Some notes as this site prepares to begin a new era.
Selecting a New Name
As noted in the article "Goodbye, Bernie's Insiders", we wanted to allow our subscribers to select the new name for the site and magazine.
We started kicking around new ideas for names several weeks ago, starting with the people who were involved in the site on a daily basis. That spread to a larger group a couple of weeks ago and we continued to kick some ideas around and get feedback. We narrowed it list of five names, but continued to struggle to find one name that really felt right.
It was SpazDawg who proposed letting fans decide the name of the site. That really felt right: it's similar to how the team itself got the name "Browns", but more importantly, is appropriate for a place built by and for fans.
We're going to limit it to subscribers because we don't want the poll flooded by Steeler, Ratbird or other fans trying to mess with the result. If you want to participate but simply can't afford a Bernie's Insiders subscription, you can always subscribe and then cancel before seven days are out.
When we kicked around names, there were two things that were paramount:
- The name must not contain any registered trademarks. "Cleveland Browns",
"Browns", "Dawg Pound" and other registered trademarks of the team could not
- We wanted the name to reflect the web site and to reflect our values: loyalty, honesty, outspokenness, and a love of the Cleveland Browns and its fans.
After a lot of searching through domain names, some rejected domain name offers, and a lot of discussion, here are the five nominations for the new name of this website and magazine, presented in alphabetical order. We've already purchased all the domain names under consideration.
A nod to the site's origins back in 1999, BTNG was shorthand for the site's old name "Browns: The Next Generation". The person holding BTNG.com wants about as much money for the domain as this site makes each year, so we went with "BTNG.net" as an alternative. Some folks feel that "BTNG" is too cryptic or reads too much like "betting", which is not what we're about, at all.
Cleveland Pro Football
This says what we're covering without infringing on trademarks. It's direct and to the point. It's also kind of long.
Real Cleveland Football
Like "Cleveland Pro Football", this name says what we're covering without infringing on a trademark. It also sort of infers the idea of cutting through the crap and nonsense that surrounds a lot of pro football coverage and getting back to "real" football. It's the longest of all the proposed names.
A reference to the wild-and-crazy tailgate area outside of Cleveland Stadium, this one says "fans" all over it and ties to our notion that we want to be the biggest virtual tailgate on the planet. It's a little less serious than the other names. While "Muni Lot" is a general description of a city-owned parking lot, it might confuse some folks with spelling or being a place for parking info.
Loyalty and honesty: two traits of this site (we hope) and two traits of Browns fans. The name is easy to remember and doesn't need a lot of typing. At the same time, a number of fans feel that the "dawg" era is over and that the new Browns haven't earned that moniker, even if the team's fans have.
So, you decide. Drop in your vote via the Subscriber Lounge, right here:
Onward and Upward
Even as we change our name, there will be some things that will not change.
What will not change – except to continue to improve – is our service to our subscribers both online and in print. Even if our future name does not include the word "insiders", you will continue to receive the best information and analysis on the Cleveland Browns anywhere via these pages. Our objective is to make your subscription more valuable every day, and that is my personal commitment to you.
Another thing that won't change is quick posting of new information. In the months to come, you will see us continue and enhance our same-day Browns news coverage. Through our new association with Fox Sports, you can expect to see Associated Press wire stories added to our normally obsessive coverage, along with thorough statistical information through Stats, Inc. This website will continue in its role as first on the web with an independent and objective report of the day's events, and Fox will help us kick that to an even higher gear.
Over the summer, I've done a lot of talking with long-time visitors to the website, both via our Ask the Insiders forum and in private conversation. I've asked them what they liked most about the website and magazine over the years, and what they would like to see more of.
Well, they told me, that that's what we're going to do.
In addition, you can expect to see more "inside" information being shared. Lane Adkins is returning to health and is in a renewed position to move forward with his commitment in providing our subscribers the inside scoop and other information regarding the team. We will be running other articles as well, revealing information that we've heard through the local and NFL grapevine. Through the website, magazine, and radio show, we will be providing information you simply can't get anywhere else.
(By the way, if you're not listening to the weekly internet radio show each Tuesday night at 9PM, you should be. A lot of information is shared there which never comes up on these pages.)
We are also looking forward to continuing to ramp up our in-depth analysis of the team. While we and other sites will cover the news, we plan to help all Browns fans to make sense of the daily updates by providing in-depth analysis and (occasionally outspoken) commentary from sportswriters and fans alike. Our same day "Flash Analysis" of news is only the beginning. This website has the full-time dedication to Cleveland Browns football and editorial independence to give fans the unvarnished truth, or, at least, the truth as we see it.
One final note. Something that a lot of fans told me that they miss is some of the chaos and humor that was particularly a part of the old "BrownsTNG" from 1999-2001. As this site grew a little more serious and analytical over the years, part of the joyful anarchy that we enjoyed as fans just having fun with a website was pushed aside. While we want to newcomers to realize that we're serious about Cleveland Browns football and our news coverage, many fans want us to bring back some of that sense of "whatever makes us laugh" that was part of the early days of the team's return.
I want that too, and we're going to try to make that happen. You'll see it starting to show up not only in our front page, but in some re-designed and revived special locations within the web site.
The Road Ahead
I don't know of any other news organization covering the Browns that belongs to the fans like this one. Just about every person involved with "Bernies Insiders" got involved as a Browns fan. We bleed brown and orange. Just as importantly, if Browns fans don't support us through word-of-mouth or by helping us with your subscription dollars, this site doesn't exist. This is a fan's site and a fansite, and it always will be.
The future beckons, and it contains better days ahead for the Browns. Whatever we're called, we'll be here as we've been since the expansion draft in 1999 (and before).
Goodbye "Bernie's Insiders". Hello, future.
If there is something you want to say about what you would like to see out of this website, magazine, and radio show as we move into the future, I encourage you to write me at email@example.com. I'm not always fast to reply, but I read every email that comes in and will share them with the gang here if appropriate.