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Weird startup names.

Something I've noticed in this latest internet 2.0 bubble is the confusing and sometimes unbelievable choices that are made by start up founders with regards to naming their businesses. Gone are the days when picking a name is done to hint or indicate the service or product that is sold by the business. Today we get absolutely Machiavellian contrivances that combine various words such as "plurk" or we get other astounding things like "phweet" , your guess is as good as mine as to how that is supposed to be pronounced and god help the person trying to recall the site name at a url field for entry. Here is a list of some of my favorites (sarcasm).

gorb
renku
plurk
phweet
rifttrax
twerq
scribd
shifd
ipartee
kwiqq
blufr
librivox

just to name a few.




It is as if the creators of these sites are more interested in releasing their pretty little thing than in actually making money from the products or services hawked at the site. I mean seriously , "phweet" ????? how does that indicate to me anything about what the site does (allows you to set up calls between your "twitter" friends)? As for plurk , I still don't know what the hell that name has to do with sending short messages, in fact "plurk" and "twitter" I guess could get away with the completely novel element in their names as the type of service they offer , called "micro blogging" by many these days, didn't really have any other name so they just made up a name for the action of sending a mini blurb to your friends or "followers". Still, there are many other sites that perform services that are already done by a thousand other players but rather than feel the need to call that out in the name to hopefully get some business, instead they go and name it something almost unpronounceable....say like Twerq , the search engine I commented on a couple of months ago. A site name should always relate to the service or good offered when possible, if the service is novel (like twitter) you can get away with something completely fabricated but at least make it easy to spell phonetically and easy to guess at the address bar if you have to type it in a browser!

I am having a little good natured rant here but many people are picking names out of novelty instead of thinking about the usefulness of the name or the branding and marketing potential of it. Even if it doesn't sound weird the name could be catchy enough to stick in people's minds and ultimately that is what getting the right name is all about.

It will be interesting to see how many more weird names pop up as the web 2.0 startup craze winds its course.

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