Wanted: Corporate Name.

CobraBoy (tbyars@earthlink.net)
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 23:06:12 -0700

:Wanted: Corporate Name.
: Must Evoke Speed, Power
: The Internet has afforded software developers
:many opportunities the
: last few years -- including the freedom to name
:your company
: "Yahoo," if that's what you want.
: But for many high-tech developers these days, naming
:a new company or
: product is an exercise in patience as much as
:marketing and creativity. When
: 848 names using "net" were filed with the U.S.
:Trademark Office last year,
: and 459 names using "power," most likely the one you
:want is already taken,
: or sounds too much like your competitor's.
: "Naming is very competitive," said Susan White,
:manager of worldwide
: brand marketing for the Compaq Computer Corp., which
:resorted to
: invention for its own name. "You've got a lot of
:people vying for the same
: names."
: Like baby names, high-tech names follow the fashion
:of the times. Meet
: someone named Judy and you can almost bet she was
:born in the 1950s,
: along with Judy Jetson and thousands of other Judys.
:Log on to the Internet
: today, and you'll meet InterNIC, Interspace and
:InterOp; Netscape, Netopia
: and Netlogic; Connect Inc. and Interconnect, and
:WorldLink, MagicLink and
: MindLink.

Like Giga in the 90's?
: When the AT&T spinoff, Lucent Technologies, began its
:search for a name,
: the company considered names using "net" and "com,"
:as well as names that
: could form an acronym. Landor Associates of San
:Francisco, one of the
: nation's leading coiners of corporate names, came up
:with more than 700
: suggestions.
: "At least 80 percent to 90 percent of the names we
:generated were
: unavailable," or already spoken for, said Russell
:Meyer, director of naming
: for Landor (which is named after the firm's founder,
:Walter Landor).
: Lucent, the eventual winner, came from the same root
:as lucid, Meyer said,
: and was chosen by the company for what was seen as
:its "positive
: connotation."
: Starting with a list of 700 possible names is not
:uncommon in the corporate
: identity business. Typically, with the help of a
:consultant (who might charge
: in the neighborhood of $100,000), a company quickly
:slashes the list, much
: of it computer-generated, to a dozen or so candidates.

Wayne, Adam your in the wrong business.
: Compaq, for example, took a full year, working with
:the consulting firm of
: Master-McNeil Inc., to come up with a name for its
:new notebook computer.
: Working from a short list that included Explorer,
:Jazz, Roadster and Quest,
: all of them names that denote motion -- and all taken
:-- Compaq finally chose
: Armada.
: "Armada came clean," Ms. White said.

Armada? A Spanish fleet of war ships? ...nice
: Corporate naming follows certain patterns, naming
:specialists like Meyer say.
: A whimsical or irreverent name can suggest a radical
:break from old ways
: (Yahoo, Excite, Hot Java or the Web magazine Suck).


: Another common approach is to invent a new word from
:an existing, familiar
: word. In the 1970s and early 1980s, companies
:combined words to form
: names that sounded technical or scientific, like
:Intel, an abbreviation of
: Integrated Electronics, and Microsoft, a merger of
:microcomputer and
: software.

Giga - verse...

: Perhaps the most common practice is, of course, to
:use a simple name that
: describes the company's business, like "Software
:Development Corp.," or
: one that includes a key descriptive word like "net"
:or "link."

2 outta' 3 ain't bad...

: But according to naming specialists, those names get
:used up the minute a
: new market segment is identified. And the approach
:has its own liability: the
: names all start to sound alike.
: "It would be like everybody calling a toothpaste
:something with 'paste' in it,"
: said Joe Kraus, a founder of Excite Inc., an Internet
:search engine and Web
: review service that last year changed its name from
:"Architext." "Over time,
: consumers have trouble discriminating."
: The other issue that corporations have to consider
:today is whether the name
: is available as an Internet domain. Excite had hoped
:to use the name "Bull's
: Eye," only to discover someone had already registered
:the domain
: bullseye.com.
: "We couldn't get the guy with the URL to sell it to
:us at any price," Kraus
: said.

Any price or any price that you were offering?

: The company finally settled on Excite from a short
:list that included Ferret,
: Scout and the descriptive NetPoke.

NetPoke? Isn't that a porno site?

: Long ago Apple Computer and its founding team of
:self-described "pirates"
: turned naming convention on its head. In the heyday
:of the IBM PC and the
: TRS-80, Apple named its first Macintosh model the
:Lisa -- after Steven Jobs'
: daughter.
: Apple itself was named to represent something
:"healthy, fresh and natural,"
: and because Jobs was fond of health foods.
: Irreverence now has found a ready home in the
:Internet business. But even
: names that seem arbitrary and whimsical are quickly
:getting used up.
: "I thought of tons of names, but most of them were
:taken," said Kim Polese,
: the founder of Marimba, a company developing software
:using the Java
: programming language. Eventually, Marimba took its
:name from the dance.
: "I was looking for something dynamic and fun."

Somehow I don't think these guys are all that creative.... Marimba?

: Ms. Polese also led the team that came up with the
:name Java while leading
: that project at Sun Microsystems (Sun was an acronym
:for Stanford
: University Network).

Marimba, Java... Sounds like any coffee house in SF on any night.

: "Sure, we're marketing to nerds," Ms. Polese said,
:"but I think nerds like to
: be marketed to like everybody else."


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- "I beg your pardon!" said the Mouse, frowning, but very politely: "Did you speak?" "Not I!" said the Lory hastily. ...Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- tbyars@earthlink.net