Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Urdu poet pen names & their hometowns

Quite a few Urdu poets of the past chose distinctive pen names woven around their home towns. Abdul Hayee chose to be Sahir Ludhianvi (Sahir from Ludhiana). There are many more such examples...

NOTE: Real name and home town, in brackets.

Majrooh Sultanpuri (Asrar ul Hassan Khan, Sultanpur)
Khumar Barabankvi (Mohammed Haidar Khan, Barabanki)
Akbar Allahabadi (Syed Akbar Hussain, Allahabad)
Jigar Moradabadi (Ali Sikandar, Moradabad)
Firaq Gorakhpuri (Raghupati Sahay, Gorakhpur)
Safi Lakhnavi (Syed Ali Naqi Zaidi, Lucknow)
Josh Malihabadi (Shabbir Hasan Khan, Malihabad in Pakistan)
Shakeel Badayuni (Shakeel, Badayun)
Asad Bhopali (?, Bhopal)
Waseem Barelwi (?, Bareilly)
Zia Jalandhari (?, Jalandhar)
Hafeez Hoshiarpuri (?, Hoshiarpur)
Danish Aligarhi (?, Aligarh)
Hasrat Jaipuri (Iqbal Husain, Jaipur)
Shad Azeemabadi (Syed Ali Mohammed, Azeemabad, Patna)
Shadab Lahori (Shadab Khan, Lahore)
Ayaz Jhanswi (?, Jhansi)
Meraj Faizabadi (?, Faizabad)
Adeeb Saharanpuri (?, Saharanpur)
Khamosh Gazipuri (?, Gazipur)
Nazeer Banarsi (?, Banaras)
Qamar Jalalabadi (?, Jalalabad)
Rai Rampuri (?, Rampur)
Rahat Indori (?, Indore)
Noor Bijnauri (?, Bijnore)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chemical Element Names & Their Meanings

Antimony = Anti Monos = Greek for Opposed to Solitude.
Argon = Greek for lazy.
Arsenic = Persian for Yellow Mineral
Astatine = Greek for unstable.
Barium = Greek for heavy.
Berkelium = A reference to University of California, Berkeley.
Bismuth = German for White Mass.
Bromine = Greek for stench.
Cadmium = Latin for Calamine.
Caesium = Latin for Sky Blue.
Calcium = Latin for Lime.
Carbon = Latin for Charcoal.
Chlorine = Greek for Yellowish Green.
Cobalt = German for Evil Spirit.
Dysprosium = Greek for Hard to Get at.
Helium = Greek for Sun.
Hydrogen = Greek for 'to beget water'.
Iodine = Greek for Violet.
Krypton = Greek for Hidden one.
Lanthanum = Greek for 'to lie hidden'.
Lithium = Greek for Stone.
Manganese = Latin for Magnet.
Neodymium = Latin for New Twin.
Neon = Latin for New.
Nitrogen = Greek for Native Soda Forming.
Osmium = Greek for 'a smell'.
Oxygen = Greek for Acid to bring forth.
Phosphorus = Greek for Light Bearer.
Platinum = Spanish for Little Silvr.
Praseodymium = Green Twin.
Radium = Latin for Ray.
Rhenium = Latin for River.
Rhodium = Greek for Rose.
Rubidium = Latin for deepest red.
Selenium = Greek for Moon.
Silicon = Latin for Flint.
Sulfur = Arabic for Yellow.
Tellurium = Latin for Earth.
Tungsten = Danish for Heavy Stone.
Xenon = Greek for Foreigner.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Rajnikant Name Oddity

Rajnikanth is perhaps the only actor with the most number of movies to be named after his lead character in the movie. To my knowledge, he's done at least 12 movies, where I've spotted this trend...

SIVAJI - Sivaji Arumugam
BABA - Baba
PADAIYAPPA - Padaiyappa
ARUNACHALAM - Arunachalam
BADSHA - Badsha/Manickam
MUTHU - Muthu
VEERA - Muthuveerappan
ANNAMALAI - Annamalai
PANDIYAN - Pandiyan
MR. BHARATH - Bharath
BILLA - Billa
JOHNNY - Johnny

Can you dispute my assertion? Is there any other actor with this record?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brands named after places

Kingston, Chowpatty, Champagne, Scotch (Okay, maybe I'm stretching things a bit here), Incredible India, Made in USA ... and more such places that are also brands. Different kinds of marketing strategies, intentional and otherwise, have contributed to turning the above places into brands. Where I spend a part of my working week, there's an Indian fast food joint called 'Chowpatty @ BTM'. Clearly, it's riding on the brand values people have come to associate with 'Chowpatty'. But what if 'C in Mumbai' goes to the dogs? Will that hurt 'C @ BTM'? Fortunately, there are more important things to think about.

