Open Up!

by chromatic

For a company so instrumental in enabling the next-generation web, Google's behavior is unconscionably Web 1.0.


not chromatic
2006-06-12 17:17:20
I am missing the point here. If it's sarcasm, it's done pretty badly. What's the context?
2006-06-12 17:29:58
not c -- some ideas are too important for a company to own. They belong to the community.
not chromatic
2006-06-12 17:39:46
Interesting how you changed my name from "chromatic" to "not chromatic". Was that confusing to have two identical names, one official and one not? Couldn't people tell the difference because of the IP address? :) (I'm referring to your example - sorry for being so guerrilla about it). That's why I was thinking this might be sarcastic. Not just because you can't have two, but also because people *will* get confused. How many people know how to check the IP address of a site? (polling O'Reilly editors is not a representative sample).

I agree that some ideas are too important to be hoarded by one company, but you are talking about a domain name, not an idea in your article. If you were asking Google to release its algorithms for ranking pages and such, or what it has learned about building complex networks of cheap PC's, I would understand your point. I might not necessarily agree, but I would understand it.

Your article would also suggest other companies such as,,, and any other company that has a domain name (or a name) that is now used by the masses as a verb should allow others to register subdomains.

I'm afraid I'm still missing the point.

2006-06-12 17:44:50
(Ha, I'm hardly a generic household term.)

The problem is, we the users of who made it so popular and ubiquitous have no control over the term we popularized. That seems terribly unfair and so Web 1.0, the only solution is to boycott Google until Google does the right thing and releases all of its intellectual property to the domain name.

Oh sure, Google did a lot of hard work making a useful service and making something worth appreciating, but I think it's very clear that I'm angry and I have a weblog, and thus I'm right.

not chromatic
2006-06-12 17:49:05
You are funny. :)
Nathan Jones
2006-06-12 18:49:48
This is a very confusing post; you don't seem to specifically state what behaviour you are objecting to. Do you mean that Google should not take action against companies that use the name Google as a generic term? If so, say so! This post makes it sound like the actual domain name should be magically made available to everyone.
2006-06-12 20:16:31
This may be the stupidest thing that I've ever read on O'Reilly.
2006-06-12 20:31:41
I feel stupider having read this.
2006-06-12 20:43:11
what are you talking about? should i be able to register why should google share it's name with anyone? who are you that you deserve control over google?
2006-06-12 22:00:24
Really confusing article. It would be good if someone who understand it explain to us :)
2006-06-12 23:02:30
The article is full of crap.
2006-06-13 00:56:17
I couldn't agree more, and this doesn't only apply to google! I've created a wonderful new Linux distribution and the only logical place for it on the web is of course
not not chromatic
2006-06-13 01:24:49
Why not open up the top level domains as well so we can have www.chromatic and and www. I want .
Dick Davies
2006-06-13 02:04:13

Do other domains names 'open up'? I don't remember being able to use either.

No-one has any idea what you are talking about.

Chewbacca Defense
2006-06-13 02:04:19
This does not make sence.

Is this even technicaly possible? Because I'm not aware of a single site on the web that is able to run the same domain, registered by more then one entity, on different servers. Unless maybe you've got reverse proxies.

Running on different IP's is really really confusing and would need serious haxor on the root dns servers. (Or at least, I think so? right? anybody?)

2006-06-13 02:12:32
That's bullshit, really. Do you care to explain what exactly you mean?
Daniel Dittmar
2006-06-13 02:27:19
Is this about the Web 2.0 trademark debate and how unfair everyone is to you? You guys are getting touchy.
2006-06-13 04:12:45
What's the point of this article? It's neither smart nor funny, just a waste of everybody's time.
Dan Zambonini
2006-06-13 04:48:38
Very good, although a little obtuse! It makes quite a change to read a blog that you actually have to think about...
2006-06-13 08:51:50
Hey, O'Reilly - no-one likes a smart arse. Google the company is fundamentally different from Web 2.0 the concept. Go away and think about it for a few minutes before you start trying to take the piss out of us again.

