Maybe Pajamas Media wasn’t such a bad name afterall

If I were at OSM, nee Open Source Media, nee Pajamas Media, I’d be looking to change my name… and quickly…. and I’d be sending a fruit basket and an apology to the folks at Open Source Media, the radio show… and I’d be hoping I weren’t heading to the lawyer’s office to start settlement negotiations with part of that $3.5 million I just got….

Brendan at Open Source Media, the radio show, has a devastating account of the name. He’s polite and gracious but underlying it is a muffled scream: “Stop! Thief!”

Open Source Media, the whatever-it-is, has a disingenous and recently revised explanation that Brendan deftly slices apart here.

At the bottom of the Open Source Media, the radio show, page is this: “Open Source (sm) is a production of Open Source Media, Inc. Contents (c) 2005 Open Source Media, Inc.” At the top of the Open Source Media, the whatever-it-is, it says Open Source Media. Now just note that I have to keep saying Open Source Media, the radio show, or Open Source Media, the whatever-it-is. That’s what I’d call brand confusion.

What’s doubly bad about this is that the folks at Open Source Media, the radio show, who used the name first are highly respected in this medium of blogs and that the folks at Open Source Media, the whatever-it-is, apparently are not enough in touch with this world that they knew that. It’s a bad stumble. Admit it. Apologize. Pick yourself up. And move on.

Yet Open Source Media, the whatever-it-is, promises this — with more haughtiness than I’d ever heard from Dan Rather — on its prevaricating post about the name:

The goal of our enterprise is to bring gravitas and legitimacy to the blogosphere…

Oh, gag me with a mitre.

I don’t think that blogs need to have legitimacy laid upon them … and who died and made you the legitimizer?

And gravitas? Good God, big, old media has an oversupply of that. That’s what got them in such trouble. And that’s what we’re running away from.

Previously, I was merely amused and confused by whatever-we-should-call whatever-it-is. Now I’m cringing as I await the sound of trains crashing.

: LATER: Getaloada Roger welling up with Judy.

: And is it my imagination, or is Glenn Reynolds trying not to link to OSM too much?

: I think there’s room for the conservative Huffingtonpost, lots of room. I’m just surprised that the conservatives don’t show as much business sense. Isn’t that what makes conservatives conservative? Maybe not.

: LATER STILL: Private Radio gives OSM respectful but firm tough love: smart advice they should heed. “Maybe a suspend and re-launch on Jan. 1 with some compelling and exclusive content ready to go. OSM 2006, it’s a whole new year…. And I fear this will cast the conservative blogosphere in a bad light.” To say nothing of the business model.

: QUESTION: Is there anywhere we can start a death pool?

  • And no matter how much they are trying to deny that OSM stands for “Open Source Media”, they can’t escape their own press release – still on their site –

    Pajamas Media Goes “Open Source,” Flips Switch on New Online Venture

    At New York City Launch Event

    Bloggers Unite Under New “Open Source Media” Moniker

    as New Site is Unveiled; Event to be Audiocast Live

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. and NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2005
    – OSMTM (Open Source Media), a new online venture designed to bring together top online writers, journalists and commentators under a single umbrella, officially debuts today at a New York City launch event that features a discussion on the future of blogging and journalism, details on the company’s content and the official launch of the new portal to the best of the blogosphere.

    I thought it was ignorance. I’m now inclined to believe otherwise as well.

  • Johnson is running OSM exactly like he runs LGF – no surprises there…


    Definitions of Hubris on the Web:

    * Excessive pride displayed by a character and often taking the form of a boastful comparison of the self to the divine, the gods, or other higher powers–often also resulting in harsh punishment.

    * Need to defy the whole and be detached in a never completed search for satisfaction; cause of discontent; lack of rythm; confidence in the mind in place of the self; kind of suffering associated with ignorance; superior and careless behavior; defiance. Hubris perpetuates Personality. Hubris requires Ignorance. Hubris is the antonym of Surrender. Compare Evil.

