I agree with Danah Boyd in that the internet has clearly changed. I too remember the time when I would scramble to claim a certain angelfire domain username or to claim a username for a forum. I settled on 'Amarei' being my permeant online identity, but that does not mean that it is always free for my use even if I have staked my claim on the handle for years in many different places on the internet. My name is an online identity that represents me. I want the person behind this identity to be fair and most importantly follow Voltaire's (misattributed) quote of "I might not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." If someone tried to steal this identity from me, I would be terribly angry. It would be comparable to the government stripping away my birth name. My name is a representation of my online identity and in some ways its a brand that I flaunt and advertise by using it whenever I can and behaving myself to give it good PR.
And speaking of brands and good PR, Google is one such company that has a brand image. Google has become a global brand name in less than a decade becoming even bigger than Coca Cola says Gleick in his article. Google is now even a verb in which it means to search for something (information) online; usually through google. Google has become what it is now, because of branding. Google pushed itself to create gmail and offered more than 500% space than its competitors for free. They then pushed itself into many other sectors of the Internet creating google translate and now their own social network, Google+. The popularity and usefulness of their products increased their brand name because they were respected for what they could provide and the result of their products.