What Should I Call This Blog?

30 September 2014 · 49 comments

Over four years ago, I sold Get Rich Slowly, the little personal-finance blog that I somehow built into a behemoth. After the sale, I thought I’d leave the site quickly — but I stuck around for three years.

Eventually, I moved on. I tried to return to Folded Space, the personal blog that I started in 1997, but it didn’t feel right. Instead, I moved all my writing here to jdroth.com.

“I don’t know what to call my new site,” I told my friend Adam Baker (from Man vs. Debt) at Fincon a couple of years ago.

“You can’t you just call it J.D. Roth?” he asked.

“I could,” I said. “But I want some sort of title that conveys what I’m writing about. I’m moving beyond just personal finance. I want to write about more than money.”

“Well,” he said. “Why not call it that? Why not call your blog More Than Money?”

And so this site was christened.

Time passed. I wrote about fear and happiness and freedom. Much of the time, I didn’t write. Other times, like now, I felt like I was bursting at the seams with things to say. But through it all, this site was More Than Money.

Yesterday, I received an email. A fellow named Gene Dickison wrote to tell me that he owns the trademark to ‘More Than Money’. “I respectfully request you discontinue the use of [the name],” he said.

At first, I thought it was a joke. But a quick check at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revealed that there are several trademark registrations for “More Than Money”, including one for Dickison and his company. I spent some time reading through the trademark rules and regulations, and based on that cursory scan I felt as if my use of the name were not infringing on anyone’s rights — but at the same time, I don’t want to waste any time, money, or energy to challenge this.

I’ve exchanged email with Dickison — who, aside from making this claim, has been civil and pleasant — and told him that although I don’t agree that I’m infringing, I’ll change the name of this blog.

But to what?

Several folks on social media have recommended that I not name the blog anything. For instance, Rob from Dough Roller wrote:

Rob's recommendation on Facebook

Many people agreed that I should just call the site “J.D. Roth” and be done with it. Maybe so.

I have a couple of weeks to think about this and make a decision. What do you think I should call this blog? And while we’re at it, are there specific topics you come here to read about? I’m always amazed that this site has so many readers, especially given the random topics that I tend to cover. But then maybe that’s why you all stick around: because you know that I’ll write about early retirement, fitness, travel, and cuddly furry animals — all in one place. Thoughts?


On a completely unrelated note, I finally convinced iMovie to upload the 8-minute video I made featuring footage of last month’s our motorcycle trip along the Oregon coast:

This was my first experiment with a GoPro. And although I find much of the scenery pretty to look at, the video will probably only be of interest to hard-core motorcycle fans. You have been warned!

1 Kelly in Oregon September 30, 2014 at 11:42

I’m a fan of J.D. Roth for the title. And yes, one of the reasons I enjoy this site so much is the randomness. Also, I’m just always interested in whatever you are up to (long time reader of GRS). I’m not a huge fan of the new video thing though… I’ll be surprised if I ever watch one.

2 jdroth September 30, 2014 at 11:54

It’s ironic to me that I’m planning to explore video. Why? Because I’m not a huge fan of video either. I mean, I watch videos from time to time, but I almost always prefer text. It’s because of this that when I do videos for this site, I intend to (almost) always provide a text-based equivalent. See the recent “packing for travel” post as an example. The video and the text both stand on their own. But you can read and watch each, if you’d like. My reasons for exploring video should be clear in a few months. I have a separate project that’s going to be video-intensive. (But, thankfully, for which I will not be the subject.)

3 Kathleen September 30, 2014 at 11:43

Moreland than Money? ;)

4 Jonathan September 30, 2014 at 12:28

“Life Outside the Box”

A homage to your life after the box factory. The phrase isn’t trademarked, but you might have to contend with a CrossFit blog that hasn’t been updated in a while.

5 jdroth September 30, 2014 at 12:34

Ooh. I like it. “Folded Space” was originally a box-factory reference too. I think “Outside the Box” would be a simpler version that could work well. A contender!

6 Edward October 1, 2014 at 13:32

Though it’s clever in its reference to your former employment, “outside the box” has become such a massive corporate cliché now that anyone who uses now it is definitely, definitely *inside* the box. I cringe whenever I hear it in meetings. …Usually said by the most boring speaker, in a dull grey suit, who drives a Prius and considers the Rolling Stones “cool, wild, and zany”.

