Technology: September 2006 Archives

NikonAs you may already be aware, Nikon and Flickr (the very popular Web 2.0 company just purchased by Yahoo) made a unique deal a few months ago. www.flickr.com, the place to store and share photos, would place Nikon branding on its site and then Nikon would launch a campaign called “Nikon Stunning Gallery”, where photographers could upload their images to Flickr and tag them as part of the “Nikon Stunning Gallery”.

Flickr LogoAnd although some initially viewed this move as another “annoying branding deal”, the cooperative effort seemed to be working. And the great part is that the “Nikon Stunning Gallery” contains very little agency-created content. It is, for the most part, consumer generated content.

This past Thursday, at the Momentum Growth Conference 2006, (covering the exploding digital media ecosystem) Susan Kuchinskas, of The 360 blog, wrote about advertising within consumer generated content and reported that “Jason Zajac, Yahoo’s vice president and general manager of social media, said that the most successful promotion overall this year was the Nikon Stunning Gallery, the branded photo gallery that pulled in images from Flickr.”

NikonNikon’s next move: Get its customers to promote the brand.

A group of heavy Flickr users were sent free Nikon D80 cameras and told to use them as they saw fit. Some of their pictures have been collected into a 3-page ad insert in the latest issue of BusinessWeek. With this move, Nikon has developed an extension of both the Nikon "Stunning" campaign as well as the partnership between it and Flickr. The Flickr brand name and logo is featured prominently in the Nikon ad, by the way.

Nikon and FlickrSo, it seems to me that the “Nikon Stunning Gallery” advances Nikon’s long-term strategy to “transform imagination into creativity”. And I think it does this in three ways:

  • Promote Nikon cameras within consumer generated content, encouraging photographers to use Flickr
  • Associate the Nikon brand with the Flickr brand, which represents the ideals of community, empowerment, user interaction, and knowledge
  • Created a URL, nikonstunninggallery.com, that sticks and combines the brand name with an adjective evoking the brand promise

NikonRohit Bhargava, VP Interactive Marketing, Ogilvy, had some great thoughts about the campaign: “This promotion is simple, relatively easy to implement, and perfectly on brand for Nikon. The Stunning Gallery positions Nikon again as the choice for photographers of all levels serious about capturing stunning moments in images. Best of all, it doesn't alienate Flickr users, but rather engages them in the promotion and encourages them to add their content to this gallery.”

I think Nikon's partnership with Flickr does what it is supposed to do: motivate camera buyers to feel passionate about the Nikon brand. What do you think?

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Product Names: Ubunto Is Linux for Human Beings

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UbuntuThe new Ubuntu Linux Beta just launched and its been named Edgy Eft, and includes a host of new technologies.

Ubuntu is a free, open source, solid and reliable linux operating system that South African billionaire Mark Shuttleworth feels will revolutionize the computer industry. The name he choose is an African word meaning, essentially, “sharing and community” although a larger definition is on the Ubuntu site: "humanity to others", or "I am what I am because of who we all are". Many of the smaller apps are named after South African animals including Hoary Hedgehog, Python 2.5 and Warty Warthog - even its code name was Breezy Badger.

UbuntuUbuntu's naming architecture for its other projects is pretty cool: Other product names include Kubuntu, Edubuntu, and Xubuntu.

  • Xubuntu is a GNU/Linux based system using the Xfce Desktop environment
  • Kubuntu is based on KDE, the K Desktop Environment
  • Edubuntu is Ubuntu aimed at classroom use

Many South Africans hope that Ubunto will bring South African culture direct into the cybersphere. Governments in Brazil, China, India and Malaysia are already using open source software, and Shuttleworth is convinced that his project will help bring computers into Africa, where Microsoft has already introduced versions of Windows in the Zulu, Setswana and Afrikaans languages.

But Shuttleworth, the first African in space, is a well respected, flamboyant figure in South Africa and may have the ability to work some serious juju on his bigger competitors in California.

