We were having lunch with our friends Sunir and Mike from Freshbooks, and Sunir mentioned the event SOBCon. I had no idea wtf he was talking about, but he then explained that SOB stands for Successful Online Business. At first we thought “What a terrible name for a conference,” but then we realized that it was all a big joke. Around the same time, @ExpertSexChange started following me on twitter, and at first I wondered what the hell was going on, and how they’d targeted me!. As it turns out it’s actually Experts Exchange
It reminded us of the time when we were searching for a domain name to rid ourselves of the ridiculous TransFS.com (we’d get questions like, does it have something to do with transsexuals, or is it something in San Francisco?)… we had a crazy bunch of names in mind before we settled on FeeFighters.com. The one that we joke about the most is costhammer.com, because while we intended for it to be Cost Hammer, it could also be read as Co Sthammer or Cos Thammer, which is just weird.
It also reminded me of the time that I wanted to buy something from Dick’s Sporting Goods and I went to Dicks.com… At work. THAT was a mistake! But as it turns out, Dicks Sporting Goods has acquired Dicks.com, so all is good now.
So – how do you avoid naming fiascos? Here are some tips from a company that has been there:
1) Use a Process- Our naming project was fruitless until we followed a process from the Igor Naming Guide for figuring out the message the name should convey.
2) Crowdsource- We asked our friends to help us come up with names using a custom survey we created. Though we didn’t choose our name from the suggestions, they added fresh creative names to our exhaustive list.
3) Crowdsource Again- Once we came up with our final list of name ideas (with our favorites in mind), we let our friends select the best name, thereby disspelling any disagreements within the group about which name was best.
For a more detailed description of our naming process, check out this post.
In looking for examples for this post, I did some searching for examples of unfortunate domain names, and there are SO MANY of them! Here are some. If you know of others, send them our way in the comments!
Get your head out of the gutter, silly – this is “Who Represents”
Go Red! For women!
Used to be Power Gen Italia, an Italian power company
So many sex changes!
Speed of Art (I have no idea what these guys do)
Dickson, the manufacturer of instruments for monitoring temperature, humidity and pressure
Small town newspaper Winters Express (totally fine until you turn it into a domain name!)
New York Canal
IHA Vegas (now defunct, but I love this!)
Big Al’s Online
Visiting the Cook Islands, and need a rental car? Budget’s got you covered. (unfortunately for them, most of the companies in the cook islands are .co.ck… Gasheating is kind of funny)
SwissBit (.ch is the swiss domain)
These I think are done intentionally – just funny company names-
Effective Office Environments
Semi-related: I also like this list of words that could be used to describe a Super Bowl and a Superb Owl: