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MSNBC.com mulls over a name change amid 'brand insanity'

msnbc.jpg

What is in a name? The Shakespearean question is being debated at NBC Universal and Microsoft, the parent companies of MSNBC.com.

The Web site and the television channel MSNBC are facing "brand insanity," according to an internal memorandum obtained by the New York Times.

The television channel has carved a space out for itself in the network news wars by moving further and further to left-leaning content, such as the Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow shows.

The Web site wants to be a strictly objective news site without the liberal bent of the channel. Already, the two groups are separate companies and now they want separate names.

The cable television channel would retain the MSNBC.com URL to promote its cable shows. The news Web site would move to a new URL.

It's a bold and risky option to re-brand a company that has a well-established name. MSNBC.com is the third most popular news site in the U.S., and the name change could mean losing a lot of customers.

Traditionally when a company rebrands itself, the move is seen as public relations attempt to shed a negative public opinion.

The memo suggested that the leading name is NBCNews.com.

Any thoughts on what the new name should be?

By Melissa Bell  | October 7, 2010; 10:16 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

How about: wedontwanttobeassociatedwitholbermannormaddowortheirilk.com?

Posted by: ShovelPlease | October 7, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree a name change is advisable -- I've wanted one site and gotten to the other.
NBCNews.com is disambiguating...!

Posted by: like-mind | October 7, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I like NBCnews.com

Posted by: Guest1234 | October 7, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like make-busy work. We have MSNBC on TV, we have MSNBC.com on the web. Ok, ok, we have msnbc.msn.com on the web (supposedly owing to the hijack of msnbc.com. Try it. Type in msnbc.com into your browser--it redirects to msnbc.msn.com.. I've used msnbc.com for my home page since it opened up. I NEVER watch the channel, or very, very rarely. I want to watch on election night so I can see Matthews and Olberman and Maddow tinkle, err, TINGLE on each other as Republicans sweep the electoral decks the next two cycles, but other than that, who needs the TV channel?

But I digress. Brand recognition is in place, why bother? Besides, so many clever substitutes have already been proposed and have become part of the jargon. Meth-NBC, MS-LSD and a few others appropriate to the brand and personalities come to mind. Good luck with this little project, NBC. Maybe ya oughtta leave well enough alone.

Posted by: JamesChristian | October 8, 2010 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Typical constructive comments from the conservatives.

NBCNews.com seems like a clear message: Straight news with no lean to the left or right, and not mMSNBC news. This name would also have immediate, built-in brand recognition.

MSNBC would be free to become the liberal counterbalance to Fox; and to the bullied MSM, which is now too scared of being called biased to call out fabrications put forward by the right wing.

Posted by: Brian_Houston | October 8, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The brand insanity doesn't stop with MSNBC. The company has a much bigger name problem: http://bit.ly/cZGaPm

Posted by: ldmerriam | October 12, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

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