Links du Jour 09-29-06

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NameChinese miffed by lewd Japanese computer game - History often has its part to play in even the most cutting edge product naming: Chinese gamers are angry about a new game named “Slaves of the Red Mansion” that seems to be a clear slur on the classic Chinese literary work entitled “The Dream of the Red Chamber.”

The latter is an ancient morality tale written by Cao Xueqin in the mid-eighteenth century during the Qing Dynasty and considered the Zenith of classical Chinese fiction. “Slaves of the Red Mansion,” is a mildly pornographic game with a heroine much like that in “The Dream of the Red Chamber.”

Chinese gamers are furiously creating a new game that extols the virtues of the Chinese resistance to Japan during WWII - it has yet to be named but is sure to further strain relations between the two countries.


NameMicrosoft and Yahoo Messengers update their Mac clients - Yahoo and Microsoft's instant messaging products can now speak to each other and are updating the Mac clients to allow for a new symbiosis of brand names that was not available until recently.

This gives Microsoft another badly needed foothold in the Web 2.0 world: Messenger can now communicate with Yahoo IM, AIM and iChat. This also helps make the relationship between Yahoo and Microsoft yet cosier, and a clear move to match the virtual marriage between the Google and Apple brand names.


NamePole officially Pesky - The Boston Red Sox have named their right-field foul pole in honor of Johnny Pesky before the Sept 28th game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The pole has had the official moniker for some years but yesterday it was made official - it’s now Pesky’s Pole, after the first player to have three 200-hit seasons. The honor was bestowed to him on his 87th birthday, and he threw out the first pitch of the game.

Final score: Tampa Bay 11, Boston 0. Congratulations, Johnny!

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Links du Jour 09-28-06

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nike_store.jpgIs Flash-y E-commerce Always a Safe Bet? - Kelly Mooney brings up an interesting point about online commerce, in general inspired by Nike’s relaunch of its online store: secure web pages for checkout. She’s noticed that the all important page is “http” and not “https”, which means that she’s a tad worried about entering her credit card details on an open page.

She also points out that she’s not fooled by the “Verisign” logo on the page, because it probably isn’t being used - its just available to the Nike developers. She makes the point that trust online is crucial for shoppers who want to buy your product...and that tiny difference in the URL makes all the difference to the savvy shopper. If Nike is making this mistake, who else is?


rover_mercury.gifHow to bring Rover back quickly - Jack Yan has a great post up about how the Rover brand name might be given new life now that Ford owns it. For one, SAIC will have to drop the brand name.

But Jack asks us to think of this: could expanding the Rover product name to Mercury exports possibly work? The Mercury Milan is a great candidate for this, and with a little tweaking could be a great flagship for the ailing Rover brand, which still commands a great deal of loyalty for European buyers.

This is a pretty crafty idea, as the Mercury name is hardly known at all in Europe, and Rover is beloved.


virgin_ntl.gifNTL: Telewest and Virgin launch Quadplay - The package includes multi-channel TV with video-on-demand, broadband, home telephone and a mobile service. It’s the very first offering from the newly united NTL:Telewest and Virgin Mobile brands, which will be rebranded (and possibly renamed?) as a single communications/entertainment provider.

Looks like they beat Vodafone and BP to the punch - but as Vecosys points out, telcom companies have been merging across Europe all with the purpose of linking communications with entertainment, so look for more new brand names offering the same services.

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Links du Jour 09-27-06

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Paris HiltonAlcohol ads suddenly awkward for Paris - Paris Hilton's recent charge over a DUI has caught up with her and ironically she has lent her name to winemaker Prosecco, who uses her as the subject of his ads touting his Rich line of sparkling wines. Chris Thilk wonders aloud whether somebody who was caught driving under the influence is a great person to associate with an alcohol product name.


kiwi.gifOne Fruit's Story - Martin Schwimmer leads us to an interesting post on how the humble Kiwi fruit is benefiting from some really savvy handling of intellectual property law.


cbs_netcast.jpgCBS.com uses "Netcast" instead of "Podcast" like Leo Laporte - Great conversation on Digg right now about whether CBS has chosen to use the term "netcast" over "podcast" to avoid litigation by Apple. Check out some other posts I've linked to here and here about this issue. It seems as if Apple is not going to be successful in protecting the “podcast” name.

