[Foundation-l] Wikimedia Brand Survey Analysis

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 1 23:45:24 UTC 2007


Let me provide a very short set of comments regarding the trademarks 
registration strategy.

First, I'd like to mention that we are actively registrering some of our 
brands. It is not a large spectrum registration (too expensive) though.

In the past, this was clearly and publicly reported on meta. This was 
stopped perhaps a year ago or more, along with the publishing of domain 
names information on meta, essentially because it was making life of 
squatters much easier.

Our trademarks registration is not confidential and obviously, anyone 
looking for this information, will find it. There is no reason to force 
any of you to lose time looking for it. So, if someone wants to know 
which one is and which one is not registered, please drop me an email.
I'll add that I tried in the past months to regularly keep the internal 
community informed of this. Again, not because they are special people, 
but rather because chapters need this information and because we can not 
just plain publish all that stuff on a public list.

The lawyer in charge of most (but not all) of our registrations are 
Hugot (http://www.hugot.fr/uk/index_uk.html). He provides us with 
memorandums from time to time, to keep us informed of updates (new 
registrations and battles won).

Currently, our strategy is mostly to protect Wikipedia, as the most 
valuable mark, but all marks are registered or in registration process 
at least in one country.
The preferred countries are those where there is already a chapter and 
those where it is pretty obvious a "commercial" activity might develop 
around Wikipedia.
I got estimates for larger protection, but considered the overall price 
to be unreasonable *right now*. Total amount if no trouble was 100 000 
euros (130 000 dollars ?). I do consider the level of protection it was 
giving is something we should do in the next few months, but not all in 
july... We might also run into oppositions, which are costly.

Also, remember that a mark does not need to be registered to be a mark.

As a side note, because it was recently mentionned. Only text was 
registered (project names), not logo. So, it is not an issue to change 
any logo right now, either in a major fashion or to fix minor errors. I 
would even suggest it is a good idea to do it NOW :-)


