The Huffington Post finally came to a creative solution to avoid further legal scrutiny over
stealing borrowing inspiration from The New York Times to name its latest blog, Parentlode. You see, Lisa Belkin, who launched the very similarly titled Motherlode blog at The Times and now runs The Huffington Post's parenting blog, announced on Thursday morning that HuffPost Parentlode would be renamed, all because of a silly little lawsuit The Times threatened on the day her blog launched. Belkin insists that Parentlode was a name "that, frankly, we never really loved" and goes on to sort of spit on The Times for causing a fuss. What will HuffPost do now its new parenting blog needs a new name? Well, crowdsource the task of course! We'd like to say that Belkin sounds sincere but we can sense a snarky claw tugging at her prose:
Early next year we'll take the top few contenders and choose a winner (after our lawyers clear them, so we don't have to go through THIS again.) Enter as many different names as you would like. You can read all the fine print here.
The prize? A trip to New York -- airfare and hotel included. A tour of our newsroom (including a peek at our famous and fabulous nap rooms!) and lunch in our very cool neighborhood with our HuffPost Parents team -- me, Lori, Farah and, of course, Arianna.
Oh, and to show there are no hard feelings, we're also gifting our winner a one-year digital subscription to The New York Times.
As we've suggested before, this latest spat between the Internet newspaper and the paper of record amounts to much more than a quibble over a name. Once the two publications have been swapping spots as the No. 1 most-trafficked newspaper site in the country for months, both Times writers and HuffPosters launched attacks on each other. Bill Keller's very public naysaying of Huffington's aggregation philosophy is inevitably hard to forget in thinking about the Parentlode-Motherlode lawsuit. The free Times subscription feels like an insult or at best a response to The Times's sort of passive-aggressive warning shot over the trademark. To quote Times lawyer Richard Samson's letter to Arianna Huffington: "While we are flattered by your focus on our blog and your apparent fondness for its name, we obviously cannot permit you to adopt a name whose sole purpose is to create an association in the minds of readers with our 'Motherlode' blog." The letter stipulated that The Times would take legal action if HuffPost didn't change the name, and when Huffington completely ignored the letter, the Grey Lady did just that.
We're curious to see what HuffPost readers will come up with for Belkin's new blog. And we look forward to reading it--she's a fun writer to read! In fact, she sums up the whole HuffPost-New York Times spat well in the opening sentence of her latest post: "Things can get petty and prickly in the sandbox."