Is there any way to stop ‘brandjacking?’

Last week, someone started a satirical Google+ page that looked like a real Bank of America page. Google took it down, but was there a way to prevent it?

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There’s an entire government agency dedicated to preventing airline hijackings. You can stop carjackings by locking your doors while you drive. But if someone wants to pose as your brand online—”brandjacking,” if you will, is there any way to head it off?

The latest company to experience the phenomenon, Bank of America, saw someone posing as the financial giant the day Google+ opened up its service to brands, Nov. 8. And the impostors didn’t have good things to say. The description underneath the banking company’s name on the fake page stated, “We took your bailout money and your mortgage rates are going up.”

It wasn’t until Nov. 15, after TalkingPointsMemo’s IdeaLab pointed out the brandjacking incident, that Bank of America contacted Google and the page came down. That means the page, including its unflattering view of the company, was up for almost a week.

Was there a way Bank of America could have prevented the brandjacking? Can other companies stop it before it starts? It takes vigilance, experts say.

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