It takes two to dango (at least)

Originally published May 26, 2009

A few days ago John Cook reported that lawyers from job site Jobdango want the folks at Zoodango, a site that has nothing to do with jobs, to stop using the name Zoodango because the dango ending infringes on Jobdango’s trademark. Zoodango CEO James Sun said they’d fight the trademark issue even though they’re changing their name to GeoPage.

For The Name Inspector, this news conjures an image of two pigeons fighting over a moldy piece of hot dog bun.

For starters, Jobdango is just a silly name. Besides being phonologically inelegant after Job-, that dang –dango is either one of the most bizarrely gratuitous endings The Name Inspector has ever seen on a name, or it’s a cranberry morpheme that’s probably derived from the name Fandango, in which case it’s embarrassingly unoriginal. The –dango ending makes sense in the name Fandango, because fandango is a word for a Spanish dance that also happens to contain the word fan, which is kind of fitting for a site that sells movie tickets. The name Handango is clearly a play on the word fandango.

But what’s –dango doing in the name Jobdango, which bears no other resemblance to the word fandango? Well, what it’s probably doing is reminding us vaguely of successful commercial websites like Fandango, known to many through its TV commercials featuring hand puppets made out of brown paper lunch bags.

So Jobdango, you should be a tad embarrassed trying to protect –dango as if it’s some kind of special mark that’s uniquely associated with you. It’s not. You didn’t make it up, you weren’t the first to use it, and you might even benefit from people’s familiarity with –dango companies that have gone before you. So just drop it. Drop that moldy hot dog bun.

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