Cr8tiveYe: Bob Cumbow, a trademark lawyer in Seattle who reads this blog, sent me a link to Cr8tiveYe Enterprises along with this note: “I’m sure they intend that to be pronounced CREATIVE EYE [...] but as spelled, it looks like CRATIVE YE.”1 Hey—I’ll bet it was easy to register the URL! Here’s the kicker: Cr8tiveYe (it hurts to type it) calls itself a naming and branding agency. From the home page: “We offer many strategic methods that helps [sic] put businesses on the map and leave a lasting impression on the people they touch.” There’s much more (and worse) on the site, but I’ll let Bob Cumbow have the last word: “I wouldn’t hire them.”2
Enterase: When this, um, entity began following me on Twitter, I wondered why a gastric enzyme would be interested in what I had to say. Turns out Enterase is “a buyer’s guide for men” that describes itself as “the premier online destination for the most influential 20-something male consumers … driven by style, sports, music, games and gear.” Why is it called “Enterase”? Oh, let me guess: the URL was available! Perhaps it will eventually have a sister site called Esterase.
Groubal: This new consumer-advocacy site has a lot going for it: a clear statement of purpose (“We champion consumer complaints and demand action from those responsible”), an engaging and navigable site design, and an integrated social-media strategy. The name, however, looks like a fuzzy imitation of Groupon, the online business that offers local bargains if enough people sign up for them. (“Groupon” is a blend of “group” and “coupon.”) The Groubal site doesn’t reveal a backstory, and neither does this interview with founder Robert Doner.3 So I’ll guess that “Grou-” derives from “group.” But what about “-bal”? Cymbal? Global? Tribal? Hannibal? Cabal? Hmm—how about a wackily spelled “grumble”? The company certainly wants us to use “Groubal” in every possible way: as the corporate name, as the name of an individual petition (“Add your groubal now”), as a verb (tagline: “Don’t gripe, groubal!”), and as a compound form (people who lodge complaints are “groubalers”). The trademark experts among you will no doubt have something to say about all that; me, I object on aesthetic and semantic grounds.
1 You might say Bob has a ye for names like this one. Some months back, he sent me a link to fileye (that’s right: all lower case), a web-based intellectual-property-software “solution.” Is that name supposed to be Olde Englyshe? (“File ye, file ye!”) No, it’s apparently pronounced “file eye.” Ye gods!
2 In related creative-names news, see Kre8tive Law Group. In Canada, no less!
3 The interview does contain the very odd expression gr.oo.bul, which I initially thought was a country-code URL but instead seems to be a pronunciation key. What the periods are doing there is a mystery. And the little-green-men logo? Creepy.