By the bye, this might the first post on 'brands named after places' on the Internet. In other words, if you are 'wiki' enough to add to this list, you'll be part of hisotry in the making.

'Wiki enough': Term which means 'to be magnanimous enough, big hearted, contributing enough ... towards a social cause.' (Like 'Nama Sutra'.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Fucking Cowbell

That name intrigued me. It's an ad band from McCann Erickson. I read about the band here. Then I wikied More Cowbell and I got the cultural context. Good fucking choice, guys. It feels very good when you utter it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Big deal over naming rights

Did you know that the struggling-to-stay-alive Citigroup paid $400 million for the naming right to the New York Mets’ stadium in 2006? That's a staggering figure, ain't it? I learned that and more while glugging this news item with my early morning cuppa. Knowing the avaricious tendencies of BCCI, I am sure this naming rights gig will hit India soon. Look at the pots of money that can be minted. Eden Gardens can become Anil Ambani Gardens or Nano Stadium or Dalmiapuram or even Dawood Ibrahim Stadium depending on the bids. The puritans will be up in arms. But has BCCI ever cared about sanctity? If they knew there's a scope for making thousands of crores of rupees, Mr. Lalit Modi will take the first plane to Sotheby's or Christies to auction the stadia names. I believe this naming rights thingy was tried out once before in 2002 in South Africa. Dunno how well the experiment fared. With the IPL hoopla, city jingoism and all that, you never know, this may be the Next Big Thing for Sharad Pawar Incorporated.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SB Master's masterstroke

Whodafuck is SB Master? you may ask. Well, she's the founder of Master-McNeil, the naming company that owns the domain name naming. Actually, that's not their only claim to fame. They've named a lot of brands including PayPal. Master-McNeil was founded in 1988 by a lady named SB Master (haven't figured out her initials). Now, here comes the interesting part. Instead of playing with names like Masterminds or Masterstroke, our lady plucked McNeil from thin air and attached it to her surname. In her own words, "I chose 'McNeil' largely because it had a substantial sound. From day one, potential clients have always assumed we were big and important, even though we weren't when we first started. So it's been a very effective name for us." Smart. Don't you think? I picked this trivia from a 10-year old article in Mother Jones. Go read it.

Names We Like #1

The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (北海道日本ハムファイターズ Hokkaidō Nippon-Hamu Faitāzu?) are a professional baseball team in Japan's Pacific League. They take their name from the major shareholding company's name "Nippon Ham", which is a corporate name of Nippon Meat Packers, Inc.. Until 2003, the Fighters were one of three teams calling Tokyo their home, but in 2004 moved to Sapporo, the largest city on the island of Hokkaidō. With that kind of pedigree, what's not to like. It's a lot better than 'Chandigarh Lions' or 'King's XI'. Someday soon, we'll be compelled to do a Chennai Veerans vs Chennai Super Kings post. And that, my friends, will be a sad, sad day.

'Name' in a what's

Chalti ka naam gaadi, Badhti ka naam daadi, Naam, Gumnaam (clearly, one from before our time), The Namesake, In the name of the father, My name is Anthony Gonsalves, The man with no name (understandably not one of our favourites), Mera naam joker, Tere naam ... and that's just a smattering of movies I can name off the top of my head that have the word 'name' in them. From the looks of it, it must be a pretty useful plug. Hmm ... wonder why nobody has branded anything 'NAME'. Ask an expert how many words the English language contains and this is what you're likely to end up with. Luckily, the answer to the question which are the world's 500 most frequently used words is a lot simpler.

But of even greater relevance to 'namasutrists' like us is the fact that 'name' is the 126th most commonly used word of the many hundreds and hundred thousands that emerge from the fertile, fluid wellspring of the English language. That's why it makes eminent sense to leave the business of naming to professionals. Like us.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How creative can ad agencies get?

