Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hack WordPress

Hack WordPress

How To: Do a Trademark Search

Posted: 11 Nov 2008 02:00 AM CST

Last month when we switched from HackWordPress.com to WPHacks.com, I mentioned that one part of the move was due to the trademark violation in the old domain name (WordPress is a trademarked term).

Looking back, I really wish I would have known about the trademark prior to launching the blog.   Moving your blog to a new domain name can be a huge hassle (I explained what was involved here) and your blog will usually take a huge hit in the search engine rankings (either temporarily or permanently).   This is because most of those backlinks accrued over the past year are pointing towards the old domain name, etc.

Being someone who manages quite a large sized domain portfolio (300+ domains), I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year or so learning how to do a trademark search when researching what domains to invest my money in and which domains I want to develop into web properties.   There seems to be a good amount of interest from others wanting to know how to do this, so hopefully this post will fill that need.

Why Should I Worry About Trademark Violations?

Before I explain how to do a trademark search, I wanted to quickly discuss why avoiding trademark violations is so important.   A trademark is filed by a company to protect their brand.

How many of you call tissues “Kleenex”?  Kleenex describes one brand of tissues, but because they did not protect their trademark, the term Kleenex has instead become a generic term for tissues.  This of course caused them to lose any control they might have had over how their name is used.

Like any good company would, Automattic wants to protect the term “WordPress” from becoming a generic term.   This is why they do not allow others to use the term “WordPress” in their domain name.   This can lead to confusion with readers who believe that the domain is an official WordPress site or affiliated in some way with WordPress, which could eventually lead to problems for WordPress users (if the content is bad, incorrect, or the site is malicious in some way).

Because of this, most trademark holders will go a long way to protect their brand, including filing lawsuits.   Lawsuits, or threatening lawsuits, has become very common with people registering names like FacebookApplications.com, DiggThis.com, etc.    In order to avoid complications, avoid being forced to pull down a website/blog, or having to move your site to a new domain, you’ll want to first make sure that your potential domain/website is free of any trademarks.

Note:  If you register a domain prior to a trademark being filed by a company, that company usually won’t have rights to take the domain from you UNLESS you are displaying ads on the site or somehow making money off their brand.  Keep this in mind if you own a domain and an upstart grows popular fast.

How To Do a Trademark Search

Okay, so now you know why doing a trademark search is so important.   Here are the 5 steps you need to follow to do a trademark search:

  1. Visit the US government’s sitesearch page.
  2. Click Search at the top of the right sidebar menu.
  3. Click New User Form Search (Basic).
  4. In the Search Term field, you’ll want to enter the keyword you want to check on the trademark of.
  5. Click Submit Query.

When doing your search, you’ll want to make sure to search for your term with and without spaces. An example would be if you were looking for Burger King, you would try both “burgerking” and “burger king”.

If you follow the above steps and search for the term “wordpress” you’ll see that it is indeed trademarked, but you can use this method to search for just any keyword you want to.   I recommend doing this prior to ever launching a website of any kind, just to make sure.   I also used this process after picking my business name to ensure that I wouldn’t run the risk of losing my business identity at some point down the road.

Are you always doing a trademark search prior to launching a new website or blog?

Related Articles at WordPress Hacks:

You are reading How To: Do a Trademark Search © 2008 | WordPress Hacks | WordPress Forums | WordPress eBook | Premium Themes.

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Woo Themes Releases Incredible Thick Premium WordPress Theme

Posted: 10 Nov 2008 04:52 AM CST

Over the past month, I’ve been limiting my theme discussions in an effort to spend more time on hacks, news, tips, etc.   On occasion, though, a theme will really catch my eye and I’ll share it here.   This is one of those occasions.

If you are someone that enjoys a very flexible WordPress theme, you’ll want to check out the latest release from the team over at Woo Themes called Thick theme.  The first thing that will jump out at you is the color combinations available and the lifestream feature.  Want to display your latest “tweet”?  You can easily do that with your theme.

Here are the other impressive features you’ll get with this theme:

  • 20 different styles & color schemes available - including grunge & clean, and light & dark designs (all included with purchase)
  • 3 different widgetized spaces with oodles of custom widgets to allow you to move content around as your heart desires
  • An integrated lifestream to publish all of your online activities elsewhere
  • Two alternative header layouts for  you to play around with
  • Integrated Theme Options (for WordPress) to tweak the layout, color scheme etc. for the theme;
  • Automatic Image Resizer, which is used to dynamically create the thumbnails and featured images;
  • Built-in Gravatar Support for Authors & Comments;
  • Integrated Banner Management script to display randomized banner ads of your choice site-wide; and
  • Asides / side blog functionality.

As great as that feature list is, in order to get a true appreciation for everything this theme offers, you’ll want to check out the Thick Theme demo.   Here is a screen shot of the homepage:

Despite all the extras this theme offers, Woo Themes has stayed true to their price, offering this premium WordPress theme for the same price as all of their other themes.   You can get a single-use license for $70.00, a developer’s license for this theme for $150.00, or if you have a large blog portfolio, you can get all of the themes from Woo Themes if you invest in their Theme Club.

Related Articles at WordPress Hacks:

You are reading Woo Themes Releases Incredible Thick Premium WordPress Theme © 2008 | WordPress Hacks | WordPress Forums | WordPress eBook | Premium Themes.

Enjoy writing about WordPress? Get your blog more exposure by joining the WordPress Hacks writing team!

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