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#1 sanity

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 04:29 PM

Does anyone have any resources or links to sites that provide info on coming up with a business name?

#2 DianeV

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 04:43 PM

The only thing I have is surveys -- surveys of the target audience. Of course, how the questions are written and how the survey is conducted has everything to do with the results.

The result, of course, should be a name that "talks to" the audience.

#3 sanity

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:37 PM

Thanks Diane :D

Here's a couple of articles I've found if anyone is interested:

The Name Game
http://www.entrepren...,265010,00.html

What is a good business name?
http://www.business-...siness_name.htm

10 crucial questions for naming your business
http://www.business-...ur_business.htm

#4 Black_Knight

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:49 PM

I really didn't like the second of those at all. The article was simply wrong time after time, (what good is advice from a company that gave itself no better name than "business-name-search.com"), the pop-under was unwelcome and the onExit popunder was even more unwelcome. :D

#5 sanity

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:55 PM

Apologies Ammon. :D

I didn't get the pop unders - they're blocked so I didn't realise. Agree the domain is rather tragic but I felt there were some good points in the article.

#6 Black_Knight

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 12:10 AM

The best advice I can offer on business names is to forget every article ever read. Find a name that you like and are proud to use, because it actually doesn't matter much. It helps if its easily remembered and easy to spell after hearing it spoken, but aside from that it really doesn't matter that much.

I've heard advice about names for years, and none of it stacked up in real world terms.

According to most articles, Amazon is a lousy name. It doesn't mention a product, gives people no idea what the company does, and so forth. Some articles tell us that Amazon should somehow be doomed to failure.

I've heard that companies should never use letters or numbers countless times. AT&T, AOL, IBM, MSN, CNN, ITV, KFC, W3C, O2, 1&1 and so on for a thousand names are all doomed to fail, apparently. :roll:

Harrods, Maceys, Woolworths, Tesco, Shell, Saatchi and Saatchi, Deloit Haskins Sells, Time Warner, Mercedes Benz, BMW ... as just the first ten names I can think of that break at least one of the stupid rules people sometimes try to pretend exist.

There are no rules.

Your business name will be whatever you make it mean through customer experience, PR, branding and marketing. That's the sole truth of business names. Unique is good, but not essential - you think no-one had ever had a business called MacDonald's before? :D

Just pick what you are proud to use. There's no more magic than having a name you say with pride.

#7 polarmate

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 12:34 AM

Right on, Ammon!

It was quite hilarious when PwC Consulting went into the name-changing throes. They chose Monday as their new name. They went on and on about why they chose Monday and what Monday represents etc etc. I got messages from employees who got caught up in this name game on my alumni boards. I got flamed when I ad-libbed that it maybe 'Someday' instead of Monday as not all offices in all countries were under the wing span of the new Monday Consulting. But the joke was finally on them when Monday never saw the light of any day of the week and were condemned to become IBM Global Services. I could never figure that one out...Monday???!!!

#8 sanity

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 12:38 AM

I've heard that companies should never use letters or numbers countless times.  AT&T, AOL, IBM, MSN, CNN, ITV, KFC, W3C, O2, 1&1 and so on for a thousand names are all doomed to fail, apparently.  :roll:

Sure I can see your point but keep in mind those are large companies with larger budgets to market themselves and if necessary explain to people what they do. Personally I wouldn't suggest that route to a smaller business.

BTW - I've never heard of 02 and 1&1 before and their names don't give much of a clue about what they do. :wink:

Your business name will be whatever you make it mean through customer experience, PR, branding and marketing. 

Agreed. :D

#9 BillSlawski

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 05:47 AM

Hi Sophie,

Of the articles, I'd say the third one is OK. I'm not excited about the other two. I think Ammon's on track with his post. This is good:

The best advice I can offer on business names is to forget every article ever read.


There are some general things to consider, but overall, finding a name that you don't mind doing business under is strong advice.

If the company is a corporation, limited liability company, or other legal form of business, it will need to use a suffix appropriate to that form of legal entity, such as: Inc., Incorporated, Co., LLC, L.L.C., Ltd., and so on.

If it's a sole proprietorship or partnership, it shouldn't use one of those, but it should register in the appropriate places the trade name or fictitious name being used.

Some words can't be used in names. Some states, regions, countries, and other governing bodies have rules against the use of certain words in names without approval or the proper type of licensing -- such as "bank", "trust", etc. A look though the corporate laws, and laws on banking, and professions will help. Most states have information on this through their secretary of state's office, or through their office that handles revenue. A lot of governments try to make this easy to find, but it isn't always.

A trademark search is probably a good idea. Some serious problems can come about if the wrong name is used. Trademark infringement can bring about serious civil penalties (litigation). It doesn't hurt to look around, and there are some very good trademark services available that can help keep this type of trouble from happening.

Criminal penalties might be a potential possibility in some places if a prosecutor thinks that you chose a name with an intent to defraud people. Naming a company something very similar to another company that has years of good will and a reputation, and then presenting yourself in an ambiguous manner, so that people might think you are that company is not a good idea.

