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January 4, 2001
6:26 PM   Subscribe

Is this town big enough for two blogs named /usr/bin/girl? [more inside]
posted by dhartung (39 comments total)

 
Heads-up thanks to danelope and dwiv. (I might not have posted this had I realized there was a thread at danelope, though!)

Apparently the digitalkitten folks, a group of girl bloggers, came up with the name independently. It's a good name ... when I saw it the first time I was so jealous! (Of course, I'm a guy, so I couldn't use it.) Anyway, now it's resulted in some bad blood and even threats and publishing of hate mail (since redacted, I couldn't find it).

Personally, I think it's no surprise that with the number of blogs approaching 10^5, there's a name shortage. (We've run into this in other areas ...) Certainly there's no trademark on the name (though, like copyright, there are certain inherent rights in commercial activity to using a name). At what point, though, is it permissible to overlap? At 100,000 blogs? at 1,000,000? Because this will happen again.

At any rate, I'd hope it will be dealt with in future without as much rancor.
posted by dhartung at 6:34 PM on January 4, 2001


/opt/bin/girl?

/usr/local/bin/girl?

How about just /bin/girl.

Hell, someone read the FHS; there are half a dozen bindirs to put it in.
posted by baylink at 6:39 PM on January 4, 2001


It's worse than that. The one at namezero is 404ing already anyway...
posted by baylink at 6:40 PM on January 4, 2001


The correct link to the other one is http://www.digitalkitten.org/usr/bin/girl/
posted by lagado at 6:47 PM on January 4, 2001


Wow. That was fast. Looks like the whole digitalkitten domain was pulled!

Of course this has been going on for at least a day now.
posted by dhartung at 6:47 PM on January 4, 2001


Hey, Dan, you do know there's a Lake Effect over at BlogSpot, right?

Heh, heh, heh.


posted by anildash at 7:10 PM on January 4, 2001


When Teen Domains Attack, next on Fox.
posted by gsh at 7:29 PM on January 4, 2001


Somehow the whole digitalkitten site looks like "inspired by Kottke" - drenched in pink. I am overly disheartened by this quote: "And no, we didn't copy the name from the small asian girl who's really into computers (especially operating systems)." This narrow minded bigotry was seen at the url: http://www.digitalkitten.org/index2.html, at 10:27 EST.

This is just sad.
posted by tamim at 7:30 PM on January 4, 2001


Given the general quality of /usr/bin/girl2, I doubt many people will be coming back for a second round anyway. Enjoy those jello shooters, girls!
posted by rodii at 7:52 PM on January 4, 2001


It is pretty much impossible to see a list of blogs without seeing /usr/bin/girl listed - it has been around for a long time, and Zannah is, with good reason, very well respected for her stuff on the web, and everyone knows who she is, and that she fucking rocks the planet in a billion different ways.

So it cracks me up to see the name somewhere else - everyone who visits there is going to realize who had it first. It is kind of funny - sort of like announcing that you started a new site dedicated to personal nonfiction, and you decided to call it The Fray.

I think the big concern here should be that anyone who bought a domain named 'digitalkitten'.
posted by kristin at 8:28 PM on January 4, 2001


I think the most recent post at bizarro/usr/bin/girl says it all:

I'd like to see some copyright papers, and the site that is just SO popular (why haven't we seen it?), and then that bitch's ass because I'm 'bout ready to kick it.

I really do wonder if the name was stirred up independently. I would only get concerned if bizarro/usr/bin/girl started ripping Zannah's most original content or style. But tamim correctly points out that the site is very Kottkesque (tm).
posted by hijinx at 8:30 PM on January 4, 2001


Why would anyone copy a popular name though? It would just cause problems for the copyist.
I have a blog called C-log (largely inopperative these days) and I know that theres at least one called clog. I don't really worry about it.
posted by davidgentle at 9:15 PM on January 4, 2001


How do we know that davidgentle (otherwise known as the man with atleast 7 blogs) isn't behind digitalkitten?
posted by lagado at 9:34 PM on January 4, 2001


I think it's cool to copy blog names... as long as it's not The Stuffed Dog or Bikelog...
posted by daveadams at 9:34 PM on January 4, 2001


/usr/bin/woman?
/usr/bin/babe?
/usr/bin/chick?
/usr/bin/broad?
[Incoming death threats!!!]
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:37 PM on January 4, 2001


