Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What to Name This Baby

Believe me, I know that it’s really difficult to come up with a good name for a company. Unlike naming the baby, where it’s really OK if there are multiple Emilys and Jacobs, you really want your company name to be a one-off. But walking around the VON Expo (Voice-Video-Vision - a.k.a. "the VoIP show") in Boston this week, it was interesting to see how many terrible company names there really are out there. Is it just me, or does Dialexia look a lot like Dyslexia? And what were they thinking when Porta One came up with their name? Are there no Porta Potties in Canada?

I will throw Voxbone a bone because they’re Belgian and maybe it means “voice good” in Bruges. I have some trouble with Personeta – to me it sounds like a bad “made up name”, or a put down. (“She’s not really a person, she’s more of a person-eta.”) Mediatrix is a bit too racy. Or a bit too religious. Take your pick.

But my “Best of Show” when it comes to bad names is, drum roll please: U4EA Technologies. Yes, they have the word “Euphoria” embedded in their logo. And maybe the URL was taken when they set up shop (it’s not now). To me the name looked like UREA. (In an industry where IP/"I pee" jokes are not unknown, this one just doesn’t do it for me.)

Now that I’ve managed to knock all of the above companies off my list of places I could conceivable consult, I want to point out I’m not a total crank on names. I liked Cantata. I liked Airvana and Pingtel (even though I think that at some point these companies will decide that they were having an attack of severe cutesy when they came up with the name – especially in the case of Pingtel). My favorite company name at VON was Ojo. So, naturally, come to find out it’s not a company name at all: it’s a product name. (The company is actually World Gate.) Still, if you want to see fun, interesting branding/naming, check-out Ojo. It’s a personal video phone, and they’ve got a few fun things going with it: a nice pun on the Spanish word for eye (if my junior high español is still serving me); use of the color orange (since most of us are going to pronounce it o-joe anyway); and the first O in Ojo has eyelashes.

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