Originally published Jun 7, 2011
Brevity is a virtue in a name, usually. Come up with a short name that relates to your company or product in an imaginative way, and you’re golden. A sort of verbal minimalism is the goal of most naming efforts.
Some names, however, succeed with a more…maximalist approach. Two extreme examples are the well-known full-sentence product names Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. GYHST was popular in the 1970s, and its name might be regarded as a late, faint echo of 1960s psychedelic maximalism, best exemplified, perhaps, by Screaming Yellow Zonkers, a sort of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band of the snack food aisle. The Name Inspector’s father was a food package designer (now retired), so the black SYZ box with Peter Max-esque illustrations was an object of great interest in our house. Dad, in fact, went on to design the first black breakfast cereal box for Circus Fun cereal from General Mills. (No doubt this early experience with product packaging and logos and names was formative for The Name Inspector.)
This little walk down memory lane has been inspired not by premature nostalgia but by the question of who has the longest, craziest company name in Seattle. If we interpret “company name” loosely to allow web properties, then it would have to be lolcat capital of the world I Can Has Cheezburger, from Cheezburger Network. This name commits sins besides cumbersome length: it’s also grammatically anomalous and misspelled. Yet in its own way it’s perfect for what it is.
Runner-up might be one of the first dozen or so names The Name Inspector wrote about: Jackson Fish Market. While this would be the most mundane name in the world for a fish market on Jackson St., it’s strikingly bizarre for a software company name, which is what it is. And that’s cool.
Other contenders would be Peppers and Pollywogs, Obey the Decider (another sentence name!), No Longer Need It (as a verb phrase that’s not an imperative, it’s a grammatical oddity for a name), and newcomer Baldy Beanbag (not that long, but strange enough to make up for that). And the good old Robot Co-op deserves a mention, if only for the wonderfully counterintuitive idea it expresses (Do we want a company to be run by robots? And can robots form co-ops?).
How about it, readers? What are some other long, crazy company names from Seattle? Or from anywhere?