Pirates of the Third Screen

Last month’s online scrap between Scrabble trademark owners Hasbro and Mattel, and the makers of Scrabulous, an unauthorized online version of Scrabble, has some implications for the future of mobile marketing. As far as Hasbro and Mattel were concerned, Scrabulous was a simple case of piracy. But what they saw as a threat should have been a triple-word score. Someone else had created a digital version of Scrabble, and amassed 2.3 million people who played it every day. It was an amazing user-generated ad campaign. All Hasbro and Mattel had to do was swoop in with their checkbooks and make it legit. Instead, they fired their self-proclaimed agency, an army of passionate Scrabble fans.

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