Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Business Name

There are a number of examples of very successful businesses that have unusual or non-descriptive business names.  Some examples are Apple, Google, Yahoo! and Amazon.  On the other hand, descriptive names such as ABC Technologies or XYZ Information Systems give customers some idea what kind of business they are dealing with.  I like descriptive names, but I have to admit, it's the catchy, one-word business names that really stick in my memory.

Is the name of a business important from a marketing perspective (software consulting and/or shrinkwrap)?  Are there any rules of thumb for naming a business?

Ewan's Dad
Monday, August 2, 2004

With a really generic name, people will wonder what you're hiding - inadequacy, shady business practices, etc.

You also need to understand the cultural implications of any name you choose if you plan on doing business on a global scale.

Then there's the search engine/memorability aspect. Do you want "good keywords" so when people are searching generically for your product or service they find you "Widget Company USA" (was it Widget Company or Widget Corporation? I forget...) or a catchy name that will be among the top responses in Google for your business name, and people will likely remember?
Monday, August 2, 2004

I would stay away from ay company name that is created so that it is listed first in the phone book, such as;

AAAAPest Control.

It smacks of desparation.
Plus it looks bad.

The Wanderer
Monday, August 2, 2004

Catchy name doesn't have to be undescriptive. For example, "Fog Creek Software" is both descriptive and catchy enough.

Monday, August 2, 2004

Now that you mention it I remember reading the name Fog Creek Software the first time and getting connotations of some guys sitting in a wood cabin in some sleepy lumbermill town in Canada writing code. Maybe "fog creek" carries some implied meaning for New Yorkers? To me the associations seem entirely irrelevant to Joel's business.

Monday, August 2, 2004

One other thing to consider.  The company name does not have to be a brand, as you are mentioning.  For example, one approach is to just pick whatever you like as your company name, and brand only your products.  This gives you more flexibility, as your business name is not tied to your branding.  However, if you are running a consultancy, I guess this approach would not work, unless you branded your different types of services.

In any case, go with your instinct on what you like.  Both descriptive, and catchy have been proven successful naming models.  Shop around for feedback from friends and family, but in the end choose based on how you feel.

Good luck.

Monday, August 2, 2004

Being a New Yorker, Fog Creek means nothing to me.

A name like "Always Available Car Service" is both descriptive & gets you first in the phone book... First after AAA Car Service, which is just as good as being first if most people will skip AAA.

Check out this Google Adword I found when I searched for Fog Creek:

Sponsored Links

Atlassian Jira
Think FogBugz is cool? Try Jira.
We know you'll love it - free demo!
Monday, August 2, 2004

There is also one thing which may mean a lot when deciding on a name: Is the domain name available? That quickly narrows down your options quite drastically.

Monday, August 2, 2004

Here I propose catchy names that are also descriptive:-

Micro Soft Wear Corporation

Rich Dad, Poor Dad & Sons Unlimited

Hoisery and Lingerie Soft Wear Solutions Ltd.

Animal Farm Inc., creators of Trojan Horses, Worms and Web interfaces.

XML Massaging Services. Slogan: We apply SOAP on the BODY

Beck And Call [insert punctuation here] Girls. Slogan: On Demand Business

Ace Hole Reserves.


Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Monday, August 2, 2004

It seems a bit unsporting to include details of one of Fog Creek's competitors here.

Must admit it is a good marketing idea though. That's the power of Google, I guess.

Monday, August 2, 2004

I just list the facts. Would it have been more sporting if I mentioned that you can Google them? I see no difference.

Once Fog Creek has enough market share that people will set up directories of products (like DMOZ), you can just click on "Find Similar Pages" and see all sorts of competitors.
Monday, August 2, 2004

If you're willing to pay, even if not much, for the domain name, it doesn't narrow your options all that drastically. I tried quite a bit of names while looking for one for a business, and almost all of them were for sale for under $1000 - $500.

Monday, August 2, 2004

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