So much for name recognition.
February 4, 2002 6:32 AM   Subscribe

So much for name recognition. Mighty Big TV, a fairly well-known site that's been mentioned in print media and numerous other outlets, has inexplicably changed it's name to Television Without Pity. Of course, the dynamic aspect of the web allows for such things, but is it wise? If "Campbell's Soup" became "Spud's Chicken Noodle Concoction" tomorrow, would you still buy it without batting an eye? Would it matter if MetaFilter became "Matt's Pancake Heaven?"
posted by crunchland (28 comments total)
sort of off topic, but... PISS on name recognition. branding is just another CorporationWorld lie. Excedrin only works better than the chemically equivalent brand-x because TV told you so.
posted by quonsar at 6:39 AM on February 4, 2002

But name recognition is key on the Interwebnet. Until search engines are refined enough to actually do what they purport to do we are dependant on name recognition to find the sites (interesting or dull) that we've seen in the past.

Though as a further note: I'd be much more likely to come to MeFi if it was called "Matt's Pancake Heaven"
posted by KnitWit at 6:53 AM on February 4, 2002

Wasn't "Television Without Pity" the Mighty Big TV tagline? I'm a pretty faithful reader of the site and it didn't throw me off too badly. Maybe for more casual browsers it would be more of an issue.

The change was sudden and a bit strange... Sars didn't go into detail when she announced it, but I assume they had compelling reasons for the name swap.
posted by kittyb at 7:01 AM on February 4, 2002

Are the pancakes good? I like a good pancake. Mmmmm...... syrupy
posted by Maxor at 7:14 AM on February 4, 2002

I've been wondering what provoked the name change myself, and their FAQ has been less than forthcoming. Anyone have the inside dirt?
posted by turaho at 7:14 AM on February 4, 2002

Given that I've never heard of Mighty Big TV, I feel fairly confident that this web site has not achieved the same name recognition as Campbell's Soup (which began in 1869). When was Mighty Big TV founded?
posted by fleener at 7:44 AM on February 4, 2002

"Television Without Pity" was indeed their tagline, and I remember reading or hearing somewhere that there were legal questions about whether some other group had already tried to copyright the "Mighty Big . . ." phrase. Not so far-fetched when you read about people trying to copyright "Let's Roll."

In any case, I think "Television Without Pity" is much more catchy and more descriptive of what they do. Yay MBTV -- Yay TWP!!
posted by jfwlucy at 7:49 AM on February 4, 2002

Can someone explain what the point of MBTV/TVWP is? Sampling a few of their wares I'm finding 14 and 15 page line-by-line narrative descriptions, with the writer's slant and commentary thrown in, of single episodes of various shows. These are not reviews, they are minute dissections. Is this aimed at people who can't figure these shows out for themselves, or what?
posted by beagle at 8:02 AM on February 4, 2002

I find the site useful in catching up on TV shows I watch occasionally, and/or crap I'd never watch but hear people talking about. For example, I wanted to know what the deal was with Rachel being pregnant by Ross on "Friends"--even though I haven't watched the show for years, I found this to be so bizarre a development I couldn't imagine how the writers had gotten there.

Some of the "recappers" are quite funny; I used to read the recaps of "Popular" even though I didn't watch the show (someone I knew and hated from college was involved with it, so I took great pleasure in seeing it ridiculed).
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:09 AM on February 4, 2002

Perhaps this is an attempt to establish better name recognition, rather than abandon it. Speaking as another who had never heard of it till today.
posted by rushmc at 8:15 AM on February 4, 2002

(to the tune of Shortnin' Bread)

Put on the skillet,
Slip on the lid,
Mama's gonna put it
on a rabbit's head.
That ain't all
She's gonna do,
Mama's gonna make
A little coffee, too.

Mama's little baby loves
Pancakes, pancakes
Mama's gonna put 'em
on a rabbit's head,
Mama's little baby loves
Pancakes, pancakes
Mama's gonna put 'em
on a rabbit's head.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:15 AM on February 4, 2002

Who cares about name ? Only the ones that stop at superficial evaluation.
posted by elpapacito at 8:28 AM on February 4, 2002

Who cares about name ? Only the ones that stop at superficial evaluation.

