New brand rules - no smugmug name or logo allowed

onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief GeekPosts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
It pains me to do this, but word has come down from on high (our lawyers and our branding firm agree). It feels so corporate, which really isn't what I want for smugmug, but it's the world we live in. Here's the deal:

If you're building an application, plugin, service, etc using the API, you cannot use the 'smugmug' name in the name of your application (Sorry Nikolai!) anymore. You also cannot use smugmug's logo. Both the name and the logo are owned by smugmug and require permission to use. Permission that we have to be extremely careful when granting.

We are working on a special developer logo to let approved products use, and you can certainly use smugmug integration as a part of your feature list, but you can't sell/market/promote/etc your product by directly associating it with our name.

The reason, it turns out, is quite simple. It has nothing to do with our appreciation of the great things everyone does and everything to do with our ability to protect our name and branding. If we let one person do it, our ability to stop people from doing it later who we don't approve of is diminished. We could easily lose our ability to control the word 'smugmug' and everyone could use it, our compeitors included.

So, to be 100% clear here, if you're using our name or logo, you need to stop.

I'm truly sorry we have to set some ground rules like this. :( I'd really rather live in a world where this isn't an issue, but I don't.

Thanks for understanding,

Don
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Comments

  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    I want to comply. Smugmug.py presumably can't be called that anymore. Maybe it's beneath notice?

    Can I call it sm_tool.py? (Would you want your friends, neighbors, and children to know that you used such a thing on a regular basis?)

    It really a true parasite. It has no other purpose in life but to do smugmug uploads.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    rutt wrote:
    I want to comply. Smugmug.py presumably can't be called that anymore.

    And so what exactly do I have to do to comply? Is it enough to start a new thread announcing the newly renamed script and stop making the old one available on my website?
    If not now, when?
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    rutt wrote:
    And so what exactly do I have to do to comply? Is it enough to start a new thread announcing the newly renamed script and stop making the old one available on my website?

    Absolutely. It's our fault for not being smart enough/on the ball enough/whatever, not yours, that it was called smugmug.py earlier.

    No other remedy is necessary, just rename it for all future releases.

    And, thanks for understanding!

    Don
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    I hope it's worth trying..
    onethumb wrote:
    Both the name and the logo are owned by Smugmug and require permission to use. Permission that we have to be extremely careful when granting.
    Don, I know I'm grasping the straws, but...

    You said "require permission to use".

    What do I need to do to get one?

    As rutt said - all our code has no practical meaning outside the Smugmug world.
    And in my case especially - it's not that I only have to rename project executable name and change the icon. It's a domain name, too, for instance..

    I sincerely think that having successful 3d party products is tri-beneficial for Smugmug, Smugmug customers and us, 3d party vendors.

    Since in my particular case, changing the name of the product would severely affect its success (effectively hurting all three parties involved),
    I hereby am asking for official smugmug' permission to continue to use this name, "Smugmug Explorer", and the executable name "smugmugexplorer.exe".

    I cannot tell you exact number of my customers (you guys can, though - SE has been using special http "user agent" name for months), but simply judging by 150+ average page hits and 75+ unique visits per day I think it's way more than those 30+ who "officially" registered by sponsoring or purchasing the product. This name change will hurt them, immediately hurting their experience with Smugmug, too..

    If there is anything I need to sign / change/ pay / do to acquire this grant - please let me know!
    I can submit my source code, provide certificates of my skills (how about being ranked 7th top delphi developer *in the world* circa 2001 by Brainbench testing authority:-) - bottom line, I'm willing to jump through a whole bunch of legal hoops to get this - legal - matter resolved.

    Thank you in advance for considering this application!
    I am ready to accept your answer whatever it will be - but I had to try.

    Nikolai Sklobovsky
    Sr. Software Engineer
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Nikolai wrote:
    Don, I know I'm grasping the straws, but...

    You said "require permission to use".

    What do I need to do to get one?

    I'm very sorry, Nikolai, but I'm going to have to say No. It has nothing to do with the amount of respect and gratitude we have towards you and SE -- we all love it and used it. But our brand is precious and our eyes are newly opened to the dangers involved with diluting the brand...