7 Kristin October 3, 2014 at 07:27

How about JD Roth – Outside the Box :)

8 Drew September 30, 2014 at 12:44

I’d be fine with J.D. Roth. Honestly, the only topic I come here to read about is you. You’ve had such an interesting life and you’re so real with both the ups and downs, that it’s just immensely interesting to get a peek into your head and your life. I wouldn’t try to force a title on the place just to have one — make sure it truly means something to you.

9 Joseph Ratliff September 30, 2014 at 13:30

“Money and Sense” (?)

“More to Life” (?)

Just a couple suggestions.

10 Cody Limbaugh September 30, 2014 at 17:16

I think you should use: “Live All Your Life”, that way I could threaten to sue you over the use of commonly used words. (ridiculous) but I digress…

I’m a fan of J.D. Roth because I honestly come here to check in on YOU and what you happen to have insight on for that particular day.

Also , like we were discussing the other day; you are becoming more well known in the financial world all the time. If Dave Ramsey can become a household name, so can J.D. Roth, and you can be known as the smart money guy who *also* has insight about More Than Money!

Kathleen: that made me chuckle!
Jonathan: I like that too- and the CrossFit reference made me chuckle as well! hehe!

11 Alvin September 30, 2014 at 19:14

More Money than Money? :)

12 Andrew October 1, 2014 at 03:22

At one time I used the domain A Man And His Blog with the intention of creating a blog that covered anything I ever wanted to talk about. It was supposed to be a take on A man and his dog. I remember e-mailing you a long time ago about transferring the domain name to you even. I’m sure it’s already being used or at least someone is “squatting” on it.

13 Kathryn October 1, 2014 at 04:26

I’d read whatever the name of the blog was.
I hate the videos – never watch them.
I like the randomness – particularly like reading about your travels, personal growth, exercise/diet.

14 Luci Locket October 1, 2014 at 04:58

“From here to now” – living in the moment is what it is.

15 Big-D October 1, 2014 at 05:26

* Life after the Slow Lane (A GRS reference)
* Life after Debt
* Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
* J.D. Roth’s Thoughts
* Deep (or not so deep) Thoughts by J.D. Roth
* My Voyage on the sea of time

Who knows .. depends on what you are trying to convey. You can add your name or not to any suggestions I made above to make it yours if you want your name. (J.D. Roth’s Life after Debt as an example).

16 April October 1, 2014 at 05:28

I’m a fairly new reader without a terribly strong opinion on this, *but* I do want to be supportive to you. I like the use of your name, perhaps ‘More Than Money’ could still live as a secondary or tag line? I like the mention of ‘Outside the Box’ from earlier comments also. I wonder if expanding on ‘More Than Money’ is an option also? For example, ‘It’s More Than Money.’
I believe more than anything you should trust yourself and your instinct on this. This little “hiccup” with the name may be the beginning of a wonderful and surprising new shift for you!

Regarding what I’m drawn to and reading here…I like your link to the post about fear. I believe there is a lot of fear and noise influencing money and life decisions for many of us. I liked the post recently about your packing & traveling styles and tips. Like others and you, I’m not crazy about video either. I prefer to read it (and without intruding the space of others if I don’t have ear buds along). I am trying to expand this as it does appear video is becoming more and more popular. Lastly, I am in a transition of leaving an old, low-paying career (job) for college and a new life. I’m excited about where I am going, but my finances are not exactly healthy right now. Before leaving GRS, I remember reading about a man who asked for help at an event. When reading the writer’s response, and certainly the comments, I felt this man had been shamed for being in the situation. Life is a journey and money is part of it. For some of us, it takes a long time and some bad decisions before we start to wonder if or how we can change our relationship with money. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not whinning or justifying. (I hope I am not alienating those who are more financially progressed or secure. That’s not my intention either.) I am asking that you continue to keep in mind that your readers are at different places but ultimately here to learn and make some changes in our lives, patterns, and money. Thank you for offering a safe place to explore that.

17 jdroth October 1, 2014 at 06:55

Yeah, April, I know which article you’re referring to. I feel bad about having written it. Or, more precisely, about posting it publicly. From the perspective of somebody who was trying to give him advice, the whole thing was frustrating. He didn’t want to hear the advice, and he had excuses for every recommendation. That’s a problem, and he needs to fix it. But I could have talked about this problem in a way that didn’t call him out specifically. Sure, I anonymized him so that others didn’t know who he was — but I’m sure that he knew who he was, if he read the story (which he probably did), and for that I feel terrible.

This is just an example of how I don’t have it all figured out. I still make mistakes. And sometimes those mistakes are hurtful to other people.

