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7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. Consolidating RedMonk for the Web Squared

The logo above is nothing to do with us.

RedMonk was incorporated in November 2002. The name RedMonk was my idea. Stephen was happy to go with it. I looked around the web at the time, and it seemed noone else was actually trading under the name. So we went ahead. At first, like any new business, cashflow constraints meant we were loathe to throw a lot of money at redmonk.com and the domain name squatter we found there.

So for the first few months it was www.red-monk.com and jgovernor @ redmonk.com.

We finally managed to persuade the folks to sell us RedMonk.com and all was well with the world…

Or so we thought. You see – there was a guy called Steve Ivy that owned RedMonk.net – but he was basically an independent contractor and the web site was actually Monkinetic. No brand issues there then…

Things ticked over nicely at RedMonk. We made our way in the world, and worked out what our value proposition was. We hired Coté. We’re the industry analyst firm that really gets software development and Open Source.

We started blogging because internal peer review was surprisingly painful. So we used the Internet for peer review. Cue kudos, and more conversations with software developers. We became the little analyst firm that used social media, knew developers, and understood tech adoption through a very different lens. From the Bottom Up. Our base is comprised of practitioners, not CIOs. People that get the Open Web.

But once in a while Steve Ivy would pop up. That darned RedMonk.net. And once a year or so, usually at around this time I would go back and take another crack at him. No threats, no BS – just a reasonable request that he stop using RedMonk.

You see RedMonk was a nickname for Steve Ivy. But also in fact the name of a development consultancy he set up with his wife 11 years ago! I had got it wrong. He had traded under the name for a while. What is more, people I know, like Chris Messina, are friends of his. Ivy would often write about the same technologies we do. Googling RedMonk could be unsatisfactory, at least from my perspective.

Stephen O’Grady is a lot more pragmatic than I am. He would say don’t worry about it – we’re pretty clearly differentiated. I worried about it.

Then Twitter came along. And Steven Ivy registered the username RedMonk. Before we did. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from yours truly. But Steve had every right to register any name he wanted. Things got even worse when GetSatisfaction came along. You see GetSatisfaction is a web service that tracks mentions of your company, so you can offer customer service to the conversations around your brand. Its a place for people to talk about brands they’re interested in. It can be useful for corporate FAQs and so on. But “RedMonk” kept throwing up false positives. I wrote about the issue in a piece called Whose Conversation Is It Anyway.

This was all kind of galling. I mean – weren’t we supposed to be web savvy? Didn’t we use Google to check before we named our firm? Hello… that’s Business 101. And how could we not have more effective ownership of “RedMonk” on the web. What price ambient findability?

When I talked to Shel Israel about Twitterville I made sure to call out the issue.

In this age of consumer service meets IT, of social business, of Enterprise 2.0, of whatever the current buzzword is…. make sure your own the relevant name spaces. Especially on an exploding network like Twitter.

You see we couldn’t pull some “heavy” stuff on Ivy. Well in fact, we wouldn’t. It. Is. What. It. Is.

Then, a few weeks back, a LinkedIn update popped in. Seems Steve is now working at Six Apart. He is no longer a consultant. So I pinged him. As usual he said that RedMonk had real sentimental value…

But he also mentioned he would consider a reasonable offer… whoa. This was a big big change. Consider a reasonable offer? Not just a flat out no? And it only took me seven years to weaken his resolve…

So I talked to my Stephen, and we made an offer. I am immensely happy to say Steve decided it was finally time to move on. Thank you Linkedin! But more importantly thanks Steve Ivy, henceforth known as Monkinetic on all web properties. Great guy. Peaceful resolution.

I am very happy. The world of service clouds and Chatter is coming. Crowd and Cloud Sourcing. Brand issues are only going to grow in importance. The timing is just fantastic.

I just want to say one more time – thank you Steve.

And now if you want to follow us on the web its redmonk.com or redmonk.net and @redmonk, or indeed the @redmonks we had been using… messy, huh? Not any more.

Steve said on his (excellent) blog post about the saga of RedMonk:

It feels weird, bittersweet, and even a bit freeing to be letting go of this long-time part of my digital identity.

For me the feeling was something similar. But not about letting something go, rather becoming whole. At last. In business you have to be tenacious.

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Comment Feed

37 Responses

  1. James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. http://bit.ly/53PoSQ
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. good lord James Governor now has 2 twitter ids @monkchips and @redmonk; twitter volume will explode :-) http://ow.ly/FELc Congrats James
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. Ah, branding in a global world of fragmented name spaces! I’m glad it got sorted – amazing what can be achieved in a few thousand days!

    Glad it has worked out for both Steve and yourselves!

