Blogoids?  Tablogs?  It could happen!  After all, look how we got the word “tabloid.”  Did you ever think about what an odd name that is for a newspaper that’s guilty of no more than being immensely simpler to read than obsolescing dinosaurs such as “broadsheets”?

Well, yes, it is odd.  Nancy Friedman has the story.  Just as the trademark of tabloids is classic, classy headlines such as these — headless body in topless bar — tabloids themselves bear, by their name, the sad story of a now-unlamented genericide that and that may actually have been unavoidable in the era before trademark dilution became a crime:

What I hadn’t known was that tabloid derives from an old trademark for a pharmaceutical brand. Ralph Keyes enlightened me in his recently published book with the excellent title I Love It When You Talk Retro: Hoochie Coochie, Double Whammy, Drop a Dime, and the Forgotten Origins of American Speech:

At first readers didn’t know what to call this compact type of newspaper. By analogy it resembled a kind of compressed medical pill introduced in 1884 by Burroughs, Wellcome. That pharmaceutical company called its new product line Tabloid. It didn’t take long for this term to be applied to any compressed item, including the vertical-fold newspaper format pioneered by London’s Daily Mail and New York’s Daily News. Because tabloid newspapers tended to emphasize sensational news coverage, their name itself came to signify that style of reporting.

Sounds like a good book.  Wonder if it’s neatly folded on the left, like newspapers for dum-dums like us.

Originally posted 2011-01-10 16:45:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

3 thoughts on “Trademark blogoids”
  1. I don’t know if there’s really much companies can do to stop this sort of genericide even now with all the “anti-dilution” laws around. If people start using a trademark in a generic sense, in their ordinary noncommercial speech, all the “cease and desist” lawyer letters in the world can’t stop it, and there’s not really anybody to sue. The use of “spam” for junk e-mail despite it being a Hormel trademark for a food product is a relatively recent example. If people start extending their use of “googling” to cover searches of any sort whether or not done with services of the Google corporation, there may not be much the corporation can do about it as long as it’s not used in competing advertising (at least until the genericness has already reached the point where they can’t win a suit about it).

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