  • Andrew

    Beyond the trademark problems the main issue for me is that the name is fundamentally dishonest. They’re leveraging the work of countless others that have contributed freely to the Open Source moevement. “Open Source” evokes the movement spearheaded by Tim O’Reilly and others that is derivative from the Free Software movement and that provides protocols, guidelines, and support infrastructure that foster the open distribution of software and ideas. In contrast with Chris Lydon’s show, there is nothing “open” about OSM. They contribute nothing back to the community. They’re content is syndicated -and customers will have to pay mucho $$$ in subscriptions. They’re business model has nothing to do with the software movement. If anything, their early history shows that they are brutally committed to their financial interests, ahead of other interests – see for example the firing of Luke Ford after pressure from their financial backers.

  • Open Source Media, Inc. – the radio show and website – besides having legal claim to it, deserves the name. It’s how they do their work: Open Source. OSM (TM) – pajama-less media – issues an insult by appropriating the phrase AND by stealing the company name. But I’d love to see them fight long enough to lose their pajama bottoms in legal fees and summary judgements. Anything run by that LGF guy (and with Michael Ledeen on the board) cannot be a good thing.

  • Dexter Westbrook

    Just rename it Open Sore Media.

    Then you can keep the OSM, and go with that exclusively.

    How about Little Green Media?

    The possibilities are endless.

  • you’re awaiting the sound of trains crashing?

    seems to me that those trains have been crashing for a week.

    even their advisory board Chair doesnt have the stomach to blog about their limp launch or the controversy about its name, its ny virtual office, luke ford,, his “debate” with the keynote speaker, or the fact that these pajama wearers have accomplished the dubious honor of making arianna look like a genius.

    they proclaim that their goal is to “bring you the best of blogging as we know it…” and yet they refuse to blog about what has been a top ten discussion all week according to technorati ( – themselves!

    jeff the trainwreck has already happened.

  • TrackBack by All Things Beautiful Blogging To Differ at Pajamas OSM Media (UPDATED)

    “Daniel Rubin @ Philly Blog reminds me that I’ve been calling Jeff Jarvis who is the creator of Entertainment Weekly an old fishwife for bitching about OSM so much, whilst appearing confused. O.K. it isn’t only David Burge who needs to get his proverbial foot out of his mouth. Jeff, hindsight gives you 20/20 and all that ‘jazz’….I have however had enough of grovelling for one day. I am usually quite polite…well I said usually, unless we talk about Islamofascism.”

    May I apologize Jeff, being rude just doesn’t sit well with me in the final analysis. Like good wine my thoughts sometimes simply don’t travel well.

    Not cool, not cool at all.

  • tony,

    …those trains have been crashing for a week.

    Obviously, at least.

  • Jim Jones

    Bush League

  • Names can be changed…But what this suggests is that there was less than a perfect planning process here. So, frankly, does the rest of the site.

    Banging together a bunch of blogs is simple, (well actually rather hard to do well), because we live in the age of aggregation. But there is nothing at OSM which is not done way better at Memeorandom.

    The sad part about the whole OSM thing is that it assumes that what was very cool indeed circa 2001 is still interesting in 2005. It isn’t. Ariana caought the last train leaving that station and, frankly, her posse is no more readable than Kos.

    The people on the OSM blogroll are the people I read regularily. But when the competition is and http://www.memeorandum you have to up your game. Putting up the top sixty relatively sane rightwing bloggers and ten indies as a blogroll and calling it alternative media is simply silly.

    And, truth to tell, the folks there are more than smart enough to know it. Look for a shake out pretty quickly.

  • james

    You got that right,Jay.

    I mainly like the left of center bloggers, but I would have thought the same thing about the pajama project if it had been a lefty project, for some of the same reasons as you state.

    They needed to read a bit more of the doc searles, technorati, memorandum crowd before embarking.
    But I gather they really didn’t know what they wanted at first, more of a desire in search of a concept.

  • kat

    If Huffington Post is conservative then I don’t know the meaning of conservative. The few times I read it, I thought it was a bunch of leftist loons–the Michael Moore types. All that woman is missing is a tinfoil hat.