2006-06-13 10:03:35
"can't run your own website with the domain"

Could someone tell me what the hell that means? I mean, sure you cannot run a website, google owns And I own and you cannot run website either.

2006-06-13 11:01:56
This is definitely the most nonsensical post i've read on here, especially by you, chromatic. Open up *your* name! Isn't constantly using a pseudonym "unconscionably Web 1.0"?
Eric Hoff
2006-06-13 12:05:15
Did the users of Windows or Linux or OSX make these operating systems great operating systems just by using them?


Microsoft, and Apple worked hard on Windows and OSX, and many individual open source developers also worked very hard on Linux. It was hard work from developers to make these OSes good. It was the developers and individuals driving these products that made them good products.

Google was a good product and that is what made it popular. It isn't like we didn't have AltaVista, Yahoo, etc before. Google was better and being the best is what made it a household word.

Your argument is difficult to follow and seems flawed to me. I strongly disagree. Forcing a company to share a domain name because all of a sudden it is a popular word doesn't make sense and would hurt that business badly!

2006-06-13 13:28:26
What a waste of time.

2006-06-13 17:26:22
Who wrote this nonsense?
Vance Dubberly
2006-06-13 17:30:35
Maybe we should troll O'Reilly readers who were outraged at O'Reilly trying to force a conference not to use "Web 2.0" and get them to take O'Reillys side by using an example which has no relevance what so ever to that particular case.

Trademarks are good. When a trademark through common usage becomes synonymous with at particular thing, such as "Coke" or "Vice Grip." Well great for the TradeMark owner, they should wear that as a badge. Google of course is an example of this. Google came up with an name for their Organization. People, users, etc... came up with the phrase, "google it" and "I'll google that." What O'Reilly did however was a slight of hand trick which is right up there with the lowest of the low. They introduced the term "Web 2.0" into the vernacular of modern web junkies as though it was just a common expression and then tried to capitalize off of it.

Google stands for an enterprise and set of services built by people. "Web 2.0" is a term referring to a technical and social trend which was not created by the people who trademarked "Web 2.0". We were all happy to give O'Reilly a thumbs up and credit for giving us a word for the phenomena that is Web 2.0. But O'Reilly did not create that phenomena and has proven to be very underhanded and ANTI-WEB 2.0 it's it's treatment of the name. Trademarking "Web 2.0" is akin to trademarking "Punk Rock" or "Hip-Hop" or "Hippies"

On the other hand if this is really a post saying that Google should give up its domain name. McDonald's would be a good next career move.

2006-06-13 17:35:46
Chromatic argues poorly for a nonsensical idea.
2006-06-13 18:15:07
Vance, I'm personally (and no, I don't speak for the company) willing to have an interesting discussion with you or anyone else in public about the nature of trademark law and how a company can keep its customers happy, prevent fradulent and low-quality imitations, and allow non-commercial and non-profit and quality for-profit institutions to use its trademarks in a way fair and equitable for everyone involved.

It's exceedingly difficult to take your "moral outrage" seriously though. You
seem to claim that there was some sort of sneaky conspiracy to promote the
name of a conference
in such a way that part of the name would become a
popular descriptive term (of course, everyone who names something hopes that
people talk about it). The conspiracy somehow obviously registered that name
as a submarine service mark (though there is no such thing), just as it would
register a normal service mark for a similar event. Then, by some spectacular
legal innovation, revealing this mark while twirling an oily black mustache
would allow the conspirators to extract huge sums of money from all of the
poor people who inadvertently used the term in completely different trades
(because any competent legal counsel ought to perform trademark searches while
advising up a new business -- and there is no treble damage danger as with

Precisely how does O'Reilly or CMP make huge profits from such a
service mark? I have seen exactly zero theories, plausible or
otherwise. That would seem the linchpin of the whole argument.

I think this whole "moral outrage" thing is patently ridiculous, almost as
much so as the notion that because "to google" has become a verb, that Google
the company no longer has the right to use its domain name exclusively.

Again, if you oppose the notion of trademarks in general, we could have an
interesting discussion.

If you oppose the idea of sending C&D letters to non-profits, the line starts
behind me.

