Book advice, please: The title

There’s a debate going on in the halls of my publisher and with me out here over the title of my book. So I thought I’d ask your advice.

The title as I presented it is: WWGD? (What Would Google Do?)

Some people at the publishing house don’t like having what they see as a double title. They want to truncate it to What Would Google Do?

My argument has been first and foremost that that loses the joke. And second, I think it flattens the title (read it in a businessy monotone: What… would… Google… do?… Well… let… me… tell… you….). I had in mind a Seth Godinesque title that make you cock your head like a dog and sniff it. Every single time I’ve said the title in a group, it gets a laugh.

Their argument is that it’s going to be hard to say in promotional appearances and it’s repetitive.

I’ve been hanging very tough on this. Tell me what you think. Doesn’t mean I’ll listen. Also doesn’t mean I’ve stated the debate fairly. But I want to open the discussion and I’m asking for your help and advice.

(International note: I am pretty sure the joke won’t work in other languages; I’m just talking about English and perhaps even just the U.S.)

  • PXLated

    Not sure the joke will be understood even here (USA) among most.

  • Phil Wells

    I don’t get it. “What Would Google Do?” sounds better to me.

  • Duneview

    Stick to your guns Jeff. One of the title problems may be that some fossil may think you’re referring to a radio station in Illinois or something so be careful of the graphics.

    BTW, my alternative title GDWJTMR,IWTMAPOEYO (Google Doesn’t Want Just Your Medical Records, It Wants To Make A Profit On Everything You Own) gets a laugh in my groups too. But yours is better.

  • http://blogspotting.net steve baker

    I never got the joke. Just poked my head out of my office and learned about WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? I’d never heard that before. (Jeff, that might be part of the full disclosure that you think we journos should make…)

    In any case, you’ve got a book with a global audience, and I think the joke is limiting.

  • http://www.defragcon.com eric norlin

    stick with WWGD, jeff.

    even if people don’t get the joke (most will), having the abbreviation is cool. when chris locke and i ran The Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation it was “TDCRC.” When I owned/ran Digital ID World, it was DIDW (still is).

    abbreviations tend to self-brand with a community. hold fast on this one.

  • Fred

    Do what they say, take the money, run like the wind.

  • http://www.drblogstein.com Dr. Blogstein

    WWGD? is the title and explain to them that (What Would Google Do?) is just cover copy or subtitle.

  • http://blog.oliver-gassner.de oliverg

    Well, if http://wwgd.com/ is yours: go for it, if not… think again.

    (And It’s even harder to translate to German than ‘The Long Tail’, where they kinda failed ;))

  • http://peterdawson.blogspot.com /pd

    how about “don’t be evil – but lie thru your teeth “.. after all “all marketers are liars” – seth G. :)-

  • Mike

    I didn’t understand the acronym/get the joke. If you keep it you reduce your potential book buyers to some percentage of the U.S. who might get the joke, less the people who don’t really care about Google. Find a title like 4 Hour Work Week and you are good to go.

    Good luck !

  • http://thecorner.typepad.com/ bob c

    stick with your gut here

    wwgd is a sublime & genius stroke

    maybe it is the sub-title that should be changed

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Just to reemphasize: In other languages and countries, I would not try to joke and the title would be What Would Google Do? Or auf Deutsch, I believe: Was Würde Google Tun?

  • Howard Rheingold

    How important is the joke to the book? Is it central to the premise of the book? I always like to go directly to the point. People who don’t get the joke are going to be thinking about what WWGD means while they should be thinking about the second, explicitly descriptive part of the title.

    OTOH, marketing dept named my book “The Virtual Community” instead of what I far preferred, “Virtual Communities,” (which most people who have heard of it think is the title of the book) because my previous book, “Virtual Reality,” started with the word “virtual” and had two words, and they didn’t want people to confuse them. They were wrong. But I didn’t have any juice if I had wanted to stick to my guns.

  • http://workhound.co.uk william fischer

    It’s not clear to me that WWGD is manifestly obvious enough to lead. Why not just flip them? What Would Google Do? with a large bold WWGD as a subhed.

    Bill

  • http://www.groundreport.com/content.php?section=about Rachel

    If people get the WWGD joke, they will still get the What Would Google Do? joke.

    If people don’t get the WWGD, you probably just lost their interest in a weird acronym. And bored them with the parentheses.

