After being “asked to rename Tweebay by a rather large corporate,” UK developer Paul Rawlings tells me he has decided to rename his Twitter marketplace Tweba. When I first wrote about Tweebay, a classifieds service that uses direct messages on Twitter to confirm bids, I wondered if “eBay might consider it a violation of its trademark.” The name effectively conveyed the idea that Tweebay was trying to be the eBay of Twitter, which was the problem. It was riding the coattails of an established brand.
Coming up with a good name for a startup or Web service is always tricky, but stay away from directly incorporating existing trademarks. Any company worth its salt will protect its trademark and ask you to stop. Then you’ll have to start all over again, like Rawlings is doing now with Tweba.
At least he’s relaunching with more features. Tweba now includes payments via Google Checkout or Paypal, feedback, and stores by category. The feedback is fairly straightforward. Buyers say whether or not they would buy again from a given seller, and vice versa. If you give a seller negative feedback and say that you wouldn’t buy again from them, then you are in fact barred from bidding on future items from that seller.