[Foundation] Clarifications On Name Change Proposal

Evan Prodromou evan at prodromou.san-francisco.ca.us
Mon Jun 30 23:34:29 CDT 2003

>>>>> "MT" == Matt Tucker <matt at jivesoftware.com> writes:

    Me> I wonder aloud if taking step 1 out of the proposal would solve
    Me> this problem. The Name Team could then propose other names for
    Me> a vote in October, but the membership wouldn't be committed to
    Me> dropping "Jabber" until we had more facts available.

    MT> The reality of the situation is that without the membership
    MT> first agreeing that a name change is necessary, the process of
    MT> choosing a new name would exremely divisive and
    MT> non-productive.

I definitely see your point on this matter.

As an aside, I appreciate and admire the well-thought-out and
well-reasoned letter that accompanied this proposal, as well as the
idea to take it to a membership vote.

    MT> Is it really "impossible" to pick a new name that doesn't
    MT> involve exorbitant costs?

Oh, absolutely not. In my (uninformed totally inexpert) estimate, I'd
say at the low end we'd be talking about tangible costs on the order
of thousands or maybe tens of thousands of dollars, to:

          * Pay legal fees for trademark searches for the new name

          * File whatever legal papers are necessary to change the
            name of the organization

          * Register or buy a domain (or domains) that match the new

          * Re-design corporate identity stuff (logos, business
            cards, stationary, etc.)

          * s/Jabber/$NEWNAME/g in whatever documents exist on-line

On the high end, if we chose a name that was already in use (probably
not such a hot idea), we'd be talking on the order of hundreds of
thousands of dollars -- after all, the "Jabber" trademark originally
cost $75k.

On the ridiculous end, we could spend half a million to a million
dollars for a corporate branding and identity specialist to assemble
just the right combination of Latin and Greek roots into some kind of
gibble-gabble that would make a good name.* I think we'd all probly
agree that that wouldn't be a good use of the JSF's money.

Of course, there's also intangible costs: confusion in the
marketplace, loss of brand momentum, probably a lot of others that
marketing-oriented folks would understand more than I do.

(No one should take this as an authoritative estimate of the costs for
a name change, by the way -- I have no frickin' idea of the costs,
except that I know there will be some.)

I guess I'm willing to make this decision -- for my own part -- with
this kind of informal cost estimate. I'd probly find it easier if
someone closer to the situation -- say the JSF treasurer? -- made a
slightly more formal one, though.


* No offense to any corporate folks who've actually done this. I'm
  sure it's a real good idea if you've got the dough.

Evan Prodromou
evan at prodromou.san-francisco.ca.us

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