Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor Milton Mueller was recently featured in an article on National Public Radio (NPR). The article, With Billions at Stake, Firms Play Name That Mop, is part of a recent series analyzing the communications industry.
This particular article looked at how names can affect the success of new products. Take Swiffer, for example. Proctor & Gample hired Lexicon, an advertising agency, to develop a name for their new mop. The team thought of all kinds of combinations of mop, clean, swipe, and sweep before morphing words into “Swiffer.”
People like words that are easy to pronounce, but these days you also have to take web addresses into account. Mueller notes that there are more than 80 million names registered under dot-com, which makes it increasingly harder for brands to stake out a web address. According to Mueller, the organization that makes the rules on these matters is trying to fix the problem. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers may add some 200 top-level domains.
“So there would be a dot-music, dot-nyc, a dot-berlin,” Mueller said. “There will be names in Chinese language script that I can’t even pronounce.”
Mueller is a professor at the iSchool, where he teaches graduate-level courses in information and communication policy, and doctoral seminars on special topics. His research focuses on Internet governance, virtual resources and the role of citizen activism in shaping communication. Mueller was one of the founders of the Internet Governance Project, an alliance of scholars in action around global Internet policy issues. As co-founder of the Noncommercial Users Constituency, he has played a leading role in organizing and mobilizing public interest groups in ICANN.