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Findable Company Names: Is A-1 Losing Its Appeal?

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google-logo.gifThe thick layer of dust on the phone book on my shelf is a sign of the times. Why look in the White Pages when we have Google and InfoSpace?

AAAAA.gifThis change has enormous implications for company naming. Back when we depended on paper directories, there was a real advantage in having a name that started with “A.” Open the Yellow Pages under “Storage” and what’s the first thing you see? AAAAA Rent-a-Space. Everything from taxis to mortgage companies has been tagged with the name “A-1,” and not just to indicate good quality.

But search engines, unlike directories, don’t rely on alphabetical order. Unless your company's name is also a keyword or phrase that people search when looking for a company that does what you do, having it start with “A” won’t help much.

What search engines like best are descriptive names. Computers are boringly literal creatures. They won’t know you’re a bank or a car dealer unless you put “bank” or “car dealer” in your company name.

yellow_pages.gifThat doesn’t mean you can’t have a fanciful name and appeal to humans as well as search engines, but if you choose a name which isn’t one of the keywords people search when looking for products like yours, you need to take steps to make sure you put those keywords elsewhere on your company's website, like in the title and the body of the text.

For more perspectives on naming for search engines, check out the forum at Search Engine Roundtable.

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Links du Jour 09-26-06

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appledevil.gifHow Apple, at its core, is like the French - Stephen Baker at Businessweek Blogspotting tells us that Apple’s recent struggles to trademark “pod” and “podcast” illustrate exactly why the French try to stay away from words that come right out of advertising. So, if things go well, instead of podcasts, we might have “baladodiffusions.” You can read all about Apple’s struggles to trademark the names on ZDNet.


Spoiled Rotten (Apple) - Joseph Jaffe links to some great posts that are generally critical of Apple’s efforts to protect words related to “pod”. Interesting material here about how Apple may be hurting its brand name with this action - is “tripod” next? Watch out, camera buffs.


blackdahliasixfeet.jpgOnce again, death becomes her - Take a look at the graphics used to support the new Black Dahlia Movie versus those behind Six Feet Under, both of which probably appeal to the same audience. I do not think this is an outright trademark violation but the Six Feet Under image is very much associated with that particular brand name and Black Dahlia’s promotional poster looks very similar.

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Branding and Kaizen: It's Not Just About the Batteries

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panasonic_logo.gifThe recent exploding battery issue faced by Sony, Dell, and Apple (and now Toshiba and Panasonic) is not helping the worldwide perception of Japanese brand names, while giving a serious boost to Asian competitors such as Samsung and LG.

The quality problems have spilled into the motor industry as well, with auto-giant Toyota also calling back millions of poorly made cars, (2.2 million of them in 2005 vs 200,000 in 2003) and even into the food industry.

samsung_logo_1.gifIndeed, Korea’s Samsung plans on taking Sony’s place as the second largest battery maker in the world within the next few months and Hyundai can barely conceal its delight at Toyota’s failings.

kaizen.gifThe Japanese conception of “kaizen” or “improvement” is so central to the Japanese national identity - and for years so well represented in the craftsmanship of Sony and Toyota products - that the recent damage done to these brand names has caused a national furor and a suspicion that “something is amiss in Japan.”

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Brand Naming: Is Microsoft's "Live" Dead?

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Windows Live LogosI am now pretty sure that the Microsoft Live Search Center product name has been scrapped.