/rose/bin/anykey/meme
posted by ZachsMind at 10:12 PM on January 4, 2001


It's not me. Really. I haven't even looked at digital kitten but I could try a parody of them in Flirty Bitch if you like?
posted by davidgentle at 10:17 PM on January 4, 2001


Actually I think I'd have the same problem satirsing Digital Kitten as I would all the other "bitch logs": They just aren't very interesting. Which explains why Flirty Bitch only has the 2 posts on it.
posted by davidgentle at 10:20 PM on January 4, 2001


I can understand where duplicates can occur with names like 'c-log' and 'froglog' and most other weblogs with 'log' in the title. If someone suddenly created a site called 'kitschbitch' or 'megnut' or '/usr/bin/girl', I'd find it difficult to believe that cloning the name of a high-profile weblogger (especially if you're using Blogger) was merely coincidental.

Being a racist, arrogant, violent, spite-filled freak doesn't help your case, either. But I'm repeating myself now.
posted by Danelope at 11:34 PM on January 4, 2001



Somehow the whole digitalkitten site looks like "inspired by Kottke" - drenched in pink. I am overly disheartened by this quote: "And no, we didn't copy the name from the small asian girl who's really into computers (especially operating systems)." This narrow minded bigotry was seen at the url: http://www.digitalkitten.org/index2.html, at 10:27 EST.

This is just sad.


It's narrow-minded and bigoted to say a small asian girl is small and asian? You people must lack real things to get upset about, because this is just silly.
posted by frenetic at 11:53 PM on January 4, 2001


I also find it amusing that "inspired by Kottke" seems to mean "contains dotted vertical lines". Sweet deal.
posted by frenetic at 11:58 PM on January 4, 2001


To be honest this may be a more than obvious sign of the end of this particular trend. Online journals went through similar controversy just before they became untrendy. So have other online fashionable bandwagon sorts of things. Blogs have become a repetitive formula, much like its predecessors. I'm sure that's gonna be an unpopular opinion in this environment, but since when have I ever let that shut me up?
posted by ZachsMind at 12:14 AM on January 5, 2001


Hey, I just got a great idea for a blog! Has anyone used this name yet?
posted by dogwelder at 12:38 AM on January 5, 2001


Since when are webjournals "untrendy"? Is this supposedly a result of the advent of weblogs? I've always viewed the two as complementary: my weblog began as a repository for all of the interesting links or little thoughts that couldn't be developed into full-fledged entries for my webjournal.

Regardless, I don't think either will be disappearing shortly. The reason I use Blogger is because it provides a fast, easy way to constantly update a site, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. As long as the convenience exists, the medium will exist, regardless of how "trendy" a Blogger account may be.
posted by Danelope at 4:29 AM on January 5, 2001


erm, not to be a crank, but is /usr/bin/girl really, conceptually, that original of a name idea?

i only say this because it's a big web out there, and i do think that it is entirely possible for these girls to have missed the zannah boat. i mean, people people, you all have to remember that the 'famous' sites are really only famous in a relative sense. when was the last time you saw any of the people you consider well-known website proprietors on TRL?

(ooops, i opened THAT door again ...)
posted by maura at 5:46 AM on January 5, 2001


I still don't understand the 'racist' thing.
posted by chartres at 7:06 AM on January 5, 2001


Certainly there's no trademark on the name (though, like copyright, there are certain inherent rights in commercial activity to using a name).

You don't have to register a trademark or servicemark in order to have rights in it. Zannah certainly could have legal rights to the name as it relates to web pages, since it clearly identifies her blog and in known thorughout the weblog community as being hers. No "copyright papers" are needed at all.

At what point, though, is it permissible to overlap? At 100,000 blogs? at 1,000,000? Because this will happen again.

Actually, the first instance I'm aware of overlapping names was the whole Frogblog/Froglog fiasco maybe nine months ago. Fortunately, I seriously doubt anyone will ever want to poach a ridiculous name like WOIFM.
posted by mikewas at 7:52 AM on January 5, 2001


You're all missing the real issue: if usr/bin/girl wins a Bloggie, we won't know which one won!
posted by ffmike at 8:22 AM on January 5, 2001


To be honest, it seems like a whole lot of fuss about nothing. If there's no money being made, and the whole thing is just about pride, it's no more than a playground tussle.