    What Would Google Do? makes a much cooler poster/sign/t-shirt/sticker etc.

    P.S. Have you legally protected the phrase? Can you?

  • http://bloggasm.com Simon Owens

    Here’s an idea: Keep the title the way you like it. But for the cover art (yes, i realize you don’t have much control over this) have a picture of a bracelet similar to one of the “what would jesus do” bracelets, but with the exchanged acronym. The below it have the entire phrase.

  • http://www.jeffbeckham.com/ Jeff Beckham

    Could it be that WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) has lost its momentum in pop culture? And by the time the book comes out, perhaps you’re tying your title and joke to a phrase that’s lost its popularity? Still, I can picture a cover image with the title What Would Google Do? and a image of a bracelet with the WWGD letters (in Google’s candy-colored font).

  • David Prever

    Jeff – you’re publisher is right. They have you’re best interests at heart. As for the joke – some breaking news, it’s not that funny.

    Most people just won’t get it.

    David

  • invitedmedia

    i guess finding a new publisher is out of the question.

    you could always try reverse psych on them and demand morse code .– .– –. -..

  • invitedmedia

    iseethedashesrantogethersolet’strythatagain

    . – – . – – – – . – . .

  • http://burden.ca/blog/ Tim Burden

    I agree with others here that simply What Would Google Do? is the better title.

    People will think up or visualize the acronym on their own, and then they will get it or not. And it gets people thinking more quickly about the content of the book rather than focusing on the joke.

    Absolutely love the idea of the WWGD bracelet for cover art.

  • http://www.groundreport.com/content.php?section=about Rachel

    Actually, you should start printing those WWGD bracelets and giving them to all your influencer friends right away to start the guerilla marketing…

  • David

    The joke only works in print and may cause confusion when people hear it spoken. When you do the rounds and people hear it pronounced “Doubleyou doubleyou gee dee” they may think you’re talking about a website because they’re used to hearing websites begin with “double-you double-you.” (In fact, I frequently hear people drop the third “double-you” when they give their website address and nobody seems to notice). Your core audience is more sophisticated than the masses, but you want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, right?

    Also, I think the WWJD jokes are kinda played out, and I worry that the book won’t seem contemporary with a joke like that for the title.

  • Alissa

    I kinda think the longhand version has eclipsed the abbreviated version from a usage perspective. I see fewer bracelets and instead hear people saying, “And then I asked myself, ‘What Would Oprah Do?'” Leading with WWGD feels a bit dated to me.

  • http://davemartin.blogspot.com Dave Martin

    Jeff,

    WWGD works but you’ve buried the lede with those failing to connect it (i.e., WWJD). You could take John Lennon for inspiration, to wit: Google, more popular than Jesus. Why lose the power of your headline to potential confusion. Your thesis is not weakened by a subordinate use of WWDG in a subhead. Let the reader discover the meaning in the read itself. The essence of your message is? Why Google Matters. Think like Google. How to think like Google. Google Think, WWGD. Cracking the Google Code – WWGD. Decoding Google, WWGD. The Google Code – WWGD. There’s a pony in here somewhere. Best,

  • http://www.matthewbigelow.com Matt

    I’d say keep it.

    Like you said, if you lose it, then you lose the joke (regardless of how many people will get it or not). And if you lose the joke, then why title it “What Would Google Do?” at all?

    Might as well rename it any of the various suggestions made above by Dave.

  • http://www.dseneste.dk/ Søren Storm Hansen

    Don’t ask questions in the title – give answers

    Too many titles have biblical references

    Kill your darlings

    Leave Google out of it. If they do evil tomorrow it will fall back on your book

    Looking foreward to reading the book – whatever the title

  • http://verbeatblogs.org/bereteando tiago

    I personally don’t like WWGD? – but I think this would be useful for you to keep the same title in different languages, only changing the subtitle. and you could disclose the joke in the introduction – gag will be lost for some or many anyway, but it doesn’t matter – it’s still a clever title :) and you’re a great storyteller, I’m sure it won’t sound “oh-that’s-the-joke-ha-ha”.

  • http://verbeatblogs.org/bereteando tiago

    (…talk about twitter feedback? ;))

  • http://www.wishdone.com Johnyzar

    Why don’t you just right “Google…” and your name?People will buy it.

