January 17, 2017

"So Yahoo's now called Altaba - not to be confused with Alt-Abba, the crypto-white nationalist Swedish pop group with hits like #DanzigQueen."

Mocking the Yahoo name change.

That's from a week ago, when the news hit that Yahoo — with one of the all-time great company names — was changing its name to Altaba.

I'm not positive this incredibly stupid change is really happening. There's also this:
Yahoo announced last week that it would be changing its name to Altaba (upon completion of Verizon acquiring core Yahoo) seemingly to reflect the investment in Chinese giant Alibaba.

However, the name change will only take effect if and only if Verizon goes through with the planned acquisition of core Yahoo....
By the way, I'm a little sensitive to all this mockery around the prefix "Alt-." I don't like this late-developing impression that Althouse is a crypto-white nationalist edifice of some kind. The "Alt-" in Althouse means "old" not "alternative" or "high," though "alternative" and "high" are at least as positive as "old." This idea of "Alt-" meaning "crypto-white nationalist" is not only inaccurate, but it's unfair to all of the persons, places, and things that have already constructed our identity with the very positive prefix "Alt-."

51 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Alt in this context means "other" as in anybody we describe in this way is the "other" and to be shunned like a a truck stop whore.

tim in vermont said...

Remember when AIDS was a diet supplement? Sometimes a brand takes a hit through no fault of their own.

Michael K said...

Yahoo is doing what Nissan did with "Datsun." It is blowing up a well known brand without good reason.

The fact that Yahoo has not been well managed is not a reason to destroy the brand,

tcrosse said...

As a card-carrying Alter Kaker, I must object.

JayG said...

It's just the latest in the continuing trend of companies and brands naming themselves with the starting and ending letter "A." Such a soothing, open sound. Here's just a random list of examples.

Aptiva
Acura
Altria
Apria
Advanta
Abila
Afinia
Aveda
Adestra
Affinia
Alacra
Aria
Avaya
Alcoa
Artega
Azera

JayG said...

Oh, and America.

rhhardin said...

The syllable break is after the al.

madAsHell said...

I was acquainted with a Jewish woman that thought Yahoo was a slight to God. I've forgotten her explanation.

Can someone explain the "crypto" word?...and why is it an insult?

Funny, I never saw your name as alt-house until today.

YoungHegelian said...

I don't like this late-developing impression that Althouse is a crypto-white nationalist edifice of some kind.

I don't know about "late-developing impression". I imagine some of your compatriots in the department have thought chez Althouse was "a crypto-white nationalist edifice" avant la lettre.

rhhardin said...

Funny, I never saw your name as alt-house until today.

Be on the lookout for Villanova.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Googling, Taba is arabic for clean, pure, or chaste....

Maybe Yahoo is repositioning as a global anti-porn empire? "We're not dirty like Google......"

damikesc said...

Verizon is working hard to get out of that deal.

exhelodrvr1 said...

You're probably going to be boycotted (personcotted?) because of your name.

tcrosse said...

Or you could develop an Alter Ego.

YoungHegelian said...

@MadasHell,

I was acquainted with a Jewish woman that thought Yahoo was a slight to God. I've forgotten her explanation.

Because, in classical, "unpointed" (i.e. unvoweled) Hebrew, it is one letter out of four short of being the Name of God. It's just too close to sacrilege for comfort.

Paddy O said...

"It is blowing up a well known brand without good reason."

Anyone who knows Yahoo well, has long wanted it blown up.

It has been a plague on the internet for a while, eating up quality apps and sites and leaving empty shells behind.

Paddy O said...

"It's just too close to sacrilege for comfort."

No way!

The Drill SGT said...

To be fair, Alcoa, isn't a made up name. Aluminum Company of America

YAHOO: you always have other options

YoungHegelian said...

@Paddy,

No way!

It took me a minute before I got it. But then I laughed.

rehajm said...

Nanas everywhere can relax. The Yahoo name won't disappear just yet.

How do I know? I just Alphabetted it!

Ann Althouse said...

"The syllable break is after the al"

Makes me think of all the people that have tried to call me Al Thouse.

Ann Althouse said...

Like al Qaeda.

Ann Althouse said...

You can't call me Al.

stever said...

