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Smart Companies, Silly Names: A New CMSWire Feature

3 minute read
Noreen Seebacher avatar

It's often hard to understand the relationship between a company's name and it's purpose, especially in the tech world.

A lot of new and existing tech companies — including some with proven business potential — sound painfully akin to a middle school pseudonym or, even worse, a college party game. There's Twitter, of course. And the ever-popular Yahoo (which is even worse if you add the exclamation point at the end).

There's Dipity. Twiddla. Remember the Milk. And, oh, so many, many more. (We're looking at you Alphabet.)

2 Decades of Confusion

It's not a new phenomenon. I bristled in 1996 when a colleague sent me an email with a Hotmail suffix. I thought it sounded, well, un-business-like. (Truth be told, I was expecting something salacious.)

Now I don't even notice where the email originates, because over the years we've been bombarded with weirdness. There were now-defunct boutique providers like Bigstring and — ah, interesting — Vanity Mail.com originals, like prozac.com.

I'm not sure why the bright, technically proficient entrepreneurs who create tech companies resort to the use of such offbeat names, other than to make them memorable.

But if that's the strategy, it doesn't always work. Take Dipity, for example, which lets you make and share interactive timelines about people, places and things.

You don't have to think hard to imagine all the business possibilities: timelines about locations, achievements, corporate milestones.

But when I first heard about it, I couldn't remember the name.

Dipity, in my head, kept morphing to Bippity. From there, it was an easy slide into Bippity Boppity Boo, and the whole Cinderella thing. I finally locked in Dipity by creating an association with a hair gel called Dippity Do my mother once used.

Learning Opportunities

It's Just a Name

At CMSWire, we've been talking about company naming conventions for quite a while. And we figured if we were curious, you might be too.

So reporter Dom Nicastro is kicking off a new CMSWire series today called "What's in a Name?" 

Time had a lot of fun with some of these silly names last year. It's easy to pick on them.

"We’re going to have fun, too," Nicastro said. "Our point here, though, is not to Saturday-Night-Live these names. But, rather, to actually get some insight into why the founders came up with the names — from the creative and predictable to the off-the-wall and wacky."


Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by Harsha K R.

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