If 2007 was the Year of Naming Giddily--remember Meebo, Thoof, Kwout, Tapatap, and Oovoo, to cite just a few examples?--then 2008 is shaping up as Reality Bites Back. Real-word names, real-word phrases, and compound names formed from real words are suddenly on the rise. True, some of them make no more sense than last year's silly, baby-talky coinages. But at least they're recognizable, pronounceable, and relatively memorable ... and don't make you feel like a total idiot when you repeat them.
TripSay (travel planner)
RocketOn (massively multiplayer online game)
SodaHead (an opinion community that asks, "What's bubbling in your head?")
Multiply (media sharing)
FriendFeed (lets you read all the posts, Twitters, and links your "friends" have sent)
SocialBrowse (link sharing in Firefox)
Smilebox (create greeting cards, etc., using your photos)
RepairPal ¹ (find and rate auto repair shops)
DriverSide (car buying and maintenance)
SearchMe (visual search engine)
RedKaraoke (free karaoke songs)
When Is Good (a meeting scheduler)
Greenplum ² (database technology)
SpeakLike (multilingual IM translation)
I Vote for Art (browse, rate, and buy art)
I Took This on My Phone (photo uploading from--you guessed it--your mobile phone)
And here are a few additional mini-trends I've been tracking:
- Syllable and initial-letter clipping: Apture, Posterous.
- More numerals (a continuation of a 2007 trend): Peer39³, 280Slides, Orb 24.
- Inventive domain extensions (another continuation of a 2007 trend): Chi.mp (dot-mp is the country extension of the Mariana Islands); Grou.ps (the site is in English and the company's founders are Turkish, but the domain uses the Palestinian Territories top-level domain, dot-ps).
¹ RepairPal is a client of mine. I'll have more to say about my work for them sometime soon.
² Yet another example of the Fruit of the Year category that blossomed in 2007 with RedPlum, American Express Plum card, and Plum magazine.
³ I was certain this had to be a punny company located incongruously in San Francisco's tacky Pier 39 tourist trap. But no: it's in New York City!