Yahoo was always my home page going way back but it's become worthless and an easy habit to break. It had good sports coverage but that's not true now.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe the reason for the name change is that for a portion of the population, their current name is irrevocably negative. A year or so ago, their software, or software that they somehow benefit from, sneaked onto my desktop computer. Not only did the software add Yahoo to my list of search engines, and make it the default (both for Firefox and IE), but they made it almost impossible to remove or keep removed. I remember completely deleting Yahoo from Firefox, then the next time I opened it, there it would be again. I remember searching the registry (and Firefox configuration files) hand deleting every entry containing "Yahoo" or the programs behind it, as well as searching my entire 1T hard drive. I thought of it as desperation, failing to maintain market share based on merit, and cheating, by the installation of esp vicious code, to force people to use their search engine.

To this day, I don't know what software I installed let them piggyback like that. My guess right now is that it was in response to accepting default installation for something. Something that I don't do any more, and occasionally find some stuff being piggybacked. Probably will never know.

Paul Zrimsek said...

See that girl,
Watch that screen,
Diggin' the Blogging Queen.

Fernandinande said...

The Drill SGT said...
YAHOO: you always have other options


I've never missed anything by having *.yahoo.* blocked.

n.n said...

Let's see. Back to basics. Free from the crafted perceptions, ulterior motives, and politics present.

"high tone," 1530s, originally in music, ultimately from Latin altus "high," literally "grown tall," from PIE root *al- (3) "to grow, nourish" (see old).
-- etymonline.com

Joe said...

The part that Verizon isn't buying is what will get the new name and that's pretty much Yahoo Japan, some assets and 4000 patents. What's left over has to change it's name to something, but few on this side of the Pacific will see that new name anywhere. I suspect it's a highly temporary thing since Altaba will be [relatively] quickly broken up.

madAsHell said...

I remember searching the registry

Ubuntu doesn't have a registry.

mockturtle said...

'crypto-white-nationalist' means what, exactly? That they deny they are racists but the media won't buy it?

Paco Wové said...

finance.yahoo.com has a nice API for scripting. I hope that doesn't go away.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Makes me think of all the people that have tried to call me Al Thouse.

Shouldn't that be all those people?

LordSomber said...

Glenn Danzig, buying kitty litter whilst listening to Abba.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

madAsHell said...

Ubuntu* doesn't have a registry.

Once Trump is President it will!


*Ubuntu sounds foreign, maybe African or Southwest Asian. And definitely Muslim.

Meade said...

Someone put up a humorous comment referencing ABBA and Danzig and I accidentally deleted it. I apologize and hope the comment can be re-created.

ddh said...

The first time I saw "Altbaba," I thought Ali Baba might sue for trademark infringement.

madAsHell said...

It turns out that Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to "crypto-". It appears to mean that you have latent sympathies that you refuse to acknowledge because your sympathies are unpopular.

Yes, I either don't have enough to do, or I'm procrastinating. I prefer to think I'm procrastinating because it sounds much more ambitious.

Shawn Levasseur said...

I agree with ddh, this new name is dangerously close to the AliBaba trademark, and could cause confusion.

Why change the name? Yahoo is a recognized name. Better to try and pull it's reputation up, rather than have to build name recognition up from scratch.

It's like when Netflix tried to spin off its DVD rental business into another identity, Quickster. A move that was rapidly reversed after much criticism.

Rich Rostrom said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

"Ubuntu sounds foreign, maybe African or Southwest Asian."

"Ubuntu" is African. It's a word in several Southern Bantu languages - the Nguni subfamily, spoken in eastern South Africa, which includes Xhosa, Zulu, and Swazi.

It means, roughly, "kindness toward others" and "mutual empathy" among people, and became the catchword for the sentiments underlying the peaceful transition to majority rule in South Africa.

eddie willers said...

Yahoo is doing what Nissan did with "Datsun." It is blowing up a well known brand without good reason.

I worked for JVC (Victor Company of Japan) in the 80's whose largest stakeholder was the company we know as Panasonic.

They seriously thought of changing the brand name worldwide to their corporate (and family) name, Matsushita!

Luckily, the American branch told them (in no uncertain terms) they were out of their effing minds and so their ego did not ruin a brand name ranked right up there with Ford and Coca-Cola.

