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In a Rush for New Names, Tech Startups Spew Gobbledygook

Patrick May

SAN JOSE, California — Born of too much brainstorming or not enough sleep, the names come flying out of nowhere — Crocodoc, Yext, Nowmov. They turn nouns into adverbs (Answerly) or aspire to become brand-new verbs in true “I-just-googled-her” fashion.

And in the process, they drop vowels like a clumsy waiter (Flickr), spell perfectly good words backward (Xobni) and insert punctuation points where they have no business being (Center’d). It’s the Great Internet Branding Gold Rush. And with tech startups in Silicon Valley and beyond falling over themselves to create cool names with an AdMob’s swagger and a Twitter’s zip, the word-play is getting wild. To make matters worse, as the supply of good available names dries up, the envelope is being pushed right over the cliff of clever into the canyon of overly cute.

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