Personally, I’d avoid “Woo” in the domain for the same reason I prefer to avoid limiting terms like “wp” in domains. It’s just not future-proof. What if a few years down the line, WordPress is forked a la Mambo -> Joomla? Or WooCommerce’s name changes and/or is no longer the leading WordPress e-commerce suite?
A name like “WooAssist” would probably sound a bit silly. Names like Skyverge are still memorable and don’t have to worry about such trend fluctuations.
I know that’s beside the point, and ironic considering I own wpchat.com, but thought it was worth mentioning.
I know Automattic / WPF / Matt (I hate to refer to the three of them like that, but you can’t ignore that Matt is the leader of both entities) has been getting a bad rap lately for the legal stuff related to The WordPress Helpers and Thesis.com cases, but let’s break down each one:
First, TheWordPressHelpers.com case which is pretty thoroughly documented by @Jeffro on WP Tavern.
- WordPress Foundation submits application on November 7th to register the WordPress character mark.
- Jeff Yablon registers a bunch of domains with “WordPress” in it, and launches a site at TheWordPressHelpers.com in January 2015.
- Makes a big deal about refusing to switch to an alternative domain that doesn’t contain “wordpress” as if its part of some bizarre marketing ploy, and is apparently contacted by WPF lawyers “shortly after.”
- Jeff Yablon files an opposition request to the Foundation’s filing on May 5, 2015.
- Finally gets sued by the WordPress Foundation on June 18th, 2015, gets coverage on popular WP-oriented blogs. Mission accomplished?
And now, the Thesis.com case.
- Automattic buys Thesis.com for $100k, redirects to ThemeShaper.com, their theme-related site. Judging Matt’s demeanor when he references Thesis.com in this WordCamp SF 2014 Town Hall (5:30 mark), there seems to be some trollish intent behind the purchase.
- Chris, decides he’d rather seize the domain through legal means from Automattic than get in a bidding war with an entity with much deeper pockets.
- Automattic, not willing to lose their $100k purchase, defends self, and wins.
- Automattic petitions to cancel Chris’ trademarks for DIY Themes, Thesis, and Thesis Theme
In the Helpers case, there seemed to be an element of goading going on, followed by Yablon’s attempt to oppose the “wordpress” character mark, before WPF finally fired back.
In the Thesis.com case, legal action on Automattic’s part was only initiated in defense of Chris’ UDRP attempt. It may be considered a bit overzealous to petition to cancel their trademarks.
However, Paul Sieminski, Automattic’s general counsel, stated the “challenge was a part of our defense, simply because Chris was asserting his TM against us, and those trademarks are very likely invalid.”
In both cases, legal action was initiated on WPF and Automattic’s part as a defensive maneuver. Not offensive. I think that’s important to note, before people assume the worst and think they’re about to go on a legal rampage. Matt tweeted, “I hate legal stuff, avoid it wherever possible.”
I tend to believe him. And considering the relative rarity of these cases (TheWordPressHelpers.com is far from the only site with “wordpress” in the domain), I believe history backs it up too.
So to get back to the original question, Matt also tweeted, “because you have a theme doesn’t give you worldwide dominion over an English dictionary word.”
As is “Woo.” While both sites in question are clearly related to WooCommerce, and Automattic could probably initiate legal action (as can anyone for any reason), going after them would be pretty high up on the hypocrisy scale and something I don’t believe they’ll do.
Some of my pro-Automattic/WPF bias is undoubtedly showing through. But I honestly don’t think they (as in the amalgamation of Automattic, WPF, and Matt) have demonstrated a pattern of litigiousness for me to consider them “evil” yet. This is concerning and worth keeping an eye on for sure. But I just don’t see it yet.
So in closing…
Yes. I’d still avoid it for other reasons (see first paragraph of this post) …but yes.
P.S. WooCommerce Jetpack