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All roads lead to Romenesko
February 5, 2003 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Hey, did you see Romenesko today? Now it really is Romenesko. The blog that everybody calls "Romenesko" has just officially changed its name due to a rather silly threat of a lawsuit from MediaNews Group. Poynter president James Naughton explains, "The gist of the law firm's concern seems to be that eliminating the space between the words Media and News might prompt the unsophisticated, raffish crowd who tune in to Poynter Online to think it was Dean Singleton in his pajamas pecking away at the keyboard in Romenesko's Evanston apartment." So, from here on out, it's just plain old "Romenesko."
posted by soyjoy (9 comments total)

 
I know we've already talked about the Poynter redesign, but this one nagging thing still strikes me as bizarre, if not hilarious. Can anyone find a link to Romenesko's column on the Poynter pages in the above post? Or any other Poynter page aside from the home page? Despite its obvious popularity - I'd bet most Poynter visitors don't bother with anything else at the site - a link to Romenesko doesn't seem to be part of the template used for all the rest of the site's pages. Even on the "Columns" page, you have to scroll down almost to the bottom to see a link.

It's downright freaky. Does anyone know of another site that doesn't link prominently to its most popular feature?
posted by mediareport at 3:15 PM on February 5, 2003


The link used to be www.poynter.org/medianews, which now redirects to www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45. I wonder if part of the problem was how other people were linking to the site-- Andrew Sullivan, for example, uses the text Medianews for his link, as does forward.com, the Weekly Standard and others. I bet MediaNews Group was concerned that the rest of the web was equating 'medianews' with Romenesko, and this was the first salvo in retaining their rights to their own name. Perhaps Poynter just needs some time to sort their out their links and to establish the Romenesko name on its own.

BTW, Obscure Store hasn't added a hyphen just yet!
posted by F Mackenzie at 4:15 PM on February 5, 2003


The blog that everybody calls "Romenesko"...

I've never heard MediaNews called that. Perhaps we're operating from different definitions of the word 'everyone?' Admittedly, I'm not a journo insider and likely most of his other readers are, but "subset of a bunch of media people" and "everyone" aren't synonymous.

In any case, demanding the title of one little column be changed for trademark purposes strikes me as somewhat overzealous. Particularly so given that the title was self-descriptive.

...I'd bet most Poynter visitors don't bother with anything else at the site...

I didn't even know there was a "rest of the site" for quite some time.
posted by majick at 5:31 PM on February 5, 2003


Despite its obvious popularity - I'd bet most Poynter visitors don't bother with anything else at the site...

You're quite right. From the FAQ:

"...with Romenesko accounting for as much as half the pageviews delivered by Poynter Online."

The fascinating part of this name change to me is that if Poynter just hadn't changed the name from Media Gossip to MediaNews in the first place, this wouldn't be an issue.
posted by realityblurred at 5:35 PM on February 5, 2003


I'm sick of hearing about these lawsuits. What gets me is the assumption that people can get fooled by similar tradenames. It just seems like a context to bully around the guy who may come up above you in a google search and further strengthen your brand recognition.

I don't think they have to prove (through a scientific poll or witnesses) that a significant portion of people are confused by similar tradename or website names. They just have to convince a judge or jury (if it ever gets that far) that it could be confusing to someone out there. Really now, if a random poll cannot confirm that at least 51% of the people out there are truly confused then the name change should simply not happen.
posted by skallas at 6:21 PM on February 5, 2003


The link used to be www.poynter.org/medianews, which now redirects to www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45

That change was made during the redesign, before this silly legal threat.

if Poynter just hadn't changed the name from Media Gossip to MediaNews in the first place, this wouldn't be an issue.

From Romenesko Revealed, February 2000:

OJR: They changed the name from "MediaGossip" to "MediaNews." Why?

Romenesko: Well, Poynter has a good reputation. I think at first they were a little squeamish about the "Gossip" name. I think in the end they grew to appreciate it as a brand name. I don't think the case is closed on the name. I'm holding onto the domain so in my post Poynter-life I can resurrect it. By the way, when I first launched MediaGossip, I got some angry e-mails from people who thought I was really going to dish the dirt. They looked at the site and were really disappointed. They wanted, you know, "Maureen Dowd was spotted running naked on 5th Avenue" or something like that.
posted by mediareport at 7:26 PM on February 5, 2003


I've never heard MediaNews called that. Perhaps we're operating from different definitions of the word 'everyone?'

I guess so. Sorry if I made too sweeping a generalization. I should've said "Everybody I've ever heard refer to it," who all happen to be journalists. But come on - you've never heard anyone say "I saw it on Romenesko"?

By any chance, do all your friends call that big Beatles double album without any art on the cover, "The Beatles"?

(Kidding! I kid because I love.

...the Beatles, that is.))¸
posted by soyjoy at 8:02 PM on February 5, 2003


The MediaNews Group is probably unhappy that the top Google link on "MediaNews" is Romenesko's site. I wonder if they're also going after MediaNews.Com.

Personally, I think they did Romenesko a favor. His name's a much better title for the site than the generic-sounding "MediaNews". Jim Romenesko has become one of the most prominent Internet-based journalists (along with, tragically, Matt Drudge) -- playing his name up is a nice acknowledgement of that.
posted by rcade at 5:36 AM on February 6, 2003


rcade: I would agree that Google rankings probably had something to do with this and similar squabbles. What kind of small-fry company are you if you don't come up first in a search for your name? (See also Mr. Mildew/Mustard.)
posted by davidfg at 7:55 AM on February 6, 2003


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