FeedDemon: What’s in a Name?

Every now and then I’ll receive an email from someone stating that they really like FeedDemon, but they won’t buy it because of the word “demon” in its name. The majority of these comments come from reasonable, sincere people whose beliefs cause them to be turned off by the demon imagery, and while my personal beliefs don’t include angels or demons, I do take these comments seriously and I certainly don’t want my choice of name to be a stumbling block.

For the record, the name “FeedDemon” originated as a play on the phrase “speed demon,” simply because I worked so hard to make sure FeedDemon was faster than the competition. Of course, the FeedDemon logo does include a demonic-looking hand catching a fireball, but I never even considered that it would offend people, any more than I would think the logo for Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners would cause controversy.

I hesitated to make this post because any mention of religion usually brings out the wackos on both sides (believers and non-believers alike), but I am curious whether many people feel this way. If you’re among those who can’t comment about religion without being intolerant to those who believe differently, this isn’t the place for you to vent. But if you have a respectful comment, I’d love to hear it regardless of whether I agree.

86 thoughts on “FeedDemon: What’s in a Name?

  1. One more comment about the logo, if you are truly trying to convey the fact of “Speed” in your logo. It doesn’t work.
    You logo currently conveys that the demon hand catches fiery pages. So it “sort of” works. An feed reader definitely aggregates all of the content. So the “collecting everything in one place” aspect of the logo works, but the “my rss reader” is faster than others aspect in your logo definetely does NOT work.
    I actually never got the “Speed Demon” play on words either. I never really thought about it. Of course, the functionality of the product is the most important thing, but a quality professionally designed, well thought out logo could greatly help.

  2. I’m of the “Daemon” camp.
    Whenever I see “demon” in software names, I always think “Yup, another word that was morphed so that consumers can spell it without thinking to hard”

  3. What this really boils down to is something quite simple: you need to make a decent living off of your work.
    The reasons behind any consumer’s choice to purchase or not is irrelevant. This is a matter of marketing your product to the general population.
    I vote for a name change. Besides, most people don’t even get the pun. If it means more revenue and doesn’t affect the product or its ability or its integrity, it sounds like a smart move.

  4. It does not prevent my use of the product (it is the best standalone reader available) but I personally don’t care for the “demonic” hand logo. I feel somewhat the same about the use of the word “demon” but not as strongly as the logo. A logo that better represented speed would be more suitable I believe.

  5. To throw my two cents into the bowl, I personally cannot see the issue here folks (The ones that feel it’s a problem).
    Albeit being an atheist and thus may not have an insight in the minds of believers, it *is* infact just a name, and not even a name of religious origin (no matter which way you turn it).
    The hand though, is no doubt a play on the creatures refered to as demons yes, put that’s it.. A play on a name.
    Sometimes you need to just let it go. Sure, you want to shield the religious side of it from your children, but what are you protecting them from when not showing an application to them? A name they’ll no doubt see anywhere, and, at least for the most part, not have any foul intentions. I would think it would be better to show them that not everything refered to as a demon is necessarily a bad thing.
    But this drifted a bit of it’s course, and I apologize. Hope nobody takes it too ill.
    Oh, and a registered FeedDemon user since v1. :) (Though your registration partner doesn’t handle ø proberly. Hjxllund just isn’t the same. :\)

  6. Why not create a second version called “godfeed” – a play on the name Godspeed – or just Feedgod
    sorry couldnt resist :o)

  7. Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode…you know Elaine and the horns?
    Silly, and from a business standpoint, since Feeddemon is a fairly well known name in RSS, the ROI from changing the name would be in the negative territory.

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  9. > You know, until you mentioned it I never
    > thought of it in a religious context. I guess
    > I always assumed “demon” had to do with sorta
    > a spin off of server daemons …you know, back
    > when things that ran on workstation desktops
    > that ran like a server were called “daemon”
    > like “FTP daemon”, “IRC daemon” or “HTTP
    > daemon” etc.
    You know, I was gonna say the exact same thing, until I thought it’d look foolish seeing as the two demons/daemons are spelled differently.

