When I last documented another startup name ending in -ly—that would be Swipely, which I wrote about almost six months ago—I noted that by my count, there were 50 -ly names cluttering the Web and confusing customers. “Enoughly,” I declared.
But I declared too soon, or soonly. Since March, I’ve discovered at least nine additional -ly names attached to new companies or apps. It’s no longer a trend: it’s a plague.
The latest repetitive offenders:
Cofounderly: A couples app for startup founders, according to TechCrunch. “A simple, entertaining, and insightful way for busy cofounders to stay connected....and avoid a nasty startup divorce,” according to the iTunes Store listing.
Contently: “Empowering and connecting quality journalists and brands.” Also: “Anyone can be a publisher!” The emphasis is, presumably, on the first syllable. Instead of a mission statement Contently has a manifesto. Instead of a slogan it has a mantra: “Be awesome.” I may have to take up drinking again.
Diagram.ly: “Draw diagrams online.” Uses the Libya country code, .ly.
Dorkly: “Dorkly is videogame comedy. Like TV, but dorkier.”
Mural.ly: Not for wall paintings: nope, they’ve redefined “mural” as “a flexible content format that aggregates media and files, ideal for group ideation and visual sharing.”
The company is based in Buenos Aires, which may explain the need for a pronunciation key. But it doesn’t explain why they didn’t go with the Spanish equivalent, “Muralmente,” which is not only an adverb but also incorporates mente, which translates to “mind.”
Refer.ly: Calls itself “a community of people endorsing things they love” in hopes that other people will buy those things, earning the endorsers a cash commission. I’m guessing it’s re-FER-ly and not REE-fer-ly. Warning: vertigo-inducing website.
Swarmly: An iPhone app that helps users “discover the places where people are swarming to have a great time, right now.” Tagline: “Be part of the buzz.”
I also chanced upon one honorable claim to an -ly name. Gravely is not, as you might wearily suppose, a cemetery app but rather a lawn-mower company established in 1916 and headquartered in Brillion, Wisconsin (population 2,937 at the 2000 census). It’s named for its founder, Benjamin Franklin Gravely.
Gravely gets a pass. The rest of you clones need to hire a verbal-branding professional to push you out of your rut.