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What’s In A Name? Web 2.0 Domain Naming Disasters

The NYTimes nails it, talking about all these new made-up 2.0 names…

These are all actual Web sites that have hit the Web in the last year or so: Doostang. Wufoo. Bliin. Thoof. Bebo. Meebo. Meemo. Kudit. Raketu. Etelos. Iyogi. Oyogi. Qoop. Fark. Kijiji. Zixxo. Zoogmo.

These startups think that these names will stick in our minds because they’re so offbeat, but they’re wrong. Actually, all those twentysomething entrepreneurs are ensuring that we won’t remember them. Those names all blend together into a Dr. Seuss 2.0 jumble.

About the only neat domain name I like nowadays that fits into that category, sorta, is Xobni.com, which is Inbox spelled backwards. Makes sense because they do email stuff.

The piece continues…

These days, though, you get the impression that today’s startups aren’t even trying. They go directly for the Web 2.0 Name Generator. They think that if Google or Yahoo got away with cryptic names, they can do it, too.

But here’s a little wakeup call: People will learn to love your site’s wacky name only if they fall in love with the site itself. Google and Yahoo became household nutty names only because everyone loved their services. They did not succeed because they had silly names.

And when you name your site Yambo or Roombee, that’s a lot less likely to happen. You’re stacking the deck against your own success.

I couldn’t agree more. I thought the days of stupid made up company names died with the first bubble. I’m unsure why people are trying to bring that idea back; that you can make up a name and have it stick. Where’s the creativity?

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15 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Sam Harrelson
    December 7, 2007 at 1:25 pm #

    Um… Fark?

    Fark has been around since 1999 (at least) and the name was intentionally stupid to poke fun at the trash articles that “mainstream media” (with their authoritative names like Time and Newsweek) were producing in order to get eyeballs.

    Fark is as web2.0 as fax machines.

    I’ll take a company with a “web2.0” name any day over a tired and regurgitated piece from a major newspaper that doesn’t even take the time to fact check.

  2. Jim Kukral
    December 7, 2007 at 2:50 pm #

    You’re overreacting Sam I think. The guy’s point does make sense.

  3. Zac Johnson
    December 7, 2007 at 4:15 pm #

    It’s almost come to the point where you need to make up new words or site names to establish a new or unique business. Since many of the new 2.0 startups are new and don’t have the massive cash to spend it on a (already owned) domain name, its easier for them to think hard and make something new and weird.

  4. Leather Sectionals
    December 7, 2007 at 11:09 pm #

    ‘Gasus’ sounds very much like it has something to do with flatulence, ‘Goowy’ sounds like someone with the lisp trying to say groovy. There is something silly not clever about all those names you mentioned above. Definitely not memorable.

  5. Jim Kukral
    December 8, 2007 at 12:12 am #

    Zac, yeah, I agree. But I was thinking about it some more, and you know, “Kodak” probably sounded pretty silly way back when?

  6. Sam Harrelson
    December 8, 2007 at 9:13 am #

    Not to mention crazy names like “Google” or “Yahoo” or “Pepsi.”

  7. Ro
    December 10, 2007 at 8:35 pm #

    Yeah…there’s something about the ‘oddball’ established brands that is pleasing, or hints of meaning:

    -Google is an actual word, however obscure and nerdy, that implies massive -scale, as in content indexed
    -Yahoo is an exclamation of joy
    -Kleenex evokes “clean”
    -Yoplait evokes yogurt
    -Cheerios, cheerfulness or a greeting
    -Pepsi evokes ‘pep’, as in rally
    -Coca and Cola were both known plant names.
    -Kodak, short for Kodachrome, from Autochrome, an early photography method

    In comparison, these web 2.0 names are kinda silly, but I agree with Zac; the good domains are taken. I don’t blame these companies for going with their zany names, however silly they sound. The only alternative is either a proper name (McRoger’s), which sounds weird for an internet company, a 3 or 4 word generic name, and that sucks even worse (FreeCouponSharingSite.com versus Zixxo.com). Nice angle Zac; I think the Grey Lady missed that one. But give The Times credit for arranging all those names together, pretty funny and good linkbait.

  8. Sam Harrelson
    December 10, 2007 at 9:14 pm #

    Actually, Google is a made up (and mis-spelled) name. The intention was “googol.”


  9. RO
    December 11, 2007 at 2:48 pm #

    You got me, Sam, Google is a made up word. But it does evoke googol, just like kleenex evokes clean.

    With my fact-checking skills, I should get a job at the Times!

  10. Sam Harrelson
    December 11, 2007 at 2:53 pm #

    No worries, RO. I just have a thing for truthiness.

  11. Raymond Loesch
    December 17, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    I would have to agree with you when coming up with ideas for naming my blog I decided that just using my name was good enough. If you write well and keep your reader or user interested in what you are saying or selling they will come back and remember your site name what ever it is.

  12. BriskShare Link Directory
    June 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    You can get a web 2.0 domain thats easy to remember. I don’t know why people aren’t doing it

  13. Dakbid Directory
    June 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    I have found a good web 2.0 domain thats already memorable

  14. Frank Tannehill
    January 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    There should be a <a rel="follow" href="http://www.123-reg.co.uk/domain-names/">domain name etiquette and everyone should follow it. If a name is too short I can't associate it to anything so I forget it. If it's too long (like idreamofcake or icanhascheezburger) I risk misspelling it. If it isn't an existing word then I can't remember it. What happened to normal names?


  1. Poesía 2.0 | COOKIEFACE - Blog de diseño y actualidad. Diseñador de blogs. - September 8, 2008

    […] Links: Nombres 2.0: el auge de los nuevos portales web, Origin of the name flickr: flicker.com was taken (dconstruct 07), Name 2.0 Name Generator, Cliche logos, What’s in a name? In Web 2.0, confusion (mathewingran), What’s In A Name? Web 2.0 Domain Naming Disasters (Jim Kukral) […]