Sometime back, Adweek rightly moaned that ad agencies and law firm names are beginning to sound eerily alike. That might have been the case with the pre-2000 agencies. The new ones are making adventurous choices. I've put together, the most comprehensive list of 'creative' ad agency names. Just run your eye through the list. There are some fun names out there. If there's a Mother in London, there's a Bigdaddy in Amsterdam, a Grandmother in Mumbai, and a Baby, again in London. There are 3 types of frogs: Sagefrog, Strawberry Frog and Greenfrog. For every Monkey, there's a Rabbit, Mongoose, Zebra, Giraffe, Holy Cow and even Mad Dogs. My own agency, tops the list by virtue of enjoying the number advantage. Dang! Lost the advantage. Just discovered an aussie firm called 1house...

3 Fish in a Tree
6 Days
10 ml
32nd December
180 Amsterdam
180 Degree
361 Degrees
760 Media
1000 mercis
A Fish in Sea
Adam & Eve
Add Agency
All Sorts
Anti Advertising Agency (spoofs 'invasive' outdoor advertising)
Be Positive 24
Big Fish
Black Cat
Black Coffee
Blank Slate
Blast Radius
Blue Barracuda
Blue Crayon
Boy Meets Girl (No longer around)
Bread, Butter & Jam
Carpe Diem
Consider This
Cranium Studio
Creative Juice
Critical Mass
D2E (Down 2 Earth)
David & Goliath
Deep Sea
Doctor Propaganda
Eight Eleven
Element 79
Facts n Fiction
Fifth Estate
Figuratively Speaking
Fish Eye
Four Corners
Fresh Lemon
Fresh Lime
Fresh Page
Good Results
Here & Now
Holy Cow
House of Blues
John Doe
Last Exit
Lemon n Chili
Litmus Blue
Little Yellow Duck
Mad Dogs & Englishmen (No longer around)
Maroon Island
Munday Morning
My Agency
Mystic Monkey
Night & Day
Odd Scouts
One Two One
Only Dead Fish Swim With The Stream
Pepper Square
Plan B
Point B
Quick Silver
Red Route
Red Sky
Red Urban
Rubber Cheese
Saints & Warriors
Salt (Chennai)
Salt (London)
Seven Squared
Seven Stones
Six Inches
Soda Art
St Lukes
Strawberry Frog
The Black Ink
The Concept Farm
The Engine Room
The Flea
The Furnace
The Jupiter Drawing Room
The Piper
The Red Brick Road
The Rooster
The Surgery
The White Agency
The White Room
Thirteen Degrees
Thirty Three
Tribe 10
Two West
Umovoacavalo (Portugese for 'one egg on top of a horse')
Vitamin V
Welcome to Orange County (still around?)
Wexley School for Girls (Dabitch's contribution)
Why Axis
WOC (Winds of Change)
Yes Yes, Why Not
Zion & Zion

NOTE: If I've missed out some names, it might be because of oversight or lack of knowledge. Kindly pardon my ignorance and add on to the list.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A palette of crosses

Charity organisations have a fixation for crosses (or in some cases, crescents). The established practice is to affix a prefix before the cross. And usually the prefix is a colour. A dipstick study reveals that most of the colours have been taken. All that remains is hue prefixes. What I mean is, if you want an Azure Cross, Amber Cross or Fuchsia Cross, it may still be available. Meanwhile, here's a list of coloured crosses for your reference...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Scientists as Brand Names

When you run out of names, just pick your nephew's science text book and randomly pick a scientist's name and you can bet your arse that the client will love this option. I've done it a couple of times and lived to regret it. I am sure, some of you might have done this too. Anyways, here's a collection of names I could spot on the net that uses the names of the usual suspects...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How Metallica were attracted to Death Magnetic

A lot of serious branding thought went into Metallica's latest album, Death Magnetic. Brand Identitymiesters Turner Duckworth were roped in to package the album CD and apparently, they were even allowed the freedom to choose the title of the album. As David Turner says, "At the point of our very first meeting with the band they hadn't settled on an album title or finished all the songs. I always tell clients that you start with the product and then create a name and that's the theme you build your marketing around. But they couldn't decide between four potential album names. I spoke to James (Hetfield), who writes all the lyrics, and got him to talk a bit about each song. And when he'd gone through them all I immediately saw that one of their titles tied them all together. Many of the songs were about death, not just the negative side of it but the strange attraction death has and also the theme of life, redemption and something more than death. So there was attraction and repulsion, and life and death, all contradictory things. One of the titles they were playing around with was Death Magnetic and I thought it was perfect because it really seemed to tie the songs together." For more on this topic, visit Creativity Online.

