If you didn’t hear the news, MODX Cloud is becoming SiphonLabs and will soon support hosting not only MODX websites, but the competition as well. This has caused quite an uproar in the MODX Community, and I think the branding strategy behind all this is to blame. The issue isn’t that MODX Cloud is exploring providing competitive software to its customers. At MODXpo Netherlands a Wordpress installer feature was discussed and as I recall there was no tomato-throwing involved. In fact nobody seemed to care.
Now even though I’ve been contracting with MODX ProServ for several months, the SiphonLabs transition was complete news to me. If I would have been informed my first question would of been about the name. I have a much better name in mind: MODX Cloud.
Why the name Change?
The branding “experts” behind this decision must of had a presumptive fear against their own name. “We’ll never get Wordpress users to sign up with MODX in the name” they must of thought. Firstly, I’ll rebut that with a single question.
What does MODX mean?
Absolutely nothing. Trust me, I’ve asked the man himself. So you’re gonna tell me that Wordpress users who probably don’t even know what MODX is are going to be scared away because name of the hosting service contains an ambiguous acronym referencing another CMS? They’ll come running for something named Siphon though I’m sure.
1. A pipe or tube fashioned or deployed in an inverted U shape and filled until atmospheric pressure is sufficient to force a liquid from a reservoir in one end of the tube over a barrier higher than the reservoir and out the other end.
2. Zoology A tubular organ, especially of aquatic invertebrates such as squids or clams, by which water is taken in or expelled.
Apple didn’t re-brand the Mac when they added the ability for their computers to run Windows in an effort to widen their audience. The name SiphonLabs is terrible, but the lack of seeing big picture branding implications here is much worse.
Brand consistency is where a business attempts to communicate messages in a way that doesn’t detract or wander away from the core brand proposition.
Stand Behind the Name
Imagine what would of happened if the exact same announcement was made without the re-branding. What if they came out and announced this:
MODX Cloud is adding support for the following competitive site building technologies to better serve our customers needs and give them even more creative freedom in how they choose to build their websites.
Here’s what would happen:
- A similar backlash from the community that would be much sooner forgotten
- MODX is now represented as something so capable that it can host the competition without worry
- MODX Cloud loyalists get to continue marketing the service to their clients as a MODX service
- MODX Cloud becomes something even more unique
Imagine the hype that could have been generated from headlines to the like of “MODX Cloud invites Wordpress to the Party”. Curiosity would be raised as to why they are doing so but at the end of the day MODX is still standing on its own to feet. Behind the SiphonLabs brand, MODX already seems pushed aside. Want proof? Just look at the pagetitle at siphonlabs.com:
As someone looking for Wordpress Cloud hosting, if I came across MODX Cloud and was sold on Wordpress Cloud features, the more I used MODX Cloud the more I become curious what MODX is, and how it compares to Wordpress. If this hosting technology, which I now love and helps me do my job better is this great, there must be something to the CMS they built.
On the contrary, as someone in the same situation who stumbles across SiphonLabs it’s just another hosting platform. SiphonLabs does not stand behind the MODX brand, and that’s the problem.