I’d hoped never to revisit the subject of -ly names, which I covered—exhaustively, I thought—in an August post that listed 29 such names, including Chirply, Erply, Zerply, and Estately. But a news item on TechCrunch today makes a follow-up inevitable, if not welcome.
The item: Enterprise applications and services company Infor has paid $100,000 for Local.ly. “.ly” is the country code for Libya.
The same post noted that Facebook last month paid an undisclosed sum for Friend.ly.
Adverb-style names: the trend without end.
More evidence: Twitter friend Anthony recently pointed me to 500 Startups, which provides seed funding for new companies. Anthony wanted me to check out those companies’ names. “Brace yourself,” he warned.
Indeed. The companies themselves may be innovative, but you’d never know it from their names. We’re still seeing droppd vowls (Forrst, GoVoluntr, Redeemr, Spinnakr), diacritical abuse (Cădee, a golf site), multiple Dailys (DailyAisle, DailyGobble, DailyWorth), and -ly names. Lots of -ly names. (And one “-li” name.)
The 500 Startups roster includes:
Central.ly, “connecting local businesses to the web.”
Contactually, “an email interface for your CRM.”
Graphic.ly “provides an immersive social experience and marketplace around digital comics and associated merchandise.”
Lovely “takes the frustration out of your apartment hunt.” (I’ve included this -ly name even though it’s an adjective, not an adverb. To me it suggests a fashion or beauty site—or online dating—rather than “this lovely apartment.”)
Recurly “gracefully handles all the complexities of subscription billing and recurring payments.”
Rewardli “lets self-employed and small business owners leverage the buying power in their social networks so they can get better deals on the products and services they need.”
Texting.ly “enables businesses to easily and inexpensively interact.”
More evidence: Last week I read on TechCrunch about Womply (“Amazing offers loaded to your credit cards”). Womply has a cartoon mascot, Mr. Wombat. I can’t explain the shift from B to P; I’m guessing “Wombly” would have risked sounding like an obstetrics service.
Last week also brought news, via email, of Grammarly, which calls itself “the world’s best grammar checker,” an audacious assertion that remains to be proved. I ran a short passage from one of my recent blog posts through Grammarly; it dinged me on “passive voice use” and “writing style” without telling me why. If anyone’s tried the service and has good (or bad) things to say about it, please let me know.
And still more: Book.ly calls itself “the better way to buy textbooks.” Posterly has something to do with posters, events, and venues, but the writing is so vague and amateurish I couldn’t tell for sure. (“Browse posters, listen and see where it’s going on” does not tell me anything I need to know. “It”?)
Finally—or so one hopes—there’s Yummly (“Every recipe in the world”). The enterprise is well funded, the site is attractively designed, and the brand is cleverly extended (the blog is called “Nibbles & Bits”), but the name is, um, repeating on me.
If you’re keeping score, we’re up to 43 -ly names.
UPDATE: In a comment, Risa reminds us about this Tom Lehrer song for The Electric Company.
UPDATE #2, Nov. 11: Oh look, another -ly startup: Giftly.
The last laugh belongs to Jotly (“Rate Everything”), a fake and very funny enterprise from Firespotter Labs. Jotly’s home page declares “Everything about your life is exciting. To everyone.” The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal notes that the Jotly video “manages to send up nearly every startup cliché in just two minutes.” See for yourself: