Monday, April 30, 2007

Examining Web 2.0 companies' names

Earlier this year, Business 2.0 Magazine created a list of Top 25 Web 2.0 startups to watch. But how many of them actually have a name that is worth remembering?

In the upcoming posts, I will discuss my opinions on the Web 2.0 companies' names. Not all of them are poor names obviously, but some of them are downright awful!

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Nintendo Wii: thoughts on the name one year later

wii naming

It has been one year since Nintendo announced the name of their console, Wii.

Nintendo has mentioned that consumers will warm up to the name. But how many of us actually like the name Wii? The name "Wii" doesn't immediately bring to mind a gaming console.

Also, it has been said that Nintendo wanted a name that would create no confusion. This is a good point: There are people that know little about games and walk up to the game store counter and ask for "GameBox", "PlayCubes", and even "Playstation 360". Since Wii is a totally different name, the average consumer shouldn't confuse it with Xbox and Playstation, right?

Well it would help if the correct pronunciation was more widespread. Those not in the know would pronounce it as "why", seeing that "wi-fi" looks similar to it, rather than correctly as "we". I've even heard people pronounce it as "double you two", if you take the I's as roman numerals. Let's not even get into the piss jokes, which unfortunately are still pretty common when bringing up the topic of Wii.

Nintendo should have listened to the consumers, most of who were begging for a name change. The only advantage of the Wii name is that it is short, 1 syllable. Another one syllable name could have been chosen to get their point across, instead of being stuck with Wii.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nothing sucks like an Electrolux!

electrolux slogan

Today's item deals mainly with a bad slogan from a vacuum cleaner company, rather than a bad product name. Don't you just love the double meaning here? Despite what some sources say, it really wasn't a bad translation or marketing error on behalf of Electrolux.

Apparently the "Nothing sux like an Electrolux" campaign was mainly marketed in the UK, rather than the US where "sucks" has the obvious negative connotation.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Scar Zone

Wow, a product that can eliminate or reduce scars... and you name it Scar ZONE??

This product name has the opposite of its intended effect (one can envision a zone full of scars). Clearly someone in their marketing department could have thought of any synonym for "eliminate" or "rid", which would be tons better than ZONE!

To add insult to injury, the name (when spoken) sounds like "Scars Own", in which they clearly don't! This sounds like a badly translated product name to me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Head On

Head On Sucks
Those very annoying Head On commercials are shown so often-- you've probably seen them 1000 times by now, with their annoying "apply directly to the forehead" repetition.
So what is Head On? I guess that it cures headaches if you rub it on your forehead. Note that the commercial doesn't explain what the product actually does, which means they have something to hide.

It's not just the name and slogan that are bad: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has asked the creators of Head On not to make claims that Head On relieves headaches!

In effect, you are buying a product that potentially DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! They even have spinoff brands like First On and Active On. Here's a good name for the next one: Sucks On!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Scion logo

First rule of product naming: be sure that the name is easily pronounceable by most people. This rule is broken right away-- I've overheard many people pronounce scion incorrectly. What comes to mind when you first hear the name Scion? A car that can travel through the sky? Ohhh, it's supposed to be pronounced "sigh-on", not "SKY-on". It actually refers to a brand of vehicle produced by Toyota.

What exactly is a scion? According to Webster's, it means a descendant or heir. Makes a bit of sense, since it is a Toyota spinoff brand. It isn't that great of a name for a car though; it sounds more like something that came out of a futuristic sci-fi movie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bad Product Names

Welcome to the bad product names blog! Here we will discuss the worst in product names. An important part of having a successful service (or product, brand, etc.) is a good product name. Having a bad one will turn away potential customers quickly!

There aren't just bad product names that we will cover here: we will touch on bad band names, bad service names, bad slogans, bad domain names, and many more kinds of things that can suffer from a bad name.

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