This year, I resolve to minimize my use of incaps when writing about commercial products and companies. An incap changes a word into a logo, and has no place in journalism or commentary — it’s branding activity that colonizes everyday communications. It’s free advertising.
So: “Iphone,” not “iPhone” and “Paypal,” not “PayPal.”
No. Free advertising is writing breathlessly and non-critically about things like iPhones and PayPal.
Of course, this doesn’t extend to the names of people that traditionally take an incap, like “McDonald”; nor to companies that are named for people, like “McDonald’s.”
Because while using “iPhone” offers Apple free advertising, writing about “McDonald’s Big Mac” does not.
Nor does it extend to technical descriptions that include CamelCase, including VariableNames and WikipediaPolicies.
A Google search for “WikipediaPolicies” only turn up references to “Wikipedia:Policies” so I don’t know. The VariableNames example just makes sense.
As with every style question, the primary goal is clarity, and so it’s common sense to make some other exceptions: “WhoRepresents.com” not “Whorepresents.com.” But better to structure your writing to avoid ambiguity altogether: “Who Represents (www.whorepresents.com)”
I agree the primary goal is clarity, which is a reason to stick with “iPhone” over “Iphone”. The latter (a) looks dumb, (b) calls attention to itself instead of simply conveying meaning and (c) looks like “lphone” in some fonts (including the rarely used font Arial).
It’s a small thing, but it’s amazing how much incapping leaps off the page when you start paying attention to it.
Totally bizarre how when you start paying attention for something you start seeing it more.
(The Washington Post‘s Bill Walsh wants us to start sentences with “IPhone”. While I understand his logic, I think that looks really stupid.)