(Originally posted to my Google+ account.)

Just a quick post here RE why we decided (without hearing explicitly from the WordPress foundation) to change the domain of our book’s site frombuildingwebappswithwordpress.com to bwawwp.com.

So first, the original domain we chose is the full book title. It’s a pain in the butt to type all that, but we liked that the domain matched the book title exactly so readers wouldn’t get confused since there are and will be many similarly worded WordPress and app development books.

John Parris (@john_parris) and others quickly pointed out that the WordPress foundation, on their website, asks “Please do not use WordPress or WordCamp as part of a domain name.” http://wordpressfoundation.org/trademark-policy/

Many companies and orgs protecting trademarks ask the same thing and actively work to keep people from using their trademarked name in a domain name.

We were aware that the Foundation had this policy. However, it is my understanding that we have a case under “nominative fair use” to use the full WordPress term in our domain name.

The Wikipedia page explains this pretty well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_use

Another good description and overview of a test case where a website was able to use the LEXUS brand in their domain name can be found here: http://thompsonhall.com/nominative-fair-use-allows-trademark-used-on-website-domain-name/#nominative-fair-use

So we originally went with the full domain name. After launching (very quickly) we realized that even if we weren’t going to ask permission, we should at least inform the WordPress Foundation of the domain. So I submitted a note through their contact form.

We’re all busy at WordCamp San Francisco, so I never heard back from them, but I am willing to bet that they don’t want us to use the mark in our domain name even if we have a case for it. (Maybe they’ll get back and say otherwise.) My thinking is that their thinking would be that having our site in the wild makes it a bit harder for them to ask other sites to switch domains (but Jason can do it!), etc. And they might even think that nominative use doesn’t apply. And their lawyers are probably better than our lawyers. (Hint: we don’t have lawyers.)

So expecting a no, and potentially some friction with the foundation and software community that we are trying to work with and promote, we decided to just change the name anyway. The full book title will redirect to bwawwp.comanyway, and Bwawwp! is pretty fun to say.

So that’s why we originally used WordPress in our domain name and quickly changed course without hearing directly (yet) from the WordPress Foundation.

Why We Changed The Domain of Our Book’s Site to BWAwWP.com was last updated on July 29, 2013. Bookmark the permalink.