Silly Names Are Back – And That’s A Good Thing

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Have you noticed all the “funny names”:http://threeminds.organic.com/2005/10/the_new_name_ga.html these “Web 2.0”:http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html companies have?
Take a look at a few new companies that are either or on about to hit your radar:
* “Squidoo”:http://www.squidoo.com/
* “Flickr”:http://www.flickr.com/
* “Yuku”:http://www.yuku.com/
* “Meebo”:http://www.meebo.com/
* “Skype”:http://www.skype.com/
* “Rollyo”:http://www.rollyo.com/
* “Writely”:http://www.writely.com/
* “Qumana”:http://www.qumana.com/
* “Memeorandum”:http://www.memeorandum.com/
* “Gada.be”:http://www.gada.be
* “Zvents”:http://www.zvents.com/
* “Joyent”:http://www.joyent.com/
* “BunchBall”:http://www.bunchball.com/
* “Pretty much anything Techcrunch writes about”:http://www.techcrunch.com/
Now before you start giggling and saying “another sure sign of bubble 2.0”, let’s consider why *having a silly name might be a good idea*. In fact I’d say these companies are some of the smartest on the Net and trendsetters rather than dotcom wannabes.


Fact is, a unique name has gone from affectation to necessity for building an online brand. As we’ve moved to word-of-mouth marketing and building buzz via the blogosphere, the ability for people to find us (and maybe more importantly) *the ability for us to find out when people are talking about us* has become essential.
Do “a Technorati search”:http://www.technorati.com/search/squidoo on Seth Godin’s “Squidoo”:http://www.squidoo.com/ and you’ll find that pretty much all of the results are about his new start-up. Whether you love or hate the name, you have to admit that you’ll be able to track it online with great clarity.
Compare that to the super-hyped “Flock”:http://www.flock.com social browser. A “Technorati search on Flock”:http://www.technorati.com/search/flock does give us lots of posts related to the yet-to-be-released application, but it also gives us a ton of noise (“flocks of children”, “preaching to the flock at church”, “flock of geese”, “people flock to it”, etc.). Pity the Flock evangelist doing an ego surf!
And being clever and picking a non-English term doesn’t help much. Compare a “Technorati search for posts about feed reader Rojos”:http://www.technorati.com/search/rojos to “one for competitor SearchFox”:http://www.technorati.com/search/searchfox – Rojos is buried in non-company-related Spanish pages (rojos is Spanish for “red”).
Interestingly enough, while I had this post in draft mode “Seth Godin blogged on this very topic”:http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/10/the_new_rules_o.html. Seth adds a lot of nuances to my thoughts here and I highly recommend you read his post as well.
My guess is that all those companies with “funny names” had no trouble at all finding this post while Flock and Rojos might never see it.

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