I thought one solid week of Bad Brand Names would suffice for a while, but no: it's raining bad names. Please allow me to be your umbrella.
Smub is a new technology company with offices in Lyon, France, and Redwood City, California. Its principals are all French, and perhaps to their ears the name sounds charming or hip or clever. In English, I'm sorry to say, it falls between ludicrous and offensive. According to ReadWriteWeb, "Smub" is an acronym for "smart multi-use bookmarking," but that's no excuse.* There's nothing smart about this name.
Granted, the service itself sounds useful. Here's what ReadWriteWeb wrote:
Smub.it offers a drop-dead simple social sharing and bookmarking tool that proves especially useful for iPhone and other smart phone users. ... [It] requires only that users type "smub.it/" to the left of the URL they wish to bookmark or share. Then, whether it's viewed on a mobile device or a computer, the browser goes to Smub's ten-button interface where users are presented with a modest but functional selection of link-sharing options. The service effectively eliminates the need for copy/paste functions and takes a few steps out of iPhone users' sharing process.
Note the .it (Italy) domain extension, which turns "Smub" into an imperative: "Smub it!" Techies love this sort of verbification. Trademark lawyers, on the other hand, loathe it. They want us to use trademarked names as adjectives only: "the Smub social-sharing service."
But back to the name itself. What exactly is wrong with Smub? For starters, its sound—muffled, blunted, nasally congested—is in direct opposition to the streamlining purpose of the product. Not only that: In English, words that start with smu- have negative connotations: smudge, smut, smug. Smub is one consonant away from snub and not far from snob. Zero positive associations.
And let it not be overlooked that Smub is bums spelled backward.
From the looks of it, the Smub team has invested a lot of time and brainpower into an application with some genuine utility and elegance. Why not expend just a quarter of that energy on the name?
* I was unable to find this definition on the Smub site or blog.