  • http://halespen.net Hal Espen

    WWGD as a design element seems cool to me, typographically and quasi-logo wise (but PLEASE lose the question mark). Not as the title. It’s a stopper.

    Twitter / HalSF

  • http://davemartin.blogspot.com Dave Martin

    The title needs to arrest attention and putting Google into the title will certainly achieve that. Using WWGD in the subhead or after some appropriate set up could invite curiosity. As Hitch famously said “To create suspense provide the audience with information.” Let the headline grab me, use the acronym to pull me in. You should move forward with the understanding that the majority will not get it, those that do are a bonus.

  • http://www.aboutmattlaw.com Matt

    What Would Google Do, with WWGD used heavily in the art and/or subtitle. I think the WWJD thing is old and is not as widely known as you might think. By using the “What Would BLANK Do” convention, the joke will still play with people that get it and it will just work for those who aren’t in on the joke since it’s so straight forward.

  • http://bobbiejohnson.org Bobbie

    There was a joke in there? Sorry, it doesn’t mean much to me.

    I suppose that puts me on the What Would Google Do? side of the argument, though I’m not too wild about that either.

  • http://dogwonder.co.uk Rich Holman

    Hi,

    Love the title, think it should remain as it is (the acronym is an important part of the message). I see this as more of an editorial/design issue. I think the publisher is worried that trade buyers ‘won’t get’ the acronym or if they do don’t see why the full title needs to be there, what if the title was the same but presented differently. i.e.

    acronym
    title

    or even if you wanted to be literal, search box displaying WWGD with the ‘did you mean’ text as: What Would Google Do?

  • crawford

    Agree with others that the WWGD is okay as a graphic (even a plastic wristband shot as art for cover?) but it’s too old to be a joke. More a nod. The fact that you’re screening by what you presume Google would do is worthwhile with no joke. Roll with it.

  • http://epeus.blogspot.com Kevin Marks

    Your abbreviated title takes longer to say than the expansion (just like WWW takes longer than ‘world wide web’). So, put the title in print as you want it, but sound out the words when speaking it.

  • Safran

    Aren’t there plenty of books with double titles? A look among the Amazon non-fiction bestsellers finds plenty, and some doozies at that:

    – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
    – Eat This Not That: Thousands of Simple Food Swaps That Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds-or More!
    – Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
    – Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World
    – Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs (WHEW!)

    Seems to me your title is downright tinyurl compared. It’s obvious you need a long honkin’ title to be on the charts. I say go the other way:

    WWGD: What Would Google Do: How People Aren’t Doing What They Should To Be More Innovatve And, Instead, Are Reluctant To Take Even The Slightest Risk To Take A Chance On An Idea And Maybe Make Some Money Off It: Or Worse, They Just Shoot Down Other People’s Creativity: The Series.

  • Liz

    It’s clearly a joke by someone who is nonreligious. Christian folks might not find equating Jesus with Google to be humorous. You also have to understand that WWJD is primarily a U.S. movement that is about 20 years old at this point so 1) it’s not as topical a pun as it would have been, say, in 1995 and 2) buyers in the international market might not get it at all. Those are my personal opinions.

    For purely business reasons, I think the WWGD reference is dated and would be lost on overseas consumers. So, it depends on who you are marketing your book to, the general public, secular business-types, or a potentially world-wide audience.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    You guys are wonderful. I’m loving the conversation. I think it made the publisher nervous but I said that I eat my own dog food. Quite tasty.

  • Mark Taylor (taymar)

    How about WWGD and then under it, smaller What Would Google Do?

    Love following you on twitter and TWiT BTW! Thanks for the insight and hard work!

    Mark

  • Dan

    Yeah, just do it with design. List the book as “What Would Google Do,” but design it so WWGD is prominent on the cover. Seems like an obvious compromise.

  • http://seanbyrnes.com Sean

    Honestly, I don’t like either titles.

    I think you’d do better with something like “Think Like Google”.

    Speaking of which, random trademark question: Do you have to pay Google to use their name in your title?

  • tom coscarelli

    Jeff:
    RE: WWGD
    Would you have put a headline like this on your Sunday Daily News cover?
    Don’t think so. Subhed, maybe.

    By the time you finish saying the book title to the guy in the airplane seat next to you, does he perk up or just smile and put on his headphones?