    If I can make a suggestion, "SmugExplorer" sounds pretty good, doesn't infringe on our brand, and yet still manages to associate what you're doing. You can even continue to use SE as your abbreviation.

    We've seen some clever names for add-on products in the past. For example, Mappr for Flickr was very clevr, we thought. ;)

    Thanks for understanding, I know this is a big pain. I wish we didn't have to enforce it...

    Don
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    I understand..:-(
    onethumb wrote:
    I'm very sorry, Nikolai, but I'm going to have to say No. It has nothing to do with the amount of respect and gratitude we have towards you and SE -- we all love it and used it. But our brand is precious and our eyes are newly opened to the dangers involved with diluting the brand...

    If I can make a suggestion, "SmugExplorer" sounds pretty good, doesn't infringe on our brand, and yet still manages to associate what you're doing. You can even continue to use SE as your abbreviation.

    We've seen some clever names for add-on products in the past. For example, Mappr for Flickr was very clevr, we thought. ;)

    Thanks for understanding, I know this is a big pain. I wish we didn't have to enforce it...

    Don
    Darn.. :cry

    Thank you for your naming suggestion. I prolly even go for shorter version of SM Explorer, if that's OK with you. Kinda sounds better, rolling out of one's tongue:-) Gotta think about it anyway..

    As you know, domain/DNS is not something I can change in one hour, though.
    I'll try to initiate the changes asap, but it might take a while...

    Gosh, I was so much looking towards a productive weekend, with the Send To extension now being deployed and out of my way..:uhoh

    Take care
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Hate to do this, but..
    Can I at least use the same domain name, www.smugmugexplorer.com?
    That would save me a WHOLE lot of trouble..
    Please?bowdown.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • rainforest1155rainforest1155 SmugMug Support Hero Posts: 4,441Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Nikolai wrote:
    Can I at least use the same domain name, www.smugmugexplorer.com?
    That would save me a WHOLE lot of trouble..
    Please?bowdown.gif
    I totally support this. Even Microsoft who forced the former Windows Commander after 10 years of it's existence to a name change led them use the old domain name www.windowscommander.de ! When MS can do it, you can do it, too! bowdown.gif

    Thanks,
    Sebastian
    Sebastian
    SmugMug Support Hero

    look on the bright side
    http://www.SebastianHosche.com
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Nikolai wrote:
    Can I at least use the same domain name, www.smugmugexplorer.com?
    That would save me a WHOLE lot of trouble..
    Please?bowdown.gif

    Man, I *hate* writing emails like this. I hope it's the last one. *sob*

    I think it's only fair, given you currently have customers who expect that URL to function, that you retain the URL and forward it to your new site.

    But to continue to use the URL as your primary URL and the one you give out for your product could damage our brand, so I think we have to request that you stop using it as a primary destination.

    This doesn't have to happen immediately, and I'll actually cover the costs associated with registering a new domain if you'd like, but I'd appreciate it if you didn't wait too long.

    PS - I think "SmugExplorer" or "Smug Explorer" is a much better name than "SM Explorer", but it's your product. "SM Explorer" could mean anything that has SM as the initials, it doesn't have any sort of emotional connotations, it's not memorable, etc. It's sorta an efficient name that an engineer would think of - not a branding wizard. :)

    Don
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    PPS - While you're at it, you might want to consider not using frames on your site. I've tried to send people to specific pages there, but it's nearly impossible because the frame hides the true URL. Frames tend to be evil. :)

    Don
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Nik, it's up to you to name your own product, of course, but I thought I'd play with you a little. I looked up smug in the Thesaurus and got this list:
    complacent, conceited, egoistic, egotistical, hoity-toity, holier-than-thou, hot stuff, hotshot, priggish, self-contented, self-righteous, self-satisfied, snobbish, stuck up, stuffy, superior, vainglorious

