Who Owns Your Twitter Account? #phonedog #2.50


Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Lots of coverage regarding the dispute between Noah Kravitz and his former employer Phonedog.com.

Noah used his Twitter account for work and left the company with a ton of Twitter followers. Phonedog.com worked out a stupid, post-employment deal where they leased Noah’s Twitter account.

And of course it didn’t work out. Not that anyone asked the HR lady but nothing ever works out with former employees.

Now they are suing Noah and want damages of approximately $2.50 per Twitter follower.


Not all Twitter followers are valued the same so it’s interesting how they arrived at $2.50 per follower. There are tons of predictive scoring methodologies that track your behaviors via IP address or cookie. Internet companies will index your online search behaviors and rate you on a whole host of factors. You are scored based on how likely you are to buy something, how influential you are, how much you share information, etc.

You may think you are surfing and tweeting incognito but you’re not. You have been judged, evaluated, and rated. It is too late. Some people are worth $10. Some people have no value. That’s why it is so interesting to see how Phonedog.com put an average value on Noah’s twitter followers.

$2.50 is not arbitrary.

And of course it’s higher in some industries where leads and buyers are more elusive.

Here’s the other funny thing — Phonedog.com most likely copied every single follower from Noah’s Twitter account and loaded them onto another account; however, they probably learned that they couldn’t move the needle on engagement and influence without him.


This lawsuit feels punitive. Sour grapes. Sore losers.

So being the HR lady that I am, I wanted to share a couple of lessons to be learned.

  1. No list of any kind has value without a strategic combination of voice, content, and offer. Haven’t we learned anything from Gary V? Sometimes the voice is enough. Sometimes it’s all about content. Sometimes you have to give your audience a coupon. Regardless, your audience always wants a real human being who says interesting things. You have to give ’em something — and then give them something more — or they won’t come back.
  2. If you have a popular employee who provides value but you don’t realize that value until he quits, too bad for you. Capitalism is full of risks. Maybe you should do a better job of hanging on to your employees.

And I love it when employers cry foul and get the lawyers involved. Litigation is the refuge of the stupid and desperate. What a bunch of whiners.

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