Apparently ripping and running with the work created by New York Times journalists was getting to be a little stale for the blog lords at The Huffington Post. Founder Arianna Huffington has been poaching top talent from the gray lady as well. But today, as first reported by John Koblin at WWD, the Times hit HuffPo with a cease and desist letter threatening legal actions after they hired away parenting writer Lisa Belkin from Time’s column Motherload and started a new blog of their own called, wait for it, Parentlode.
Ms. Belkin explained the new name in her first post on HuffPo:
Finally, why the new name…For three years I have answered those emails by saying that a brand is a brand, and the Times wasn’t inclined to change this one, but if I were choosing today I would choose something more inclusive.
Seems I AM choosing today. So welcome to “Parentlode.”
There is obviously a legitimate trademark case to be made here. But the deeper issue is the relationship between the Times and Huffington Post. The latter has emerged as the biggest winner and most reviled practitioner of online aggregation. As Bill Keller told The Atlantic:
“pretty damned annoying” how Arianna keeps coming back with big checks trying to take his best staffers. “She’s tried to hire a lot more good people and not succeeded. I don’t know that anybody’s actually keeping score around here but you might be surprised to know how many people have turned down big checks because they’d rather work here than there,” he said. “But it’s probably also a really good thing for journalism that there are people writing checks,” Keller concluded in a different interview.
So remember kids, a four letter domain name is money in the bank. It’s got to be easy to spell and pronounce. But that won’t stop the copy cats from coming out of the woodwork. The best bet is to execute and iterate faster than the next guy.
Oh and BTW, Parentlode? Seriously? You know that’s no longer a pun…