    Pretty bad, eh? But what about hotshot? If you don't take that, I might. My python script could use a little marketing to make up for it's essentially nerdly nature. So:
    What smugmug uploader do you use? Why hotshot, of course.
    If not now, when?
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    OK, got it.
    onethumb wrote:
    Man, I *hate* writing emails like this. I hope it's the last one. *sob*
    No worries, I got the idea.;-)
    onethumb wrote:
    PS - I think "SmugExplorer" or "Smug Explorer" is a much better name than "SM Explorer", but it's your product. "SM Explorer" could mean anything that has SM as the initials, it doesn't have any sort of emotional connotations, it's not memorable, etc. It's sorta an efficient name that an engineer would think of - not a branding wizard. :)
    It looks like "smug explorer" already got the blessing..:):

    Thank you!
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Rutt, thanks for playing:-)
    rutt wrote:
    Nik, it's up to you to name your own product, of course, but I thought I'd play with you a little. I looked up smug in the Thesaurus and got this list:

    complacent, conceited, egoistic, egotistical, hoity-toity, holier-than-thou, hot stuff, hotshot, priggish, self-contented, self-righteous, self-satisfied, snobbish, stuck up, stuffy, superior, vainglorious

    Pretty bad, eh? But what about hotshot? If you don't take that, I might. My python script could use a little marketing to make up for it's essentially nerdly nature. So:

    What smugmug uploader do you use? Why hotshot, of course.
    I would not dare to steal a hotshot name from you. I like superior though:-)
    Thank you for your moral support!

    Cheers!1drink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    No frames:-(
    onethumb wrote:
    PPS - While you're at it, you might want to consider not using frames on your site. I've tried to send people to specific pages there, but it's nearly impossible because the frame hides the true URL. Frames tend to be evil. :)

    Don
    I know frames block direct linking... However my HTML knowledge does not go very far:-(
    I would like to have something like a header and a menu always visible, and without frames it means I need to incorporate them into *every* page, and then if I need change it (like latest version or time last updated) - I'd need to change it everywhere..

    May I ask your advise: how can I achive similar functionality without the frames and without spending $$$ on a professional web-designer?

    I'm all for it, just don't know how..

    TIA!
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • devbobodevbobo LR whisperer Melbourne, AUPosts: 4,335Administrators SmugMug Employee
    edited April 2, 2005
    Don,

    If a tree of categories, sub-catogories and albums, is it allowed to call the root element 'My Smugmug' ?

    Cheers,

    David
    David Parry
    SmugMug API Developer
    My Photos
  • flyingpylonflyingpylon Major grins Posts: 260Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Sometimes I think the world would be a better place if everyone stopped listening to lawyers and branding experts.

    I'm not officially complaining about the new policy, but I'd like to point out that companies like Google and Amazon allow their names to be used by others that develop third party apps. Neither appears to be going out of business soon.

    But policy is policy and hey look... now there are even API keys to enforce it. I'll change the name of my little web app in the next day or so.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Nikolai wrote:
    I would not dare to steal a hotshot name from you. I like superior though:-)
    Thank you for your moral support!

    Cheers!1drink.gif

    The targeted audience of the python script is the most nerdly of the nerdly. I think it's a plus to call it "sm_tool.py". Discourages people who will ask me dumb questions. Your goal is different. So go ahead, take hotshot if you like.

    Given the nature of the script beast, there is nothing anyone can do to keep them from renaming it anything they want after they download it. Given the nature of the intended audiance, they will probably put it in their home bin directory and call it "sm" in order to save keystrokes. Then they will use a cron job to invoke it and forget about it altogether until it breaks bucause it's API key is disabled. All 4 of its users.

    In short, it doesn't even want a good name.
    If not now, when?
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Nikolai wrote:
    I know frames block direct linking... However my HTML knowledge does not go very far:-(
    I would like to have something like a header and a menu always visible, and without frames it means I need to incorporate them into *every* page, and then if I need change it (like latest version or time last updated) - I'd need to change it everywhere..

    May I ask your advise: how can I achive similar functionality without the frames and without spending $$$ on a professional web-designer?

    I'm all for it, just don't know how..

    TIA!

