On September 9th 2010 the WordPress Foundation accepted the donation, from Automattic, of the ‘WordPress’ trademark so that they could:
preserve and protect the trademark in the years ahead
In order, as Matt Mullenweg put it, that the:
[WordPress] brand will continue to be a beacon of open source freedom
Which was a widely applauded, and significant move.
As not only would it protect the WordPress brand, but it would also protect all the legitimate, open source, trademark abiding companies that work in the WordPress space from being subject to unfair competition from spammy, trademark abusing sites that can much more easily climb the Google rankings as a result!
But, has that happened? Let’s check the evidence.
Now I’m guessing that ‘WordPress Themes’ is an even more popular search term than ‘Free WordPress Themes’ which as Siobhan pointed out not only is full of scary code, but also is topped by two trademark-breaking sites (which illustrates the power of using the TM in a domain name), so let’s take a look at that:
Guess what, suffuse with domains that literally shouldn’t be allowed to exist.
Imagine how much damage that is doing to legitimate, quality theme providers.
And, as the Foundation is the only organization that can regulate them, I reckon the community needs to call on the foundation to sort this out!
Howabout another common search term closer to my heart (especially as we provide the number one free membership plugin on wordpress.org!
Yep, that’s right, number 1 and 5… not that great really :/
And, for the sake of argument, lets checkout the ecommerce space too:
OK, not that awful, but still bloody significant.
And of course all the keyword manipulations you can think of are SEO’d to death in these sites, so that I bet you could come across many, many more if you just looked a little.
In fact, I bet you already have!
And it needs to stop… and that’s the responsibility of the foundation to do so… and as we can’t do anything, they need to act!
And I have a suggestion for how that could be achieved :)
Here’s the thing, commercial companies, like WPMU DEV, care a great deal about this (I know I do) and we also care a great deal about, as Matt said, keeping WordPress as a beacon of good practice.
So, howabout the foundation lets us [commercial providers] donate $$$s to sponsor the removal of domains infringing on the WordPress Trademark?
This way we benefit from seeing illegal and unfair competition being removed, the foundation benefits from donations and most of all WordPress benefits!
Like this idea? Share it around, or your variation of it, the more noise we can make, the higher the chance of us getting this mess sorted out… WordPress needs you!
[Ahem, disclaimer: In my salad days I actually did purchase a couple of trademarked domain names but long ago since removed them and offered them all to the foundation… just so you know :)]