  • james

    Who wrote anything about huffington post was conservative?

    And to brand those writers as liberal loons is pathetic in it’s logic.

  • sigh

    And if these net pioneers knew the meaning of open source they would see that their over copy righted material is in contradiction to the spirit.

    It’s as though they wanted to put out a sign to the wild ones saying, “kick me, hack me, launch denial of device attacks, give me the status of webtv or aol. Turn me into a joke.”

    All I can say is that the minority who’ve been running the agit prop for the GOP is going insane on all fronts. These guys are just one more example of symptoms from the koolaid.


    sour grapes Jeff, you wanted part of OSM and now you are left out in the cold. You are jealous of Stern, Insty, Moxie and OSM.

    OSM will work give it time it will be the powerhouse of the blogosphere. The Huffington Post is a bunch of nothing.

  • Well, stuttering B, I have reported here that whatever-it-is tried to get me in in the earliest planning phases and I told them then that I saw no business and had no desire whatsoever to be part of it.
    But now I’m certainly jealous of all the attention they’re getting!

  • Easy solution, Jeff, rename your blog Pajamas Medium. Done.

  • I’m still confused, myself. Jeff calls the radio show “Open Source Media, the radio show”; but it’s not, as far as I can tell, called that anywhere. It’s “Open Source, the radio show”.

    There is indeed a small line at the bottom of their website that says (as Jeff notes)”Open Source (sm) is a production of Open Source Media, Inc. Contents (c) 2005 Open Source Media, Inc.” Again, note that Open Source is the production of Open Source Media, Inc., not Open Source Media is a production of Open Source Media, Inc.

    I don’t mean to be splitting hairs here, but even if you’re right, be precise… fudging this is what makes me suspicious of the argument. The radio show’s identity, from what I can gather from their own website, is simply Open Source, and Open Source Media is the name they’ve given their production unit. If this is the case, stop quibbling about OSM stealing the radio show’s name, because you’re really arguing is that they’re stealing the name of the production company.

    The difference to me seems to be between calling your business “The Tonight Show” or “Big Dog” (Jay Leno’s production company). In the case of the radio show, “Open Source Media” seems to be a phrase that was considered so important that it’s relegated to very small type at the bottom of the page.

    As noted by DennisThePeasant (infringer of copyrighted British films), the fact that the radio show has incorporated Open Source Media alone will likely be a reason to force OSM to change… but the change would not be because Open Source radio was using “Open Source Media” in a highly visible way.

    And pardon me for being a putz about this… I still have no dog in this fight, and probably will not visit the badly configured OSM site again. As for its politics, I thought OSM was supposed to more general than just conservative blogs… if they are primarily conservative blogs now, though, they would do far better in finding a name/identity that conveys that instead of the too-cute “open source” bit. Most conservative readers won’t be turned on by that slick, clinical website design. It looks like a salon.

    Where did I see this? Somebody posted somewhere… Worst… Blogger War… Ever… I want a small portion of my memory erased so that this silly squabble doesn’t use up any of the little gray matter I’ve got left.

  • Um… I already have a death pool, but I don’t think it’s the kind you’re looking for.

  • APF

    : LATER: Getaloada Roger welling up with Judy.

    OMG he realized someone he’d been talking about on the internet was a REAL PERSON, and regretted being so cavalier in making fun of her on a personal level!! And then he actually ADMITS the OSM folks have made “all kinds of mistakes” in their rollout! What a CHOAD!! LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Way to show you’re the better man.

  • DJM

    Carson Fire,

    I would love to see you advance that argument in court. Seriously, I’d really like to see it.

    PS: When the judge laughs during your opening arguments, it’s not a good sign.

  • Eileen

    QUESTIONS: Is it disingenuous to call a radio program/web site Open Source Media when its actual TRADE NAME is Open Source?

    Is it farfetched to believe that certain left wing bloggers – who chose not to participate in the TRADE NAME “OSM” – would instead endeavor to foment hypercritical death pools?