  • http://kiyoshimartinez.com/ Kiyoshi Martinez

    I think the WWJD meme is pretty tired. It reminds me of when Kevin Smith announced the working title of “The Passion of the Clerks” for “Clerks II.” It was funny at the time, but it loses its joke factor rather quickly. Plus, I barely remember WWJD from childhood, so those a few years my younger might miss the reference entirely.

    I think “What would Google do?” is enticing enough as your book seeks to answer that question. I do like Sean’s suggestion of “Think Like Google.” Maybe “Be like Google” then have a colon and an absurdly long subtitle, which seems to be the trend these days.

  • Brit

    As a writer, I say, “Stick to your guns!” I love the joke. Readers most interested in what you have to say will get it, too.

    As a bookseller, one who has tried to look up badly misremembered titles for customers, I very much see your publisher’s point. Imagine the customer driving in her car, hearing the interview on NPR — will she remember “WWGD”? Will it clutter up her recall of the full title? And, unless she’s a loyal Jarivsite, will she remember your name? So many people hear about enticing new books on the fly. They are not reading reviews, certainly not clipping them. They’re not taking notes, either, in their Moleskines or PDAs. [For the love of God, people, take notes!] Dan at 6:16 has the answer: you and your publisher can each have your way with a sharp cover design — and covers do sell books.

  • http://american-fm.org american-fm.org

    I live down the street from Google in Mountain View, CA.

    First, your working title is not a joke, it is an allusion. Second, your working title is having to work much too hard. Don’t just kill this darling, exterminate it with extreme prejudice.
    I would never buy a book with that title just on the principle that the author is a self-proclaimed corporate parasite.

    Call it gBook.

  • Pingback: Oliver Gassner

  • http://www.publishersmarketplace.com Michael Cader

    The bookseller here is the one you want to listen to. As precious as any author believes their title to be, it’s one of hundreds of thousands of new titles every year. Pinning that on a joke/allusion is risky, and will sow confusion; you’re not trying to get a laugh out of a crowd, you’re trying to associate a resonant idea or phrase with your book. That’s What Would Google Do.

    Seth’s titles are all resonant phrases that easily turn into catchphrases: Purple Cow; Ideavirus; Free Prize Inside; etc… I don’t think WWGD has that same effect, precisely because you *have* to explain it or else people don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Can you name a single successful book that had an acronym for a title? I doubt it.

    And if you want to be found in online searches and come to “own” the idea online, again it’s the phrase rather than the intials that matter.

  • Steve Strasser

    How about:

    WWGD
    When Will Google Die?

    If even I am sick of hearing about these infallible geniuses, then they are surely about to crash. Alternative title:

    Google, Gurgle, Glug. Yahoo!

  • http://american-fm.org american-fm.org

    Actually, a more accurate rendition of my earlier suggestion would be “Gbook”. Another inviting (sub-)title is “The New Appliance”. This is the current parlance from the Googleplex, e.g. they are developing a search appliance, or a web appliance. Google doesn’t think (of itself) omnisciently. Rather, they want to be Sears Roebuck & Co. of the 21st century — where you go first.

  • http://canthook.com Harl Delos

    Those who haven’t run across people wearing WWJD stuff aren’t very clueful – and someone who isn’t clueful isn’t going to be interested in a book of clues. Stick to your guns.

    Can you name a single successful book that had an acronym for a title? I doubt it.

    It took me about 2 seconds to think of “QED”.

    Before I got through with my minor in chemistry, I took courses in quantum mechanics and statistical thermodynamics, so the idea of a book on quantum electrodynamics doesn’t faze me – but most other Richard Feynman fans would never have read that book if QED had been spelled out.

    Jeff, the design of your book’s cover needs to be some bracelets that say WWGD on them – sorta like a vertical equivalent to this horizontal display of WWJD bracelets:
    http://www.centurynovelty.com/catImages/163-410_large.jpg

    Just saying “What Would Google Do?” makes it sound like you’re trying to rip off Google. When you turn it into a bracelet, it sounds like you’re trying to learn from the Master.

  • http://www.mediaflect.com Dorian Benkoil

    You can have your cake and eat it too. Handle it graphically. WWGD across the top with the words going down vertically … and a visual representation / drawing / graphic that makes Google look Godly. (The G can stand for God in wwGd — and you could case it like that as well.)

    ‘Course, we’re risking offending folks with strong religious sensibilities — but you already knew that.

