How I almost lost my $500,000 Twitter username @jb… and my startup

Josh Bryant is the co-founder and CEO of Droplr, a collaboration tool for sharing files. He has also worked for Incredible Labs (makers of Donna) and Ancestry.com. He lives in Bend, Oregon. This post originally appeared on his personal blog.

If you haven’t yet, read Naoki Hiroshima’s account of how he was blackmailed into giving his Twitter account away. I read it on Wednesday, and the story was all too familiar to me. My version also has a few implications that are far worse.

I’m @jb on both Twitter and Instagram. My username is a very heavy target for these types of attacks. It used to be primarily because of the Jonas Brothers, but of course now it’s all related to Justin Bieber. With the marketing power behind Bieber’s name, there are thousands of companies or hackers who would love to get their grubby hands on my username for profit. Like Naoki, I too have been offered inordinate sums of money for my username, and I get a regular stream of “forgot password” e-mails to my inbox.

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