18 Diane C October 9, 2014 at 10:31

OTOH, it’s very likely that others were helped by the story, which appears to have been your intent all along. He wasn’t ready to make changes to improve his situation yet, but I suspect others learned from this tale and took steps to improve their lives, which is why you wrote the story in the first place. Seems to me that being able to help people is the best thing about your success with GRS, no?

Call your blog whatever you want, I’ll still consider myself fortunate to read it.

Finally, what the hell happened to Adam Baker and Man vs. Debt? He’s let it wither without a word to his readers. Yeah, it is like losing a friend, which is why I am extremely glad you are continuing to write here. Okay, here’s a possible title, if you insist. “JD Roth: Over Here”. Suitably vague, with a nod to travel and a life filled with varied interests. One never knows which direction your next post will take.

19 JimBid October 1, 2014 at 05:32

How about “Random Navel Contemplation” I miss Get Rich Slowly’s mix of relevant personal experience and good advice.

20 jdroth October 1, 2014 at 06:56

I’m very aware that I need to provide that mix. Earlier this year, when I was more focused on specific advice, I wasn’t offering any stories of personal experience. Lately, I’ve been writing about personal experience without specific advice. To be useful and effective to others, I need to do both…

21 JKC October 1, 2014 at 05:44

I’m no expert on trademarks, but you might be able to skirt the issue by combining your name with a sub heading. i.e. J.D. Roth’s More than Money. Or use a colon. J.D. Roth: Life Outside the Box. Then, if you want, you can make it dynamic and change what you put after the colon depending on what you are writing about. The fact that your name is there will tie it all together and make it your own. Cheers!

22 Chris October 1, 2014 at 05:55

How about
“J.D. Roth’s More than Money” ?

23 Laurie Jerris October 1, 2014 at 05:56

Much more than money.

24 Rebecca @ Stapler Confession s October 1, 2014 at 06:12

I think a self-named blog is great for what you’re doing now. If you find that you’re focusing on a specific topic, you could re-name it then. But for now, your blog is about your interests. Seems perfect.

25 Martin October 1, 2014 at 07:52

How about “from money to meaning”, “money & meaning” or the same with “purpose” instead of “meaning”?

26 veronica s October 1, 2014 at 08:27

How about, ‘above and beyond’, or ‘beyond money’, or ‘after financial freedom’?

27 Felicity Fields October 1, 2014 at 09:08

I have no opinion on the name, but I love reading about the personal side of your life, JD. I don’t like the expositions as much as your own thoughts about what’s going on in your life.

28 MT October 1, 2014 at 09:16

Trademarks aren’t blanket rights to a name in all forms — that’s why you see, for instance, Dove trademarked separately as a soap and as a chocolate (one owned by Unilever and one owned by Mars).

If it’s a name you believe in, you could very well fight and win this. His registration arguably would apply to financial investment advisory services, while you clearly operate in a different segment.

I do like the “box” reference though, if you don’t feel married to the current name.

29 Tyler Karaszewski October 1, 2014 at 09:32

That little 250 sounds so strained on that long ride! I agree, time maybe to move up to a bigger bike. I outgrew my 250 after about 1500 miles and have been much more comfortable on my 650 since then, especially at freeway speeds. I wonder if we’ll ever find ourselves in the situation to go for a ride together.

30 jdroth October 1, 2014 at 09:45

Tyler, I sincerely hope we’ll take a ride together at some point. It seems to me a ride from Portland to San Francisco and back would be an ideal way to spend a couple of weeks during July or August. ;)

31 Tyler Karaszewski October 3, 2014 at 11:21

Let me know if you plan any trips down this way.

32 jlcollinsnh October 1, 2014 at 16:12

Drawing from your tag line:

Life in the Moment

33 JoDi October 1, 2014 at 19:10

Beyond the Box

I bet that’s not trademarked yet, it has multiple layers of meaning in relation to your life and life in general, and isn’t cliché the way “outside the box” has become.

34 Carrie October 2, 2014 at 05:25

I followed you here from Get Rich Slowly because I like to read about your personal experiences and what you have gained from them. Maybe you can find a name in one of those personal philosophies you have developed. For us loyal readers it certainly won’t matter what name you choose.

35 Luckyvik October 2, 2014 at 08:20

Hi, How about ‘random stuff’ or JD Roth’s random rumblings.

By the way, I really enjoy your blog, thanks for writing it. I’m also enjoying your ‘money tool box’.

36 Clay October 2, 2014 at 11:16

Enjoy your blog! I vote for J.D. Roth: Beyond Money.