  • http://www.socialmedia.biz JD Lasica

    Guess you’re trying to knock

    What Would God Do
    What Would Gepetto Do
    What Would Gibbs Do

    from the top 3 search results on Google for WWGD.

    I’m putting my money on Jarvis, he usually wins.

  • Q

    If we’re going to be turning a phrase, “Google Is As Google Does” might work. They aren’t God, they aren’t Jesus, and even in their quest for obscene profits they have accountability just like everyone else.

  • Pedram Moallemian

    Congrats on having a publisher (or contract) that is allowing you to stay tough. I have only seen the opposite.

    But stay in tough. You are right and they are missing the point. As “What Would Google Do”, they are pretty stuck with a tech crowd reader base. WWGD will open it up to a far broader audience.

    Hey, it may even get picked up by a couple of Christian Bookstores whose buyers don’t pay enough attention!

  • Ken

    Jesus, Jeff. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve heard a variation of WWJD used as a joke. Why in God’s name would you use a dusty, tired cliche for the name of a book about cutting-edge media thinking? Doesn’t make any sense. I’d never buy a book with such a stupid title, use of the acronym or not. Hmm. Except I’ll read it because you wrote it — but I swear that’s the only reason. (Oh, and by the way, Christians never did find the humor…)

  • Christopher Roberts

    I happen to love your proposed title, and think it’s effective on multiple levels. For me, it’s not a joke, but rather a display of wit. It communicates a simple, profound idea within an idiom that is ( I would think) familiar to the world of people most likely to be interested in the idea. Also, I’d have thought the title would, at worst, be harmless to those who either don’t get or don’t care for the reference. (That said, I think the title What Would Google Do is toothless and dull without the WWGD before it.)

    But this audience (admittedly a self-selecting one) has spoken loudly and clearly against it. Hmm. My humble advice is, if you ditch the title (as I suspect you will) continue to search for one that is similarly witty, idiomatic, and functions on multiple levels, but don’t yet resort to a “merely” descriptive title.

    Whatever the title, I’m looking forward to it!

  • http://www.digidave.org David Cohn

    I 100 percent agree: The joke is lost with the WWGD.

    While I understand the concern – a double title – it’s better to land with that then to have a bland title “What Would Google Do” – sounds like something a late night infomercial person might say.

  • http://qtp.blogspot.com sachin

    Try WWGOOGD.

  • http://polymath.wikidot.com/ f.graver

    Who do you want buying the book? Seems like WWGD will catch the attention of a fairly small group of Americans who get the reference. And not all of those people find it funny (judging by the comments here).

    Wouldn’t it be better to have a title that might interest a larger audience?

  • Scott

    I don’t get why people think the initials are funny and I don’t even think the title itself is really that funny. It’s OK but what concerns me most is you say you are hard-headed about it. I as a publisher would be worried about someone who is so difficult to deal with already, particularly when their concern is extremely understandable. You can write blog postings, but have you ever written a book? If the book needs a lot of editing, are you going to be hard-headed about that, too? You need to be humble and listen.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Uh, Scott, I’m asking for advice so I can … listen.
    And it’s good to be hard-headed when you’re trying to do the best.
    What do you publish? Tapioca boxes?
    I’ve been a writer and an editor for a long time and this interchange is what leads to the best results.
    Go-along people who don’t give a shit leads to mush.

  • http://voicesage.blogspot.com Paul Sweeney

    Mmm. I was way of the point here. In Ireland, we don’t say “what would jesus do?” (we’d probably say “did anyone see me do that?”). Anyway, I shamefully now and then visit a gossip site called What Would Tyler Durden Do” yes, its http://www.wwtdd.com . Tyler Durden being the character from Fight Club.

    So here’s another idea, how about

    “Equilibrium: Google’s Reality Equation”.

    (If that totally sucks, I am blaming the 3 large coffee’s I’ve had this morning).

  • Paul Coleman

    I didn’t get it, perhaps this has not traveled to the UK. Although I am not sure I should get it, until I read it. Did not get Purple Cow, until I read it. It simply needs to be something which stops me in my tracks and makes me investigate more. Saying all that the tile ‘What Would Google Do’ makes me do that.

  • http://www,chrispommier.com/blog Chris Pommier

    I would use the publisher’s recommendation. For all the reasons they site. I get the joke, but it’s, frankly, kind of an old joke at this point. At least in my circle.

