NextBurgh, PA          @VannevarB      About      Pittsburgh Murals
January 26, 2010

The Beaver Changes Its Name

Located twenty miles northwest of downtown Pittsburgh, the bucolic borough of Beaver PA has been known to flirt with pretensions of grandeur. Realtors™ are known to say, "Beaver is the other Sewickley". Particularly self-assured residents may even turn it around and say, "Sewickley is the Beaver of Allegheny County".

Residents of Mount Lebanon are quite confident that neither of these cute hamlets will present any challenge to their dominance.

But there's a problem with building websites for Beaver businesses: web filters and parental controls tend to exclude websites that include certain words, as today's story in the New York Times regarding the renaming of a Canadian magazine will illustrate.

In 1920 when the Hudson’s Bay Company began publishing a magazine for its 250th anniversary, The Beaver probably seemed to be a good title. The company owed much of its early fortune to the trade in beaver pelts.

The Beaver, which was initially a bit of in-house boosterism, evolved into a respected magazine about Canadian history. Last week Canada’s National History Society, the nonprofit group that now publishes The Beaver, decided that the Internet required the magazine to undergo a name change.

There are workarounds. You avoid repeating the address on every page. You can present the address as a typographic image, rather than as actual text. You can submit the site to various web screening services and hope to make the whitelist.

There may be Seven Words You Can't Say on TV, but there are many more problematic words on the web.


Anonymous said...

This is known as the Scunthorpe problem, after the English town whose residents who were temporarily prevented from registering to AOL in 1996 due to a substring in their town name that AOL's filters deemed offensive.

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of Beaver. I don't see the problem.

Post a Comment

Comments and Feedback? Love that stuff. Please leave your thoughts in the box below--