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The G Word

Ten years from now, jokey newspaper articles about corporate follies will mention why the Chevy Nova didn’t sell in Latin America, the hilarity that ensued when company names (e.g., Pen Island) became URLs, and how Google waded into the mighty river of language one day and drowned.

Read the rest of the piece here.

As I reiterated in the comment thread:

…If brand dilution in the vernacular is the aggregate effect of instances where the brand’s name is spoken or written in a generic sense, then reducing the number of generic instances protects the brand. (It also provides less fodder for the other companies’ lawyers, who will certainly want to argue that your name is now generic.) You can reduce the frequency of generic uses via letters from lawyers & lawsuits, but given all the examples of brand names (Xerox, Thermos, Kleenex, etc.) turned to generic words, this doesn’t seem promising. What does seem promising (and unexplored) is reducing the frequency, not by discouraging the generic use, but by encouraging the specific, so that Google says, hey, you yahoo on Yahoo, you ask on Ask, but you only google on Google.

It seems to me that Google has a sustainable, cheap resource for protecting its brand from dilution in a certain non-proprietary solution called linguistic creativity.