Freecycling

Fighting for freerecyling

Issue 3: What is in a name?

The Freecycle Network spend a lot of energy protecting “their name”. And at the heart of this is the word “Freecycle”, and the company’s domain “freecycle.org”. This is a great word and a great domain name. The whole world loves it. If sold it could net as much as any Internet domain name ever sold. So protecting it is very important.

But who owns the name, and the domain name, and who would benefit from such a sale? Well, TFN of course. Well that is true for the domain name, but whether it owns the rights to the word is still up for legal debate. Whoa, TFN is has non-profit status. Technically true but it is possible that it would revert at some time to a non-profit, and if so then it could net the board significant income.

Well you might say, actually the membership owns the name. Wrong, categorically wrong. Well, that’s not a problem since I am sure the board would plough its hard earned money back into the movement. I would like, personally to see that in writing, and even then…

And does has the company really protected the name? Well it did have no funds to protect anything but now a decent salary is paid, and since company accounts are not made public therefore there is no easy way of drilling deeper. One thing is for sure some of the grant income is used to fight legal cases, lodge trademark applications etc.

But how does the name get any value? From the membership. From the 1,000’s of groups and 1,000,000’s of members – whatever those figures are. That is where the real value comes. That is how Internet valuations are often done.

And even if the domain name and/or company is not sold then the advertising revenues could be very significant. Think of all the people wanting to offer or receive an item on Freecycle, and seeing related (perhaps Ebay or Google styled) adverts at the same time.

If used for the “right” purposes then all this is moot. We all want the gifting economy to increase. We all want to reduce landfill significantly, if not to zero.

And that is my mission, not least in writing this blog.

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June 27, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle

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