RedMonk was incorporated in November 2002. The name RedMonk was my idea. Stephen was happy to go with it. I looked around the web at the time, and it seemed noone else was actually trading under the name. So we went ahead. At first, like any new business, cashflow constraints meant we were loathe to throw a lot of money at redmonk.com and the domain name squatter we found there.
So for the first few months it was www.red-monk.com and jgovernor @ redmonk.com.
We finally managed to persuade the folks to sell us RedMonk.com and all was well with the world…
Or so we thought. You see – there was a guy called Steve Ivy that owned RedMonk.net – but he was basically an independent contractor and the web site was actually Monkinetic. No brand issues there then…
Things ticked over nicely at RedMonk. We made our way in the world, and worked out what our value proposition was. We hired Coté. We’re the industry analyst firm that really gets software development and Open Source.
We started blogging because internal peer review was surprisingly painful. So we used the Internet for peer review. Cue kudos, and more conversations with software developers. We became the little analyst firm that used social media, knew developers, and understood tech adoption through a very different lens. From the Bottom Up. Our base is comprised of practitioners, not CIOs. People that get the Open Web.
But once in a while Steve Ivy would pop up. That darned RedMonk.net. And once a year or so, usually at around this time I would go back and take another crack at him. No threats, no BS – just a reasonable request that he stop using RedMonk.
You see RedMonk was a nickname for Steve Ivy. But also in fact the name of a development consultancy he set up with his wife 11 years ago! I had got it wrong. He had traded under the name for a while. What is more, people I know, like Chris Messina, are friends of his. Ivy would often write about the same technologies we do. Googling RedMonk could be unsatisfactory, at least from my perspective.
Stephen O’Grady is a lot more pragmatic than I am. He would say don’t worry about it – we’re pretty clearly differentiated. I worried about it.
Then Twitter came along. And Steven Ivy registered the username RedMonk. Before we did. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from yours truly. But Steve had every right to register any name he wanted. Things got even worse when GetSatisfaction came along. You see GetSatisfaction is a web service that tracks mentions of your company, so you can offer customer service to the conversations around your brand. Its a place for people to talk about brands they’re interested in. It can be useful for corporate FAQs and so on. But “RedMonk” kept throwing up false positives. I wrote about the issue in a piece called Whose Conversation Is It Anyway.
This was all kind of galling. I mean – weren’t we supposed to be web savvy? Didn’t we use Google to check before we named our firm? Hello… that’s Business 101. And how could we not have more effective ownership of “RedMonk” on the web. What price ambient findability?
In this age of consumer service meets IT, of social business, of Enterprise 2.0, of whatever the current buzzword is…. make sure your own the relevant name spaces. Especially on an exploding network like Twitter.
You see we couldn’t pull some “heavy” stuff on Ivy. Well in fact, we wouldn’t. It. Is. What. It. Is.
Then, a few weeks back, a LinkedIn update popped in. Seems Steve is now working at Six Apart. He is no longer a consultant. So I pinged him. As usual he said that RedMonk had real sentimental value…
But he also mentioned he would consider a reasonable offer… whoa. This was a big big change. Consider a reasonable offer? Not just a flat out no? And it only took me seven years to weaken his resolve…
So I talked to my Stephen, and we made an offer. I am immensely happy to say Steve decided it was finally time to move on. Thank you Linkedin! But more importantly thanks Steve Ivy, henceforth known as Monkinetic on all web properties. Great guy. Peaceful resolution.
I am very happy. The world of service clouds and Chatter is coming. Crowd and Cloud Sourcing. Brand issues are only going to grow in importance. The timing is just fantastic.
I just want to say one more time – thank you Steve.
And now if you want to follow us on the web its redmonk.com or redmonk.net and @redmonk, or indeed the @redmonks we had been using… messy, huh? Not any more.
Steve said on his (excellent) blog post about the saga of RedMonk:
It feels weird, bittersweet, and even a bit freeing to be letting go of this long-time part of my digital identity.
For me the feeling was something similar. But not about letting something go, rather becoming whole. At last. In business you have to be tenacious.
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(Cross-posted @ James Governor’s Monkchips)