Update: Google has confirmed to me that Alphabet isn't on Twitter at all, and that this account is a fake.
Google's new parent company, Alphabet, is fascinating for a host of reasons. But as we were writing up our explainer on the subject, we couldn't help but notice a few interesting things about how Larry Page and Sergey Brin went about branding their new project.
Clearly, a lot of thought went into selecting the name — as Page explains, it's a reference to human language and the innovation it represents. But picking a catchy moniker is just the beginning of a much more complicated process. As with any rebranding these days, firms also have to make sure they've lined up all the right Web domains, social media handles and so on. You wouldn't want your customers to wind up at some other company's site, would you?
This is what makes Alphabet's choice of URL so interesting. They picked abc.xyz — a clever play on letters. You can't help but wonder, though: Did the company make any effort to secure Alphabet.com, which might be the more natural URL that an average person might guess is related to Alphabet the firm?
Google declined to answer, but a quick records search reveals that the current owner of Alphabet.com is none other than BMW, the auto-maker.
— Brian Fung (@b_fung) August 10, 2015
(Update:BMW is reportedly looking into whether Google is infringing on its trademark.)
This suggests that if Google had tried to secure Alphabet.com, they would've been bidding against another gigantic multinational corporation for the rights — not some small-time Internet user in Ohio. And that would've meant potentially spending a lot more money for a Web site.
Meanwhile, there's a lot of confusion over Alphabet's Twitter presence. For a time, it appeared as if a Twitter handle going by @Alphabetinc spoke for the company. The account has been followed by what seems like dozens of journalists.
Hello, world! — Alphabet Inc. (@aIphabetinc) August 10, 2015
It's a little strange, though, because if you type in twitter.com/alphabetinc, it gives you someone else's Twitter page.
Then some sharp readers of this blog pointed out that the account that posted the "Hello, world" tweet actually goes by @aIphabetinc, if you look closely enough. With an uppercase "i" instead of an "L." Readers seem skeptical that Alphabet controls either of these handles at all.
More clear is that the company doesn't control the handle @alphabet. Instead, it's some poor dude in Cleveland who's feeling the brunt of the Alphabet launch most personally, by getting all of the accidental Twitter love meant for the actual company.
Well, that was an interesting way to end a Monday...
— Chris Andrikanich (@alphabet) August 10, 2015
Congratulations, Chris. You're Internet famous.