The news is not firm yet but a few very reputable blogs, including Liveside, show that evidence exists, supported by a recent newsgroup post at MSDN, to announce that Live Search Center is going to be renamed Windows Search Preview. Liveside gives us a nice history of the ill-starred product name:

  • Originally codenamed Casino and internally called OneView
  • Announced by Bill Gates as just Windows Live Search
  • Named as Windows Live Search Center by Steve Ballmer
  • Now being called Windows Search Preview

This may actually herald the end of the Live product name itself (although I doubt it). We have all known that there have been problems with the Live brand name that have been picked up by the press especially as it applies to the Windows search engine and it seems somebody in Redmond was listening.

This is the second application, after MSN Soapbox, to lose the “Live” name and I am sure that trend will continue: the Live name is now appended to email, domain hosting and games, and it’s just too confusing.

Watch out for the official announcement, it’s surely on the way, just as more Live products are going to be renamed.

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Links du Jour 09-19-06

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Tickle Me ElmoTop-secret Elmo Revealed! - Yes, the 10th Anniversary Tickle Me Elmo has been unveiled and he is to be called TMX Elmo. The TMX Elmo product name represents two things: Tickle Me Extreme" or "Tickle Me 10" and it looks like he will be pretty hard to get (just like his predecessor was).

Hopefully, consumers will not confuse this name with the Mexican Telephone Company ticker symbol (TMX), the computer term "Translation Memory eXchange", the company called TMX Communications, or TELEMETRIX Network Construction.


Talk Like a Pirate DayTalk like a pirate training film prepares you for the upcoming holiday - Yes, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, so here’s a quick link for those of us who want to bone up on the lingo. Pirate brand names and product names are all the rage now, so we may as well give in for 24 hours.


Finally, a Definition for Web 2.0 We Can Agree On? - Steve Rubel reported on a recent InformationWeek article that defined the term "Web 2.0": "Web 2.0 is all the Web sites out there that get their value from the actions of users."

Web 2.0 LogosRubel thinks that corporate sites that brand themselves by valuing their customers' thoughts and comments are also "Web 2.0". Examples of brands whose names are unquestionably associated with being "Web 2.0" would include: Wikipedia, Digg, Technorati, and Flickr.

Some argue that MySpace and Facebook should be considered "Web 2.0" brands as well, given their influence and interactivity.

One comment to Rubel's blog post suggested that this reflects our need and interest in naming our technological cycles, something that Intel was arguably in control of, with its 286/386/486 chip naming architecture.


Citizendium LogoCitizendium: a more civilized Wikipedia? - The founder of Wikipedia is branching out and forming a new online reference called The Citizendium that promises to be a more reliable (though less fun) version of Wikipedia.

Techcrunch is cynical about this move gaining as much popularity among users as Wikipedia. The name itself is a giveaway: Wkipedia is a unique product name that melds the words Wiki and encyclopedia, with “wiki” referencing the Hawaiian word for “fast”. The word encyclopedia comes to us from Greek egkuklios paideia, meaning “all round education”.

Wikipedia is just that, a very fast “all round education”. A Citizendium is a combination of “citizen” and the word compendium. Compendium is from Latin, and usually means a “summary” of a larger work or an abridgement (from compendere, or “that which is weighed together”).

Therefore, to call something a Citizendium is to put a severe limit on the offering - and to suggest it is less than complete, unlike the word Wikipedia. This is ironic since Citizendium, as a brand name, is meant to be the exact opposite.

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Brand Naming: Microsoft's Zune Takes On Apple's iPod

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Microsoft ZuneThe Zune is out, finally. I have Previously blogged about Microsoft Zune and am very interested in seeing how much of the iPod's 75% share of the digital music player market it can grab.

The Zune Info blog is the best source for up to the minute news about the Zune release. Love it or hate it, it will be interesting to follow the market acceptance of this product, and to see how well the brand name, Zune, is received among its target market. The name will certainly add some creative depth to the Microsoft naming architecture. If you're curious, read about Microsoft’s imaginative strategy to trademark the Zune brand name.

iPod+iTunesThe Microsoft Zune is only one digital music player among many attempting to imitate Apple's success with iPod + iTunes. In the Wall Street Journal this morning, companies like Sandisk, Samsung, Microsoft, and others, are attempting to create a better digital music brand and service.

