Naming tip: number 67 in a series

I’m not one to follow fads.

But I’ve noticed a trend that I think is beneficial for anyone naming a brand, particularly for business names.

Watch what the web-based businesses are doing. I think they’re doing things right.

The first thing is a very basic admonition: don’t use more than two words in your name. Three-word names turn into alphabet soup because people will shorten those multi-syllabic mouthfuls by using the name’s initials, losing any identification and humanity the original name might have possessed.

Next; attempt to use single or two-syllable words instead of three or more syllables.

Then let the new name infer rather than describe. Inevitably when a name describes a product or service it becomes very serious and doesn’t reflect the personality of the brand. This the web businesses do particularly well.

Now for some examples, many of which have become household names in a matter of months. I’ll leave out the most well-known (Google and Yahoo) even though I believe those two are particularly responsible for the trend toward short and active names.

  • YouTube
  • Technorati
  • Propeller
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • SpicyPage
  • Twitter
  • FeedBlitz
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • BlogPulse
  • Spurl
  • Simpy
  • NewsVine
  • Kaboodle
  • IceRocket
  • Furl
  • Dosh Dosh
  • Bark
  • NetScape
  • Camtasia
  • BlogLines
  • FaceBook
  • MySpace
  • SlideShare

Well that’s enough.

Now I know that many of these companies opted for a short name because they wanted a name that people could remember when they typed a domain name to access the web site. And there certainly wanted an unusual name that was available as a domain name. This is valid.

But the end result are short, unique and memorable names. These are the types of brand names that will also be effective in off-line environments as well.

Martin Jelsema

2 thoughts on “Naming tip: number 67 in a series

  1. Good advice. I like the line “let the name infer, rather than describe.” Some names are trying waaaay too hard to describe what the product or company’s all about. Big Pharma’s guilty of that on many counts.

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