  4. fantastic, @monkchips – congrats! James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. http://bit.ly/53PoSQ
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. Red Monk Rising :-) http://tinyurl.com/ykhxk4u
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  6. So I guess that was your Seven Year Itch. :)

  7. #news 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. Consolidating RedMonk for the.. http://bit.ly/8eQcRy (via @jonerp)
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  8. James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a … http://bit.ly/6cM18t
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  9. It seems “all things come to he who waits” after all! Good news for you, and kudos to Steve Ivy for his grace (I said as much in a comment on his post)

  10. James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a … http://bit.ly/6cM18t
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  11. 7 Years To Secure RedMonk.net: a tale of web identity and tenacity http://bit.ly/53PoSQ
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  12. 7 Years To Secure RedMonk.net: a tale of web identity. and tenacity http://bit.ly/53PoSQ
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  13. StartupNews: Seven Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. http://bit.ly/4xNIP7
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  14. So, uh they chipped away at this guy so they could secure a domain name that probably isn’t essential to them.I read all the bit where they said about not wanting to be heavy handed – i.e. didn’t want to be the "big bad corp". Sorry, but this way seems just as rude to me :(
    (and yeh I know the other guy seems reasonably happy, but still….)
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  15. Seven Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity.: Comments http://url4.eu/phjt
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  16. Seven Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity.: http://bit.ly/6n2Ax1 Comments: http://bit.ly/580DS3
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  17. James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity… http://bit.ly/8OCMth #news #twitter
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  18. Was really hoping this would be about getting a domain from one of those offshore squatters – been trying to scoop up one that related to my business for years. Worse, on the company’s obscure and hard to find website, they say they won’t even consider selling domains. Even though it’s essentially not being used.
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  19. Was really hoping this would be about getting a domain from one of those offshore squatters – been trying to scoop up one that related to my business for years. Worse, on the company’s obscure and hard to find website, they say they won’t even consider selling domains.
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  20. Interesting story. Someone actually owned carbonmade.org after we failed to renew it 4-5 years ago. Anyway, the guy contacted me out of the blue about six months ago and just said: "Do you want carbonmade.org? Happy to transfer it to you for free. I have no use for it and you own the .com." I was like "Yes, thank you very much." And the next day I had it in my GoDaddy account. A really nice gesture that never happens in the domain market.
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  21. Interesting story. I’ve got a short and sweet one. Someone bought carbonmade.org after we failed to renew it 4-5 years ago. The guy contacted me out of the blue about six months ago and just said: "Do you want carbonmade.org? Happy to transfer it to you for free. I have no use for it and you own the .com." I was like "Yes, thank you very much." And the next day I had it in my GoDaddy account. A really nice gesture that never happens in the domain market.
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  22. If I was on the ICANN board, I’d pass some resolution that says that squattered domains can be claimed back.
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  23. If I was on the ICANN board, I’d pass some resolution that says that squattered domains can be claimed back.I’m sure I can come up with a decent definition for squatters.
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  24. Lifestream: James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. Consolidating Re… http://bit.ly/5p8y1G
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  25. James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. Consolidating RedMonk for the… http://ow.ly/164AaB
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  26. The guy in the article wasn’t a squatter.
    This comment was originally posted on Hacker News

  27. James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. Consolidating RedMonk for the… http://cli.gs/J0ajU
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  28. 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity http://ow.ly/G38T -> via @redmonk
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  29. 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. … http://bit.ly/8P4IzZ #postrank #opensource
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  30. Seven Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. http://bit.ly/4FGLYg
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  31. @jowyang we now also have @redmonk! http://bit.ly/53PoSQ
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  32. LOVE the redmonk image you chose. Yes- i think the story makes a fine coda to our appearance in Global Neighborhoods. BlueMonk – I’d buy it at the right price. ;-)
    This comment was originally posted on Global Neighbourhoods

  33. James: "Right price?" How does $25K sound. Let me know so I can go buy it.
    This comment was originally posted on Global Neighbourhoods

  34. ~ @monkchips tells the interesting tale of consolidating the @redmonk name across the social Web: http://is.gd/59j7i
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] James Governor’s Monkchips » 7 Years To Secure A Domain Name: a tale of web identity. Consolidating RedMonk for the Web Squared By namedb You see GetSatisfaction is a web service that tracks mentions of your company, so you can offer customer service to the conversations around your brand. Its a place for people to talk about brands they’re interested in. It can be useful for corporate FAQs and so on. via redmonk.com [...]

  2. [...] keep entrepreneurs up at night. I recently read this post about Redmonk Development’s odyssey to claim ownership of their chosen handle. While their case [...]