GNU Privacy Guard

BeeP beep at
Thu Feb 19 14:24:58 CET 1998

Wow. That didn't take long.

The obfuscatorilly-named Lilo responded to my plea for marketing sense with:

>Well, let's look at this logically.  How did PGP get this "great" name

Because Pretty Good Privacy is a great marketing name - understated, funny
- even to non-insiders (read journalists), descriptive and easy to remember.

>PGP was a *terrible* name, it's alphabet soup.

Terrible? The acronym is alliterative, memorable, short and stands for
Pretty Good Privacy (see last paragraph.) It's a GREAT name.

> It worked because the program PGP got good advertising. The program was
>recommended extensively by
>word-of-mouth.  ;)

PGP spread because it was free, it was needed, it was well named, and well
promoted (Mondo 2000 started the publicity, mainstream publicity
followed).The "computer press" has never really given PGP its due - perhaps
Gates has never given them permission to praise it. 

>Maybe the conventional idea of what will "sell" is a little biased toward
>repetitiveness and extremes of safety.  

Or perhaps it's based on the careful research of direct marketeers. As in
fifty years of research - place an ad, calculate the response - again, and
again, and again. Reading about this research is how I got started naming
product so their names "position" the product in the mind of the consumer.

>Give the user some credit for

Intelligence or insider status? The intelligent never object to simple,
clear communication. Everyone else resents the overly complicated.
Likewise, insiders appreciate a good name even if it doesn't mention any of
their insider catch-words.

Please don't hobble GPG with another stupid insider name. It has a future
far beyond Linux/Unix.

Then a Mr. Wim Vadeputte chimed in with:

> Please skip the cutesy-poo "gnu" name. Since I see "Gnu" everywhere in the
>> Linix  world, I am pretty certain "gnu" means something special there. To
>gnu has been around far earlier then linux. take 15 years.

Well. That's informative. I still have no more idea than the man in the
moon what or who gnu is. Aside from an animal at the zoo, I mean. You can't
buy that kind of name recognition! 

Whatever gnu is, it's been around longer than Linux. So have I. 

>'bring in the Gimp' (remember Pulp Fiction?) 

Do I remember the leather-clad, crippled person kept in a box by homosexual
sadists in Pulp Fiction? Yeah, I think I remember that gimp. Right before
the  homosexual sado-masochistic anal rape scene? Yes I'm pretty sure I do
remember that gimp. I guess that's why everytime I think about the product
Gimp, I think about the poor crippled bastard in the box and anal rape.

>It's *supposed* to be a funny name.

Hey I love sado-masochistic crippled-homosexual-slave jokes as much as the
next regular guy. It's just that in my marketing work, I try to name things
so they mean something to the customer. Something related to the product.
And unless the product is useful for anal rape, I try to make the name
position the product in the consumer's mind with associations other than
anal rape.

>Got better suggestions?

Yes.... that was the point of my last letter. Great Privacy Guard is about
10,000 times better than Gnu Privacy Guard. Unless the product is for
guarding the privacy of a zoo's gnus.

I know Linux/Unix people aren't good at naming software. You've only grep
to go on. How about if I agree to not tell you how to program and in return
you give me the benefit of a doubt about marketing?

Bill Powell

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