Twitter snafu when dealing with businesses

| October 27, 2011

If Twitter wants to be successful commercially, they need to start doing a way better job when working with businesses. The story of our recent interactions with Twitter is a good example of how today they seem to not know how to work with businesses - which from my perspective is probably the main reason why it is so hard for them to find a way to monetize the service.
Anyway, here's the story of how we at Jelastic got the Twitter handle that we wanted - @Jelastic - but not nearly the way we expected.
When we started working on Jelastic launch in June 2011, we obviously wanted to set up a Twitter account for our team. @Jelastic seemed taken but inactive - no activity whatsoever. Our attempts to contact the account owner didn't produce any results. In a few days account even got to suspended mode. We contacted Twitter support using their form to get the account - but never heard anything back and had to register @JelasticCloud instead. We filed a ticket asking to switch us to @Jelastic when possible and, again, never heard anything back.
Time went by. Jelastic started getting traction among Java developers and @JelasticCloud started getting followers. Things were going well, until this Monday all of a sudden @JelasticCloud got suspended. We have not received any notification on the email address provided when registering the account, Twitter provided no explanation, and the only suggested way out was to once again fill out a support form - which is what we did.
We again provided the details, including link to our trademark application for Jelastic and evidence that no one else owned it, contact phone number and so on. It is Thursday now and we have still not heard anything back from Twitter. The account is suspended, the support ticket is "In Progress".
Trying to figure out what to do, we accidentally figured out that @Jelastic account has been released and we could indeed register it now. Which is what we immediately did and where we moved out Twitter activity. (If you were following us before at @JelasticCloud please switch to @Jelastic now.)
I guess we are happy that we got the handle we originally wanted (why wouldn't Twitter tell us that it became available when they knew that we wanted it? knowing that it was for a commercial service they could even charge us something for the account!), but bottom line is that the experience of dealing with Twitter service in the situation was probably the worst you can think of:

  • They simply suspended the account without any warning or notification,
  • They provided no way to challenge the decision,
  • They ignored requests even though these contained evidence of trademark ownership, contact information, and indication of urgency of the matter,
  • They even cleared the followers lists of the account so we cannot easily notify everyone who previously followed us that we got a new handle now.

This makes Twitter probably the most unreliable business partner you can think of. In a situation in which they could easily make money of notifying that the account we need is available and charging us for smooth transition, they instead completely dropped the ball and gave us a few hours of panic and a couple of days of frustration.
A lot needs to be done to change the way the company treats customers today if they want to become a commercially successful business.