So today Palm (of PDA fame) announced that they have a new name for the hardware portion of Palm ... the new name, after hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of focus groups and stuff is ....

(drumroll please)




You may ask, "Why do they need to change their names anyway?"

Palm is currently splitting up their hardware and software groups into two groups, and for one group to maintain the "Palm" name would be too much. So the hardware group needed a new name (the software portion is called "PalmSource").

After thinking about the name for a while, I have to say PalmOne is probably one of the better names they could of come up with. I'm not sure what's in a good name, but I personally like PalmOne.

This actually ties in with my trouble of naming the tokki project into a viable name.

Here are the restrictions I face in order of weight (these are personal preferences and in no way indicate fact):
1.) Unless the name is really good, avoid using the following letters: "g","y","j","q","p." (I'll give you some mad props if you can figure out how those letters are related).

2.) The word itself should not have a definite clear meaning, but should give an "aura" of a meaning when you say it. Tabulas ... what the hell is that? But it's related to a few words (tabulate, tabulas rosa) and directly means "board" in Latin). Words that are nonsensical are not so bad as long as they are recognizable (TypePad, LiveJournal). It is better to sound classy than "hip."

3.) Ideally the word should not be a compound word. It's not necessary that it isn't, but it's a positive if you can find a word that is not a compound word yet is related to the point of the site. Fotki (a photo-sharing site) is a good example of this. Again, if it's a nonsensical word, it should be recognizable.

4.) Avoid appending cheap letters to a name
There used to be a BIG fad a long time ago in appending the letter "x" to everything. Then came the prepended "e" (eBay) ... and then came the prepended "i" (iPod). Prepended letters don't mean squat and should be avoided. However, I've been leaning lately towards appending numbers onto words since so many good words are taken.

5.) Avoid buzzwords. I'm really not a fan of throwing in buzzwords like 'blog' into any domain. It cheapens its value. A brand should not try to piggyback off of an existing word but try to create a brand on its own by taking a new word (eBay, Yahoo, Google). This also related to another important key for me: DO NOT SOUND LIKE ANY RELATED SITE. I see too many sites trying to piggyback off the popularity of a related site by naming their site in a similar fashion. You're not tricking anyone. It's like when I go to NYC and I see "Doracell" batteries. You're not fooling me.

This is also related, but try to avoid onomatopoeias. Yahoo was the one exception, but I cannot stand words that try to sound like sounds. There was some dude at my high school who made a website called Yawi. I cringed everytime I heard that word.

6.) Avoid acronyms. Acronyms remind me too much of the manufacturing industry. Plus, they give you no hints about what the site does.

7.) Is the name rememberable? Can it be conjugated?
I think another really important aspect of any name is the ability to conjugate it into any form:
"Have you googled the web today?"
"I have xangaed today."
"Are you going to Tabulate anytime soon?"


Now, if I can still find a word that fits all these criteria, I consider it a golden find. I really really like the name 'Tabulas.' It was the perfect name when I came to it. AudioMatch was more or less a sellout name ... I like it a lot, but I didn't give it too much thought.

The one site I've been having trouble is with the Tokki Project. I had the best name (Lightbox) ... but all TLDs were taken and I couldn't manage to persuade the owners to sell the name to me. So I'm still stuck nameless... I had originally called the site fotokki, but that was too close to Fotki.

In any case, I'm still thinking of a name for the tokki project site... the name is *so* crucial to an online site.
Posted by roy on August 18, 2003 at 01:18 PM | 3 Comments

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Comment posted on August 18th, 2003 at 07:05 PM
the letters qypgj are related bc all have that extra part that goes below the line. i dunno how else to explain it. i'm not good at explaining things.

Comment posted on August 18th, 2003 at 05:34 PM
As I read "Palm is currently splitting up their hardware and software groups into two groups" I was totally expecting the second group to be called PalmTwo.

Well worth the money.
Comment posted on August 18th, 2003 at 06:04 PM
I know, right! I mean, I would of helped them to make up a new name for only a paltry sum of $100,000!