In my new column for the Visual Thesaurus, I take a look back at the year in brand names. My top-ten list includes a car brand, a game brand, an Apple brand, and four defunct companies. (It was that kind of year.)
No subscription is required this time—happy holidays! Here’s one of the names that made my list:
Klout. Launched in September 2009, Klout measures social-media users’ influence, or “Klout,” across multiple platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The name is simply “clout” with a “k”—a popular letter substitution in American brand names for nearly a century. (I wrote about some of those names, including Tastykake and Klever Klippers, in an August Candlepower column, “Phood for Thought.”) According to a TechCrunch report, Klout’s founder, Joe Fernandez, wrested control of the klout.com domain by tracking down its owner to a San Francisco restaurant and tossing an envelope with $5,000 in cash on the table. Klout has attracted praise (TechCrunch called it “an admirable pioneer”) and scorn (British science-fiction author Charlie Stross called it “the Internet equivalent of herpes”). It has also inspired a parody, Flout.me, whose name is both a blend (“fake” and “Klout”) and a descriptive verb. The satirical service allows users to flout the rules and make up their own social-media scores.
Agree? Disagree? Read the rest of the column and leave a comment with your own suggestions.