Startup names still suck
It’s now been a while since Tim O’Reilly coined the term Web 2.0. Thousands of applications and services emerged since – however chances are you can only remember and name about 10. Truth is branding has been ignored by many of the entrepreneurs looking to launch their ideas – and many are paying for the mistake with slow adoption or failure.
Not everything can be generic, and a brand is one of the most important things to nail down when launching a product or service. If you’re still thinking of removing vowels from words to make up a 2.0-ey name, stop because you’re clearly doing it wrong. Here’s an example of how naming is a zoo these days. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from a post by Om Malik:
Earlier this year we wrote about Gaboogie, a web-based conference call service started by Erik Lagerway. The service didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite work out, and the company reconfigured its business focus to offering instant group calls from mobiles, and is now called Lypp.
Another web-based conferencing service, Foonz might be going down that route. Randy Corke, CEO of FoonzÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s parent company, RPM Communications was in town last week to bring me up to speed on their new offering, Utterz, which is sort of like blogging-via-voice-calls from your cellphone.
Gaboogie is now called Lypp, and Foonz is launching Utterz. Are these people having a laugh? If I asked you to name the company with the golden arches, you’d probably say McDonalds; If I talked about the drink with the great bottle and the red brand, you’d likely say Coca-Cola; If I asked you about a web-based conferencing system, you would probably never remember Gaboogie, Lypp, Foonz or Utterz.
In contrast, I haven’t forgotten Joost’s pre-launch name “The Venice Project” (witty and smart) or “Jackson Fish Market” (weird and unexpected), a startup doing virtual gifts. Some will argue that once you hit critical mass how good a name is isn’t important, but it’s easy to make the argument that the name may have a huge impact on the growth itself – so please, do think about leaving those vowels in and give naming your new company more than 5 minutes of your time.