By taking the @memcached username on Twitter, Gear6.com has engaged in identity theft. Yes, someone call the police now.
I’m pretty sure this is one of those posts that won’t make anyone happy.
Let me first start off with what is meant by identity theft. Wikipedia provides a pretty solid, working definition. If you disagree with it, then I’m curious as to why and how, but for this discussion, I’m using it to prove a point.
“Identity theft is a crime used to refer to fraud that involves someone pretending to be someone else in order to steal money or get other benefits.”
For example, if I walked around telling people I’m Chow Yun Fat while flashing a fake ID that says Chow Yun Fat, and I say, “Let me into this party. Wasn’t Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon an awesome film?” then I’m stealing Chow Yun Fat’s identity. There is no way he’d say, “It’s cool, go ahead and pretend to be me.”
Let’s take a look at @memcached on Twitter.
First off, having the url, http://twitter.com/memcached , is like having a business card. A business card cannot be used to legally establish identity, but it strongly suggests an identity.
In this case, I would expect that http://twitter.com/memcached is someone, or a group of persons working on the memcached open source project.
Let’s say I go to the url for the memcached twitter account.
What do I see?
I see a few posts of @memcached pretending to be a member of the memcache open source coding team just like some dude pretending to be Chow Yun Fat at a party.
And here’s bdeshong thinking he’s talking to memcache:
There are other examples where they announce releases of memcache as if they were the memcached development team.
Now they’re clearly pretending to be someone else, but are they doing it for stealing money? Getting other benefits? Well, no money has changed hands here. There are just a lot of confused people, but confusing folks isn’t a crime.
Are they getting benefits?
Yes! In the Internet age attention equals money in terms of pageviews. They are definitely getting the benefit of the advertising garnered through the memcached name!
This sort of reverse-swiftboating where the stolen, good name of an open source software project is used to prop up business interests. I really do believe that building scalable websites is a good business model, but please don’t steal names that represent reputations you haven’t earned.
I ask @ev and the folks at Twitter to please take away @memcached from Gear6.com and give it to the *real* memcached community.