Shakespeare’s Juliet is famed for asserting that ‘a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.’ However, the lovestruck lady would probably have referenced the blossoms of another plant species had the sweet-smelling flowers been named ‘D33M3R’ or ‘dog poop’ rather than ‘rose.’ This axiomatic fact seems to have escaped many a tech entrepreneur considering the indecipherable or borderline offensive names that some tech companies bear.
Think of Doostang.com. The moniker, while memorable, gives no hint as to the nature of business, or otherwise, conducted by the organization, and sounds more like the name of a cartoon character. Doostang.com is actually an online networking community site operating along the same lines as LinkedIn, but try figuring that out from the name. The moniker is, apparently, loosely derived from dos tango, which is Latin for ‘I reach for talent.’ More preferable, perhaps, would have been ‘I Reach for Talent.com’ or a name along those lines.
Or consider Oooooc.com. Doostang may be indecipherable, but the name is at least pronounceable. The same cannot certainly be said of Oooooc.com, a marketplace for content and services that probably hopes to be mentioned in the same breath as eBay at some point in the future. While it is impossible to discern the type of business conducted by eBay by just reading the company’s name, the simplicity of the moniker provides some saving grace. In contrast, there is almost no upside to a name such as Oooooc.com. And who has the time to find out if they added an extra ‘O’ or typed a numeral in place of a letter while entering the company’s name in the address bar of an internet browser? The most shocking fact, perhaps, is that the company was originally meant to bear the far more palatable Five-OC! Why wasn’t it named that from the start?
Also consider Fairtilizer. Despite the initial impressions that may be precipitated by the name, the company’s activities have nothing to do with agriculture; the firm actually helps independent artists share and distribute music. Thankfully, the organization ended the unwarranted association between its name and manure by rebranding to official.fm. Keepass, a password management utility company, and PicKock, a photo sharing platform, should probably obtain NC-17 ratings for their names, while Us Likey, a product sharing platform, should have rejected or changed the Jar Jar Binks-esque moniker.
The list of tech companies with indecipherable and unpronounceable names goes on and on. QOOP. Weebly. ooVoo. JigLu. Heekya. Thoof. CrazyEgg. Sclipo. Hadoop. Xobni. Vowch. Could this be the inadvertent side effect of spending an inordinate amount of time delving into computer code?
Fortunately, there are a large number of tech entrepreneurs and companies that are aware of the value of sensible names. Consider, for instance, the moniker Alphabet, the name Google chose for its latest attempt at imposing order to its sprawling and sometimes fratricidal empire. The name brings to mind the simple, uncluttered, user friendly search page that is virtually synonymous with the search giant. And because of the mind boggling number of words that can be created from an alphabet, Google’s choice of name for its refreshed corporate structure is probably meant to hint the company’s extraordinary depth of creativity.
Larry Page, one of the company’s founders, claimed that the ‘alpha’ in ‘Alphabet’ is a tacit reference to Google’s unrelenting pursuit for above average yields; obviously, the collective term for a random corpus of letters in some way brings to mind mouthwatering financial returns. Despite Page’s explanation, the company’s name choice received near universal acclaim, and for a good reason; the moniker is simple, memorable and evocative of the company’s key brand attributes.
That, Tech Entrepreneur, is what should be considered when selecting a company name. Business owners should not be deceived by the runaway success of companies bearing titles such as Google and Yahoo; these tend to be the exception rather the rule. The benefits of such monikers may be trivial to well-known firms, but for tech startups struggling for fame and financial success, the right names may make a substantial difference.