Why Kishore Kumar?

So you know who I'm referring to in my previous entry and take the trouble to find that song I was talking about. You know, you people really ought to be a little more helpful. No comments. No feedback. No contributions. No kudos. No marriage proposals. Two guys can't create a naming version of wikipedia. Now go find me that song! Please.

Found it! The song is 'Hum the, woh the' from Chalti ka naam gaadi. Thank you.

A baby named CISCO?

What's that song by Kishore Kumar about going to Japan and ending up in China ... I'm so bad at remembering songs ... or for that matter anything. I wonder why ... hmmm. Neways, so brought it up 'cause I was going Googling for 'eponymous brand names' and coming up with zilch when I chanced upon this little gem of an entry about babies named after brands. "It's hilarious. And sad. I'll save you the commentary. Little wonder she looks pissed. Enjoy.

Gyaan: Do numbers work as brand names?

Chris Garnell explored this issue in depth in 2005. He's rightly identified that numbers give you that zara hat ke aura and nothing more. I am a staunch advocate of alphanumeric names. I feel a word prefix breathes life into a cold number. Take Elle 18 for instance. It evokes a lot more the plain numerical name 18. Anyways if you wish to weigh the pros and cons, go to brandchannel for Garnell's piece.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's the meaning of Rooh Afza?

Hamdard launched Sherbat Rooh Afza in 1907. Even the blokes at Hamdard don't seem to know how their founder Hakeem Abdul Majeed chanced upon the name. One theory is it's the name of a character from a 13th century book named Masnavi Gulzar-e-Nasim. Since the purpose of this post is not to pinpoint the origin, we shall not dwell on this now. Instead, we shall shift focus to the meaning of this urdu phrase. Rooh is soul in Urdu. And Afza means that which nourishes. So the rose syrup actually means that which nourishes the soul.

What KLPD means to the Dutch

KLPD is a rather colorful and popular abbreviation in India. It refers to the act of letting down the excited weenie. Funnily, KLPD has a different connotation in Netherlands. Expanded it reads: Korps Landelijke Politiediensten (Dutch for National Police Services Agency). An elite police force! Can you believe it?

An organic food brand named 24 letter mantra

Hyderabad-based Sresta Natural Bioproducts has opted for a curious sounding alpha numeric name. Curious because, they could have opted for a name like Sresta. Thankfully, they didn't. Apparently the 24-letter mantra is Bhumir Apo Analo Anilo Nabha (The 5-elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Ether). Although the name has story value, I find the rationale, a bit contrived. If this was the mantra, wouldn't you have picked 5wordmantra as the brand name? 5wordmantra is shorter and cues 5 elements better than 24lettermantra. The only explanation for the choice could have been numerology. I tested this hunch of mine by tallying the number score of 'Sresta Natural Bioproducts Pvt. Ltd.' and 24-letter mantra. Guess what? Both add up to 9!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A cricket team named 'Allahakbarries'

I was once part of a cricket team that called itself 'The Bradmans'. Quite predictably, we didn't have much of a bowling attack. You'll find many an oddly-named cricket team if you have a look around. Perhaps you'd care to and share them with us. In the meantime, here's a 'funny name' story.

"Sir James Barrie (the nattily-dressed gent pictured here) creator of Peter Pan, was one of the most enthusiastic cricketers Scotland produced. He was once asked to describe his bowling and replied that, after delivering the ball he would go and sit on the turf at mid-off and wait for it to reach the other end which, he said, "it sometimes did". Sir James loved the game so much he formed his own side and named it the Allahakbarries, in the mistaken belief the Arabic term "Allah Akbar" meant "God Help Us".

Further into the piece we discover: Others in Barrie's side included Arthur Conan Doyle, AA Milne, PG Wodehouse, EW Hornung and Rudyard Kipling. To think, in one team, the creators of Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Winnie the Pooh, Eyeore, Raffles, Jeeves, Wooster, Mowgli and Baloo. It must have made for some wonderful after-match repartee.

For the rest of this quirky single by Richard Brook, go here.

