Tuesday, May 29, 2007

5ive alive!

More number-in-name craziness, this time it makes even less sense to use the number in the name.

Introducing.... 5ive. Yes, 5ive, that is not a typo. How would you say it? "Five-ive" I guess. When you named these, you could have just stopped at the number 5. But noooo, you had to continue and add the meaningless "ive" to the name.

Here are some examples:

A board game:

A movie:

And even a freaking boy band, of all things in the world to have this horrible name:

In each of these cases, THE 5 LOOKS NOTHING LIKE AN F!

At least the 3 has some resemblance to an E, as seen in the previous post.

In this situation, it isn't even leet speak; I don't know why someone would drop the first letter of "five" and replace it with a "5". Why not just drop the whole word and use the number by itself?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Replacing letters with numbers

Here are some names which have their letters replaced by numbers. This isn't new at all, it is just cashing in on the leetspeak phenomenon (or "l33t" if you prefer).

Driv3r: This should be pronounced "driv-three-are", since the 3 is placed at that point in the word. If it is really "Driver 3", then put the 3 where it is supposed to be! What's the next one gonna be called? Driv4r, Driv5r, Driv6r.....

Th3 Plan: What the hell is this? "T-H-three" plan? Ohhh, it's actually the word "The", with a useless 3 instead of the letter E. Just shows you how ridiculous these names are getting.

Numb3rs: "numb-three-R-S". Okay, so it makes a little sense seeing that the show's premise is "numbers", but do you really need to drop the number in the title. Those that read about the show in newspapers and tv guide will sometimes think that the editor made a typo, seeing that the '3' key is right above the 'e'.

The more closely you look at these names, the more you realize what a mess these names really are.

I know some of you think that leet speak is cool, but just think about 10 years from now. What will we really think of these names by that time?

Monday, May 21, 2007

That's one devil of a cold!

666 cold medicine
666 cold medicine. You can't make this stuff up!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Examining the names of Web 2.0 startups: part 6 (#20-25)

This is the last (finally!) installment of the Web 2.0 name analysis, with services #20 to 25 of Business 2.0's Top 25 Web Startups.

20. ViTrue

ViTrue is a place for uploading advertisement videos of your products. When I first saw the logo, I thought the name was iTrue; I interpreted the V as just a checkmark symbol that is surrounding the I. I'm not sure on the pronunciation either: is it VY-true or VEE-true? It is probably the latter, and is named that way because V-True was taken. V is for videos I guess, the name is short and makes a little sense.
Pros: short name
Cons: pronunciation isn't obvious, confusing logo

21. SuccessFactors

SuccessFactors is a suite of Web development tools. Nothing particularly exciting about the name, it is pretty generic and not very memorable. The logo is mystifying; I'm not sure what they were going for here.
Pros: common dictionary words
Cons: generic and lengthy name

22. JanRain

JanRain allows you to access multiple sites with just one login id. Sounds convenient right? Not if there are 50 of these copycat sites promising "one login" capability. The name hardly makes sense at all! What does rain have to do with login consolidation? And why Jan? This sounds like a cleaning or laundry product. Another case of 2 random dictionary word mashups.
Pros: none
Cons: name was randomly chosen, makes no sense

23. LogoWorks

Obviously, LogoWorks is a service that designs logos. Do you see the irony here? Hopefully they can do a better job than designing their own logo!
Pros: functional name
Cons: logo doesn't imply they are high quality

24. Rearden Commerce

Rearden Commerce deals with personal assistant applications such as event planning and hotel reservations. The name is not pleasing to say, it looks like it is a compound of 2 words which are not similar.
Pros: none
Cons: does not have a pleasing sound to it

25. SimulScribe

SimulScribe converts voice mail into scannable text. Not a bad name, does pretty much what you would think it does.
Pros: name makes sense
Cons: none

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Examining the names of Web 2.0 startups: part 5 (#15-19)

This is the second to the last part of the Web 2.0 name series. We're examining the names of Web 2.0 services #15 to 19 of Business 2.0's Top 25 Web Startups.

15. Soonr

What is with web 2.0 companies dropping vowels from their names? The name is puzzling: the service allows you to access your PC from your mobile phone. Plus their headquarters are located in California, not Oklahoma as you would expect!
Pros: none
Cons: misleading name, copycat name

16. Turn

An ad service in which advertisers pay for targetted results. Not seeing how this related much to the name (perhaps one could "turn" ads into results?). A four-letter dictionary word as their domain name will certainly help them though.
Pros: name is short, common word
Cons: name isn't related to the service that much

17. + 18. Adify, Admob

Both Adify and Admob are advertising services as one would expect from the names. Not much to discuss on these names, they do what one would think they would do. Adify does have a nifty -ify suffix, which allows the name to be verbed easily.
Pros: functional names
Cons: not very original names

19. SpotRunner

SpotRunner is a service that sells premade TV ads. You can personalize those ads by giving your company name, phone number, web address, etc. This isn't a bad name at all, the name works quite well in relation to what they are offering. The name works in multiple meanings, the logo symbolizes one meaning (the dog that is running), and the service symbolizes the other (running TV advertising spots).
Pros: name makes sense over 2 meanings
Cons: nothing that bad; name can be somewhat long to type

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Examining the names of Web 2.0 startups: part 4 (#11-14)

The name reviews continue with part 4, looking through items 11 to 14 of Business 2.0's Top 25 Web Startups.

