If you've read my efforts here, or on the DGDC News blog, or on the NSGIC News blog, you'll know that I am a fan of Wordle, a lovely little web tool that is used to create word clouds from blocks of text. This morning, I read on TechCrunch that Wordle has run into trademark trouble. Someone already owns the name "wordle" and they want it back.
I use Wordle to creat graphics that illustrate points I'm trying to make. For example, here is a word cloud I made from the abstracts for presentations planned at the 2010 Delaware GIS Conference:
a series of posts introducing the various presentations. I've also used Wordle-generated word clouds in presentations, in e-mails, and as a representation of my work duties that is posted on my office door.
So, the thought of losing this tool makes me sad. The developer has posted a request for pro-bono legal advice. That's all there is at wordle.net just now. As far as I know, that site was never a money-making proposition.
I hope an accord with the trademark-owner can be reached. Or, at least, that the-site-formerly-known-as-Wordle can come back under a new name.
Update 1: Phil Bradley's comment points to his own post on this (Wordle Closed - alternatives) which includes a list of other word-cloud tools. It's very helpful.
Update 2: Richard James has let me know that Wordle is back, at least for now. And the TechCrunch post has been updated with a link to a twitter campaign to save wordle.