InCaps (incaps?)

By on January 2, 2014

Cory Doctorow has a New Year’s resolution:

This year, I resolve to minimize my use of incaps when writing about commercial products and companies. An incap changes a word into a logo, and has no place in journalism or commentary — it’s branding activity that colonizes everyday communications. It’s free advertising.

So: “Iphone,” not “iPhone” and “Paypal,” not “PayPal.”

I mention this because years back, I wrote this in a post:

There were four books on the shelves having to do with Mambo and/or Joomla (I refuse to add the exclamation point).

A commenter called me out:

Now, that’s just childish. Let them have their logo the way they want it, dude.

I’ve often thought back to that.  To what extent to we owe people the right to capitalize and punctuate their trademarks?  The one that has always bothered me is REALTOR®. Yes, it’s in all caps with the registered trademark symbol behind it.  This is how you’re instructed to refer to it (additionally, it’s pronounced “real-TOR” which sounds weird).

The National Association of Realtors defends it in their page on copyrights:

To encourage others to recognize its status, NAR has adopted certain standards for its appearance. Please note that the preferred format is in all caps

This guy spent a lot of time researching and theorizing about it: Why is “Realtor” capitalized?

I generally refuse to do this when it sticks out.  I guess “iPhone” doesn’t bother me, but “Joomla!” absolutely does, because the exclamation point is adding emphasis/emotion to my voice without my permission (plus, it’s just dumb – who does this, really?).

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Comments

  1. I think the lesson to be taken from this is to use simple names for your products when ever possible.

  2. I refuse to all-caps 'realtor'. Since it signifies a member of the NAR, I will use "NARds" as an alternative.

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