Or those who are trying to find it via Google.
posted by Hildago at 8:34 AM on February 4, 2002

I miss the indian.
The big mildly racist indian head was my favorite bit and now it's gone.

Me big `um saaaaad.
posted by dong_resin at 8:49 AM on February 4, 2002

I voted for "lordy, dat's sum mighty big tel-o-vison, masa!"
with a little balck sambo icon, but for some reason, they had a problem with that.
posted by dong_resin at 9:19 AM on February 4, 2002

Given that anybody can create multiple phantom sites, each with a unique name, and each containing a redirect to a "master" site, the need for name recognition is diminished. This is well illustrated by the fact that contains only one thing: a link to Once any kind of name recognition is established, this linking ability means that the name could be changed to anything, for any reason (or no reason) at any time.

You found it, didn't you? Hence, no problem. It is conceivable that can exist indefinitely, solely as a redirect site.

I'd never heard of them before this post, either. So much for name recognition.
posted by yesster at 9:32 AM on February 4, 2002

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
posted by crunchland at 10:20 AM on February 4, 2002

Since some of the people involved have been acting strangely lately, I assumed that there was some sort of massive falling out among them. Annoying personalities clash? Perhaps.
posted by palegirl at 10:26 AM on February 4, 2002

I thought I saw a bit on their site (or maybe I was hallucinating, because it's not there now) about how the URL leads to some company called Metabyte Networks. A lot of visitors to Mighty Big TV referred to it by the acronym MBTV, and probably typed that into the URL instead of the full name.

But then, their new URL again uses the full name, whereas is available, so...[shrug]. Who knows. In any event, I love the place, whatever it's called; Jessica's snarking about the decline and fall of X-Files has been one of the few things sustaining me through the slow death of a show I used to love.
posted by Kat Allison at 11:38 AM on February 4, 2002

This isn't the first time they've changed the name of the site. It used to be called Dawson's Wrap a few years back, when the main focus was Dawson's Creek recaps. All of the name changes have been pretty confusing, I agree.

Can someone explain what the point of MBTV/TVWP is?

Beagle, I find the site incredibly useful for when I miss one of my favorite shows and forgot to tape it. I think that they're not necessarily trying to review the show as much as they are trying to provide color commentary or something.

I wonder what the good reason is for creating a longer URL. I sure as hell wouldn't want to type if the name of this site was changed.
posted by lnicole at 12:08 PM on February 4, 2002

The site had been undergoing massive server problems these past few months. I was quite surprised that they hadn't done a Pyra-esque plea for money via paypal or the Amazon honor system.

My guess is that they changed hosting, and decided a new name was in order, as well.
posted by Psionic_Tim at 7:37 PM on February 4, 2002

Wasn't the Indian head a vestige from the era where at some point in the evening, the television would go off the air? There was a card (someone here knows what its called) that stayed on while the channel was off.
posted by amanda at 7:45 PM on February 4, 2002

Well, that would be the logical conclusion, especially given the decent successes that sites like metafilter and pyra have had in getting donations from users.

However, the team behind MBTV is four square against donations - they insist, vehemently, that it is not an option for them (though they fail to explain why) and that ad banners are the only way to make bread. Never mind that users on their boards have widely said they would happily fork over donations to keep the site running.
posted by gsh at 7:46 PM on February 4, 2002

I too heard that had something to do with it. Whether that meant that too many users were going to the wrong place, or busted out the lawyers on the folks at mightybigtv, I don't know.
posted by Sapphireblue at 7:52 PM on February 4, 2002

There was a card (someone here knows what its called) that stayed on while the channel was off.

Ah. The glory days of the Test Pattern.
posted by crunchland at 8:07 PM on February 4, 2002

posted by crunchland at 8:08 PM on February 4, 2002

Hey, cool, the indian.
I guess the folks at MBTV were just being clever, rather than insensitive.

posted by dong_resin at 12:10 AM on February 5, 2002

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