Archive for January, 2007

PageFlakes shows how a quirky but vivid metaphor can make for a good name. In this case the name is for a customizable Ajax personal home page similar to Netvibes. The quirky, one is almost tempted to say flaky, thing about this name is of course the word flakes. Flakes are insubstantial little things and [...]

The Name Inspector has a special interest in names for tech companies, and not just the ones you’ve already heard of. Names for startups also capture his imagination, and entrepreneurs have begun to send in their naming stories. Here’s a story from Ksenia Oustiougova, founder of Lilipip, which produces mobile educational video content for children: [...]


TechCrunch is about as hardnosed as a name can be, both in sound and in meaning. Has this helped to establish Michael Arrington as a rainmaker of Web 2.0? Who can say? What makes this name so badass? First, there’s the no-nonsense word tech, which tells you in no uncertain terms what Mr. Arrington will [...]

Pandora is the character from Greek mythology who opened a jar (or box) and released evil and woe into the world. Doesn’t sound like good material for a name, does it? Isn’t calling a music service Pandora kind of like calling a women’s athletic shoe Incubus? No, it’s not like that at all. When people [...]

As a denizen of the Emerald City, the Name Inspector has been intrigued by the meteoric rise of the online real estate service Zillow, and has speculated on the origins of their name. Those speculations, though enjoyable, have turned out to be pointless, because it says right there on their website how they came up [...]

Occasionally the Name Inspector writes about names for companies, products, or services that have achieved iconic status. There are lessons to be learned from these names, sometimes because they’re great, and sometimes because they show it’s possible to succeed with a so-so name. Apple Computers is a great name. It’s a model solution to a [...]

When YouTube was acquired by Google, there were jokes about how it might be renamed (GooTube? GoogTube?). There were some serious suggestions, too. One branding expert urged Google to change the name to GoogleTube. In the Name Inspector’s not-so-humble opinion, Google was smart to let things stand. YouTube is a great name. A compound made [...]

Introducing the Name Inspector

We all eat and breathe company names and brand names. They occupy an ever-expanding space in our cultural environment. As the most carefully designed additions to the popular vocabulary, they are literary miniatures: nanopoems. They influence us, annoy us, and make us laugh, but mostly for reasons that elude our conscious minds. The Name Inspector [...]