MSNBC.com to drop name?

Brian Stelter of The New York Times is reporting that NBC Universal and Microsoft executives “are holding high-level talks about a name change, something that could be a risky endeavor for the third most popular news Web site in the United States.”

The discussions come after an internal memo which writes that “MSNBC.com, a strictly objective news Web site, is widely confused with MSNBC, the cable channel that has taken a strongly liberal bent in recent years.”

Rebranding an established Web site is always a tricky thing and with MSNBC.com being woven into NBC New’s brand, it would be hard to change the name at this point and not have major backlash.

ICN thinks a name change is a crazy idea and writes, “For years MSNBC the TV network wouldn’t change its name to NBC News Channel even though Microsoft; the MS in MSNBC no longer played a role in the TV network. This is widely believed to be because the website, which Microsoft still had a role in, was too important a branding portal to the TV network to change the TV network’s name. Now, NBC is mulling changing the news website’s name and leaving the TV network’s name unchanged which makes MSNBC TV’s name even more ridiculous. And they can’t change it now.”

Changing the name would immediately cause confusion and viewers to look to different sources, but many causal viewers wouldn’t even notice a difference.

The real question is what does the name become? NBCNews.com? Something more modern, such as NewsVine?

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