And I don't think it's too shocking to think that in the whole world there might be two blogs with the same name...
Also, to respond to danelope, there is tiny cafe in London which has a big picture that says "Kitsch Bitch" on it. I don't think it's got anything to do with Katy's site.
posted by blastboy at 8:24 AM on January 5, 2001


Dang. That really is a blog named Lake Effect. Doesn't bother me, actually.

(And I'll note I've found not one peep from .Zannah anywhere, here or at the danelope discussion.)
posted by dhartung at 9:42 AM on January 5, 2001


So, did Zannah ever complain about the digitalkitten crew, or did somebody else decide to kick over the ants' nest on her behalf? From the look of things, the digitalkitten version likely would have faded into obscurity and/or inattention within a month without this "controversy".
posted by harmful at 9:49 AM on January 5, 2001


Indeed. And, my opinion on finally reading the thing is, it's a typical slumber-party blog. It's not up to Zannah's usual standards, but then, Zannah's not at the top of my pile, neither. Neither am I myself, of course.

I think probably Genehack, Flutterby, Ethel, Girlhacker, and Doc Searls, in no particular order. That's as much a taste thing as quality.
posted by baylink at 11:16 AM on January 5, 2001


what is TRL?

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 11:55 AM on January 5, 2001


Total Request Live. Proof that MTV can still show music videos as long as they keep interrupting them with inane fan comments.
posted by harmful at 12:21 PM on January 5, 2001


And that's the real problem here. Most of you all are too busy creating and updating and engaging the world (albeit through hunching in front of glowing screens and tapping away till all hours -- but hey, that's just how I get down) and not passively consuming MassCultureHodgePorridge like you're s'posed to. What's all y'all's problem, anyway? ;/)
posted by allaboutgeorge at 8:39 PM on January 5, 2001


Another question -- the second, faux /usr/bin/girl appears to be using Blogger, yet doesn't have the Blogger button or credit anywhere on the page. Does anyone know or think that she paid for the option wherein she doesn't need to display it? Or is she just sponging?
posted by delfuego at 10:08 AM on January 6, 2001


Altavista Search brings up:
1,947 pages found on /usr/bin/girl

And I can tell ya that most, if not all of them link to
http://www.stormwerks.com/linked/

Not copykitten...

As for 'wer're running out of names' Do a search in a search engine for a new name and see if its there, I did. and my weblog name (friezlog) didn't come up in -any- search engine. To my knowledge it doesn't exist anywhere than on my own site, in other peoples links to me and possibly in some peoples mailboxes or floating on discussion boards.

Of course if you get a few hits in a search engine with the name you thought of, its obvious that it exists and someone else has thought of it so think up another.

It all comes down to creativity and/or how lazy you are.
Perhaps I should start up a company called Sony... or I could run a new chain of Fast Food restaurants called McDonalds? Hmm?
posted by Frieza at 3:12 PM on January 6, 2001


Re: 'small asian girl' comment

Nobody brings up your race unless they mean to cause issue with it. It's like me (as a heterosexual white male) referring to someone as 'the gay guy' or 'the black guy'. If you're talking smack about someone, focus on the central issue involved with *who* they are (i.e. "that Danelope guy is a real prick") as opposed to what they are.

Otherwise, you're no better than Hitler.*

Re: TRL

No one should ever watch TRL. "The whole thing smacks of effort."

Re: sponging

Yes, she professes to use Blogger. If sponges made a sound, that's the sound that I would be making right now. The sponge sound. *sponge sponge*

* Yes, I've just invoked the age-old 'Hitler' debate tactic. Sad, isn't it?
posted by Danelope at 6:50 PM on January 6, 2001


What I fail to find in this whole debacle is the air of something new. People who have wanted to get more traffic or get instant marketing have done everything from outright stealing of complete site designs to registering urls, playing meta with search engines, and everything otherwise.

Is it that it's blogging that is the new 'victim' here that the big deal is about?

Yes, I love Zannah, and of course all of us old cronies know who Zannah is, but no one who is new does, and that's the whole point of highjacking a cool name, isn't it?

Now, I agree somewhat with maura, simply becaus there could be, possibly be,another maura out there that doesn't know about maura.

Just like the could be the whole usr/bin/ deal.

but, uh, it doesn't warrant a whole big issue other than going 'Hey, uh... you know there's a usr/bin/girl already, don't you?' email.

La la la.


posted by rich at 10:01 PM on January 6, 2001


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