Freeserve mulls Wanadoo rebranding – again

'Never off the agenda'

In what appears to be a monster U-turn Freeserve is once again considering plans to ditch its brand and replace it with the livery of its French parent Wanadoo.

In January, Freeserve confirmed that it had ditched plans to scrap its famous Freeserve brand. The idea to rename Freeserve Wanadoo had originally been floated by chief exec, Nicolas Dufourcq in 2002.

At the time a spokeswoman for the ISP said that the decision not to go-ahead with the £30 million makeover had been made after an "extensive evaluation" found that there was "a huge strength of feeling for the Freeserve brand in the UK".

With Freeserve struggling to make a profit, it seemed that the makeover plans had been canned for good. Now, though, it seems they were merely put on the back-burner.

For it's been confirmed that the matter of rebranding is being discussed once again in a move that could eventually see millions of Freeserve punters forced to change their email addresses, although the ISP denies that any makeover would lead to such upheaval for customers.

A press release detailing Wanadoo's half-year results today makes no reference to Freeserve by name, except to call it "Wanadoo United Kingdom".

So does this mean that a name change is back on the agenda?

A spokeswoman for Freeserve told The Register: "It never went off the agenda. The matter of rebranding is continually under review.

"It was not the right thing to do at the time," she explained. "We wouldn't do it today, but it's not to say that we wouldn't do it in the future," she said.

One of the things preventing Freeserve from going ahead with a rebranding is Wanadoo's lack of awareness in the UK. However, earlier this summer Freeserve changed it logo to include the line "Freeserve - A Wanadoo Company". This is likely to gain even more coverage as Freeserve embarks on its autumn schedule of press and TV ads. ®

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