Google Goes After YouTubeSocial For Trademark Infringement

YouTubeSocial founder David Sanghera has informed us that Google has sent the group viewing startup multiple email requests to hand over the domain. We also hear that the i/o Ventures-backed YouTubeSocial, which has amassed 50,000 unique visitors in the 30 days since we wrote about them last, is currently in advanced acquisition talks with a major media company so Google’s entreaties are a definite sign they are doing something right.

For those of you that are old, these kinds of “knock it off” threats, if not complied with, turn into ubiquitous “Cease and Desist” letters which come with the territory; Large companies send this kind of stuff to startups all the time, even we were not immune back in 2006.

According to Sanghera, Google and YouTube are asking YouTubeSocial for the following concessions:

1. YouTubeSocial cannot use YouTubeSocial URL.  Must change it to something else.

2. Must also change the branding and logo.

3. Must not use any monetization features. (Which it doesn’t)

4. YouTubeSocial must transfer their domain over to Google/YouTube.

While Sanghera says that he, like we did, will eventually succumb to Google’s requests, YouTubeSocial’s current strategy is to appeal to its users and start pushing out new features, like a public rooms feature and the assisted “Fling to a Web enabled TV” feature; “We’re doing this for our users, how are they going to hang out and talk with their friends if Google and YouTube takes us away?”

YouTubeSocial is still serving up YouTube ads up against all its content, so Sanghera refers the Socialvision’s product as really a “win win” situation for YouTube; “The average user spends 12 minutes on YouTubeSocial and recurring users spend about 35 minutes. So people are discovering a lot of content.”

On what happens if this David and Goliath tale does not have a happy ending? Sanghera says that the startup will have to change its URL and branding and start looking to other video services like Vimeo for content, “We’re the little guy, so obviously we have to comply.”