[Foundation-l] Rethinking brands

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Wed May 9 04:08:53 UTC 2007

On 5/8/07, Claudio Mastroianni <gattonero at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think it's a bit too late to rename project, _now_.

Not really. None of the names beyond Wikipedia has wide recognition,
not to mention that even widely known names get changed all the time
because of strategic reorientation or for other reasons. Sure, some of
these name changes are failures (the idiotic Borland change to Inprise
is a good example), but that is typically the case when a very
popular, trusted name gets changed to something completely different.
That is not the scenario we are talking about -- I would _not_ suggest
changing the "Wikipedia" name.

> Even if they are not as spread as Wikipedia, Wikinews/books/source/
> etc are at least recognizable: they have a growing identity.

Not outside the wikiblogosphere.

> Instead of resolving the problem of their less "importance amongst
> common people" compared to the Wikipedia's one, you just confirm the
> difference:
> by saying "Wikibooks is now Wikipedia Books" you say: "Yes, you were
> right; Wikibooks was less important then Wikipedia, that's why we
> renamed it".

No, it says that Wikipedia is our strongest and quite probably most
universal project; it does not say anything about allocation of
resources. And, as I've explained, arguing for partnerships and
support actually gets much _easier_ once you throw the big W name
around. Everyone is doing "the wiki thing" now, but there is only one
Wikipedia. Guess which logo hangs on the Wikimedia office door? Not to
mention the two lovely Wikimedia+Wikipedia banners that are used at
conferences.. and, when I last visited, Wikimedia Deutschland still
had "Wikipedia" on their sign. :-)

> if you abuse of the brand "Wikipedia", you just make it weaker.
> As for now, Wikipedia is a strong brand: it makes people thinking at
> a _encyclopedia_.

Not really; see my response to Brianna. This is a bias in our own
community: We have a strong attachment to our internal semantics,
which do not necessarily relate to the way outsiders perceive our
projects. For most who use Wikipedia, it's simply a site on the web
that has tons of useful information (many are still not aware that it
is user-edited). They do not share any academic definitions of what
Wikipedia is or is not.

> People will start to not understand which is the real
> identity of the wikipedia: encyclopedia? Books? etc etc etc

Hardly, as the projects would still very clearly be separate. People
still think of Google first and foremost as a search engine, but they
also understand that Google operates plenty of other projects (many of
which, like our sister projects, have a connection to the search

> Summarizing: this brand-rethinking is not a solution.
> Instead, it gives more problem to solve.

That summary lacks argumentative support.

Peace & Love,

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

"An old, rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open,
free and exciting is waking up." -- Ming the Mechanic

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