Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’

10 Best and Worst Internet Company Names of the Decade

January 4, 2010

We loved this MarketingProfs article by Laurel Sutton, a linguistics expert and a partner at Catchword.

10 Best and Worst Internet Company Names of the Decade,               by Laurel Sutton, Published on December 29, 2009

Like the internet phenoms they trumpeted, Internet company names of the last decade have been, by turns, wildly inventive, deeply troubled, breathtakingly silly, serviceable (if dull)—and, occasionally, brilliant.

Having christened our share of Internet phenoms, we at Catchword decided to looked back to identify the 10 biggest dot-com naming trends—and their best and worst examples.

(Although, frankly, it was hard to choose just one “worst” in some cases. There were so many Web 2.0 disasters! It was as though the rules of language had ceased to apply.)

Here are the trends and names that rose to the top (and sank to the bottom):

1. The Hookup

Sometimes two words are better than one—especially to convey a new way of doing things. Serviceable hookups can range from descriptive (Facebook, StubHub) to suggestive (LinkedIn) to evocative (Snapfish).

But if two words don’t have a discernible relationship with each other—or the brand—it’s a Random Hookup. And we all know how short-lived those are—in this or any realm.

Win: YouTube

Intuitive, catchy, grassroots-y. The retro slang “tube” for TV evokes simpler times and ease of use: clever for a new app that could have been seen as intimidatingly high-tech.

Fail: TalkShoe

Say what? The name is a play on the use of Ed Sullivan’s pronunciation of the word “show” on his long-ago TV show. Like anyone is going to make the connection…

2. The Conjurer

Evocative words can make memorable brand names when they relate to the core of a brand’s story (like Yelp). But the line can be fine between edgy and baffling.

Win: Twitter

Whimsically conjures up users’ sharing short little bursts of information (like birds twittering in a tree)—as well as excitement (“all atwitter”). It’s extendable, too. A whole vocabulary quickly takes flight—from tweet and twitfriend to twipic.

Fail: MOO

Great for cows, milk, cheese, ice cream. Not so great for a site offering printing services.

3. The Letter-Dropper

The problem with this type of coinage is it’s so distinctive you’re almost bound to look like a copycat if you’re not the first out of the gate. And if you drop more than one letter, you’re asking for trouble. (Was Motorola’s SLVR cell phone meant to be Silver or Sliver? And what’s with Scribd?)

Win: Flickr

The image of a camera’s flicker is relevant for photo sharing and reassuringly familiar, while the dropped letter—a new naming convention—suggested cutting-edge technology.

Fail: iStalkr

Creepy.

4. The Assembly Line

Names assembled from word parts with meaningful associations can be rich and unexpected (witness Gizmodo, the gadget blog). But tone and messaging need to be just right.

Win: Wikipedia

The unusualness of the name establishes it as a fresh player, while the evocation of both encyclopedias and speed (“wiki” is Hawaiian for “quick”) is spot on.

Fail: Nupedia

The flatfooted claim of newness sounds dated from day one. Plus it’s risky to stake an identity on newness in internet-land. Before long, this premise is far from “nu.”

5. The Misspeller

This kind of brand name often spells disaster: hard to remember (Ideeli, Scrybe), confusing to pronounce and spell (Myngle, Wotnext, Gravee), and reeking of URL-search desperation (Itzbig, Profilactic, Fairtilizer).

Win: Boku

French word “beaucoup” is on the money for an online payment service—and for many Americans, the misspelling is actually more intuitive and inviting.

Fail: Cuil

Meant to be pronounced “cool,” but who’s gonna get that? Rule No. 1: Your name shouldn’t need to come with a pronunciation guide.

6. The Wordster

Another convention that ages fast. And there’s nothing more pathetic in naming than a transparent attempt to appear cool (cases in point: Dogster, Agester, Talkster).

Win: Friendster

Not exciting, we’ll grant you, but the intuitiveness of the name helped usher in the era of social networking.

Fail: Napster

In light of its ensuing legal woes, to highlight the “kidnapping” of music is probably not the best idea (to put it kindly).

7. The Double or Nothing

Doubling a letter in a real word only works when the word remains recognizable, and the addition of the second letter serves some purpose, other than to complicate spelling (as in Gawwk).

Win: Digg

Intuitive and evocative, the double “g” underscores the digging nature of research and is graphically interesting.

Fail: Diigo

A social bookmarking site, the double “i” destroys the semantic connection and confuses pronunciation. (Is it Dee-go or Dih-go?) Plus, coming on the heels of Digg, it seems hopelessly derivative.

8. The eThing, the iThing, the meThing, the myThing

“e/i” shorthand quickly becomes redundant in the internet space, although it spawns many workhorse names: serviceable, if dull. The me/my thing (as in mySpace) tends to be similarly predictable and unremarkable. (Now, myBad—that would be interesting…)

Win: iContact

For a provider of email marketing, the “i” works on three levels: “I contact,” “eye contact,” and, of course, “Internet contact.”