Longest movie titles ever

Continuing the interesting thread opened up by our fellow namer, I shall link you to Listology's super collection of the longest movie titles. The longest title apparently has 32 words and 160 characters! The longest Indian movie title has 20 words and is: Shree Shree Rajadhiraja Shree Shree Madana Kamaraja Shree Shree Vilasa Raja Shree Shree Madhubana Raja Shree Shree Krishnadeva Donga Raja. This telugu flick just managed the 6th slot in Listology. The longest Hindi movie I can think of is Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon. In Tamil it must be Rajadi Raja, Raja Marthanda, Raja Gambira, Raja Kulothunga Kaathavaraya Krishna Kamarajan. And the longest English movie title in recent times has been: Borat - Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Phew! Quiet a mouthful, right?

Not useful enough for inclusion

According to the Guinness Book of World Records; When they were asked whether this might be considered for 'the world's longest domain name'. I suppose every other entry in the august book of records is of earth-shattering importance.

Others Guinness might not want to consider for similar reasons can be found here, here, here and I suppose in every nook and corner of the Internet galaxy. Please feel free to share. (After all, this is angling to be the 'namapedia' of the net.)

Hair salon names that made the cut

Here's a shortlist of Hair Salon Names that I found interesting.
Point to note, for most of these guys, the name serves as their advertisement...

A Cut Above (Waterford, Connecticut)
Ali Barber (Hamburg, Germany)
Bangs & Bows (Mount Pleasant, South Carolina)
Blood, Sweat & Shears (Chicago, Illinois)
Bounce (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)
British Hairways (South Tower Street, Nevada)
Curl Up 'N' Dye (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Cut & Dry (Hull, Massachussets)
Cut Loose (Houston, Texas)
Director's Cut (Yorkshire, UK)
Eclipz (Casper, Wyoming)
Edward Scissorhands (Sacramento, California)
Foxy Vixen (South Melbourne, Australia)
Goldilocks (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Grateful Head (Toronto, Canada)
Great Clips (Minneapolis, USA)
Hairoshima (Los Angeles, USA)
Headlines (Liverpool, UK)
Head Masters (Kensington, London)
Hot Heads (Muncie, Indiana)
Inn Style (Ontario, Canada)
Julius Scissor (Philadelphia, USA)
Little Big Heads (Cheshire, UK)
Lockworx (Lansing, Michigan)
Mane Attraction (Phoenix, Arizona)
Medusa's Lair (Perth, Australia)
Not So Plain Jane's (Manchester, New Hampshire)
One Step A Head (in Charlotte, North Carolina)
Rhubarbers (Rochester, UK)
Scissors Palace (Cleveland, Ohio)
Shear Delight (Tampa, Florida)
Shear Genius (Perry Hall, Maryland)
Sophisticuts (Alpena, Michigan)
Suite 303 (Manhattan, New York)
The Cutting Edge (Ontario, Canada)
The Hairetic (Minneapolis, USA)
The Locks Smith (Leicestershire, UK)
Vanity Box (Tampa, Florida)
Wave Lengths (Galveston, Texas)
Zedi (Victoria, Australia)

Wonder why, no one's started a salon with the name Pidungi :-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

List of Wal-Mart instore brands

Sam's Choice - Premium beverage, food & snacks.
Great Value - Sliced bread, frozen vegetables, canned foods,light bulbs & grocery products.
Athletic Works - Gym shorts & sports equipment.
Faded Glory - Classic American clothing and shoes.
Kid Connection - Toys & clothing.
Life - Men's underwear.
Metro 7 - Woman's apparel.
No Boundaries aka NoBo - Teen apparel & home accessories.
Puritan - T-shirts, undergarments & socks.
Simply Basic - Family-oriented beauty line.
Get It Together - Houseware and furniture.
HomeTrends - Small furniture, small appliances and home office products.
Canopy - Coordinated solutions for rooms.
Color Place - Paint.
Durabrand - Home electronics.
Equate - Personal care & OTC drugs.
EverStart - Automotive batteries.
Holiday Time - Christmas frills - decoration, cards, gift wraps etc.
ilo - DVD/MP3/LCD player & monitors.
Ol'Roy - Dog food.
Ozark Tail - Outdoor equipment.
ReliOn - Healthcare equipment.
Spring Valley - Vitamins & nutritional items.
Special Kitty - Cat food.
Super Tech - Motor oil.
White Cloud - Disposable diapers.

Culled out from Wikipedia.

Mustache Warthog Palin

Is what Sarah Palin might have named yours truly if she were unfortunate enough to be my mom. To find out what you might have been christened under her barracuda gaze check out the 'Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator'.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A box of Godgyfu. Or Godiva?