These are things to consider:

If a name is easy to remember, people might remember it.

If a name is easy to spell, people might remember how to spell it.

If the name evokes an image that you would like to have people associate with your business, it might.

If a name is too generic, it might be difficult to trademark, and might not stand out.

In the absence of a proven track record, or a marketing campaign, or a recognizable person's name as a member of the business, people will react to the business name itself. You want that reaction to be positive.

#10 bwelford

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 06:28 AM

Bill is bringing out many important points. However at the heart of the issue, I believe, is how potential customers perceive the name. Ideally when they hear the name, they should instantly say, "We've got to talk: it sounds as though you have something interesting for me."

One important aspect is to make sure that the chosen name has not got some hidden "vices". This is particularly true now that the name may be used on the Internet. I discuss the issues in one of my Newsletters, "For More Sales, Call Your Company MONDAY". There is also an associated Excel-based Company Name Rater, that may be of interest.

A final point is that if your current company name just doesn't quite work, then as quickly as possible change it for a better one. You have nothing to lose. Current customers receiving good service will not leave you because you changed the company name. The payoff is that all those potential customers, who didn't know you anyway, will now hear a name that says something to them.

Barry Welford

#11 polarmate

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 09:18 AM

Monday?!! <sorry to sound like an echo in the Swiss mountains!>
But, Monday???

Monday is a new identity on which to build our company's future, and it will have meaning and stand for something: real people, real experience, real business…and that means real results."

What does Monday have to do with any of this? If it is a projection of an image onto a day of the week, then for that matter, you can do that with any word in the English language (or any other language).

<sic: When Ciba-Geigy merged with Sandoz and they became Novartis and the merger took months to percolate down to the individual companies in various countries, the employees of those companies said: "Novartis? No! Nowhere, it is.">

#12 bwelford

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 09:35 AM

I agree - sometimes large enterprises do the most amazing things. I believe it is the bandwagon effect that can occur in top-down directed companies. No one wants to tell the boss he's wrong. Another of my Newsletters gives an explanation of why such things happen. Check out What Can We Learn from the Nortel Networks Meltdown

In the case of the MONDAY name, there was a very rapid series of trademark registrations of the name MONDAY to be used for several very specific businesses, just prior to the announcement of the new name. It all looked very rushed and very unnatural.

In my earlier Newsletter that I mentioned in this thread, I also looked at the name Accenture, with its untypeable accent on the t. I guess anything is better than the previous name, Anderson Consulting. However ...

Barry Welford

#13 glyn

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 11:59 AM

The best advice I can offer on business names is to forget every article ever read.  Find a name that you like and are proud to use, because it actually doesn't matter much.  It helps if its easily remembered and easy to spell after hearing it spoken, but aside from that it really doesn't matter that much.


I agree, although I think it a little simplistic to seperate the enormous multinational companies from those with just a little webventure on the side as an income supplementer. And I also believe that if we are looking at the online market, which at a guess lends itself more to a home-website operation than a bricks and mortar company, the name annd consequent domain name is an important consideration.

Glyn.

#14 DianeV

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 12:04 PM

Okay. I've seen a well-chosen name increase business nearly overnight.

However, it doesn't necessarily follow that an established company should undo years of branding without, as was pointed out above, having the wherewithal to notify all customers and re-brand.

#15 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 09:46 PM

So, I am about to name a software product. While some may say to use words with meaning, I am for abstract ones. However, there's a catch. It is really hard to find one abstract word (however it is spelled) that is a short one and you can speak it over the phone without spelling.

How does one find such words, anyway?

I am now sideways looking at using two words that make sense. Does anyone think it will more likely to impose a branding disaster in the long run? Is it worth it to use a longer (10-15 char name) over a short one (5-7), if people can speak it without spelling out?

Your ideas?

Thanks.

#16 projectphp

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 10:10 PM

First step: make sure the domain is available before getting excited! Nothing worse than having a name that is taken (happenned to me a heap of times).

As for names... hmmm... Not really sure exactly how to find one. Sorry!

#17 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 10:16 PM

Well, the main problem is with all the domains being taken (as I am choosing a product name, which will be hosted on its own domain). Otherwise, this would be pretty easy. Thanks, though.

P.S. You'll notice that the latter two articles Sophie linked to are hosted by a parked domain, meaning that the business-name-search.com wasn't a very good business. I wonder why.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 07 February 2007 - 03:20 AM.


#18 bwelford

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 11:34 PM

Whatever you choose, make sure you do a Google search and a Google Blogsearch on the name. That will give you an idea of whether you really can 'own' it on the Internet. Just having the domain may not be enough.

#19 Respree

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 07:25 PM

Yuri, is that you digging up three year old threads? ;)

KPMG, one of the big four US-based accounting firms, stands for "Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler." Even some of their employees don't know it and I'll be you can't find it on their website.

Everyone just says "KPMG."

Rule number one, make it easy to pronounce.

Seven years ago, when I picked 'respree,' I had no idea that I'd have to be spelling it for the rest of my life (what? risk-free?). Sounds sort of garbled on the telephone.