    How about using the publisher’s title, but highlighting the first letter of each word with another color, such as red? The joke would be visual, rather than textual. People who get it would understand it, but it wouldn’t detract from the saleability, or pronounceability of the book.

  • John Briggs

    I like the WWGD, and think it would resonate fine in the U.S.

    But you could hybridize it and make it more transparently obvious:

    OMG, WWGD? (Oh My God, What Would Google Do?)

    Yes, that’s silly.

  • adamgh

    The simpler title is better. Having a title that needs explanation on the front cover is not a good idea. You might get away with the WWGD on its own. At least that is pretty distinctive and so cryptic that it demands some attentioin. But the explanatory sub title is complicating ….

    But my advice may not count for much. I used to be a publisher/editor.

  • SteveC

    I think the WW(insert letter here)D reference is a little played… contemporary and clever, but played out and not very fresh. I also assume even after saying What Would Google Do, you’d need a subtitle like “privacy, marketing, innovation, etc. for the 21st century… yada yada”)

    Against advice that everything needs to be cutting edge, it might be more powerful to go with an older (even out-dated) phrase that’s more established: In Google We Trust, or something like that.

    Other ideas
    – Go Ask Google
    – I Am Google
    – We Are Google
    – All That Googles Is Gold
    – Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Google

    Oh, and here’s one your publishers won’t like since it should contain 100 zeros:
    Google: The 800,000,000,000…. Pound Gorilla

    or 1,000,000…. Pages Can’t Be Wrong

  • http://www.bellebooks.com Deb Smith

    Ditto what someone else said: put the standard WWJD bracelet on the cover with WWGD imprinted on it, then just “What Would Google Do?” as the title. You get the visual joke as well as the easy-to-say title. I think WWGD? is a bit too obscure to work without the art backing it up.

  • http://www.drblogstein.com Dr. Blogstein

    Who Moved My Google?

  • http://www.hirechriscranley.com Chris Cranley

    A great title tells grabs the reader’s attention and introduces the book’s contet. By that rationale, WWGD needs to be referenced in the title. If your publish still disagrees, just say WTF? (don’t worry, they probably won’t get that either).

    I agree with other readers, that WWGD is not funny as a joke. I see it as a major book talking point.

    You could milk at least 5 minutes on all upcoming book tour interviews, explaining the title’s relevance. I can envision all of the talking points in your upcoming Charlie Rose interview:

    Charlie: I heard you had problems getting this title past the publishers. Why WWGD?
    You:
    1. Little surprise that old media book publisher doens’t get Internet culture joke.
    2. Communication divide between generations. Geeks love acronyms.
    3. Self referential: we are going to change the world! ethos.
    4. WWW is being morphed to WWGD: Internet for many starts and stops with what google shows them.
    5. New world of online business has a “culture barrier” for the rest of world.

    Etc. etc. etc. There are just too many ways to spin this for it not to be included. Of course, the only way you should spin it is for its truth for you.

  • http://blog.daylife.com Matthew

    “The Google Hypothesis” would go over well in the UK I, especially if you can get Dawkins to promote your book. Many books have alternate titles across markets. Actually I’d like to see a cross-promotion. Two Lincoln-Douglas debates with Jarvis and Dawkins, presented all seriously, but on the sly. You argue for the existence of G and Dawkins argues against it. Don’t even reference God or Google. Get Francis Collins to moderate one, Dan Dennett to moderate another.

    Youtube it.

    Jeff, you’ve already got WWGD as a tag, which itself is a brand. I say stick to your guns. What Would Google Do? works as subtitle with no parentheses if you have to bend just a little.

    And if people don’t get the joke, doesn’t that make the book even more interesting right away? ‘
    Hmmm. What’s WWGD? Let me pick this book up. Neat, I’ll buy it.’

  • http://blog.daylife.com Matthew

    @me, above. That should be “The Google Delusion”
    for maximum kapowability.

  • pukeko

    Never even realized it was meant to be a joke… I thought it was just an acronym for the sake of convenience! I’m a loyal (non-religious) reader from outside the US: place yourself in my shoes and weigh up the value of a catchy acronym against the risk I could misconstrue its intention. I’d prefer to see the full title or the accronym, but not both together.

  • Nickt

    One of the reasons I enjoy your blog is that unlike too many of your countrymen you generally avoid parochialism. Sorry, but in English English, the acronym means nothing. More importantly, do you really want to define the whole project by a weak pun?

