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July 01, 2008

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Before getting down to the bottom of the post, I thought the footnote numbers were part of the names! A trend for 09 perhaps? Yes, a name with a footnote attached would be very cumbersome, but . . . new!

A little story behind our name, RedKaraoke:

We're a Spanish company. We started a little over a year ago at RedKaraoke.es and just launched our English language site in the US.

Red is the Spanish word for "network" -- so our name literally means "karaoke (social) network." It makes a ton of sense in Spanish, and it's easy to remember in English too.

@Justin: Thanks for stopping by and contributing the backstory! There are a *lot* of business names using "Red" (the color); nice to know your business name has an extra layer of meaning.

A few immediate reactions:

TripSay - Trips, eh? Sounds a bit like Pig Latin. (I believe there's a variety of PL in which "tripsay" means "strip," although in the dialect i speak, both "strip" and "trips" are "ipstray.")

SodaHead - n. colloq. 1. a person who is addicted to carbonated soft drinks. 2. used more generally as a mildly derogatory epithet

Multiply - Am I supposed to pronounce it like the verb, or like the adverb?

RepairPal - Sounds (perhaps dangerously? IANA™L, but...) similar to PayPal.

SearchMe - Gee, I dunno....

When Is Good - Immediately makes me think of this New Yorker cartoon: http://www.cartoonbank.com/product_details.asp?sid=25186

I Vote for Art, I Took This on My Phone - Reminiscent of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Once was cute, but let's not get carried away with this sentence-as-brand-name thing, okay?

Apture - Must be something to do with photos, right? (C)apture, ap(er)ture... (r)apture?

Posterous - Clever, but I didn't make the connection to "post" (or have any clue what sort of business it might be) until I saw the yellow-square logo, which neatly uses a widely recognized 3M brand for leverage.

Chi.mp, Grou.ps - That's not what TLDs are *for*, dammit. I think of this as another of those things that can be gotten away with exactly once, and in this case, once was del.icio.us. (Not to mention that some of us learned the hard way not to click on anything purporting to be hosted on Christmas Island, and are thus twice shy about unusual bigrams.)

@Q. Pheevr: I hope it was clear that I had nothing to do with creating any of these names, including the one for my client, RepairPal. (By the way, when I began that engagement I mentioned my own concerns about RepairPal's similarity to PayPal--would consumers think it was a spinoff? But the client liked it and the lawyers apparently had given it their blessing.)

Your question about Multiply is interesting and pertinent. My answer: I have no idea. I mentioned the "adverbial -ly" trend in my 2007 naming trends post, and since then I've noticed new examples: Slantly and Feedly, for instance.

I didn't get "photography" from "Apture" until I thought about it for a while. Instead, I thought "capture" and "apt." Apture's About Us page says the technology "gives content creators the power to find and incorporate relevant multimedia items directly into their pages." The name strikes me not as strictly descriptive but rather as suggestive and slightly aspirational.

Overall, the purpose of this post was not to applaud or attack any of the names on the list but simply to notice that they're part of what seems to be a significant movement away from the heavily coined, cutesy names that prevailed among startups in the last couple of years.

Oh, yes--if I had thought these were your names, I would have tried to be much more constructive and less snarky. (The only one that I thought might have been yours was RepairPal, since you mentioned that they were a client of yours, so I'm relieved to learn that you had the same misgiving about the name that I did.)

It's an interesting list, and it I agree completely with your assessment that it suggests a trend back toward real words if not always away from nonsense.

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