    Is it farfetched to believe that OSM’s team of lawyers didn’t thoroughly research the chosen name and url they adopted before proceeding? As stated at OSM: “To that end, we have filed an application for a trademark on the name OSM, and our legal corporate name is OSM Media, LLC. [NOTE: this is NOT Open Source Media, Inc.]  We have not trademarked the term “Open Source Media,” and agree with those who point out the irony inherent in any attempt to do so.  We consider Open Source Media to be a description of what we are and do, not a trade name.There are other Open Sources…  We also own the domain name, but chose to use to save you all some typing.”

    It is comical, these perpetual efforts to invalidate anything and anyone – particularly a group of predominantly conservative bloggers – who dare to speak truth to the purported power of MSM.

  • From the Department of Missing the Point, DJM Says:

    I would love to see you advance that argument in court. Seriously, I’d really like to see it.

    DJM: I’m not arguing for OSM; I’m pointing out the exaggeration of bloggers when they get a burr up their butt.

    If you have a winning argument, why introduce easily contested exaggerations and fibs? As I said, OSM will most likely have to give up their name because of the radio show’s incorporated production company. But the shorthand of saying that the radio show was called “Open Source Media”, when it apparently was not, only muddies what should be a slam-dunk case.

    Why would a lawyer be that stupid?

    In the case of a blogger, it’s just an inconvenient detail. The story flows better if we say that OSM nicked the radio show’s name. It doesn’t sound as strong to say that OSM nicked the name of the radio show’s production company. Not as sexy.

    But it’s those inconvenient details that get you in trouble, even if you’re right. Look at Rather and Mapes… there are certainly plenty of leftists, Democrats, and assorted Bush-haters who are convinced that the AWOL story is true, but it doesn’t matter because Rather and Mapes flagrantly fudged on the inconvenient details.Rather and Mapes lost their “case” in the public court (and CBS’ commission, too) because they tried to prove their case with unsupportable materials, which wound up effectively voiding and discrediting whatever other evidence they may have had.

    Being right isn’t an open license to fib and exaggerate.

  • Eileen

    “As I said, OSM will most likely have to give up their name because of the radio show’s incorporated production company.”

    I disagree with you here, Carson Fire. OSM’s trade name is distinct from the radio show’s trade name, OPEN SOURCE. Moreover, OSM’s corporate name is wholly distinct from the radio show’s production company name.

    They don’t need to change a damn thing.

  • Eileen says: a group of predominantly conservative bloggers

    Ah, that must be it for sure, then. I thought the thing was supposed to be a bipartisan effort. If it’s *predominantly* conservatives, that explains the overheated hyperbole, and it explains why some people are assuming that I’m blindly defending a conservative effort, when I’m only asking why the exaggeration is necessary.

    Now I’m torn… I don’t think you’re entirely right, Eileen, in laying this all on politics. There is clearly a growing dispute over the name, and that’s apolitical. But the overheated hyperbole clearly *is* political, if not deeply personal (as we see with DennisThePeasant).

    Well… good luck to whoever. I use Bloglines for my “blog portal”, anyway.

  • Eileen

    Well, Carson Fire, reasonable minds can always differ. If one googles, the description is as follows:

    Open Source
    A joint production of Open Source Media Inc. and the University of
    Massachusetts-Lowell, Open Source is presented by WGBH Radio Boston and distributed by …

    Who is it, exactly that is creating a “growing dispute over the name” [and other disparaging efforts re OSM] around the blogosphere? More importantly, why?

    Just color me cynical, eh? :)

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  • Folks: The proper analysis is brand confusion. And there is plenty of that here.

  • Pajamas Media not only was a perfectly acceptable name, but they had been promoting under that name for months! Then on launch they switch to a bland, generic sounding name with no personality (although that is consistent with the site itself). What a waste of marketing, and all to introduce a WORSE name.

