Last month Rogelio Bernal Andreo shared this naming story with The Name Inspector:
The story of coRank is a bit unusual. Back early last year I was thinking of launching a couple of services and wasn’t sure what name to pick (you know how “easy” is to grab a decent .com these days), so I ended up grabbing coRank.com and coTrack.com.
Then I got busy and those services (that were RSS feed related) never materialized.
Then I came with the idea of what coRank is today: a web-based service that would alow anyone to create their own social news network, or, in simple terms, their own Digg-like service (I try to stay away from using the clone term, as I think we have a different goal than just enabling people to create Digg clones, although it’s the easiest way people understand what coRank is about).
So then we started to look for a good .com name for the service. And we searched, and searched, and visited sedo.com 10 times a day, etc. And we were like that for 2-3 weeks until it struck me: “Wait a sec, I already have coRank.com, I have no use for it, and the name seems to me to be perfect for a service like this one!” coRank - cooperative ranking, people ranking things in a cooperative fashion, etc… It made sense and so we went for it.
And that’s the unusual part of it. I’m sure this is not the first site for which the name had been registered even before the idea came up and when the idea came, we weren’t trying to give a service to a name, but there probably aren’t many cases where this happened, and the name and idea actually married so well
This is a pretty funny coincidence. The name coRank is almost too descriptive, as if Rogelio had not traveled far enough in the naming process. But in fact he traveled a great distance, and ended up with a name that he created before his web app had even been conceived. Is it possible, Rogelio, that you got the idea for your app from the name?
While The Name Inspector often discourages people from using names that are too literally descriptive, in some cases they’re appropriate. This is one of those cases. Descriptive names often work when what you’re naming (a company, a product, a service) doesn’t fall into any recognized category and people need help understanding what you’re up to. That’s almost what’s going on here. Well, actually this case is a bit more complicated than that. coRank is in danger of falling into the category “Digg clone”–that is, of being defined in terms of one particular more prominent web app. If it had a suggestive name like Digg, it might have more trouble escaping the clone label. The name coRank stands out for being more descriptive of a Digg-like service than even the name Digg is. So it works pretty well even though it’s not the most colorful and interesting name in the world. It’s easy to pronounce and understand, and it gets poetic symmetry from the initial and final [k] sounds.
Thanks for your story, Rogelio. Congratulations on finding a use for that name you had sitting around, and good luck with the business.