    It's actually fairly easy. If your web server supports Server-Side Includes (SSI, also known as .shtml) or any sort of scripting language (perl, php, etc) it's really a breeze.

    Basically, you just include your header and foot and menu files on the server and it serves up the whole page for you.

    Who's your provider? Do they allow those sorts of things?

    Don
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Sometimes I think the world would be a better place if everyone stopped listening to lawyers and branding experts.

    I'm not officially complaining about the new policy, but I'd like to point out that companies like Google and Amazon allow their names to be used by others that develop third party apps. Neither appears to be going out of business soon.

    But policy is policy and hey look... now there are even API keys to enforce it. I'll change the name of my little web app in the next day or so.

    There's certainly a gray area, but I'm not aware of any commercial applications that call themselves Google* or Amazon*. If you've got links, I'd love to see them. Smugmug Explorer is a commercial application, so people are essentially paying for something that uses our brand - not a good combination for us.

    I know for a *fact* that Google is having fits over the fact that Google has become a part of everyday vocabulary. Brands like Kleenex have had the same fits in the past - it's terrible to the brand and death to their positioning. I've seen people say "let me Google it" and immediately go to www.yahoo.com. "Google" means "search" not "search at google.com" now.

    Since I don't completely understand either the law behind protecting our copyrights and trademarks or how brands get diluted, and we're a tiny company that doesn't have the energy to spend on the problem, it's easiest for us to just take an simple approach: don't do it.

    It pains me to do so, because the API has been a labor of love for me. Not all of the employees at the company thought it was a good idea - one of them went so far as to say it was stupid and a waste of time. I think we can all agree, now, that it was neither. But I'd hate to be proven wrong in a court of law or if our brand becomes severly damaged.

    Don
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 11,643Administrators moderator
    edited April 2, 2005
    Nikolai wrote:
    I know frames block direct linking... However my HTML knowledge does not go very far:-(
    I would like to have something like a header and a menu always visible, and without frames it means I need to incorporate them into *every* page, and then if I need change it (like latest version or time last updated) - I'd need to change it everywhere..

    May I ask your advise: how can I achive similar functionality without the frames and without spending $$$ on a professional web-designer?

    I'm all for it, just don't know how..

    TIA!


    Nikolai, you have email on how to do this easily, and without messy server stuff.
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Splitting legal fine hairs isn't really my idea of fun but in the case of the python script: I relinquish whatever ownership I have of it. It's a gift to Smugmug, Inc. I will maintain it for them for free.

    Naw, as I said this wasn't any fun. Thanks Don, for believing in the API and maaking it work. Thanks for helping me make my script work even before there was a formal API. I don't care what my program is called (and neither do all 4 of my users.) I have learned to love you guys.
    If not now, when?
  • flyingpylonflyingpylon Major grins Posts: 260Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    onethumb wrote:
    There's certainly a gray area, but I'm not aware of any commercial applications that call themselves Google* or Amazon*. If you've got links, I'd love to see them.
    Just off the top of my head, here's one for Google:

    Google Alert - http://www.googlealert.com

    and several for Amazon, listed on Amazon's own Sample Applications page for AWS/ECS.

    Amazon's Sample Applications for AWS/ECS

    Looks like there are 7,899 domains registered with the word "google" in them, and 54,735 with the word "amazon". Certainly those two companies have the legal budget to chase people down if they wanted to.

    Just for the record, I'm not trying to be argumentative here...
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 2, 2005
    Ssi
    onethumb wrote:
    It's actually fairly easy. If your web server supports Server-Side Includes (SSI, also known as .shtml) or any sort of scripting language (perl, php, etc) it's really a breeze.

    Basically, you just include your header and foot and menu files on the server and it serves up the whole page for you.

    Who's your provider? Do they allow those sorts of things?

    Don
    I thought of this but for some reason I can't make it work..

    My provider is www.mysitespace.com. They claim they support php..

    I guess I need a simple example..

    Thanks!
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • devbobodevbobo LR whisperer Melbourne, AUPosts: 4,335Administrators SmugMug Employee
    edited April 3, 2005
    Nikolai wrote:
    I thought of this but for some reason I can't make it work..

