Claiming it was a name “that, frankly, we never really loved,” Lisa Belkin–the former editor of New York Times (NYSE: NYT) parenting blog “Motherlode,” and the new editor of the Huffington Post’s similarly named (and NYT-contested) parenting blog “Parentlode”–announced that the Huffington Post will change Parentlode’s name to one decided by a reader. And, um, “to show there are no hard feelings, we’re also gifting our winner a one-year digital subscription to The New York Times.”
When the Huffington Post launched Parentlode in October, the New York Times first sent a cease-and-desist letter, then sued HuffPo for trademark infringement and breaching New York state business laws. The lawsuit raises questions of who really owns a brand–the publisher or the writer.
On the blog that is no longer called Parentlode, Lisa Belkin pulls out the precious, writing:
The Times’ lawyers say, in lots of very legal language, that they’re concerned that readers (ie all of you) will be confused, thinking you are somehow reading the New York Times when you are here at The Huffington Post. We are pretty sure that any lawyer who thinks that has probably never actually read The Huffington Post, and we are certain that you readers are smart enough to keep your whereabouts straight.
Still, we had a choice to make. We could keep fighting the suit, over a name that, frankly, we never really loved. It would be an intriguing fight — a chance to address the very new question of whether a blog is its title and location, or its “voice” and content. But that would involve my hanging around town next week with a bunch of lawyers, preparing for a deposition of me demanded by the Times, rather than attending my mother’s wedding in Arizona. Mom is not keen on that idea.
It would also involve spending an indefensible amount of money, and enriching the lawyers (who are very nice; I’ve had a chance to get to know many of them lately, but still…) at the expense of better content. So we’re going to spend instead on creating the comprehensive parenting space that I came here for in the first place. I am very keen on that idea.
Here’s how the contest will work. “Of course, Arianna.”
Early next year we’ll take the top few contenders and choose a winner (after our lawyers clear them, so we don’t have to go through THIS again.) Enter as many different names as you would like. You can read all the fine print here.
The prize? A trip to New York — airfare and hotel included. A tour of our newsroom (including a peek at our famous and fabulous nap rooms!) and lunch in our very cool neighborhood with our HuffPost Parents team — me, Lori, Farah and, of course, Arianna.
Oh, and to show there are no hard feelings, we’re also gifting our winner a one-year digital subscription to The New York Times.