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Isis Flees Brand Tainted by Terror

There's no such thing as bad publicity, unless the publicity is really bad. Just ask the mobile payments service formerly known as Isis.

Isis, the electronic payment service founded by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless, has decided to change its name to avoid being associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the militant group also known as ISIS.

CEO Michael Abbott announced the company's intention to rebrand itself in light of the militant group's involvement in violence against civilians and government forces in Iraq and Syria.

"However coincidental, we have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering," Abbott said in a statement. "As a company, we have made the decision to rebrand."

[Is your digital wallet safe? See Virtual Currencies Draw Fresh Regulator Scrutiny.]

Duplicate acronyms don't always cause problems. One of Isis's parent companies, AT&T, shares the letters of its name with ATT, the UK's Association of Taxation Technicians and with the IATA code for the Atmautluak Airport in Alaska. If any confusion has arisen from the overlap, it hasn't been sufficient to pique the interest of trademark lawyers.

Though it's sometimes said -- from behind the safety of a desk -- that the pen is mightier than the sword, you won't see anyone charging into Iraq brandishing a ballpoint pen in defense of the Isis name.

Given that the Isis payment service is barely established as a brand -- launched last November, the company in May boasted an average of 20,000 Isis Wallet activations per day for the previous 30 days -- a name change should not be all that painful.

 [Read the rest of the article at InformationWeek.]

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
7/17/2014 | 10:10:15 AM
Re: Smart move
Yes, I would agree they made the right decision here.
Rodney Brown
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Rodney Brown,
User Rank: Author
7/9/2014 | 3:10:06 PM
Smart move
I usually don't care about branding decisions like this, but this move by the consortium is remarkably forward thinking. At least it isn't changing the name to avoid confusion with the Saturday morning TV female superhero from the 1970s.
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