What’s in a name?

At the risk of throwing stones from a glass house, what’s up with the names of next generation web companies? Catching up on some of my TechCrunch reading this morning I was struck by how crazy the company names were. Here are just a few from posts in the last week:

YouTube
Kaboodle
Tinfinger
Fleck
YubNub
Podzinger
Eurekster
Nuvvo

As Charlie Wood points out – say them together and these names sound “like an incantation.”

Now I know that it’s hard to find domain names these days, but wow – these names are really out there. Remember the good old days when company names actually told you something about what they did?

  • Kaboodle – one of my cos – chose its name after the english expression “the whole kit’n kaboodle” (see the definition here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-who2.htm). Since they allow users to bookmark Internet pages to extract information for shopping or research, the concept of “the whole lot” made sense to the team.
    What does Mobius mean again 🙂 ?

  • At least those first four are made up of real English words. Tinfinger is the names of two old Unix apps put together, denoting the combination of news and profiles. Plus there’s a pun there about it being run partly by robots and partly by humans.

  • Great observation–true and funny. For what its worth, there is a little background on how we came up with the name “Nuvvo” at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuvvo

  • Alexander Peschkoff

    Seth, I agree that you are off the mark with “kaboodle” (no relation 🙂
    > Remember the good old days when company names actually told you something about what they did?
    Yes, sure – for example, Yahoo! or eBay or Google… 😉
    Coming up with a great name, considering that nowdays even toddlers are getting their fingers dirty with Web presence, is not just difficult. After all, Commerce5 tells you no more than Commerce4 or Commerce 6.2 🙂
    And who could have that thought that “Danger”, in fact, creates “an integrated wireless Internet experience that delivers the freedom to communicate where you want, when you want and how you want”…
    I do admire, though, FeedBurner and Newsgator – great names and companies!

  • At least the made up names show some creativity. I will scream if I see another company that uses the missing penultimate “e.”
    Or perhaps we’re seeing a conservation of “e”s, with a flickr being generated to offset every etoys from the dot com boom.
    More on horrible names:
    http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com/2005/11/startup-names-suck.html

  • Hi Seth,
    Would be interested to hear feedback on Eurekster’s swicki product name – http://www.swicki.com (note the “c” included). 🙂
    Jennifer

  • Dave Jilk

    Do you know how I knew when the (first) Internet bubble was about to burst? There was a Barneyware press release that two companies, named Beenz and Flooz, were going to work together in some unspecified way. I said, ok, that’s the end — this can’t get any sillier. I think that was January or February 2000.

  • It wasn’t just the risk of throwing a stone from a glass house. When I clicked on the link to the names of your portfolio I thought I was reading the identical blog post from a more prolific writer with more ammunition. Naming an internet company, where dot com is pretty much required, is hard for sure. I see it as the same as when friends give their child a name you hate, but it grows on you the more you get to know the kid. Same true here – yahoo and google would have made your list if started today.