PS. In researching to make sure I spelled Matsushita correctly, I learned they went completely 180 degrees to before and changed the corporate name from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. to Panasonic Corporation in 2008.

Danno said...

I have used myyahoo.com as my home page since the mid-90s, since you can customize it with stock quotes and newsfeeds of all sorts. The only part that has gone downhill is they insert "fake news" from Yahoo writers into the stream of things that you clicked on.

Scott said...

Phillip Morris changed its name to Altria because they wanted to sell other things; and cigarettes are evil.

Unknown said...

Matt Levine has been covering this for Bloomberg View. The name is designed to highlight the fact that the only real part of the company that will be left are shares in Alibaba and yahoo japan.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-10/bank-blockchains-and-an-alibaba-box

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

Bruce Hayden wrote: Maybe the reason for the name change is that for a portion of the population, their current name is irrevocably negative.

It is too bad Jonathan Swift is not taught is schools today, but it is not surprising in light of the corporate character of the NEA and the MLA, the bad reputation of the name Yahoo wouldn't hinge solely on the arrogance and incompetence of tech giant. If Yang and Filo had been better read they would have never chosen Yahoo! in the first place, which just goes to show just how valuable an English department really is.

Domain names are certainly a ripe field for some psychology postgrad to look into. Consider for a moment the three most successful names ever registered: google.com, yahoo.com, and above all amazon.com. Yahoo! jumped into an early lead, before anyone outside of the field of database architecture used the term search engine. To the majority of geeks (let's face it, in the Nineties, the Web was the domain of geekdom) the word meant nothing specific; it was merely a celebratory exclamation, as one might utter having discovered a map of a strange and disorienting foreign land. Google was also an inspired choice which depended on a kind of intellectual wager. Who would be familiar with such a childish word, google? No one except the viewers of the PBS series Cosmos, written and hosted by Carl Sagan, a minor astronomer with a genius for self-promotion. In one episode Sagan introduced to his viewers a word for a very large number represented by the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes invented by a six-year-old and then proceeded to kill ten percent of a 52-minute trying to write it down. If one could wager on the television habits of geekdom in 1997 a sure-thing bet would be having watched every installment of Cosmos, thus Google, a database with a very large number of entries. The most brilliant of all is Amazon.com. Who would associate that with a bookstore? Nobody. It has nothing going for it except an infectious rhythm like the beat of primitive tom-toms — ahm ah zon DOT com, ahm ah zon DOT com, ahm ah zon DOT com.

Alibaba.com is a poor choice for a domain name. In many Arabic-speaking cultures, an "Ali Baba" is an untrustworthy person — a thief, a charlatan, or pimp.

Quaestor said...

In one episode Sagan introduced to his viewers a word for a very large number represented by the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes invented by a six-year-old and then proceeded to kill ten percent of a 52-minute episode trying to write it down. -- typo fixed

YoungHegelian said...

@Quaestor,

The most brilliant of all is Amazon.com. Who would associate that with a bookstore?

Years ago, when the first book I ever ordered from Amazon arrived & my wife saw the return address with the word "Amazon" on it, she asked me "Are you ordering pornography?"

I opened up the box & showed her the book. Not even close, dear.

Craig said...

This -- I don't like this late-developing impression that Althouse is a crypto-white nationalist edifice of some kind. The "Alt-" in Althouse means "old" not "alternative" or "high," though "alternative" and "high" are at least as positive as "old." This idea of "Alt-" meaning "crypto-white nationalist" is not only inaccurate, but it's unfair to all of the persons, places, and things that have already constructed our identity with the very positive prefix "Alt-." -- is high comedy. The association of "alt" with the right might be convenient, but it is the arguments here that are generating (and have long generated, even if now increasingly so) the "late-developing (sic)" impression.

Saint Croix said...

I don't like this late-developing impression that Althouse is a crypto-white nationalist edifice of some kind.

You can always re-name the blog Mrs. Meade!

Even if the white crypto-Nazis follow the bloody trail of the used sanitary napkin to the evil headquarters of Althouse, they're not going to ring the doorbell if it's Mrs. Meade.

Saint Croix said...

I think I said this before, get a dog, Althouse! Trump might turn mean! Time to go dog shopping!