Business Management

Rant: Stupid tech firm names is a boom industry

Technology companies lead our world in so many ways so why not in pioneering stupid names?

Take this: the VR company Vrse is changing names. Very good, you think: no longer the need to wonder about pronunciation, spelling or make the sophomoric connection with the mildly offensive UK English ‘arse’. But no, the new name is Within - if anything a worse name, leading to all sorts of unnecessary confusion and syntactical chaos. (“I’m buying into Within.” “I want in on Within. “Within has a great place within the Magic Quadrant.” “With Within you’re with an industry leader.” “Whither Within?”)

Of course there are many others. The cellular telco 3 is particularly annoying, breaking all sorts of media conventions and requiring explanation of the fact the name is the name of a company – a pretty roundabout approach to branding. Companies with ‘intercaps’ – randomly capitalised letters – also merit a place in the inner circles of hell.

Another terrible name is Here, the moniker Nokia gave to its spun-out mapping division. Viber is pretty unfortunate (or daft) but there are many, many others. The glory days of brands like LANtastic and LAN In A Can seem far off, and if a company can successfully pull off this punning then there must be hope for others... even in IT.

It’s a long and dishonourable tradition. Is there an excuse? Perhaps the tendency of internet companies to grab anything resembling a brand as URL fodder has reduced the field. And legal restrictions on reflecting what the company actually does is a tough start to the naming process.

But you don’t even have to be po-faced or ultra-creative. Great names abound: Sun was a gift for headline writers, as were its brands like Java and Jini. Hortonworks is nice – who doesn’t like a connection to a toy animal and a children’s story? Boomi is fun. Splunk is enjoyable to say. And if in doubt just find a fruit: it worked for Apple, Orange, BlackBerry and others after all.


« Walls close in on Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes


Quotes of the week: Monsters, confusion, and a world without Excel »
Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Editorial Consultant for IDG Connect

  • twt
  • twt
  • Mail

Recommended for You

How to (really) evaluate a developer's skillset

Adrian Bridgwater’s deconstruction & analysis of enterprise software

Unicorns are running free in the UK but Brexit poses a tough challenge

Trevor Clawson on the outlook for UK Tech startups

Cloudistics aims to trump Nutanix with 'superconvergence' play

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends


Is your organization fully GDPR compliant?