JCL Blog

Comdex the Verb

Some would say that the adoption of your brand name as the accepted description of an action, preferrably the action of using your product, is the pinnacle of branding.  Xerox did it, Google did it, Kodak almost did it, although with a Kodak Moment, the brand is really an adjective modifying a moment. 

Sure it could be great if it happens, but an overt effort to make it happen could backfire.  Are we really ever going to say we Binged it?  Trademark lawyers advise companies to do whatever they can to avoid the adoption of their brand name as a generic description of an action -- because at that point protecting the trademark becomes difficult if not impossible. In fact, Xerox did for many years invest heavily to discourage people from using their name as a verb.  What an interesting world we live in.

Comdex is making a comeback this year after six years of dormancy.  Like many technology companies or even the technology industry itself, Comdex had an unbelievable rocket ship ride from 1979 to 2003.  The event topped out at about the same time that the internet bubble reached its peak in 2000 -- with over 200,000 people attending the main event in Las Vegas, plus the organizers staged many other events scattered around the world throughout the year.  At the end Comdex was the show everyone loved to hate -- and there was plenty to hate about fighting it out with a hoard of fellow geeks -- just to get a hotel room or a taxi.  I suppose that during its time as a must attend event, people eventually came to chafe at the must part.

United Business Media bought the carcass of Comdex in 2006 and has elected to bring the event back this year.  The setting is still Las Vegas, but this time it is a virtual Las Vegas.  No lines, no crowds, and much cheaper for everyone.  This virtual (and green) version of Comdex will really be something to watch.  The spectacle of the real Comdex had a way of dominating the tech news.  Strangely, we are 93 days from the virtual event, and the tech media is amazingly silent.  Google it and you get the press releases from March, search on Twitter and you get references to the MCX Comdex commodities exchange, search on valleywag - nothing, search on techcrunch - nothing, digg - nothing, techmeme - nothing.  Even a search for comdex on the UBM site  produces zero results.  Amazingly, a search on techweb -- the event producer -- no results.  (bear in mind that these links are live searches on those sites, so if content has been added after this posting -- search results may vary)

The other UBM company behind the event, Everything Channel, does not have search functionality on its web site, but does list Comdex on its events page

Given this media vacuum it would not be accurate to say that the whole industry is waiting to see what happens on November 16th and 17th.  It will be interesting however to see if the popular adaptation of "to Comdex" as a verb is different on November 18th.