Stop With The Obscure Company Names and Websites

Don't Let Your Brand Name or Site Be a Hurdle To New Business

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There are a lot of ads on the radio and TV that catch your attention; most do it for the wrong reasons, and the following are not exceptions. 

Recently, an ad has been playing on the radio for Zyppah, which is a product that can help you sleep.

The first reason to that name is usually “Zyppah? What on Earth does that mean?” Originally, the voiceover in the ad explained how they landed on that name. The VO was done in some kind of street-smart New Yorker accent, and the basic premise was:

“Zyppah – Happy Z spelled backwards.”

Yes. That’s really how they arrived at that name.

Happy means, well, happy. And Z is a reference to zzzzzzz, a common way to illustrate sleeping. So, happy sleep becomes happy z, and no doubt that brand or domain name was taken so they flipped it.

While some say that one name is as good as another, when you’re trying to break through, that Remember, it’s not about being clever, it’s about being relevant and memorable. For instance, Colgate Wisp is a beautiful product name. It conjures just what you want about the product itself. It’s lightweight, it’s gentle, and when coupled with a name like Colgate, you know it’s something portable for your dental needs.

That’s how to do it right.

In contrast, here are some product and service names that just completely missed the boat. You have to ask, what were they thinking?

QWIKSTER
Perhaps the biggest flub in recent times was the Netflix disaster known as Qwikster.

Netflix is an awesome name, and was way ahead of its time. The original business was designed as a DVD delivery service, accessed by the web. BUT, the dev team knew it was going to eventually become a streaming service. However, Netflix got a little greedy, and wanted to split the ailing DVD delivery section into its own service, with a name that meant nothing to anyone.

Qwikster. It lasted weeks before it was kindly put out of its misery. Bad call.

AYDS DIET CANDY
Another misspelling, on purpose, that was an aid to losing weight. Of course, it was around at the height of the AIDS epidemic. What a disaster.

CUIL
A search engine that was given a name that meant very little to anyone who stumbled across it. Here is the origin: It’s no longer around. Big surprise.

iMUFFS
Imagine a Bluetooth headset that looks like ear muffs? Now, imagine selling them in a country in which “muff” is a euphemism for “vagina.” Good luck.

EEE PC
What’s better than two Es in a row? Three of course. The poorly named EEE PC did not do well, and was proof that product naming is not EEEasy.

ECOxGEAR
The waterproof speaker is a good idea. This one, made by Grace Digital, was also well made and did the job well. People do not speak in upper and lower case, and saying ECOXGEAR became a real mouthful. E-COCKS-GEAR was one pronunciation. Another was ECHO-ZGEER. This was the nail in the coffin.

PENTAX *IST
Once again, the development team forgot one important aspect to naming a product – people actually have to say the words. It may look “cool” on paper, but walking into a store and asking to see the new Pentax Asterisk Ist camera…it doesn’t work.

PING
Apple usually hits the spot with product names. Usually, because it begins with an “I” and is succinct and to the point. Of course, PING, a social network for music, was a major exception to this. Still, iPING would have been worse.