Love Honey? Why corporate appropriation of beekeeping words led me to substack and podcasting.

Nicky purchased a jar of my honey, and delighted, she posted a photo to Instagram. Hashtags were all the rage a few years ago, and Nicky had diligently tagged her photo with ‘Love Honey’.

Nicky hashtags my honey with LoveHoney.

With hashtags you can search for a particular word or phrase. I clicked on the ‘Love Honey’ tag – yet it wasn’t an endless stream of honey jars that I saw. Amongst my pot of golden goodness was fetish wear, vibrating toys, and scantily clad women; honey was in the minority.

‘Love Honey’ is a corporation which sells sex aids; what puzzles me deeply is that ‘Love Honey’ does not sell honey. I am not aware of the word honey being associated with anything lewd or raunchy, and the word ‘love’ doesn’t necessarily mean lustful. So what gives with the name?

A litany of stolen beekeeping words.

Yet corporate appropriation of beekeeping terms doesn’t stop at ‘Love Honey’. Search for these words and see what you get. For the term ‘honey’, the top billing on google is a coupon promoter. With the word ‘hive’, the top spot goes to a business selling heating control devices, and the term ‘beehive’ meets a similar fate, with a plethora of firms. And so does the word ‘nectar’ – a reward point company.

Beginning to a fill a jar.

Corporations take these words for their own because people generally have positive associations with them. Words have value: a value invented and earned by countless generations of apiarists who conducted their craft in a reputable way. Yet, some corporations are acting as bad custodians of these words; recklessly allowing their original meaning to be besmirched, or making the word synonymous with their product.

‘Love Honey’ and IP rights.

What can aggravate the situation is intellectual property rights. ‘LoveHoney’ (one word) is a trademark, so using that compound word, in certain circumstances, might get you into trouble. I contacted the UK Intellectually Property Office, posing as a festival organiser for a beekeeping association wishing to use the phrase ‘love honey’. You can listen to the conversation on my podcast below.

Uffington White Horse: greeting the rising sun! The Beehive Yourself Show

Most years I visit the Uffington White Horse to greet the rising sun on the summer solstice. This year I took my field recorder and made a podcast about my encounters at four in the morning.My journey began along the single-track road which passes underneath the chalk figure. The real destination was Dragon Hill; a conical mound sitting beneath and to the north of the Horse. My real hope was to capture the soundscape of the pagans saluting the sun and blowing their horn.Music: 'Solitude' by Entertainment For The Braindead which is share under a creative commons licence. See links below: out more: the show: directly:Subscribe directly to the show directly through your device's podcatcher app: Get full access to The Beehive Yourself Show at
  1. Uffington White Horse: greeting the rising sun!
  2. Ridgeway Bees
  3. Love Honey? How corporate appropriation of beekeeping words led me to Substack and podcasting.

How will you find me?

Making opportunities so customers can find me online is a big challenge. Indeed, companies like Google and Bing make it their business to be the librarians for the web. They send virtual bots to index websites, which in turn informs search results when you type in a word or phrase. The sad reality is that if you don’t appear on the first page of Google, your potential audience won’t find you. This means fewer people get to see your work.

A half filled jar.

For a couple of years I have played the SEO game on my website. SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which means you apply a keyword strategically within your writing; in other words you scatter a specific word or phrase throughout your text. Doing so allows you to rank higher in google for that particular word. It is also possible to research words which are popular and easy to rank for – a platform called Moz is useful in this regard.

Sadly, I found playing the SEO game provided me with limited success. The main difficulty is the near impossibility to rank high for some beekeeping words, particularly if it’s used by a large company. Even if you get more traffic to your site, it doesn’t mean you get sales, loyalty or community.

From ‘Love Honey’ to epiphany.

My epiphany was when I realised I couldn’t win the SEO game. This year google supposedly had a glitch, and wasn’t indexing new web content; this made blog writing futile.

The alternative game is to find ‘one thousand true fans’, to quote Kevin Kelly – this means building a community. Social media, I now concede, is the best way to do this.

A fully filled jar.

So here is my plan: I create podcasts. Substack will host my podcasts, and in turn, I syndicate my shows onto other platforms, for instance Spotify. And as my podcasting develops, I hope – dear listener – to have built a connection with you.

Wish me luck. Please consider following my work and podcast on Substack – the link is in the show notes.

But most of all, please remember this:

the love of honey doesn’t have to be the root of all evil.

I would love to know you thoughts, please leave a comment.

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