  10. Yet again god botherers have created even a sense of anxiety about something so mind-bogglingly trivial. Truly, if anyone in this world is offended by ‘FeedDemon’ they really do fit firmly in the category of ‘whacko’ and are no doubt sitting in their bunker somewhere waiting for the ‘rapture’ or some other similar nonsense…..

  11. From Websters online – seems like 2 & 4 are a fit for FeedDeamon.
    “Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English demon, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin daemon evil spirit, from Latin, divinity, spirit, from Greek daimOn, probably from daiesthai to distribute — more at TIDE
    1 a : an evil spirit b : a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin
    2 usually daemon : an attendant power or spirit : GENIUS
    3 usually daemon : a supernatural being of Greek mythology intermediate between gods and men
    4 : one that has exceptional enthusiasm, drive, or effectiveness <a demon for work"

  12. Hi Nick – I wouldn’t sweat it. FWIW, I didn’t connect speed-demon with feed-demon until you mentioned it.
    Keep up the great work — a proud customer. :)

  13. I think you made a good point about the “Dirt Devil.” I’m sure many Christian families around the globe include this among their sinfull goodies bag. I don’t think that, regardless of your faith, one should take things out of context to drive a controversy. Afterall, you don’t mention anything in the Features list about demonic powers and hell-destined souls…though I think that might actually drive up your numbers a bit.

  14. It reminds me of a time I was working at a very hardcore Christian company, a non-Christian myself had a book on my desk entitled, “Protecting Networks with SATAN”. Satan of course being the software that stands for “Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks”. The looks and wispers I would get…

  15. funny timing… I had just heard part of an NPR story yesterday about all the schools that are changing the names, types and designs of their team mascots to be more politically correct… ie, because someone, somewhere was too easily offended or because they were too afraid someone might be. Evidently naming teams or mascots things like the indians, hillbillys, warriors, or any of many other seemingly-non-offensive (IMO) names is bad these days. (wonder if the “Philly Fanatic” is offensive to the clinically insane — whoops, I mean the mentally-and-reality-challenged)
    I just hope we grow beyond this period of hyper-sensitivity and political correctness. It’s one thing to work to reduce purposefully-offensive things, but (again, IMO) we’re wasting way too much effort on either being offended by every little thing or worrying that someone else might be.
    On the FD issue, I’m a christian but I don’t have any issues with it. If the help files had a section on satanic rites for better RSS speed, it’d be an issue but that’s not in there … or did I miss it? ;-)
    Of course, Nick, I’ve used and enjoyed your software for so long now that I’d probably use anything else you created that I needed even if you called it something *really offensive*… (though I might have trouble recommending it in print, so don’t go for ‘baby-killer’ or ‘seal-slayer’ or anything too far out there ;-)

  16. Just to add: I love the FD logo and icon art as it is. BTW, who did that work? It’s well-done.
    I always assumed you named it more for computer ‘daemon’ but figured most people would misspell it if you included the ‘a’… I hadn’t made the ‘speeddemon’ connection until now either… pretty cool.
    If you are worried about it, add a FAQ about the naming to the help files or on your website. Even this blog entry should help. As David Robertson said, the fact that you recognize the issue and address it thoughtfully should help counter any problems.