In some cases, co-branding is their strategy. For example, the well-respected Sandisk brand is teaming with the well-known RealNetwork's Rhapsody music service brand. Microsoft will connect its Zune player to its own online music service, Urge.

Zune_Wal-MartThe Gizmodo blog reported that we will soon be able to buy a Microsoft Zune at Wal-Mart. They might be reading too much into it, but Gizmodo thinks the linkage of the Wal-Mart and Microsoft brand giants seems a little puzzling. Although Wal-Mart is in the process of upgrading its merchandise and image, the typical Wal-Mart shopper doesn’t appear to be the target market for an mp3 player like Zune..

U2iPodEngadget reports that Apple will be updating its co-branded U2 iPod. The U2 and Apple brand names just seem to go together pefectly. Consumers will be happy to know that it looks like the ultra-cool U2 iPod will be reintroduced and revamped just in time to compete with the Microsoft Zune.

When it comes to brand naming, it's a never-ending battle between Apple and Microsoft.

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Brand Naming: The “I’s” Have It: iTV, ITV, EyeTV

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iTVGizmodo has done a of profiling what Apple has to offer us next year and as we suspected, there has been a huge leap forward towards putting computers in the living room with .

Yes, it looks much like the Mac Mini and its introduction kicks off , which will now be offering movies from the recent link-up between the Disney and Apple brands. Obviously, Apple is probably hoping to link up with other entertainment companies to add more heft to its video offerings, yet Universal, Viacom, Sony, NBC Universal and Fox are .

Nevertheless, Apple is making a real link from the home office to the living room and right now is one step closer to pulling in cable, downloadable movies and TV firmly into the realm of the computer.

iTVThis means that Apple as a brand name is that much closer to being a media/entertainment company rather than a computer company. if you want to play it, make it, or edit it, in any format. The new video iPods live up to this assessment.

But what I want to know is how British based ITV dealt with Apple’s introduction of the iTV unit. ITV in the UK is very well known, as is Mac-friendly , which, as , is having its space encroached upon.

I suppose there must have been some agreements made behind the scenes but it does offer UK consumers a confusing offering and certainly makes one wonder if Apple should keep using . For now, it seems clear they will.

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Links du Jour 09-13-06

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Apple ShowtimeTubePort? Who's doing your branding these days, Ted Stevens - Apple’s new wireless gadget for streaming movies is rumoured to be called “TubePort” (it will probably be officially announced today.)

I agree with Ted Stevens that TubePort doesn't appear like a brand name you would expect from Apple.

First of all, it's for groundbreaking technology, but the name appears to emulate an existing brand name, YouTube.

Secondly, TubePort, as a name to describe the delivery of video from a computer to a TV wirelessly, focuses on the technology, as opposed to the content and user experience. Long-term, in my view, Apple would be better off with a brand name that has more of an emotional component to it.

Lastly, again, I dont' know if this rumor is true or not, but the name seems antithetical to everything Apple is all about: innovation, simplicity, and leading the market. A name that is similar to YouTube doesn't seem to do Apple justice.

Dave Caolo at TUAW agrees that "TubePort" is a really lame-sounding name.


eBay and World Class AuctionseBay Sues Over Its Its - Martin Schwimmer, of The Trademark Blog, reports that Ebay is suing World Class Auctions on 13 counts of trademark infringement. One of the points of contention is the use of eBay’s “trade dress” on its home page and its "it" mark.


WikipediaStudy: Wikipedia Dominates Brand Search Results - This is a fascinating study done by Micro Persuasion that shows just how influential Wikipedia is on building your brand name.

Most brand and product name searches on Google yield a Wikipedia result right off the bat, meaning that what Wikipedia says about a brand name could be crucial to shaping consumer perception of that brand name. The questions is: can brand managers control it? Probably not, reports Steve Rubel.


