the product naming blog

June 15, 2012

New gTLD Rush a Naming ".Fail"

ICANNgTLDS.pngThe blogosphere has had time to digest the domain name rush and there are very few words of encouragement for it.

GigaOm calls this whole thing a "train wreck" and gives us a compelling list of reasons why this will turn into a mess.

Are that many companies or individuals or organizations really going to register for a .gay domain name, or a .arab one? And what purpose would it serve to have a .beer domain name, or a .pizza domain? That doesn't seem to matter to ICANN -- it plans to hand out names by the thousands regardless of whether anyone wants them (although it's not clear what will happen with .porn or other suggestions).

The problem is, of course, that so much of this is frivolous, and that it looks like a blatant move by ICANN to make some quick cash off brand managers and domain registrars.

Washington lawmakers seem to be calling this a big ".fail," with nervous government watchers worrying that this will cause confusion on the Internet.

And while we are on the subject, what about domain names like ".sucks" and ".fail," which are certainly going to be used to criticize brand and political figures.

The "most applied for" brand name extensions look a little encouraging (".app," ".LLC," ".LLP," etc) but let's note that many companies are against the process and have signed a petition with the Association of National Advertisers.

Still, Wired has asked us why the new gTLDs are not a bit more amusing and have in fact produced a list of domain names we'd like to see but, will not, due to the cost and regulation of the process of registration.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2012

ICANN Releases List of TLDs Today - Naming Online is About to Get More Complicated

BrandTLDs.pngBrace yourself, world.

Today, Wednesday, June 13th, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN) will release 2,000 proposals for new Internet domain suffixes.

As you may recall, in January ICANN started accepting proposals for new domains.

Now, the mad rush has closed and we get to see who wants what. Those interested in applying for a new domain name had until the end of May to propose new domain suffixes and cough up $185,000.

So what happens next? Well, according to Businessweek:

THE CHALLENGES: The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposals. Someone can claim a trademark violation or argue that a proposed suffix is offensive.
THE LOGISTICS: Because of the high number of proposals, ICANN will review them in groups of about 500. There's a lottery-like system to determine which ones get to be considered first. It could take a few years to get to the final group.
THE REVIEW: ICANN will review each proposal to make sure that its financial plan is sound and that contingencies exist in case a company goes out of business. Bidders also must pass criminal background checks.

And there is more to the review process, of course. Months and months of it.

This is adding hundreds of hours of work for everyone who has a meaningful domain, and offering upstarts a chance to make the Internet that much more confusing.

Think about the headache Coke has, for instance. Every single permutation of its name and the word .cola now must be theirs.

Or, consider the hassle faced by Lady Gaga (or any other celebrity): they are all waking up today hoping that porn sites haven't lobbied for their names.

As I have said before, this might be a big disaster. Or a small one. But a disaster nonetheless.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2012

Arizona Man Tries to Take Over Google's Naming and Branding

GoogleLogo.pngAnother day, another naming nutcase.

A certain David Elliot in Phoenix is taking on Internet behemoth Google in an attempt to strip the company of its trademarks. Yes, he wants Google's name, and says that the trademark is now generic. He argues that the word Google now simply means "search on the Web."

I warned Google this would happen in a blog post years ago. Actually, in many blog posts where I talked about the slippery slope to genericism.

I noted that you don't copy something, you xerox it, and nowadays people call a facial tissue a kleenex. In fact, to Google is now a verb.

Now, Mr. Elliot is trying to make it official, not least because he owns an impressive amount of websites (750 of them, in fact) that contain the word "Google." Such as Googledonaldtrump.com and Googlegaycruises.com.

CNET notes that Elliot's legal team (who I hope are charging this man by the hour and collecting in advance):

Leans heavily on the American Dialect Society declaring that "Google" was the word of the decade, a word that means "search the Internet." The complaint also says Google is aware that its trademark could be lost, as happened with "zipper," "thermos" and "yo-yo."

