Friendly Reminder About The WordPress Domain Trademark

While reading press releases about new WordPress services or plugins, I’ll occasionally discover that their website uses the full term of WordPress in their domain name. According to the domain policy, this is a violation of the WordPress trademark unless they have explicit permission. A couple days ago, I came across one such site which was brand new and the press release talked about their recent launch. I sent the owner of the site a message letting them know that they were violating the trademark and that they should think about a WP variant. While some responses are vulgar, the one from this person showed that they had made a mistake as they had no idea about the policy. Below is a short conversation over email. I’ve removed the person’s name as well as their website as it’s not needed to illustrate the point.

Jeff – I read a press release today about the launch of (Name Of Service) and I just wanted to let you know that by using the full term of WordPress in the domain name, you are violating the WordPress trademark. I suggest switching your domain name to WP****** if possible or try obtaining permission to use the trademark in your domain name.

Response – Oh damn it, thanks for letting me know! I had no idea. I’ll see what I can do about changing the name. Kind regards,

Jeff – You’re welcome. Tons of people make the same mistake. Sorry you have to go about changing the domain.

Response – I looked into it yesterday and yeah, I really (bad word) up here. I bought the domain wp***** and migrated the whole site there, I’ll be 301 redirecting the whole site today. I’m sorry if I caused any bad feelings about my venture, just trying to make a living helping others with the CMS I love. I’ll be changing my email too in the next couple of days. Thanks for reaching out and letting me know so I could change the domain. I really appreciate it.

Jeff – Nope, no bad feelings caused. I usually send out a friendly email to anyone violating the trademark as it’s best to deal with it early versus having that domain be established. You should be all set to go now. Good luck with your service. Oh, as a sidenote. I would look for any where you wrote Word(lowercase p)ress on the site and change it to WordPress as that’s the correct way to write it. It’s one of those weird prickly points the community has.

Response – Hi, Yeah, I found the discussion on Twitter, it seemed to cause a big stir among some. Saw some guy called me a douche for missing the capital P so I’ve changed it already. Thanks

A couple of reasons why I published our email exchange. The first is to show that sometimes, people have good intentions but make an honest mistake. They didn’t know about the domain policy and rushed to change things to make it right. The established people in the WordPress community know about these guidelines and instead of chastising those site owners, we should first reach out to them via email or some other method to at least give them an opportunity to make things right. I started the Twitter dialogue by mentioning how disappointed I was to see brand new WordPress services launch that violated the WordPress trademark. On Twitter, it’s too easy to fire off text that would be better off never being published. I’ve said a few things in the past I regret as have others. Let’s try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt before performing regretful actions.

If you see anyone violating the WordPress trademark via by domain or other means, please try reaching that person via email or getting in touch with them any way possible to let them know. It could just be an honest mistake.

I almost feel like these two articles need to be appended to every post ever written about WordPress. Give them a read if you haven’t already. The WordPress Community Needs an Attitude Adjustment and Bad Attitudes Are Not Welcome.

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