I have a simple web app that uses the GitHub APIs. Naturally, the GitHub name and Octocat logo show up a lot around the site.
When I asked a coworker to help me with the original Sibbell homepage design, he came up with something that we all thought looked pretty cool. Unfortunately, as you can see, the GitHub Octocat dominated the design. At the time we acknowledged this, even read the GitHub logo guidelines, and ultimately decided that since we didn’t even have a logo for Sibbell yet, we’d just roll with it and assume the site will be too insignificant for anyone to care.
Turns out, they did see it. And they do care.
A couple weeks ago I got an email from them entitled Trademark Concerns About the “Sibbell” Website. When I first saw it, I got a little worried that I had pissed off one of my favorite companies, nevermind the fact that Sibbell completely relies on GitHub at this point. But as I started reading the email, what I found was a remarkably polite, personal “[…] friendly request to ask you to remove the large Octocat logo in the background of your site to avoid any potential confusion.”
I immediately removed the Octocat and replied. He thanked me for my quick response and understanding, asked that I add a couple more lines to the footer of the site, and offered to send me some swag or GitHub coupons as a token of their appreciation! Who would turn down a free GitHub t-shirt?
All of this is not to say that “if you break the rules, people will give you free stuff”. Rather, to point out the value in good customer service. This experience has only solidified my appreciation for what GitHub does and assured that I will continue to be an advocate for github.com. After all, integrations like Sibbell promote the use of GitHub and can serve as a form of marketing for them. Plus, now I’ll be sporting a nice GitHub t-shirt every once in a while.