The InfluencersThe Influencers Have Arrived - This may sound too good to be true, but there is a Canadian site out there called The Influencers that is billed as an “online hub” for self-appointed trend “influencers”.

They are able to network with other people who share their interests. Here is a great way to test the waters direct with consumers on interesting products and ideas, like a new brand name.

Kate Trgovac, at One Degree, asks, "Is this site for consumers, or is it really for marketers? Regardless, a site like this should be a key resource for brand managers and marketers.

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Links du Jour 09-12-06

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Steve JobsApple to Bring Internet, TV Set Closer Together - It seems likely that today there will be a big announcement from Apple that will either reposition the Mac Mini as a TV device or else offer us a totally new Apple product. Insiders are saying that Steve Jobs has finally merged Cable, Wi-Fi and the Mac into a living room ready device.

If this is true, it will bring a whole new meaning to Apple brand name. Watch this space for a possible announcement of the new product name.


Live Search LogoLive.com leaving beta, replacing MSN search - We reported a while back on the carelessness in which Microsoft has introduced Live.com. It is now moving out of Beta and is rumoured to be replacing MSN, which right now houses Soapbox. I thought Microsoft would avoid confusion by introducing Soapbox under the Live.com brand, but instead they introduced it under the MSN brand.


Pop SecretSecrets are the new big thing - It seems that many companies are leveraging the trend to associate their brand names with the "confessional culture" of reality television, where people divulge their secrets to the world. I wonder how this strategy might work for a brand name that already emphasizes a secret formula, like Pop Secret popcorn. Or Secret deodorant.

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Brand Naming: Microsoft YouTube Clone Coming

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SoapBox and MSN and LiveMicrosoft is launching a YouTube clone, which will be named “Soapbox” and follows Microsoft’s partnership with social networking site Facebook.

The Soapbox brand name offers users their own “soapbox” to stand on and speak to the world. Although the younger generation may not know the history behind the "soapbox" name, it's a great metaphor and one of Microsoft's better brand names.

One blogger tells us that this sounds like it will be allowing users a space for a “personal whine”. That's just fine.

Congratulations, Microsoft. Great brand name. Metaphors do work.

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Product Naming: Has Microsoft Correctly Conjugated "Patent"?

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MicrosoftA recent article in eWeek reports that Microsoft has filed for a patent for translation software that chooses and conjugates verbs.

There’s some dispute about whether this application represents patent abuse. Conjugating verbs is an innate capability of the human brain and not patentable.

The really important question, though, is whether Microsoft’s new product will actually translate any better than current online translation applications, which are so literal as to be almost useless - except as a source of humor.

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Links du Jour 09-08-06

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Nokia LogoNokia just announced the company will change its naming nomenclature, following Motorola's lead. Nokia is going to embrace brand names rather than alphanumeric naming in future cell phones after seeing the success of brand names developed by competitors like LG’s Chocolate and Motorola’s RAZR.

I have written extensively about Motorola’s naming strategy, from its treatment of vowels to its transition from RAZR to SCPL. I think Nokia is making a good move, as long as they included brand name research.


Macy's Banner AdIt looks like Federated Department Stores senses the unhappiness many customers feel about the loss of beloved brand names like Marshall Field’s to their Macy’s brand, a subject I have written about a few times.

Federated is now trying to win over the hearts and minds of customers to the Macy’s brand name, in what they're calling their "biggest advertising campaign ever to support the re-branding.” I think they have their work cut out for them: some company names are hard to forget. But, time will tell.


Katie CouricHow should Katie sign off each newscast? Here’s your chance to contribute to Katie Couric’s recent debut: figure out a good sign-off tagline for her and send it in to CBS. Cronkite’s was “And that’s the way it is”, Murrow’s was “Good Night and Good Luck”, Dan Rather’s was “Courage”…what will Couric's be?