    My provider is www.mysitespace.com. They claim they support php..

    I guess I need a simple example..

    Thanks!
    Nik,

    Here's an example...

    <!-- #INCLUDE VIRTUAL="[FileName]"--><!-- #INCLUDE VIRTUAL="[FileName]"-->

    Hope this helps,

    David
    David Parry
    SmugMug API Developer
    My Photos
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 3, 2005
    Please update link on SM site
    Don,

    I think I get S*E 100% compliant with your request.
    Now, since the name, logo and URL has changed, I would appreciate if you guys can update SM site to refelect those changes.

    Unless I'm not mistaken, SM mentioned SE in the news and int hacks/apps sections.

    Can you please replace old SE info with:

    Star*Explorer, http://www.starexplorer.com and

    SE_ban25.jpg, which is http://www.starexplorer.com/images/SE_ban25.jpg

    (whichever part you deem needed)

    Thank you!
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • devbobodevbobo LR whisperer Melbourne, AUPosts: 4,335Administrators SmugMug Employee
    edited April 4, 2005
    Don,

    I posted a message in this thread yesterday, not sure if you missed it or it didn't make sense.

    Below is a small screen grab of my Firefox extension, does this violate the new brand rules ??

    18886228-M.jpg

    Thanks,

    David
    David Parry
    SmugMug API Developer
    My Photos
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited April 4, 2005
    devbobo wrote:
    Don,

    I posted a message in this thread yesterday, not sure if you missed it or it didn't make sense.

    Below is a small screen grab of my Firefox extension, does this violate the new brand rules ??

    18886228-M.jpg

    Thanks,

    David

    Hey David,

    Sorry I missed this earlier. Looks great!

    There's all sorts of gray areas with the naming thing that we'll figure out as we go along, but certainly you can refer to our name as part of your service. I just don't want it used for marketing purposes, mainly.

    Small plugins, like "Send To Smugmug" which describe functionality (ie, "what it does"), rather than a marketing message, are absolutely ok as well, especially when they're free.

    Something like Smugmug Explorer, though, was a commercial product, and the name and logo are marketing tools. I'm thrilled that it's so nice, and thrilled that people are paying Nik to keep enhancing it, but we had to draw the line there.

    Fast and Easy rule: If it's used to market your product by piggy-backing on our brand, it's probably not ok. If it describes functionality that your product is doing with smugmug, it's probably fine. Yours clearly falls into this latter category.

    Make sense?

    Don
  • flyingpylonflyingpylon Major grins Posts: 260Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 4, 2005
    Don-

    I always hate to have to ask questions like "what about my specific situation?" but in this case I will just to be sure.

    What about Smugmug Exporter?

    It's free, the name describes what it does, it doesn't use (or even have) a logo, and I don't market it (other than to put it in my DGrin signature and refer people to it if they need the functionality).

    Paul
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,918Administrators Major grins
    edited April 4, 2005
    ... and several for Amazon, listed on Amazon's own Sample Applications page for AWS/ECS.

    Amazon's Sample Applications for AWS/ECS
    This is a good point. Those companies have created great brands and understanding what they've done with web services and developer logos/branding, etc., would be really useful.

    I'm working on understanding their terms and what the foregoing prohibitions are, but this doesn't look very encouraging:


    The foregoing prohibition includes the use of "amazon," any other trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, or variations or misspellings of any of them, in the name of an Application or in a URL to the left of the top-level domain name (e.g., ".com", ".net", ".uk", etc.) -- for example, a URL such as "amazon.mydomain.com", "amaozn.com" or "amazonauctions.net" would not be acceptable.


    More when we know more.

    Thanks,
    Baldy
  • devbobodevbobo LR whisperer Melbourne, AUPosts: 4,335Administrators SmugMug Employee
    edited April 4, 2005
    onethumb wrote:
    Make sense?
    Don,

    Thanks for the reply...yeah it does.

    David
    David Parry
    SmugMug API Developer
    My Photos
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