  17. I think all religious undertones aside, and when the majority of your core audience thinks of a word religously it IS religous, marketing is the real issue.
    Of all of these posts so few point to marketing as the major point. I don’t know where you are at on ROI, but offering another version (albeit a simple logo replacement/name replacement) would get you the money from those another user called “whackos”.
    As a businessman I am sure you don’t really CARE if someone is a whacko or not, but that they purchase your software and (hopefully) consider it a wise enough investment to refer it.
    Now.. Love the program, am a Christian.. Do not like the demon reference (but now that I see the speed-demon thing, its funny). Don’t change the name, offer a sublink with different logo’s name change to something different. I doubt it would take more than 10 minutes to do a find/replace in the code.. And I don’t know the # of emails that are so terrified of the demon reference, but cha ching when you spend those 10 minutes doing the find/replace.. HA! If you gimme a lifetime subscription, I’ll do it for ya!
    All kidding aside, its costing you at least SOME money to keep it that way. Changing it would probably cost you more. The only INTELLIGENT choices are to offer a different branded version (although I wouldn’t change marketing on it, only allow a different DL link on the DL page), and to leave it be. But like another user said, your stuff rocks. I heard about Feeddemon when going to your site to DL Topstyle (lite). Tried it for free when my ap started doing wonky things.. and now. Well i know of at least 2 people that purchased licenses from me bragging that “my ap is better than yours”.. whether its a demon, daemon, or someother name.. Its good stuff.

  18. Nick:
    I, too, am a Christian and a major fan of the program. Did I have concerns about the name? Yes. Did it affect my choice? Ultimately, no…(though I did look at other packages for a while before making the purchase.)
    The name was a bit troublesome for me, but there’s no stronger choice from a marketing perspective. (News-Angel, maybe?…nah!)
    Keep the name and keep your life simpler. Those whose only argument is the name, would find another reason not to buy.
    Thanks for asking…It is good to be consulted from time to time!
    Keep up the good work…

  19. I’m a staunch Bush conservative and Catholic – the name never once bothered me. They’re just words.

  20. IMHO, tis a great approach to take: “I took another look at the FeedDemon logo and I think it would work without the demonic hand/claw in it. Just keep the fireball.
    Bottom-line: I don’t have any issues with the name but I can see why others would.”
    Good for you, Jacob Rask, (posted at May 11, 2005 07:19 PM). Seems we think alike. Oh, byt the way, I’m a Christian pastor. :o)

  21. I’m with the Daemon crowd! and I was pleased when Shihad spit the dummy and dropped Pacifier.

  22. The Bradsoft Fan club

    I’m a bit of a fan of Nick Bradbury and Bradsoft having first used TopStyle some years ago and more recently winning a licence through the WeberDev coding contests. I can afford the licenses but there’s something kinda cool about winning them for doing…

  23. Oh, its a demonic hand is it? I did wonder, but as most icons are fairly unclear, it really didn’t fuss me.
    Actually, I thought the app name was excellent. Fast. That’s what counts.
    I suspect anyone going out of their way to get offended by a word will try their best no matter where they are. I saw a minibus the other day that had the legend ‘differently abled’ on it. Clearly a transport vehicle for people with disabilites, but ‘differently abled’? Next they’ll be banning black boards… sorry? Oh – they did ;)

  24. Well, eventually it’s all about the benjamins: do you really want money from demon-obsessed people? Then go ahead, change the name, and lose a good share of popularity and google ranking that the product currently enjoys (if I’m looking for FeedDemon and find a link to FeedBamboozler, I probably won’t click it).
    If I were you, I’d keep the name as it is; if you really have to, change the logo — on the net, images are still less powerful than words. But be careful, this logo makes FD stand out among the crowd of earth-with-satellite, earth-with-newspaper, earth-with-something so popular for net-enabled applications; if you have to change it, at least don’t go that way ;)

  25. I never considered the name offensive at all. I actually thought it was quite a cool name for the product- I did get the “speed demon” link though and some people may have missed that!

  26. Nice Guys Finish First

    Nick Bradbury makes great apps, but better than that, he’s a thoughful and articulate person. In having a conversation about politics, he’s able to say “I love our constitution more than I love our flag” and summarize his political beliefs without anta…

  27. I think to be a successful software company or even a product you need to really choose a good name that will not offend anybody. Otherwise you will loose customers, thus you will loose lots of money. I could for example promote your product but because of the name hesitate to promote it. You might want to consider renaming it.

  28. Can’t say I’m too thrilled about any of your names. How come nobody’s talking about the sexual preversion in the name TopStyle?
    No way I’m gonna let the little woman use that one.

  29. Spyware business model, lean Windows, the devil’s music and software

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