Google has already sued Mr. Elliot for the rights to his websites and won, and I would imagine that they could afford to drop a few million just for the fun of it to ensure that they don't lose their trademark status.

To summarize Catherine Cai at Tom's Guide, this might have been the start of an interesting legal debate save for the fact that Elliot's websites are so pathetic looking it is clear he is trying to make a buck off Google's name. Cai concludes, "maybe this is just somehow an expensive, elaborate troll."

Yeah, that sounds right.

We Google things using Google, not Yahoo! or Bing. Additionally, Google has very carefully filed its trademark and defended it in the past.

The name may become generic someday, but only when it is determined through legal cases, and only then will Google possibly lose the trademark (although it really does not seem likely) but Elliot will be long gone by then.

The only thing that will remain of him at that point will be blogs and articles that are full of laughter, scorn and derision, that people can, well, Google.

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May 14, 2012

Apple's Decision to Change iPad Product Naming Across the World Isn't "Ridiculous"

No4GiPad.pngIt appears Apple has caved to Australian advertising watchdogs who have been pressuring the company to change its iPad product naming from "iPad Wi-Fi + 4G" to "iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular."

The problem?

The carriers in Australia aren't capable of a 4G quality network for the new iPad. The new iPad with 4G LTE only seems to properly function in the U.S. and Canada on a total of five carriers.

The new naming isn't for Australia alone, but also for the U.S., Canada, UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Ireland and Hong Kong. The iPad 2 will stay with the name iPad 2 WiFi + 3G.

Apple recently posted this message on the Australian online store:

This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX networks. For service from a wireless carrier, sign up for a simple, month-by-month plan on your iPad and cancel anytime without penalty.

And "for the sake of absolute clarity" Apple is placing notices at points of sale in their retail stores as well.

The reaction across the blogosphere has been mixed, but I was interested to see that iTWire was willing to say, "Apple has certainly had some boneheads to deal with in its time, but none more so that those who were unable to read the 4G iPad marketing materials, and those in government power deciding they could 'do something about it.'"

iTWire goes on to say that the threatened lawsuit against Apple is "ridiculous."

I think Apple probably figured that if they went to court in Australia, they would lose.

It doesn't seem reasonable to suggest to people they buy a certain product with a certain service that they will not even be able to use. Apple's willingness to change the name in the U.S. is indicative of that - because only a couple carriers here support 4G.

The name change represents a move towards accuracy in marketing. And that is not something I would call "ridiculous."

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May 8, 2012

Will New iPhone Go the Way of iPad Product Naming?

domain_img.pngThe chatter on the blogosphere is heating up about what the new iPhone will be called, not least since the "New iPad" was such a shocker.

Will it be "The iPhone" or "The Next iPhone" or how about the "iPhone 5"? There are a few good reasons why we might see an iPhone 5, because Apple has filed a claim with the World Intellectual Property Office for iPhone5.com.

Says Ross Newman of Business 2 Community:

Interestingly, Apple didn't get full control of the domain iPhone4.com until nearly a year after that device launched. And guess what happened with iPhone4S.com? Apple gained full control two weeks after the release of the iPhone 4S because that domain was forwarding visitors to pornography sites! Talk about a wrong turn.

iPhone 5 is an easier name than whatever might follow iPhone 4S, and the new iPhone will be revamped enough - thinner with a taller display - to warrant a new name, he adds.

Even business analysts are looking at this preemptive move for the domain name as proof that the iPhone 5 name is coming out.

iphone-5.png

Still, this just might be Apple trying to take control of the phone's name in the "virtual world" as well as gain SEO ranking. Apple does not want that iPhone5.com site to come up when people search for the new phone... unless they own it.

The new iPhone 5 launch will be huge, no matter what, but it is just too early to say if the company is going to drop the nomenclature for the iPhone brand name the way they have with the iPad.

Given the obsession Apple has with brand congruence, I would not be surprised if we did see the introduction of a device called The New iPhone.

Apple is just too secretive about its brand naming to let the cat out of the bag by grabbing this site long in advance.

But maybe not.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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