Mike Landman

Mike Landman

Observations On Business. Maybe a Little Preening. And A Few Lessons Learned.

Why don’t people use Compact Florescent lightbulbs?

As part of a webwide effort to help the plight of Compact Florescent lightbulbs, I am adding my 2 cents.

I think Seth probably has it right. At least partially. Compact Fluorescent (CF) light-bulbs do have a marketing problem. I’m not sure that problem is perceived difficulty of use though.

I think it’s a name problem.

"Florescent" is one of those words that make your skin crawl. At least if you are over 30. They are dim, harsh, ugly, crackling tubes hung from dropped ceilings overhead in school. Everyone over 30 has looked at themselves in the mirror under florescent lighting and cringed. They are full of chemicals. No. No one that has achieved so much as a full time job will do that to themselves.

But CF bulbs are different! The light is good! No chemicals! They last forever and make the world a better place!

No matter. They are "Florescent" lights and will not be tolerated. They need a name change.

Ask AirTran the power of a name change (remember ValueJet?). Ask the people who oppose the Death Tax how they feel about the Estate Tax. The hamburger industry well knows the magic the comes from making grease into "natural juices."

No, CF bulb, you will make little progress without a name change (at least in the next 25 years). It’s time for GreenBulbs, or Plasma Lighting to make its debut, and put Florescent Lightbulb out to pasture with Horseless Carriages.

Do it for the good of all mankind.


  1. Whisper Wels

    Hi I read your cool article titled, “Why don’t people use Compact Florescent lightbulbs?” and you are right – just wanted to share a little more on the marketing difficulties of CFLs.

    I started an online company called BulbMe, we are a first and very unique I might add. Listen to this…we are so passionate about people switching to compact fluorescents that we are offering free bulbs for callers, we have added educational resources, dropped our prices, partnered with a utility company, have a 24/7 customer care line to answer any and all questions regarding CFL, cold cathode and LED lighting, posted our cut pictures, added educational resources, green links, a link to supporters and opposers of global warming, cool environmental quotes and guess what? People are complaining about these bulbs all over the place in blogs.

    I found out that these bulbs when manufactured at a certain stage are done by hand and big box retailers know it. They are cutting corners to get compact fluorescent bulbs built and out the door as quickly as possible so the average consumer can purchase them 10 for $10. Well, people are noticing the bulbs are flickering and not lasting as long as advertised. This is a tragedy because compact fluorescent bulbs are an affordable start in our effort to reduce global warming, save money and much more.

    My company BulbMe is small, we only have three employees but we’re trying and as long as this continues we are going to have a problem. LEDs are too expensive and take a long time to make as well as not providing enough lumen out put.

    Again, I enjoyed reading your blog and hopefully this brings a little more info from a new little online company trying to make a difference.

    All Good Energy Your Way,

    Whisper Wels
    Co-Founder, BulbMe LLC

  2. Ben Ostrowsky

    As much fun as it would be to suggest new names for CF bulbs (the Lite Bulb, the Curve, the nuTwist), you know from your own industry that consumers don’t want to have to care about the specifications of good technology; they just want to use it and have it work reliably.

    What we need is better epithets for the incandescent bulb: hot bulbs, dim bulbs, lotta-watt bulbs, 1900s bulbs.

    Again, think about your own industry. Ripple doesn’t offer “802.11b/g wireless Ethernet”, it offers Wi-Fi. If you want Internet access autoconfigured by DHCP, but using RJ-45-terminated cat-5 cabling at the physical layer, you can’t ask for that in two syllables.

    So just start saying “light bulb”. Forget the word ‘fluorescent’; from now on, it’s redundant. If you need to make a distinction between a light bulb and an incandescent light bulb, do so in those words. If you need to specify that you mean a 48-inch-long light bulb rather than a normal light bulb, say so.

    The “fluorescent light bulb” is dead; long live the “light bulb”!

  3. Dave

    From The people I talk with most people like the idea of compact fluorescent bulbs but they hate what they look like. Toshiba has licenseed a CFL bulb design to Maxlite that looks like a regular light bulbs but is a CFL. It has the same size and shape. They showed these 13 watt bulbs on the today show last year and they look good I even use it in my house because in my living room fixtures they look like a regular bulb and no one visting knows


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