Igor says enough of the stupid Web 2.0 names


As I’ve commented before, you’re not a real Web 2.0 company if you haven’t invented a non-English word to describe your web application, service or product.

The Times has published an interesting article which documents the trend from Web 1.0 trends – where you took two words and put them together (ideally a colour and an animal, vegetable or fruit) – to Web 2.0 where you string together some vowels and consonants a la Countdown style – preferably unpronounceable and unmemorable, particularly if you’re over the age of 21 – and voila!, you have your new brand.

According to Steve Manning of San Francisco branding agency Igor (huh? a branding agency with an association with a hunchbacked assistant?) this is all a bad idea as the names have no real value and there’s nothing to grab onto mentally. It’s the next wave of banality, apparently.

I agreed in part, until I visited Igor International and saw some of the names they’d ‘invented’ for people: Zeno, MOJO, URGE, Shinola, Tickle, Whisper…

OK some of those are real words, but c’mon: Whisper for a brand and business strategy company? Why would you whisper your brand? Some names require that you have a knowledge of ancient Greek philosophers (maybe you do, I don’t).

Maybe I’m being unnecessarily picky today but some of these names, whilst not being totally random, don’t speak much of the companies’ plan and purpose.

Well, anyway, the Times article leaves us with an amusing example of silly naming: “When Microsoft announced that it would be taking on the iPod with something called Zune, did its branding team realise that the word translated into French slang for genitalia and a Hebrew term meaning getting laid?”

(From The Times)

Andy Merrett
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One thought on “Igor says enough of the stupid Web 2.0 names

  • All good points. But it is becoming so hard to come up with a good name!
    ideal name attributes:
    – easy to pronounce/spell/guess spelling
    – easy to remember
    – stands out
    – relates to your service/product
    – you can a get a good domain based on it
    – not too overused so you can SEO around your product name
    – translates well
    – will convert into a good logo
    and so on…
    That’s why people revert to all these crazy invented words!
    I remember when a year ago we went through the naming process for our new product (Web 2.0ish software for associations and non-profits). We could not meet all the criteria but I think we met quite a few — our final choice was Wild Apricot.
    (My blog post has a bit more detail on our reasoning: http://www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/archive/2006/06/01/25.aspx )

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