Four company names that are not as amusing, meaningful, or intelligible as their creators assume.
Congratulations to Smorn on exceeding its Kickstarter goal before the deadline. Maybe the founders will set aside some of the excess cash for a new name, because the current one—a regrettable portmanteau of smart and horn—is doing them no favors. I guarantee you that no one will decipher “smart” from “sm-”or “horn” from “-orn.” When even TechCrunch says your product “is cooler than it sounds,” you know the name’s a problem. The product seems terrific; it deserves a smart name, not two unhelpful letters from the word smart. P.S. “Glorp”—for the glow-in-the-dark version—is no better. (For more on bad names that start with sm-, see this post about Smeg and this one about Smencils.)
If I gave you four chances to guess what Ecwid is, I bet you’d lose—even if I showed you the logo.
European Community Wealth Information Department? Something about equitable? Something in Welsh? Ecological baby buggies for widdle tiny sextuplets?
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. This terrible name (for a maker of online shopping-cart software) turns out to be another regrettable portmanteau: a blend of “e-commerce” and “widgets.”
Let’s review: 1) “ec” does not connote “e-commerce” to anyone, 2) “wid” does not connote “widget” to anyone, and 3) “widgets” is very 2005.
Maybe “Ecwid” seemed brilliant in Russia, where the company was founded, but it’s unfathomable, not to mention icky-sounding, in the US. Now that the company has offices in Southern California, it’s time for a deep rethink.
By the way, when I tweeted about the Ecwid name last month, the company responded defensively:
@fritinancy good or bad, it’s unique, and we reap lots of benefits from that. And so do our customers too.
Good or bad?
P.S. “Unique” does not translate to “effective.”
μBiome uses the Greek letter μ—the symbol for “micro”—in its logo, but the English letter “u” everywhere else (ubiome.com; “uBiome is the world’s first effort to map the human microbiome with citizen science”).
So is the company name pronounced “microbiome” or “you-biome”? Or “mee-biome” (μ in modern Greek)? Or “myoo-biome” (μ in English)? It looks as though μBiome has learned nothing from the confusing example of μTorrent (scroll down to #4).
When your company is called White Dental Supply and you don’t sell dental supplies, people naturally get confused. No matter how many times you say “We’re an Internet marketing company!” they still ask for floss samples. So you change the name. To Pitooey! With an exclamation mark. Because it sounds like what you do after you brush and rinse? No, because it’s “the language of penguins.”
Unfortunately, the CEO speaks the language of buzzword bingo:
The name Pitooey! promotes the strong social media and mobile marketing background of our company. In 2013 we will be pivoting into a new industry with a suite of exciting products and services, and this name change reflects this exciting transformation.