Readers of the Adfreak blog have some pretty interesting thoughts. Can you think of some creative sign-off taglines?

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Company Naming: Oyogi is a Question for an Expert

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Oyogi logoIs it a clever name, or a stupid one? Even if you can’t tell the difference between a Web 2.0 company and a Star Wars character, there’s still logic behind their names.

In their response to the question “Who came up with this stupid name?”, the founders of Oyogi explain “the word ‘yogi' in the moniker refers to the fact that people who may answer your questions could be considered experts or ‘yogis' (a Hindu word) […] o + yogi = a questioning concept/respectful protestation aimed at a sage/expert.”

This is a modern, generalized use of the word “yogi,” which classical yoga defines much more strictly, but which nevertheless makes perfect sense to Oyogi’s intended market: people looking for expert answers to their questions.

Check out this great post from Techcrunch on other question and answer services.

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¿Hablas español? More importantly, does your target market speak Spanish?

MyChingoMobasoft, LLC’s MyChingo audio comment system has become popular with podcasters, but Christine Goodman of the San Antonio Byline blog pointed out that she could never use that product in Texas, or even discuss it in a business environment, because “chingo” is a very rude word in Latin American Spanish. In fact, it's slang for the F-word.

Within the world of instant messaging, “chingo” stands for “chat lingo”, as Mobasoft points out on the product’s home page, but the Urban Dictionary doesn’t think much of that definition.

Neville Hobson, of the For Immediate Release podcast, clued us in to some rumors that Mobasoft was planning to change the product’s name to avoid offending the Spanish-speaking market. However, nothing has happened yet and there’s no mention of such plans on the product’s home page.

  • Chingo BlingDo you find the name of the popular Mexican American rapper from Texas whose name is "Chingo Bling" offensive? It doesn't seem like he's offending his fans, Nor does it seem like Asylum/Warner Bros thought his name was offensive, since they signed him to a deal.
  • What about the several high-profile bloggers that have signed up with MyChingo already? The potential offensive language doesn't seem to bother them, either.

Listen to FIR 168 for the details (the MyChingo discussion starts at 49:45 of the 75-minute podcast) and let us know what you think...

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Links du Jour 09-05-06

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Rocky BalboaRocky Balboa Blog - Yes, Sly is going to bring back Rocky on December 22nd for one last shot at glory in a movie entitled, simply, Rocky Balboa. Preposterous you say? Crazy that 60 year old is going to give this a shot? The Rocky Balboa name is very recognizable, and the fact that Stallone is ending the hugely successful franchise with a movie not entitled Rocky 6 (yes, there have been five instalments) but instead, simply, Rocky Balboa, is a stroke of genius.

The Rocky Balboa name is a that never seems to go out of style: the original movie came out in 1976 and since then the video game industry has kept it alive - the first Rocky game was on Colecovision (remember that?) and the most recent extension of the brand was in 2004 for Playstation 2 and Xbox. This movie will keep the Rocky name alive for at least another few years, to be enjoyed by movie fans and gamers alike.


Amazon.com GroceryThe Nation's Best Grocery Stores - The are Wegmans and . I have been a Wegmans fan for years and heartily support this endorsement. But they should note that online grocery stores are up and comers, including (Jason Lee Miller : if you can buy books at a grocery store, why not groceries at a book store?)

Consumer Reports also suggests that we frequent one store for cheap staples and one store for our fresh produce and so forth, giving brand names like Costco and Wal-Mart a serious advantage. Alas, Consumer Reports asks people to "beware of store ads", which I have found are a great way to .


Ricoh logoRicoh nails Quanta and Asustek for patent infringement - Japan-based Ricoh is taking on Quanta Storage and Asustek over four CD-RW and DVD+RW patents. Yet another case of a brand name having to protect itself from overseas pretenders. But this story has an interesting twist - Ricoh is partnered with Philips and Asustek with Pioneer, two brand names that are far better known in the USA. What this means to these top brand names remains to be seen.

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