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May 11, 2009


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In the context of bad choices in naming, I recall from years back a listing of bankruptcy filings in The Baltimore Sun that included a restaurant called Ribs 'n' Things.

You're pronouncing it wrong if you sound like you are hurling. It's not "bleah" low. It rhymes with hello. If you can say yellow and mellow, you can say Blellow :D It's really not that hard.

The smiley face isn't silent, it's an "e".

We're still in beta and have only been up since March 13th, almost 8 weeks. Our focus so far has been building the app, testing, and working out all of the bugs.

We will be working on the marketing piece soon and will have our challenges w/ the name.

Thanks for choosing us to be "mocked and pilloried"

I love your theme, Nancy! And I agree -- blellow is a little blech.

There is a window treatment store chain in Metro Boston called "Innuwindow," the name of which has always bugged me. I get that they want you to see "in your window." And I get that it's a pun on "innuendo," but I have never understood the connection between innuendos and one's drapes.

Is it just me, or does anyone else have trouble saying 'Blellow'...? Try saying it 3 times fast for extra fun.

It sounds like something cooked up by 11 year olds on a hot summer day in their back yard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cars for an exhaustive list of car names (I like "Goy Advanced Automobile", from Australia) or
http://tinyurl.com/ahhor5 for some car names. Or "Armada" for an SUV (maybe they'll sink too) "Yukon" for where you go for oil to run (just 1 character short of "ruin") it. Personal pet peeve, I guess you gather, is all the SUV names that describe places that are trashed when highways run through them (or worse, off-road vehicles run through them).

I'd love to know what you think of POPULOUS, the new name for the group that used to be HOK Sport+Venue+Event (the market leader in design of downtown baseball stadia).

Rachel: Try saying "Fritinancy" 3 times fast :)

Everyone: Thanks for all the excellent-bad suggestions! Keep 'em coming, and look for a wrap-up post at the end of Bad Brand Names Week.

@John: What was the script at Ribs 'n' Things? "You want things with that?"

@Mighty Red Pen: Perhaps Innuwindow was insinuating that the drapes didn't match the carpet.

@Rachel: Yes, Blellow is a tongue-twister. It's hard to type, too.

@Mandi: You completely missed every point (and joke) I made. And even though "Fritinancy" has four syllables, it's transparently easy to pronounce, even repeatedly.

@Diana: Car names are the gift that keeps on giving, bad-brand-wise. I've always wondered whether the creators of names like Armada (and Cressida, and, come to think, Pandora) have ever cracked a book.

@NextMoon: I'll attempt to tackle Populous in my wrap-up post.

@nancy While you certainly have a right to your opinion, your comments are particularly mean-spirited & short-sighted about a name & a community that is very fun, lighthearted, talented & extremely helpful. I might ask you, what in the world did Kleenex have to do with tissue, Google have to do with a search engine or an Apple have to do with a computer before those brands became household names? Indeed, I would even go so far as to say that the fact that the names were different made them memorable. With regard to your contention that "Fritinancy" is "transparently easy to pronounce, even repeatedly"... Puleeze, are you serious? You couldn't have been typing that with a straight face. Did you? I'm sure you also would go so far as to say that it's very easy for people to say Fritinancy in foreign languages too. You don't see even a glimpse of a double standard here? :P The fact is that the word fritinancy is NOT easy to say & it doesn't mean anything at all. But it's fun & quirky & sometimes, that's all that's necessary. Lighten up.

@Candace: Thanks for your comment. Since you exhibit an interest in brand names, you may wish to learn more about them. Start here, or read the naming blogs I link to in my blogroll.

As I made clear, I have no issue with the business model behind Blellow. Indeed, I praised it. A good business idea deserves a better name than "Blellow." Any business that names itself "Blellow" is begging to be criticized and, yes, mocked.

Fritinancy is not my business name. It's my blog name. And it's a real word that's pronounced phonetically. I introduced it here: http://is.gd/yYT4

Kleenex is derived from "clean": Kleenex tissues were conceived as a hygienic alternative to handkerchiefs. "-ex" is frequently seen in compounds meant to suggest the future or technology.

Google is an alternate spelling of googol, a mathematical term meaning 1 followed by a hundred zeroes. By extension: a huge search capability.

Apple is an example of an arbitrary mark. It's a real word with no obvious connection to computers or technology, but it suggests something fresh and essential ("an apple a day").

Yes, a strong brand name must be distinctive. It must also be pronounceable and appealing. It must connect with readers and listeners in a way that says: "I want to know more." It must tell an engaging and meaningful story. Blellow fails on the last four counts.

As a trademark lawyer for nearly 20 years now (gasp!), I can confidently affirm Nancy's assertions above about the strength of the Kleenex, Google and Apple trademarks. They are strong and valuable trademarks precisely BECAUSE they have nothing to do with the products and services they identify - yet the public has irreversibly identified the marks with their products and services, which is precisely the result a company wants when they select an easily-spelled, easily-pronounced, but not descriptive term. While trademark lawyers may sometimes applaud clients for selecting names like Blellow that have no meaning and don't describe the goods or services they identify, believe me, we're realistic - we know these names have to be pronounced and marketed, and so we try, if we're conscientious, to advise our clients to avoid names that simply sound silly when we say them out loud.

Peculiar, but I keep thinking "Saul Blellow" . . .

Let us know what you think or our name. Widgetifyr.com. It's meant to be a web 2.0 joke site, but it turned out to be a very useful site. So useful in fact we even created a Wordpress Widget for Blellow with it.

Nancy, I think the origins of the name may predate Malcolm in the Middle. Donovan has a song in the sixties. I think it was called Blellow Mellow. No?

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