37 Gary October 2, 2014 at 11:47

Hi J.D.
I would not recommend using your name.
Just in case you ever want to sell your blog (like Get Rich Slowly).

Just a thought
Best, Gary

38 jdroth October 2, 2014 at 11:50

Good thought. The one difference here, of course, is that the URL is already jdroth.com. Plus, I’m not sure I’d ever sell this particular site. I can see building another site that I might sell, but this is designed to be my personal home…

39 Sophie October 2, 2014 at 12:22

How about ‘More Life Than Money’ or ‘More Than Just Money’?

40 Edward October 3, 2014 at 10:31

I like what Sophie said, inserting the word “just”. I think it would be even funny to have your banner with a little caret symbol between the “than” and “money” with the word “just” written above. Now, quick–before Mr. Dickenson runs his patent office.

41 chacha1 October 3, 2014 at 11:33

I favor just “J.D. Roth.” You’re pretty well-known by name, not just via Internet persona. If someone is looking for you because of your book or because they met you somewhere, they’re going to search for your name. Make it easy for them.

You can always put your creativity to work on blog post titles. :-)

42 Chick Jabre October 3, 2014 at 11:46

What Should I Call This Blog? I think that would be a great name. People who follow you already know and I am sure it would make new people curious.

43 Mark A. October 4, 2014 at 20:40

You might build off of your earlier brand, such as “Getting Richer” or “Even Richer.”

44 Clare October 5, 2014 at 21:25

Roth Reflections
Roth Ramblings
Rothoughts (pronounced Raw Thoughts)
Rothonomics

45 Rose October 11, 2014 at 21:05

I like the concept behind the name “more than money”. I don’t know what to change it to, but I think it should still reflect it’s content. The title attracted me to the blog in the first place. Perhaps “There’s More To Life Than Money” or “Beyond the Money”

46 Tracy October 14, 2014 at 18:53

I think using your name is fine, but maybe JD “not the Biggest Loser producer” Roth….

47 Chris October 18, 2014 at 18:38

I THINK it was you who made a post on GRS years ago about how to be successful with blogging. I don’t recall all the details, but the jest of it was “just do it, focus on the writing, and do it frequently. Don’t worry about fancy SEO, tactics, gimmicks, etc.” Perhaps some of that logic is applicable here?

I, like many others, enjoy your writing… but it has been extremely inconsistent the last few years. You’ll say you’re ready to get serious with it, but a month or two later things will get quiet for a long time. Maybe it’s worth examining whether blogging is truly still a passion of yours? (Selfishly, I hope it is!)

If it is a still a passion, then it may be worth considering the “just suck it up and do it” approach as opposed to the “I’ll only do it if I FEEL like it” approach. Since you’ve reached F.I., there is obviously no reason doing it if you’re not passionate about it… but if it is still a passion, I have found that at times we need to give ourselves a kick in the rear to keep us on our life’s track.

Maybe name the blog “Kick in the Pants?” :)

Good luck!

48 jdroth October 19, 2014 at 14:54

Yes, I’ve been inconsistent. There’s no doubt! Most of this is because my experience with Get Rich Slowly created unrealistic expectations for myself. I feel like every post has to be something important or I’ll lose people. But lately I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t matter. If I write what I want and people go away, then they’re not really my audience, right? It’s silly to write what I think people want and not be happy with what I’m producing. And who knows if what I’m writing is what they actually want?

The funny thing is that I reached this realization in my real life several years ago. Apparently, I didn’t make the same leap in my writing life. Well, now I have. Recently, several old-school bloggers have realized they’ve been holding themselves to unreasonable expectations and have decided to return to what they used to do best. For instance, Andy has decided to resume writing medium-length content. So has Gina. And so have I.

To celebrate, I’ve decided to re-name this blog Foldedspace, which was what I called my first major blog. I’m going back to the beginning. And I’m going to write a lot of the same stuff too. There’ll be posts about cats and comic books and computer games. There’ll be articles about personal finance and self-improvement, also, plus lots of rants about science fiction movies and literature. I’ll document the ups and downs of my fitness regimen. I’ll talk about the silly things Kim and I do on the weekends. Basically, this blog will be about my life and adventures.

If you’re up for it, join me. If not, no worries.

How’s that sound?

49 chris October 25, 2014 at 20:48

It sounds great! I agree completely you should write what you enjoy writing about. I personally love me some cat videos, so feel free to share!

Good luck! Excited to have you posting consistently again!

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