Rule number two, make it easy to spell (and type).

Seven years ago, when I picked 'respree,' I had no idea ...(well you know the drill).

I think there's some sound advice, in what Ammon had to say on the subject (three years ago, see previous post).

By the way, what does the software do? Perhaps members can lend a few ideas...

#20 A.N.Onym

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 09:26 PM

Yeah, that's me. That's what the rule of 'use search before posting' can bring up ;)

You know, I have tried everything. Verbalizing existing words, thinking up new ones, but all the domains are taken. I have even tried using Old English words (translations of relevant words to the software), but they are unspeakable (the ones which domains are free, that is). I will try brainstorming again after writing up all related words and will see what I can come up with.

The main trouble I have right now is finding such domains that once spoken can easily be spelled - and short ones at that, too. So you have extremely good suggestions, Garrick :)

I did read what Ammon has said and his post exactly matches what I am thinking about (it can't be that my thinking matches his post, as I haven't read it before, or even if I did read it, I completely agree with it). That was another reason why I brought up this thread - to help Ammon's wisdom bubble up and make further positive impact on the universe.

To me, it seems like coming up with a new verb is good. Why a verb? Because Guy Kawasaki says so and I think it makes sense.

The software I am working on is a personal firewall, with fairly extensive parental control functions. It will also have its server version. This means the name doesn't have to resemble personal compurity evidently or stick to parental controls much. A hint should be good enough, though.

The trick with suggesting names in public is that there's a risk that some anonymous readers may snatch them up before I make up my mind. While I understand that such a risk is minimal in such a friendly community, it doesn't feel real good discussing possible variations on a public forum.

If anyone is blessed with a domain name insight, feel free to PM me, though.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 07 February 2007 - 09:29 PM.


#21 Respree

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 10:31 PM

get-through-this-i-dare-you-i-double-dare-you.com

Hmmm. Easy to say, but hard to type.

Never mind.

#22 A.N.Onym

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 10:55 PM

Well, this is the one where I just have to get a name. It is a matter of what kind of I think of.

What words do you associate with computer security and Internet safety?

#23 Respree

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 10:41 AM

safe
secure
hackproof
hackerproof
moat
fortress
impenetrable
peace of mind
sleep soundly
chastity wall

or any combination, thereof...

Edited by Respree, 08 February 2007 - 03:52 PM.


#24 ukdaz

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 12:07 PM

Okay. I've seen a well-chosen name increase business nearly overnight.


I strongly agree to that.

My previous company name was QFPS Tech (don't ask) - having changed it to the present name I have seen enquiries soar (no gliding pun intended!) and project values increase too...

Daz

#25 A.N.Onym

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 09:14 PM

Thanks, Garrick.

Can anyone name as many verb forming suffices as possible?

I know I can look it up, but dictionaries don't follow the live language that closely (at least, they won't list the most preferred or most used suffices).

#26 AbleReach

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 09:57 PM

safe
secure
hackproof
hackerproof
moat
fortress
impenetrable
peace of mind
sleep soundly
chastity wall

webchastity.com is available ;-)

#27 itswillist

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 10:35 PM

I have learned the hard way to name a business that describes what you do in the name itself.. That saves you alot of room on business cards, advertising, etc etc. This way every time you or anyone says the business name they will know exactly what you do. .. This is just my 2 cents.

#28 A.N.Onym

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 11:04 PM

I was thinking about it, but such naming pattern doesn't go well with adapting to the market. If the market changes, we'll have to rebrand. I want to have a fairly flexible name.

Thanks, though. In stable markets, or when you don't want to expand, having a speaking name is probably ideal. I wonder if one can create both a short and an informational name.

#29 Respree

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 07:36 AM

I'd be surprised if you can have your cake and eat it too.

Many years ago, there was an interview with Jeff Bezos, CEO of the world's largest online retailer.

In 1995, their initial product line was selling books online. When asked why didn't you choose the domain books.com, he replied (paraphrasing), "Why in the world would I want a name like that?"

Of course, his tiny little company went on to be known as Amazon.com, reflecting an analogy between the worlds largest river and the then soon-to-be world's largest online store. Plan (and brand) for the future, I say, if your vision is to eventually expand beyond the scope of your initial product offering(s).

#30 AbleReach

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:46 AM

In 1995, their initial product line was selling books online. When asked why didn't you choose the domain books.com, he replied (paraphrasing), "Why in the world would I want a name like that?"

I remember that!

At some point I heard him on the radio talking about how competing with all books to create a brand identity for a domain like books.com would not have been a smart choice.

#31 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 11:49 AM

Well, if something of the sorts happen to me, at least I'll be getting the media and links.

Still looking for more trusted registrars, I guess :shrug:

#32 projectphp

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 07:47 AM

Ok, I found this old post:
http://www.stuntdubl...site-questions/ and it included this section:

http://www.seomoz.or...ail.php?ID=1375 - naming an online business
http://www.webmaster...orum25/2900.htm - choosing a brandable domain
http://www.problogge...-for-your-blog/ - Choosing a domain name.



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