Friday, June 29, 2012

Your Name Matters

From the Boston Business Journal's "Startups &VC" daily update yesterday:

Networking startup Plexxi raises $20.1M as it emerges from stealth

That groan you hear is from me, frustrated that yet another startup has chosen a really stupid name. What the heck does Plexxi mean? How will anyone remember that double x? Does the double x mean it's specifically for women?

I see names like this all the time now: Bozuko, Bebo, Sclipo, Plurk... they sound like baby talk. I know a fair amount of these are selected by the availability of short domain names ending in .com, but seriously, how can you expect customers to take you seriously when you say these names?

For a company, a name is a first impression. I can tell you that when I research vendors, online tools, and service providers that if I am embarrassed to say your company's name, I'm not going to buy your services.

I can hear the start up kids saying, "But all the good .com names are taken! We have to have these names!" and I want to point out that I know how to type .info, .net, .org and many other extensions into an address bar. That if you master SEO, I can click on search engine links without ever having to type into my address bar. That as a company, you can stand out by NOT being on .com, or that it's your job to teach your customers to type something else into their address bar.

The Next Web has a nice roundup of really silly web startup names. What's the silliest name you've heard of lately?