StopDaddy: GoDaddy Alternative

Register domain names at my Registry Rocket account (a service of eNom, based locally in Bellevue, Washington).

GoDaddy’s navigation and site usability is a nightmare. And I grow tired of the constant ‘would-you-like-fries-with-that’ sales approach. Plus, I’m not a big fan of politically conservative corporations. Continue reading “StopDaddy: GoDaddy Alternative”

Imitation – the sincerest form of flattery?

NW Trail Alliance logo

This week, PUMP (Portland United Mountain Pedalers) unveiled a new name and logo for the mountain bike advocacy organization. The new name, Northwest Trail Alliance, sounds flat and uninspiring compared to PUMP.

The new logo, however, is what’s really unoriginal. When you borrow another organization’s logo, that’s not called rebranding. Let’s call it copybranding.

Seattle’s Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club recently rebranded and chose a controversial name– Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Did Kris Schamp (former marketing specialist for Bike Gallery) unconsciously, or consciously, misappropriate the logo (below) that BBTC had used for over ten years?

Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club logo
The recently retired BBTC logo was created by Ross Cattelan, a long-time BBTC supporter and professional graphic designer. After I developed a concept with another designer, Ross added depth to the imagery and he created a new color palette that was used across all BBTC marketing materials (until last year when BBTC evolved to Evergreen).

Legally, Northwest Trail Alliance is not in danger of trademark violation. Its new design deviates significantly enough from the BBTC logo that it is probably not “confusingly similar.”

When determining infringement, the Court considers the following elements:

  1. Strength of the mark
  2. Proximity of the goods
  3. Similarity of the marks
  4. Evidence of actual confusion
  5. Marketing channels used
  6. Type of goods and the degree of care likely to be exercised by the purchaser
  7. Defendant’s intent in selecting the mark
  8. Likelihood of expansion of the product lines

A little market research and common courtesy can help ward off trademark suits.

Bank of America(n Drivers)

I generally don’t expect much customer service from banks. I should expect much less from Bank of America.

My former landlord just sent me a rental deposit refund drawn on his bank, Bank of America. Because the check was made out to me and my girlfriend, who don’t own a joint account, I visited the local West Seattle BOA branch on Alaska to cash the check.

I was informed there would be a $6 “convenience charge” for me to cash the check. That’s not very convenient; that’s outrageous.

Two employees intervened that this fee is typical. Well, it is NOT typical. I called my financial institution, Verity Credit Union, which confirmed that, indeed, they would cash any check drawn from Verity for a non-Verity customer…for NO FEE!

Of course, I was already in a bad mood since the morning-shift teller turned me away at the drive-thru because I was riding a bicycle (the drive-thru opens one hour earlier than the branch, but apparently is open only to car-driving BOA customers). Sorry bicyclists and pedestrians.

Bank of America drives away customers while serving drivers only.

Joe Mamma!

Another effectively branded Canadian institution, Joe Mamma Bikes & Boards is striving for second place as the worst-bike shop in Ottawa for customer service. Employees at this LBS successfully effect an east-coast ‘boarder’ attitude.

Customer: Do you carry the Ottawa Cycling Map?
Clerk: Joe Mamma.

Customer: Do you know where we could find the Ottawa Cycling Map?
Clerk: Joe Mamma.

Customer: Do you have any mountain bike trail guides for Ottawa?
Clerk: Joe Mamma.

Customer: Where do mountain bikers ride around Ottawa?
Clerk: Joe Mamma.

Curt answers convey a flippant tone to customers. This nonchalant behavior is rabid among teen- and other inexperienced sales personnel, particularly in the retail sector. Your local bike shop (LBS) included. Use every customer contact as an opportunity to develop rapport by using effective dialog. Ask lots of questions. Dig under the surface to find what the customer really wants.

If you ever need advice about marketing or sales efforts, don’t worry. You’ll never hear a “Joe Mamma” response from me. Meanwhile, for a more motherly experience, check out Maman at the National Gallery of Canada.