Fail: eSnailer, eBaum’s World, eXpresso…

9. The Empty Vessel

A word without recognizable semantic roots can be a useful umbrella name for a company that may want to branch out in different directions. But it needs to be pronounceable and have relevant sound symbolism. Otherwise, it’s not an Empty Vessel—it’s Alphabet Soup. Like Disaboom, Xoopit, Yebol, and Goozex. Cover your ears.

Win: Kazaa

Recalls huzzah or hurrah, conveying excitement. (Sample exclamation: “Kazaa! I just downloaded Season One of Six Feet Under, FOR FREE!!!”)

Fail: Eefoof

Vintage Web 2.0: hard to spell, silly—and utterly meaningless.

10. The Foreigner

Words in little-known languages can also make good empty-vessel names, especially if their meaning provides a springboard into their brand story. The trick is to find words that are easy to pronounce and pleasing to the American ear (like Kijiji, a communal website with a Swahili name meaning “village”).

Win: Hulu

Good empty vessel name for an entertainment company that wants to keep its options open. (Interestingly, the word means “empty gourd” in Mandarin.) The rhyming word is playful, and by evoking hula hoops, it suggests fun.

Fail: Jwaala

Talk about a tongue-twister.

The Coming Decade

As for Internet company naming trends of the coming decade: Companies will demand more meaningful brand names, as far from Web 2.0 flights of fancy as possible; they’ll be willing to pay a premium for real-word or lightly coined domain names; and they will be creative in the messages they explore—as long as they’re relevant to the brand.

Like Internet companies themselves, it appears, Internet naming will be coming back down to earth.

Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

More social networking statistics

September 24, 2009

We found a few more statistics on social networking from Econsultancy, and wanted to share. (Posted August 2009).

  • Social networks and blogs are the 4th most popular online activities online, including personal email. 67% of global users visit member communities and 10% of all time spent on the internet is on social media sites.
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth most populated place in the world. This means it easily beats the likes of Brazil, Russia and Japan in terms of size.
  • 80% of companies use, (or are planning to use), LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees during the course of this year. The site has just celebrated reaching its 45-millionth membership.
  • Around 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week during campaigns, with 39% using it for 10 or more hours per week.
  • It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners. Terrestrial TV took 13 years to reach 50 million users. The internet took four years to reach 50 million people… In less than nine months, Facebook added 100 million users.
  • Wikipedia currently has more than 13 million articles in more than 260 different languages. The site attracts over 60 million unique users a month and it’s often hotly debated that the information it contains is more reliable than any printed Encyclopedia.
  • The most recent figure of blogs being indexed by Technorati currently stands at 133 million. The same report into the Blogosphere also revealed that on average, 900,000 blog posts are created within a single 24-hour period.
  • It’s been suggested that YouTube is likely to serve over 75 billion video streams to around 375 million unique visitors during this year.
  • The top three people on Twitter (Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres and Britney Spears) have more combined followers than the entire population of Austria.
  • According to Socialnomics, if you were paid $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia, you would earn $156.23 per hour.
  • The online bookmarking service, Delicious, has more than five million users and over 150 million unique bookmarked URLs.
  • Since April this year, Twitter has been receiving around 20 million unique visitors to the site each month, according to some analytical sources.
  • Formed in 2004, Flickr now hosts more than 3.6 billion user images.
  • Universal McCann reports that 77% of all active internet users regularly read blogs.

Do you have any cool stats on social networking? Share with us in our comments!

Bookmark and Share

People spend 3x more time on Facebook than Google

September 18, 2009

Source: Mashable

Back in July, we reported that Facebook had become the Internet’s ultimate time waster, with users spending an average of 4 hours, 39 minutes on it per month, more than any other site on the Web.

Since then, however, that number has only gone up. According to numbers from Nielsen Online, users spent an average of 5 hours, 46 minutes on Facebook in the month of August. To put that in perspective, that’s triple the amount of time they spent on Google!

In fact, the next closest site in Nielsen’s top 10 is Yahoo, which, despite still having huge traffic in time consuming areas like news, sports, and financial data, could only get users to stick around for 3 hours and 14 minutes on average during the month. YouTube, surprisingly, only occupied 1 hour and 17 minutes of the average user’s time.

Average monthly use

Of course, one of Google’s stated philosophies is that they “may be the only people in the world who can say our goal is to have people leave our homepage as quickly as possible.” However, that ethos was set in stone long before users started spending an inordinate amount of time on social sites – sites that now want to compete in search.

For now, Google’s answer seems to be extending its reach in search through other products – primarily its Chrome web browser and upcoming OS. But not having a strong presence in social networking remains the company’s Achilles’ heel, becoming ever more apparent as Facebook pulls away from the pack in usage stats.

Bookmark and Share


%d bloggers like this: