Copying GM Better Than Harry Potter

It could have been a smooth launch for the Department of Transportation's entry into the blogging world.

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It could have been a smooth launch for the Department of Transportation's entry into the blogging world. But by choosing the title "Fast Lane" for Secretary Mary Peters's online blog, DOT was either asleep at the wheel or dizzy from the fumes of $4 gas, say critics. That's because it's the name of the General Motors blog established three years ago, GM FastLane Blog. Industry insiders snicker that DOT should have done a better probe of the blogging world for what's already in use. But GM spokesman Greg Martin took the high road, telling us, "I guess we could look at it as a case of imitation as the highest form of flattery." Peters's spokesman Brian Turmail says nobody has the franchise on "fast lane," explaining: "Our sense was that people want original thinking and an honest discussion about substantive issues more than they care about having catchy, clever blog names that nobody has ever used." In its first week, Fast Lane had 30,000 hits, he says, adding, "Besides, Peters' Pensives sounded too much like something you'd find in a Harry Potter novel."