If you oppose the nature and demands of trademark law, I can agree with you in part, and that's probably also part of a good discussion.

If you're interested in drafting good trademark guidelines, that's a
great discussion.

The conspiracy theories are exceedingly silly and excessively implausible though.

2006-06-13 18:36:20
Ok, Chromatic, we're wandering off the subject here. The question at hand is what the hell your article is about. It is utterly nonsensical. No-one has any clue what you're going on about.
2006-06-14 07:10:25
For those of you still in the dark, the article is a very obtuse attempt at sarcasm. He's comparing the furor over the "Web 2.0" trademark issues with O'Reilly to asking Google to relinquish control of the domain because Google has become a common household name (and a verb).

The problem is that the arguments are too different. One ("Web 2.0") is an issue of trademark over an idea/phenomenom where O'Reilly coined the term describing it, but isn't the one really behind the innovation being described. (And for those calling for it to be public domain, I don't necessarily feel as strongly as you do. The term is trademarked in relation to conferences only.)

Giving up is more akin to asking O'Reilly to allow anyone to use their shelfspace (online and off) to sell competing products. But I can certainly agree that perhaps some clueless people wouldn't be able to recognize the difference between an O'Reilly Web 2.0 conference and some other Web 2.0 conference. This is closer to allowing competitors to create competing services and name them similarly to Google's (i.e. Microsoft could create an email service named GMail, but it would still be hosted somewhere other than or

M. David Peterson
2006-06-14 09:10:48
The arguments might be different, but the point is the same.

If the world is collectively suggesting that "we are no longer interested in allowing "ownership" of a term or phrase, then chromatic's post is spot on.

Does it make sense.

No! But thats the whole point, folks.

It doesn't make sense in the same way those who believe O'Reilly has does something immoral, ethically irresponsible, and has gone against the very foundation it was build upon...


If O'Reilly is guilty of ANY of the above (and they're not) then each and every company who has built their foundation on "Open" should be held to same standards, right?

If not, why not?

Because it wouldn't make any sense.

Yep, just like this post.

Yep, that's the point.

not chromatic
2006-06-14 10:10:45
Chris: thanks for adding the context sorely missing from the article! It's all I was asking in my first comment...
Vance Dubberly
2006-06-14 11:30:30
@chromatic, i'm a long way from being a conspiratorialist (that a word?). O'Reilly is one of my favorite organizations, they have done a great deal for web culture, and I'm a long way from accussing them of being SCO. However, one must expect replies in the spirit of what is being replied to, and a little outrage is what makes the writing fun. ;)

Actually I'm a big fan of changing IP laws in this country. Things like "Web 2.0" should not be trademarkable for the reasons that both chris and I outlined. Just as cutting the crust off a peanut butter and jelly sandwich should never have been patentable, smuckers holds that one.

Good people can do bad things without realizing it. Good organizations can do SCOish things without intending to, simply by failing to understand the nature of what they are doing.

2006-06-15 13:20:19
Chris and M. David, thanks for getting it. I knew it might take a couple of days to wade through my obtuseness, but I'm glad to know that there are people who can decode satire.

Vance, the question of what should and shouldn't be valid for trade and service marks is a difficult one. Out of the big three (patents, copyrights, and trademarks), I have the least trouble with the idea of trademarks... but finding unique marks especially with blurring trades is difficult.

I'm not sure how a better system might work though.

2006-09-13 05:53:09
This is quite possibly the most idiotic thing I have ever read. Unless it's a jab at Google's competitor in the form of sarcasm...just wow.
2006-12-26 10:26:58
Wow this has to be the most boring article I have ever read...from your communist attitude Im guessing your one of those people who uses Linux??? :-/ hmmm well the domain belongs to them, its theres, there is nothing you can do about so find something worth while to complain about!!
2007-04-27 20:52:23
This guy's gone nuts!
Hope he doesn't get to write anymore.

It can prove dangerous to him as well since he can always sprain his brain by his twisted logic! ;-)

Save him from himself! :-D

2007-05-07 09:13:57
Who owns the google company?
2007-09-26 04:48:19
Hi, i've just realised that i cant get to from i've tried everything anhy ideas?