Freeserve airbrushed from history
Wanadoo-branded stationery ready for deployment
Freeserve is to ditch its name and rebrand under the livery of its parent Wanadoo, The Register has learned.
According to insiders, the long-talked-about rebranding could begin as early as this week.
One insider told us that staff are getting ready to receive calls on the name change from this Friday.
Others have told us that staff are gearing up for a month-long rebranding exercise during which time the Freeserve name will be replaced with the Wanadoo name including Wanadoo-branded stationery.
As part of the rebranding, the Freeserve homepage will be shunted to Wanadoo.co.uk.
And although the ISP's existing punters can expect to hang on to their Freeserve email addressed for the time being at least, new punters are expected to be handed Wanadoo-branded addys.
There's even speculation that the rebranding could coincide with the launch of a cut-price broadband product. The Register has already learned that the ISP intends to launch an ADSL service for under £20, with some industry insiders suggesting that the headline price could be nearer £15.
Asked about the rebranding a tight-lipped spokeswoman for the ISP said: "No comment."
The issue of Freeserve's rebranding has been kicking around for almost two years after former chief exec, Nicolas Dufourcq, floated the idea back in 2002.
The plan was scuppered early in 2003 after "extensive evaluation" found that there was "a huge strength of feeling for the Freeserve brand in the UK".
Last September, though, it was confirmed that the makeover was back on the table. Speculation that Freeserve was to lose its famous brand hardened as financial documents made no reference to Freeserve by name, except to call it "Wanadoo United Kingdom".
Quizzed last year about this apparent turnaround, a spokeswoman for the ISP told The Register that the issue of rebranding "never went off the agenda" and was "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 cited as preventing Freeserve from going ahead with a makeover is Wanadoo's lack of awareness in the UK. However, last summer Freeserve changed it logo to include the line "Freeserve - A Wanadoo Company" which has since been included in the company's advertising. ®