One thing that I often disagree about with extension developers is their naming of Joomla extensions.
When marketing an extension, irrespective of it being free or commercial, the challenge is to clearly identify the product as being for joomla.
Many developers believe that to achieve this they need to name their product in the form "Joomla Newsletter". To me this is wrong and potentially confusing, as to the inexperienced user they may believe that this is a product made by the Joomla project when it isn't.
If a developer really feels that they have to use the word "joomla" in their product name at best it should be in the form "Newsletter for Joomla".
I've always advocated this and the very first time that the joomla name was introduced to the awaiting community I wrote exactly this. At the same time I also attempted to ensure that third parties only used the Joomla logo to imply "built for" and not to adapt, manipulate or otherwise alter the joomla logo.
Sadly very few extension developers have followed my suggestions and this is one of the issues that Open Source Matters Inc, the holders of the Joomla copyright and trademarks, regularly battles with.
The challenge therefore is to create a method for developers to clearly identify their product as being for joomla without abusing the logo or misusing the name.
The debian project attempted to address this issue with their logo by having two. One official logo that could only be used by the project and another one that could be freely used. Unfortunately the official logo was "so dam ugly" that it's rarely used, even by the debian project itself.
On the other side of the coin Apple have successfully done exactly this with their "works with iphone" and "made for ipod" logos.
The "Built for Joomla" logo and certification scheme.
I hope and believe that, if this proposal is adopted today, it would satisfy the needs of all three parties.
- The consumer will not be "tricked" into believing it is an official product
- The developer will have a means to clearly brand and id their product as being for joomla
- Open Source Matters Inc. will be able to more easily, and cost effectively, police the usage of the joomla mark.
So how would it work?
The "logo and certification" scheme would consist of two parts.
- A clearly identifiable logo that is free to use
- A clearly defined "self-certifying" set of rules that a developer must adhere to in order to use the "logo"
Of course, if required, the second part could be a more formal arrangement with application forms and official permission slips, and perhaps even click-backs so the consumer can confirm the validity of the logo, but I neither believe this would be necessary nor believe that it is in the true spirit of an open source community project.
So what would the logo look like?
I am clearly not a designer or a graphic artist but perhaps it should be something clear and simple like the Apple "designed for ipod" logos. It is simple and clear and quickly serves its purpose of identifying the compatibility and intended market of the product.
There could even be slightly modified versions for different groups of products eg
- "Built for Joomla" for extensions
- "Designed for Joomla" for templates
And what about the rules for usage?
These need not be complex at all and in fact already exist in one form or other at the moment
- The product is not named "joomla XXXX" ("XXXX for Joomla" would be acceptable although not desirable)
- The product must be compatible with the stated version of joomla
- The joomla logo must not be used in the marketing of the product except in accordance with the existing brand guidelines. [note: I would expect that if the brand guidelines were strictly adhered to most developers would chose to only use the proposed "Built for joomla" logo]
How could this "scheme" be implemented?
It's actually surprisingly easy to implement a scheme like this as it only requires three things. Two of which the joomla community is very good at and one which it should be good at.
- Design the logo and make it readily available
- Write the rules (as I said earlier these really already exist)
- Communicate the new scheme to developers and the community of users.
Prior communication tasks indicate that the latter is the most challenging but it really should not be. It's not about "beating people with a stick", "lambasting them in public forum" or "sending threatening legal letters" but rather a gradual process of education.
I am confident that once developers see each other adopt the "scheme" and its benefits they will rapidly adopt it. Of course there will be some that don't and they should be "encouraged" to do so, especially for all new products. But at the same time consideration should be made for those "products" that are already well known in the marketplace and have a well established brand name in their own right. We should be aware that in certain situations a complete re-branding will be both prohibitively expensive and time consuming.
If the communication of the scheme is done in a timely and professional manner I am certain that it will be welcomed by all parties concerned. It has clear benefits for everyone and in time will I'm sure become commonplace in the joomla-verse.