly, but we never won that game (not that it mattered, we cold-called like the Wolf of Wall Street boiler room for every single one of our clients #hustle).

The large companies (Sephora, Forever 21, etc.) all work with Snapchat directly so we had the entire arena of the tier-two companies to go after (radio stations, celebrity tours, famous barbershops, star-studded nightclubs, DJ Khaled, etc.).

It’s been an epic journey, to say the least, and my partner is probably one of the most innovative outbound sales guys I’ve ever worked with. Just mind-blowing how fuckin’ good he is with it. Can’t even stress it.

The Day The Letter Came

It was a bright sunny day on July 11th, 2016 as I was sitting in Starbucks. It was supposed to be FREE SLURPEE DAY, NOT FREE ‘GET A CEASE & DESIST LETTER FROM SNAPCHAT’ DAY!

But anyways, it came through my email. My first thought was

“Oh, shit. What did we do?”

Then I read it and realized it wasn’t bad at all. They basically didn’t want us to use the domain we were using at the time because it included the word “Snapchat” in it. IMO they just wanted free domains, but whatever, have it your way Snap. I still love you guys.

I sent an email back asking if they would at least pay for the domain at-cost ($14.99), since they wanted us to transfer it right in their GoDaddy account. All I got in return was a big fancy explanation saying how they own any and all rights to the word “Snapchat” and I had to do it for free. They were even kind enough to attach some examples of lawsuits that resulted when people didn’t want to transfer it over.

Needless to say, Snapchat won; I mean, why would you try and fight a company worth $22 billion who have some of the best attorneys?

So the next day, I transferred the domain into their GoDaddy account, and that was the end of it.

They did, however, mention they loved what we were doing with their ads platform taking it to the SMB market since that’s one they don’t have the means to focus on and simply asked we do it under another name.

No Harm, No Foul

Snapchat is happy. Our clients are happy. My partner and I are happy. We still provide one of the best services when it comes to this; don’t take my word for it, our clients’ names will prove it.

The lesson of the story: Don’t try to make a domain out of a multi-billion dollar company, or any company for that matter, to try and “hack” SEO or vanity for your product or service.

So, wanna be Snapchat friends? Add me by clicking here!

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I'm a funny guy, I think. I do a lot of stuff with paid media. I also work at hint, a healthy lifestyle company based in San Francisco. Google it!

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About Me

Nik is an entrepreneur, and a digital marketing strategist. He has worked with celebrities from Pitbull to Priyanka Chopra and brands like Hint Water, TMZ, Complex, Sony, and more.

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