The last roundup for 2011, that is.
Webctor may be the only purportedly English word I’ve ever encountered that contains the consonant sequence B-C-T. That’s because that particular sequence is unpronounceable. Which makes word-of-mouth advertising, or even answering the telephone, rather challenging.
In creating this breathtakingly bad name, someone—or someone’s automated name generator—evidently went no further than “web + doctor.” A similarly shaky command of English is evidenced in the writing. (“WebCTOR.com delivers valuable medical content the needy every day.”) And, in fact, WebCTOR was launched in Poland sometime in 2011.
Any resemblance of the WebCTOR name and logo to an older and better-known medical website is probably entirely intentional.
You own a flower shop/restaurant/gift “shoppe” in “a sprawling turn-of-the-century home” in Pittsburgh, PA. Naturally, you name your business after a macabre, bestselling 1979 novel (and 1987 movie) about abandoned children and adolescent incest. Welcome to Flowers in the Attic!
“The horror begins…”
Hat tip: Coneslayer.
Let’s pause to admire that gorgeous “g” in the logo. And then let’s collectively drop our jaws at the name. Pungency may sound dandy in Japanese (I honestly have no idea), but its associations in English are less than appetizing. Pungent is a synonym for “biting,” “penetrating,” or “caustic”; its Latin root means “to sting.” Burning rubber is pungent. Milk tea should not be pungent. Indeed, the blogger at Transmissions from Tokyo found the opposite to be the case:
Ironically, the drink is more or less the same as Royal Milk Tea. It's not strong tasting or strong smelling at all. Not in the least! You'd think that someone there at the company would have thought to argue against naming a beverage Pungency for the same reasons I'm mentioning now. Guess not.
The language barrier is no excuse for Flubit, unless it’s that old separated-by-a-common-language barrier.
FlubIt is a London-based startup that finds discounts “on everything you buy.” The company’s founder apparently thinks “flub” is an invented word, when in fact—sorry to be the bearer of bad news—it’s a synonym for “botch” or “bungle.” Yes, the OED says it’s a US colloquialism, but it’s been around since 1924, for crying out loud. Surely it’s crossed the pond a few times.
But it seems never to have reached the ears of founder Bertie Stephens, who boasted to The Next Web about what a brilliant name he’d picked:
“[T]he name flubit preceded the actual business idea by a couple of years or so,” Stephens said, “and it just stuck with me until I eventually had the right product for it. So rather than putting a name to a product, we put a product to the name. … It was short, people would remember it, and it was a verb which, in my eyes, is hugely important. This meant I could run with the tagline ‘before you buy it, Flubit.’”
And then he said, still on the record:
“Also, it doesn’t have a pre-conceived meaning”, added Stephens. “So we can make it mean what we like – some find it silly, others cool.”
No preconceived meaning for someone who hasn’t consulted a dictionary, that is to say. FlubIt can go stand in the corner with Flubby, the badly named (but beautiful) shoe from Aquatalia. And, Mr. Stephens, the next time your entrepreneurial brain tells you to choose a name because it’s short and “a verb,” please seek professional advice.
Hat tip: Leslie Forman.
Read all of my Bad Names posts, if you have the stomach for them. Here’s to better names in 2012!