    The ‘net’s culture is defined by inventive names like Napster, Amazon, eBay. One of the world’s biggest, most successful companies is named “Google”. PJ Media would have fit in, suggesting something irreverant and unpredictable. The fact that they felt the name was inappropriate for their venture says something about their overblown self-image. Simon et al need desperately to get over themselves.

    OSM doesn’t distinguish itself from the pack, and the choice is indicative of a lack of nerve (also a great Internet media name by the way). Others have been using the same name (for other types of businesses) for quite some time. A simple search would/should have told them that – yet they used the name ANYWAY. Laziness? Arrogance? Take your pick. Either way, this does not bode well.

  • Ted

    I am offended by the name. This has absolutelty NOTHING to do with the concept of open source, or the open source movement.

    Furthermore, the concept of .org has now officially lost ALL meaning, as this is a for-profit blog site, nothing to so with an organization.

    Very, very cynical use of the domain extension, and the name.

    And very confusing for fans of the other Open Source Media.

  • I think they could have chosen a better name and designed their site a little better, but don’t think these things are enough to merit the hostility they’re coming in for. Like Jeff says, it’s brand confusion. Not that big a deal.

    So what if they’re mostly conservatives and have got 3 million dollars to spend? It’s what they say that matters. Let’s hear them before we start savaging them. There’ll be plenty of room for that in their comments section. ;-)

  • Eileen

    I don’t see any ‘brand confusion’ here at all. The trade name/INITIALS OSM and the trade name Open Source – *NOT* Open Source Media – don’t sound the least bit similar to me. The corporate name OSM Media, LLC doesn’t sound the least bit similar to Open Source Media Inc. to me. I doubt any jury would be bamboozled either.

    The only so-called confusion arises when people repeatedly call a radio show AND its web site something they don’t even call themselves. Then the web site quotes said blogger to make its case. Ah what a lovely, circular web….

    Why oh why would anyone want to muddy the waters and create such confusion? Why such efforts to discredit and malign OSM in its first two days of operation?

    If it isn’t one thing, you can bet your booties it will certainly be another any second now. [Wonder who owns WGBH Radio Boston? Oh geez. It’s that right wing bastion, “Public Broadcasting from Boston”. Who would have thunk it?

    I believe that’s 3.5 million, Noel. :)

  • JBK

    I walked in in the middle of this — so who is this “Eileen” person anyway, and how much right-wing cock does she suck? (And, of course, as she’s obviously a right-wing nutjob, you know she sucks it not very well. Let’s face it, that’s why the right-wingers are so anti-sex. They just don’t get it good. Am I right, people! yeaaaah)

  • Well JBK you certainly have a way with words! I, like most people, have read about various public perverts – the streaker, the trenchcoat flasher, the movie hall masturbator – but you fall into a totally new category of public perversion.

    Instead of phoning people at random to breath heavily at them and speak dirty to them (you know, “Huh … huh … uptight rightwing nutjob … huh … huh … naked leftie commie … huh … huh … middle of the road moderately dressed independent … huh … huh … huh”), you do it online. It’s verbally abusive political pornography. A whole new genre!

    I’m sure you’ll be invited to Gawker to discuss it in more detail. Until then, please keep it between yourself and your analyst.

  • Uncle Fester

    While the PJ/OSM/???? slow motion train wreck has been fascinating in a dismally horrible way to watch, in the final analysis it’s just another web site/blog with nothing particularly special about it that differentiates it from any others.

  • Eileen

    Thanks, Noel. Bull’s-eye.

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  • ghkjgs

    OSM did the whole thing to get attention, they’ll back down before it costs them anything significant, and a whole bunch of people like me who never would have heard of them otherwise now know their entire story.

    I agree with crap fire whatever who said the proper argument is being muddled. Maybe if a frickjillion people stopped tearing apart the issue, we could all just track the story from the parties actually involved, and go ‘hmm, thats interesting.. but we dont need to bother posting a hundred billion times about it’.

    Everyone’s crazy but me.

  • Ramu

    Things I learned by watching TV: You can call a cat a fish, but that does not mean it will swim.

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