11. Fon

Fon is a company that provides wireless routers to users who can then share their access with other Fon users. It is a short name and the general idea of the name makes sense. I'm unsure on the pronunciation; is it "fawn", or more like "phone"?
Pros: name is short
Cons: pronunciation isn't obvious

12. Loopt

Awkward spelling for this cellphone friend tracking system. The name feels forced (the proper spelling was taken already. right?) and the name has an ancient feel to it though. In old English, the -t ending was often used to denote past tense verbs. Some English words today still use the -t suffix for the past tense: dreamt, slept.
Pros: none in particular
Cons: Strange spelling

13. Mobio

Nothing much to say about this one; the name doesn't seem too bad, consumers are somewhat attracted to names ending with a vowel sound. The name seems to fit well for a mobile phone widget service.
Pros: name makes sense
Cons: a short name that is 3 syllables

14. Tiny

A service similar to flickr which allow you to share photos on mobile phones. The name is an okay fit, it makes sense in the mobile phone world but it also has a pretty bad logo (what's with the parentheses?), which can have negative assoications.
Pros: name is short
Cons: name isn't pleasing to the eye, embarassing to say

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Examining the names of Web 2.0 startups: part 3 (#7-10)

The name reviews continue with part 3 of Business 2.0's Top 25 Web Startups.

7. Dabble

Another video site, but this one deals with sharing your favorites among friends. The name kinda makes sense, as it allows your friends to "dabble" in your video collections. From the name itself I didn't think of videos right way; I first though of art or drawing programs. Nothing too bad about this name, maybe a bit unoriginal though and it has an unfortunate logo.
Pros: relatively short name, makes sense in some ways
Cons: name isn't obviously functional, bad logo

8. Metacafe

A YouTube clone with a twist- users can earn money if their videos get a high view count. The name itself doesn't suggest anything in particular about this aspect of the site. It seems like they just took a random word from the dictionary and added the meta- prefix to it. Seems to be a copycat name since other "meta-" sites exist. You would think that it would have something to do with food!
Pros: none in particular
Cons: name is not related to the site's function, combination of 2 seemingly random words

9. Revision3

A site for watching online shows such as diggnation. I totally don't get the name at all. Why 3? What happened to revisions 1 and 2? From those thoughts alone, the site's name isn't very good nor memorable. Even if they did go through several revisions (who doesn't?), you don't need to flaunt it.
Pros: none
Cons: meaningless name, has bad connotation, number in name

10. blip.tv

Yet another site for watching online shows. The name is short and memorable and the only flaw is that it has the .tv suffix (it makes sense though) where almost everything nowadays is usually .com.
Pros: short, catchy name
Cons: .tv extension instead of the more prominent .com

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Examining the names of Web 2.0 startups: part 2 (#4-6)

Here is part 2 of my reviews on the names of Business 2.0's Top 25 Web Startups.

4. Meebo

Meebo allows you to place an instant messenger window on your website. Like Bebo, it is a short, nonsensical name. I guess the name has some value since the first syllable is supposed to sound like "me", which makes sense with in the instant messaging world. Perhaps there will be some spelling confusion going on with Meebo/Bebo, there isn't an easy way to remember which one is spelled with 2 E's.
Pros: name is short
Cons: name is embarassing to say, somewhat confusing to spell

5. Wikia

Not an entirely original name, Wikia is similar to wikipedia but with an advertising model. Consumers are pretty much attracted to names that end in -a. This is especially true in the car world: Acura, Altima, Toyota, Honda and many others. Wikia has a high concentration of vowels in its name, even W ("double U"), which is considered a vowel in other languages.
Pros: name has a familiarity with wikipedia
Cons: it is a copycat name

6. Joost

I think this is a bit silly for a site that focuses on video clips. Nonsensical names have worked (Google, Yahoo) but I'm not sure if this YouTube competitor can catch on. Sounds like a brand of energy drink, rather than a site for watching videos.
Pros: name is short
Cons: awkward spelling, embarassing to say, doesn't have anything to do with the service offered

Friday, May 4, 2007

Examining the names of Web 2.0 startups: part 1 (#1-3)

First of all, what is Web 2.0? There is no official definition for web 2.0, it is just a concept. It does not even represent a new place on the web; one cannot "look for web 2.0" specifically, it is just an extension of the current web ("1.0"). Web 2.0 mainly represents the concept of user-generated content. Examples of such sites are Myspace and Facebook. However, the idea of user created content is nothing new. Internet forums and discussions have predated web 2.0. It is mainly used as a buzzword to throw around when creating sites that employ user-generated content.

Why the need for this marketing buzzword? Will there even be a such thing as web 3.0?

Here are my reviews of Business 2.0's Top 25 Web Startups, part one. Note that I don't consider ALL of these names to be bad, nor do I know what all of these companies actually do. These are just initial impressions of their names.

1. StumbleUpon

Of all the names on the list, StumbleUpon is probably the best one overall. It is a very functional name: it does just what the name implies. Members use the site's toolbar to stumble upon various websites according to their interests.
Pros: functional name, very easy to remember, can be verbed
Cons: somewhat lengthy name, but often referred to as "stumble" by many users

2. Slide

Slide is a site that allows you to embed slide shows into blogs or profile pages. However, I didn't particularly think of slideshows when I saw the name Slide.
Pros: name is short
Cons: name can be ambiguous

3. Bebo

Made-up words are quite risky: they have the possibility to give the wrong first impression. This is the case with this site and the following one. Bebo is a social networking site that is similar to MySpace. The name unfortunately does not give any clue to its purpose. At first glance, it sounds more like a child's toy or game and it is quite embarassing to mention to others. That's not a good quality to have when you want to get the word out about your site.
Pros: name is short
Cons: name is embarassing to say, doesn't have anything to do with the service offered