Definitely 'Godiva'. Sounds better. Much, much better. 'Godgyfu' sounds Japanese. Not that I have anything against the Japanese or anything. It's just that, they're not known for their chocolate-making skills. Surprisingly, it's something they still haven't found a way to take apart and copy.

'Godgyfu' also makes me think of 'Podgyfu'. Not a good memory if you're trying to sell chocolates. Also, 'Godgyfu' is not easy to pronounce. End of 'Godgyfu' story.

'Godiva' wins this one hands down. It makes the sayer open up and say 'aa', always a good thing when you're in the vaguely sexual space of chocolates. 'Godiva' also sounds Swiss, French, Belgian and all those wonderful European places that make the most heavenly chocolate. Importantly, 'Godiva' takes the mouth through the 'o', 'i' and 'a' sounds and when a name makes the sayer utter these most basic, most expressive 'intonations' in a product the reminds people of sex, know this, you're onto a good thing. Unlike in the case of 'Godgyfu'.

Lots in a name

Why do people change their names? (I have a cousin who has three names. One given at birth. Another on her school leaving certificate. And a third after getting married.) How much does the new name have to do with becoming famous? (My cousin is far from famous.) Would these people have been just as well-known had they stuck with their birth names? 'Godgyfu'? I don't think so.

a. Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr
b. David John Moore Cornwell
c. Godgyfu
d. Francois Marie Arouet
e. Angelo Siciloano
f. William Frederick Cody

Answers to the above and more such questions can be found here. It's a nice little site that showcases famous name changes. A work in progress. Enjoy, if you haven't already.

Terra kya hoga, kaalia?

Ad agency Mudra has launched a special unit for rural marketing and guess what they've called it? Terra (the latin word for Earth). Now why on earth would you go Latin if you're supposed to be the expert in integrated rural marketing? I am assuming, by rural, Mudra is not referring to global villages. Their operating ambit is clearly India. So, why didn't they opt for a Hindi/Sanskrit/Hindustani sounding name? Doesn't Mitti capture the flavour better than Terra? Or say Des. May be, Mudra didn't want to get dehaati. But if you're not proud of being dehaati, what's the point of starting a division that focuses on the same? Daiya re daiya, inka kya hoga, bhaiya?

Name Wars: Twitter vs Yammer

I Twitter and I quite enjoy it. Luckily for the naming folks at Twitter, they didn't have to fight too hard to put their brand inside my head. They were the first movers.


Now, they have Yammer for company. Natural question from our point of view: how does 'Yammer' compare with 'Twitter' in the business of name calling?

When it comes to alliteration, Twitter wins with one alliterative letter more. Yes, simply speaking, alliteration is good when you're looking for a memorable name. Or plank to hold forth from. (Like so. Notice the multiple alliterations of 'alliteration'?) On the 'alliterative' front, Twitter is one alliteration more than 'Yammer'.

When it comes to other things, they're remarkably similar. Both are 'er' ending names. Both mean pretty much what they allow people to do with their applications. Both words are verbs. Neither is a portmanteau or a neologism. 'TT' sounds are just as good as 'MM' sounds. And vice versa.

So what makes 'Twitter' a better name than 'Yammer'?

Apart from the product - Twitter is easier to become part of and they have the first-mover advantage. Yammer hasn't, at least for the time being, managed to provide a better version of Twitter to us - it also sounds better ... more personal ... dignified. 'Twitter' makes us think sweet-sounding birds. Yammer, big mouths.

For the time being, I'm staying off 'Yammer'. Because the way the name makes you say it, affects how many people buy into it.

Link of the week

The 50 best pun stores. Very punny, indeed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gyaan: How big is the naming industry

As of 2006, the number of registered domain names on the internet was 120 million. In 2003, this number was 60 million.

This means, every three years, the number of registered names, double. In 2006 alone, the number of registered domain names was close to 35 million.

Applying a modest growth rate of 20%, one can expect the number of names that will be registered in 2008 to be 50 million. 50 million names is a big market.

Let’s assume that only 1% of these names come from naming companies. So make that 500,000 names suggested by naming companies.

The cheapest rate any dirt cheap naming company will charge for a domain name is $ 100. Logical deduction: the naming industry is at least a 50 million dollar industry.

