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Syfy Readies Launch, Goes Proactive On Criticism

With the brand set to go for July 7 when 'Warehouse 13' premieres, NBC Universal buys up domain names it considers could be potentially negative
By MICHAEL HINMAN
Jun-22-2009
Source: Broadcasting & Cable


NBC Universal announced the name change of the SciFi Channel to Syfy nearly three months ago, and the furor that erupted in the fan community seems to have subsided.

However, that hasn't stopped NBCU from taking a proactive approach to a possible renewal of that criticism, purchasing some domain names that could potentially be damaging to its newly acquired brand.

Among the domain names it bought was SyfySucks.com, according to trade publication Broadcasting & Cable, a page that virtually goes nowhere. However, one domain name that did get away from them was NoSyfy.com. The owner's identity has been protected by Network Solutions, but the domain is currently good until March next year.

The site asks fans to write to NBCU telling them the channel should concentrate on improving the quality of shows instead of changing the name of its network. It uses the tagline "Imagine Better," a play on Syfy's tag line, "Imagine Greater."

Despite that, the transition to Syfy on July 7 is expected to go smoothly both for the media company and the brand.

"I haven't had an e-mail for two months despite the fact that my name is very prominent in chatrooms and on message boards," said SciFi Channel president Dave Howe. "When we canceled 'Stargate: Atlantis,' I had upward of 150 e-mails a day for six months. So the fact that I've had fewer than 20 e-mails in four months says to me that people really do understand why we're doing this."

Marketing for the new name is already underway, and "Syfy" will be touted next month at San Diego Comic-Con.

The rebranding process is something NBCU has been working on for SciFi Channel for two years, and earlier this year decided to use the "Syfy" name. Although NBCU claims it developed the name independently, the brand was first used (and later purchased from) Airlock Alpha owner Quantum Global Media Inc., which used "SyFy Portal" as the name of its site from 1998 until changing it to Airlock Alpha earlier this year.

Quantum Global Media itself had its name changed from The SyUniverse Group Inc., a media corporation based in Florida that owns Airlock Alpha, horror news site Rabid Doll and the upcoming television entertainment news site Inside Blip, which is scheduled to launch later this summer.

"It's a broad-appeal, mainstream entertainment genre," Howe said. "That's what we're embracing with this rebrand."

The new name will launch July 7, the same day its highly touted "Warehouse 13" series premieres.
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