    If you insist, include it in the cover artwork, but not as the main title. And not with a question mark, either.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Nickt:
    Please, I’ve said it twice now. for the third: The WWGD would work ONLY in America; I know that. The title in other countries would not include that. I’ve said that from the start. Don’t want to be accused of parochialism!!

  • Digital Overlord

    Jeff:

    Why not ape Stephen Colbert’s title:

    “I Am Google
    And You Can Too!”

    Just a thought.

  • Ellen

    Jeff:

    This is a great exchange, but to me it doesn’t matter what we all think. You should decide based on What Google Would Do, since that is the point of your book (as I understand it). Playing out that logic, here’s how I would arrive at the answer.

    What Would (fill in the blank) Do, is a common phrase used when people are trying to project and then emulate the behavior of a well respected entity. So far, your title makes sense.

    WWJD was an acronym used when the phrase went viral. Your joke is based on the assumption that WWGD would be spread the same way. I’m not sure it would. Maybe it would be W^2GD, or something much more different.

    The point is that when something goes viral, the originator is not usually the one to control it. So, my question to you is, would Google try to control it? Based on what you’re learning for the content in the book, you should have a good sense of what google would do.

    Otherwise the choice is subject to personal opinion, and may as well be random in your case.

    Hope this helps.

  • http://ben.casnocha.com Ben Casnocha

    Quick two cents – I agree w/ the publisher on this one, for the reasons you stated.

    Publishers are bad, in my experience, at most everything except: 1) titling books 2) designing book covers, 3) getting books into physical bookstores.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    ellen,
    Well, there’s the best advice of all. what would google do if they created someting this? what would be googley? simplicity, I suppose.

  • http://blog.daylife.com Matthew

    Google would call this book:

    “Google”

    …and each edition would have the title in a different font, but otherwise would be the same.

    “Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Google” is my new second choice (with your idea remaining as my first choice).

  • http://www.mediaflect.com Dorian Benkoil

    Maybe we should stick with WWJD, and the J = Jarvis

    (You’ve got, what, 80 people discussing a book that’s not written — that’s a coup in itself!)

  • http://www.theidandi.blogspot.com Chris McVetta

    “The Last Temptation of Google”

    or

    “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Google”

    or

    “Live Free or Google Hard”

    That’s a GREAT title! And marketing people have all the insights of an episode of “The Flintstones.” Keep the title – and toss the marketing people into the tar pits …where they belong!

    As The Great Gazoo would say: “What a couple of dumb-dumbs!”

  • http://datamining.typepad.com/data_mining Matthew Hurst

    Jeff – firstly, WWGD is not going to make it out of certain US (focused) communities (ironic that you are using a term that I have no connection with as I don’t watch TV shows anymore; I looked it up on Google!); secondly, using Google in the title sounds very bandwaggon-y to me. Nothing like Page/Brin’s mug on a magazine to get them off the shelves – or perhaps that is the idea.

    On a broader note; I hope you are going to examine survivorship bias in the Google story. When I read (a sample of the many) articles on how Google works, or Larry thinks this or that, I’m never convinced that it would be considered an example of good business practice if the name Google were removed and some other name inserted. I’d be interested in your perspective. Case in point – Mayers is famously metrics driven; if you cant show her metrics that demonstrate that the new feature will lead to improvements, she kicks you out of her meetings. However, this is what I’d call a hill climbing approach – she may find local maxima but miss the summit; another one – every one talks about 20% time and free busses, etc. – these are not concepts invented by Google, but their brand has allowed them to stamp them as ‘reasons why Google is successful.’

    A simple technique in examining what Google does is to examine other companies that do the same thing and ask – are they succesful in the same way?

    Looking forward to the book!

  • Jenny Clay

    Actually when I first saw it, I thought it stood for WHAT WOULD GOD DO.

    Yes I am a Christian as well, so that may be why it stood up. I actually dont need to know anymore about GOOGLE than I can “google” and find out. The net is so user friendly, what else is there in this busy, let me do it myself world. Um another thing, There is no subtitle that would help, because what I am learning is that your book could be MIS CATALOGED in another settings. God believers have an edge ya know, and maybe they will be excited to locate it in the religious section. Be careful – I would suggest you keep rolling those creative thoughts and you’ll be fine. See ya on Oprah!

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