What's In A Name?

“That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” -– Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Pajamas Media, a consortium of popular bloggers launched a new portal website today in New York City. They also announced a name change, Open Source Media. OSM’s ‘About’ page states that their mission is to expand the influence of weblogs by finding and promoting the best of them, providing bloggers with a forum to meet and share resources, and the chance to join a for-profit network that will give them additional leverage to pursue knowledge wherever they may find it.

Well, they pursued, and they found it – a name to call themselves by, which could be a name already called for, and claimed by, one Christopher Lydon.

A company that used to call itself Pajamas Media now calls itself Open Source Media, which is — scroll down to our legal notice — kind of exactly what we call ourselves. They’ve collected $3.5 million in venture capital, and, to celebrate their re-naming of our already-named name, they’re holding an event at the Rainbow Room.

So what to do. A couple of blogs — Atrios, Stephen den Beste, Dennis the Peasant, Begging to Differ, Homocon — have picked up on this already, unprompted, perhaps because if you Google “open source media”, we’re the third result. Presumably the new “Open Source Media” Googled their new name before they settled on it?

Don’t get us wrong; we didn’t invent the idea of working with bloggers to make media, we certainly didn’t invent the concept “open source,” and there’s plenty of room for everyone to do what we’ve been doing. But they chose the same name that we established in May and, seeing as how we work in the same industry, people might find that a little confusing. And that has us puzzled.

Uh, yeah.

Note Lydon’s ‘benefit of the doubt’ demeanor. Contrast this with the previously mentioned ‘Dennis the Peasant’. Let’s just say Dennis is clearly ready to spread a heap of menace on the ill named OSM.

Today’s “To Do” List…

…for all the citizen-jounalists of LINGERIE Media (yep, we’ve renamed the venture and, no, we haven’t done a trademark search either). I’d love to do it myself, but the Real World calls me:

1. Someone call or email Christopher Lydon at the real Open Source Media and alert him to the possible trademark infringement by The New Media Formerly Known As Pajamas. Email me results.

2. Someone call The New Media Formerly Known As Pajamas (be sure to call California, because we all know the New York office is a minimum wage telephone jockey in a boiler room) and ask if Pajamas/Open Source Media is affiliated with Christopher Lydon’s Open Source Media. Email me results.

3. Send me links to any live-blogging, etc. about the Launch Event. Pictures of any of the 230 bloggers who got stiffed punching out Roger would be appreciated.

4. Pictures of venture capitalists’ faces when they’re informed Roger f****d up the trademark search on the name Open Source Media would really be appreciated.


So, what do we have here? There seems to be plenty of blog buzz about the OSM launch today, some positive, some not so positive, but I haven’t found a response from any member of the OSM relating to this name game.

Isn’t it ironic?

Bloggers, established bloggers, who have like, you know, used the Internet for a long time, who (in many cases) own their own domain names, seemingly forgot to simply ‘Google’ the name ‘Open Source Media’ before they registered osm.org and decided to brand themselves with a previously claimed identifier.

Apparently, they didn’t forget how to spend money. $3.5 million dollars in VC cash has been earmarked for the startup. Some wonder how much of the dough was used to fly member bloggers from all over creation and put them up in the ‘W’ hotel in NYC. That couldn’t have been cheap.

Now let me say this – I’m friends with a lot of the bloggers who make up OSM, and I visit their individual blog sites often, but I too am just a little confused as to what in the world these folks hope to achieve with this new conglomerate of the blogosphere.

And the name thing, Oy Vey! In the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, “Someone’s got some ’splainin’ to do”.

UPDATE: Here is OSM ‘splainin’.

UPDATE II: Looks like OSM’s ‘splainin’ didn’t ‘splain anything. The story continues.

UPDATE III: OSM puts the pajamas on once more and reverts the name.


  1. Pajamas Media/Open Source Media Faux Pas?

    Here are some pictures of the Pajamas Media get-together.

    I don’t know who, if anyone, was actually

  2. What is Open Source Media?

    Open Source Media is a blog advertising project whose name has been the subject of debate lately. Basically, seven people who do radio shows 4 times a week also use the name “Open Source Media.”

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