Erik Moeller wrote:
> Dear community,
> on May 16, I initiated a project-wide survey for opinions related to
> Wikimedia's brand strategy. Branding is not the most exciting of
> subjects, so I'd like to thank all those who took the time to humor
> me, and also those who expanded the survey with additional questions
> and data.
> While the survey can remain open indefinitely, I'd like to take a
> first snapshot of community opinions on a number of issues. I have
> anonymized all opinions for the purposes of this summary.
> Because that's what many people will want to know first, I'll start by
> saying that there is a rough consensus against any major rebranding of
> our current project family, and I don't personally consider it a
> viable option at this point. Posing a couple of radical questions
> certainly did serve to energize people to respond to the survey, which
> was not entirely unintended. ;-)
> That said, there is a diversity of opinions about our current names
> and what to do with them:
> == Current names ==
> Of all the names, "Wikimedia Commons" is widely identified (by 12
> people, according to my count) as a confusing name which does not
> really identify what the project stands for, is not easily
> translatable, too long, and too close to "Creaitve Commons."
> The confusion between MediaWiki, Wikimedia, and Wikipedia has been
> affirmed by about the same number of people, though the recommended
> response varies: some think we have to live with it for historical
> reasons, some would like to rename "Wikimedia", some "MediaWiki".
> I count 8 people who have a problem with Wikisource and/or Wikibooks
> and the distinction/relation between them. Wikisource can be confused
> with "open source" / "source code", whereas Wikibooks identifies a
> ''type'' of work rather than its contents.
> Of the remaining names, Wikiversity and Wiktionary have received
> criticism, but only by a small number of people, and Wikiversity in
> particular has also received strong affirmation by some of its current
> participants.
> In principle, a lack of clarity about the relation between the
> different names was pointed out. For instance, it was suggested that
> "Wikijunior" could be renamed "Wikibooks Junior" in order to identify
> its relationship to Wikibooks. The fact that many other projects use a
> "Wiki-" prefix without being part of the WMF family was also stated as
> potentially confusing (Wikitravel being one of the most prominent
> examples that is often misattributed to us).
> I count five people who criticized the large number of different names
> and projects. There are several suggestions to merge projects to
> reduce the number of names, in particular in the area of Wikibooks,
> Wikisource, and Wikiversity. (However, it is clear that a project
> merge goes beyond a brand change, and I consider it somewhat out of
> scope for this discussion.)
> == Current logos ==
> The Wikisource logo was identified as the most confusing; I count 6
> people who said so explicitly. The Wiktionary logo was rated mediocre
> to poor by 4 people. Several people pointed out that the Wikipedia
> logo could be improved in minor ways, but it is also generally seen as
> widely recognizable in its current form.
> Beyond those trends, there were single criticisms related to each logo
> with the exception of the Wikimedia logo.
> 6 people suggested that all logos should follow a more consistent
> visual style, particularly in terms of colors (WMF palette), and some
> would even accept redesigning the Wikipedia logo to achieve that. On
> the other hand, 3 people affirmed the diversity of logos, and another
> 3 people suggested that WMF should impose no standards and leave the
> choice up to each community. In effect, there's a sharp split of
> opinion between those who ask for more consistency, and those who
> cherish the current diversity.
> At the same time, 2 people pointed out that, if WMF does impose a
> strategy, it should at least be followed and communicated clearly,
> rather than intervening in a few isolated cases.
> == Brand licensing ==
> There was strong support (12 people) in favor of cautiously licensing
> WMF brands for selected products, with reservations about licensing
> that is too broad (action figures, luxury goods), because that is
> perceived to dilute the brand too much. Some people also pointed out
> that such licensing could be seen as an endorsement, which would be
> reason to be very careful about what products & companies to work
> with. 4 people opposed (in some case strongly) any kind of licensing
> deals.
> One respondent suggested to empower the community directly to make
> creative uses of the brands (T-Shirts and other products). There was
> some misunderstanding about the current licensing status of the WMF
> logos (they are not freely licensed), and one respondent asked for the
> logos to be made available under a free license.
> When it comes to licensing the brand to mirrors and portals providing
> access to our content, the response was similar; the majority (9
> people) favored doing so cautiously, with attention to potential
> confusion and dilution of our brand. Revocability was listed as a
> criterion for future licensing agreements.
> (I should note that one idea which has been suggested in this context
> in the past is to design a specific logo variant for mirrors and
> portals, effectively a "Powered by Wikipedia" logo for Wikipedia
> mirrors, such as a single puzzle piece with a "W" on it.)
> == Level of protection ==
> The general consensus here is that protection should be pursued
> widely, but with attention to the costs (a desire was expressed for
> more reporting from the WMF on its current strategy and expenses in
> this area). With regard to unofficial translations of the names into
> other languages, many people would like these to be at least somewhat
> protected, and 7 people suggested working with chapters to achieve
> that.
> == Rebranding ==
> With the exception of a few minority voices, the vast majority of
> people strongly opposed any major rebranding of all projects to follow
> a consistent schema, or to be brought under the "Wikipedia" brand
> (e.g. "Wikibooks" to "Wikipedia Textbooks" or "Wikimedia Textbooks).
> The general perception was that doing so would a) be confusing, b)
> make the names too long, c) be disruptive to the existing communities,
> d) in the case of the "Wikipedia" rebranding, give a single project
> undue primacy over others.
> Opposition was slightly less strong when it comes to renaming the
> Foundation. "Wikipedia Foundation" was seen as troublesome by many for
> the same reasons as a Wikipedia-based rebranding of the projects. As
> for other names, some people considered it to be too late for any
> change, but I also count 12 people who either would support a change
> now, or might support it when presented with a specific alternative
> they like. It was noted that, if the name of the Foundation was
> changed, the names of the chapters would also have to change.
> == Other opinions ==
> Improving the reputation and content of our projects, showcasing
> sister projects more visibly, and strengthening the prominence of the
> Wikimedia brand were given as alternatives to major rebranding
> initiatives. The fact that all Wikimedia projects use the default
> thetme of MediaWiki (MonoBook) was also listed as contributing to
> potential confusion with other wiki communities.
> == Follow-up ==
> I'd like to recommend several follow-up steps. Some of these can be
> only taken by the Board/Staff, while others can be initiated by any
> community member:
> * Now we have a reasonable sample of community opinions, it would be
> useful to collect answers from the general public who peruse our
> projects but do not contribute. How does perception of our diversity
> of brands differ? How are issues like the
> MediaWiki/Wikimedia/Wikipedia distinction seen by those who have never
> learned about it?
> * There should be a dedicated brainstorming about the Wikimedia
> Commons name and possible alternatives.
> * Based on the feedback about these two logos, it seems justifiable to
> revive the Wikisource and Wiktionary logo discussions and possibly
> getting more logo submissions.
> * WMF should clearly communicate its expectations for current and
> future logo contests. Should some/all logos use the WMF style and
> colors or not?
> * The idea of chapters protecting localized brand variants has been
> specifically proposed here for the first time, to my knowledge, so I
> do believe it needs to be discussed from different angles by WMF,
> chapter representatives, and affected communities.
> * The general trademark strategy of WMF should be more openly
> discussed so that the community can get a better feel how specific
> actions are justified. (We may need to be careful about squatting
> opportunities.)
> * The licensing status of WMF logos was mentioned several times. My
> opinion is that this discussion needs to be approached with the
> following question: How "free" can an identifying work such as a logo
> realistically be without undermining its purpose (identification)?
> As for brand licensing for products and services, I think community
> opinion is largely in line with the strategy the Foundation has taken
> of cautiously exploring the available options and approving such deals
> only on a case-by-case basis.
> Once again, I'd like to thank all those who responded. The survey
> suffers from a strong selection bias. One of the questions was also
> widely misunderstood, which is of course the fault of the questioner.
> Other questions may have predisposed certain answers and reduced the
> likelihood of other ideas being presented. So, the discussion is far
> from over, and should be continued, with more questions, more data,
> and more ideas.

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