Now this figure could be way below the actual size, because we haven’t included the fee the naming company charges for trade marking the name & researching it. So we can safely double the figure and estimate the size of the industry to be at least $ 100 million dollars.

Gyaan: Numerology & Names

Does it make any sense to apply numerology to brand names? A significant section of risk-takers seem to think so. Before we disagree, let's apply the principles of numerology to a few famous brands and see if the numerologists are right or wrong...

Name score is 46. Microsoft's number is 1. The characteristics of number 1 are initiating action, pioneering, leading, independent, attaining, individual. Usually the number 1 person is a skilled executive with keen administrative capabilities. Such people are known to be egoistic,self-centered, overly aggressive and have a tendency to dominate.

Name score is 34. Google's number is 7. The characteristics of number 7 are analysis, understanding, knowledge, awareness, studious, meditating. The hallmark of the number 7 is a good mind, and especially good at searching out and finding the truth. The type of person that can really get involved in a search for wisdom or hidden truths, often becoming an authority on whatever it is you are focusing on.

Name score is 23. Apple's number is 5. The characteristics of #5 are expansiveness, visionary, adventure, the constructive use of freedom. Endowed with the wonderful characteristic of multi-talents and versatility, you are good at presenting ideas and knowing how to approach people to get what you want. Your popularity may lead you toward some form of entertainment or amusement. Whatever you do, you are clever, analytical, and a very quick thinker.

Name score is 67. Harley's number is 4. The characteristics of #4 are: a foundation, order, service, struggle against limits, steady growth. Your destiny is to express wonderful organization skills with your ever practical, down-to-earth approach. You are the kind of person who is always willing to work those long, hard hours to push a project through to completion. A patience with detail allows you to become expert in fields such as building, engineering, and all forms of craftsmanship.

The characteristics of #8 are: Practical endeavors, status oriented, power-seeking, high-material goals.You have outstanding organizational and administrative capabilities. You have the potential for considerable achievement in business or other powerful positions. You can expect to receive the financial and material rewards. You have the skill and abilities to establish or operate a business with great efficiency. You have good judgment when it comes to money and commercial matters, and you understand how to build and accumulate material wealth.

CONCLUSION: Except for Harley, all the other brands seem to display characteristics of the number that rule them. Truly eerie is the Google bit about searching and Microsoft's dominatrix trait. Simply put, numerology works.

NOTE: Number characteristics have been extracted from Paulsadowski.com.

Gyaan: It's Complicated

In the future, more and more companies will go in for an online presence. Heck, as 'Neuromancer' Gibson said, "The future is upon us." Speaking of which, coming up with a name for an online entity is a different challenge.

Basic naming question: Are names for online brands very different from their offline citizenry? Next question: If so, why?

This list of top 10 social media sites is a revealing microcosm of naming trends in the online world and clearly highlights the contrasts between branding choices in the two spaces. YouTube vs Time Warner, Google vs Head & Shoulders, Bebo vs Baby Shoppe. As they say on FB, "It's Complicated."

Brand Image #8

Can you identify the brand?

Brand Image #7

Can you identify the brand?

Brand Image #6

Can you identify the brand?

Brand Image #5

Can you identify the brand?

Brand Image #4

Can you identify the brand?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nama Sutra Quick Quiz

1. Who owns a footwear brand called Ipanema?

2. Where are you likely to find Imagine Whirled Peace, Vermonty Python & Phish Food?

3. The Italian word for follows, was made popular by a brand launched in 2001. Which brand?

4. Which Indian ad agency almost chose Shravana (the fifth month of the Hindu Calendar) as its name?

5. It was originally codenamed Dulcimer. How do we know it better today?

Post your answers in the comments section. The first one to get all 5 right, gets 5 notional barracudas from the adorable Sarah Palin.

A beer named Piss

You need balls to choose a name like thiss. An Australian Company showed the spunk and went to register it. But the humorless blokes refused to trademark it. So they settled for an alphanumeric surrogate - Pi55. The trademark office couldn't veto this one. And thus flowed Piss.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Long before Wall-E there was Red-E

Way back in 1996, Mr. Manu Reddy launched Chennai's first Food Court. He tweaked his surname a bit and came up with the clever name: Red-E Food Court. Flash Forward to 2008. That trick of using, a Capitalised E suffix as a substitute for the phonetic Y, has staged a comeback. The movie Wall-E gets the credit for bringing this technique back in vogue. Let's see if this inspires a voll-E of unusual-E named brands.