Update: After many discussions with Matt and the WordPress Community and staff, it is official. It is a violation of trademark to use WordPress in your site’s domain name. You may use it in the title and in blog posts, however, please note that using WP or WordPress in the site title implies the site specializes in WordPress content. Don’t disappoint.
Many sites have rebranded themselves accordingly. They include:
- Hack WordPress Rebrands as WPHacks.com!
- Consumer evangelists vs. lawyers: using “WordPress” in domain names – WP Garage
- Should WordPress Fan Sites Worry About The WordPress Trademark? – WPHacks
- WordPress Is Only Protecting Themselves — WPCandy
Accordingly, myself and many WordPress-specific blogs will no longer link to sites which violate this policy.
For a long time, Matt Mullenweg has been lenient about the use of “WordPress” in domain names and blog titles, along with other usages, without credit or notice that WordPress is a trademark of Automattic. According to BloggingPro, “WordPress is a Registered Trademark of Automattic, Inc.”, action has begun to target those using “WordPress” without permission.
The WordPress Trademark domain name usage policy was added not long ago to the official WordPress site. The policy basically says you can’t use the name in your domain name without permission.
What isn’t clear is how you can use “WordPress” in your blog title, ads, or other usages. Domain names like “word-press.net” or “wor-dpress.com” may pass inspection, but most people question them, so why bother since it makes a bad first impression and looks spammy.
There are also many other sites calling themselves things like make-money-with-wordpress.com and easy-wordpress-blogging.com, or variations thereof, so is WordPress sending these folks cease and desist orders? They might. If not now, later. Better to be safer than sorrier.
If you are using WordPress in your domain name, stop. If you are using WordPress as the official “name” of your company, blog title, or otherwise, but not in the domain name, stay tuned for the official response on that one, though it is probably okay.
If you are using “WordPress” to name and promote your Plugin or Theme, such as XYZ WordPress Theme or ABC WordPress Plugin, that comes under “adjective” and not a trademark violation as I understand it. It’s using the trademark name as a description. Just don’t name your site “WordPress Plugins” or “WordPress Themes” as that turns the description into a business name, a violation of the trademark.
The idea that WordPress could become a generic name like Kleenex, Jeep, and Google is exciting to think about. Instead of saying “I’m going to blog that”, you could say “I’m going to WordPress that”. Wow!
I wonder what this means for Lorelle on WordPress? 😉
Later: “Lorelle on WordPress” was the naming convention all of us testers used when we set up our sites on WordPress.com. We all were “x on WordPress” including Matt Mullenweg, who changed his to Matt on Not-WordPress, his food and photo blog. WordPress.com is the domain name of an official WordPress site, and my use of “Lorelle on WordPress” is not a trademark violation as it is in the blog title, not the domain name.
- Google the Brand Name or google the word?
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