Lately, I've been seeing billboards around San Francisco for a company named...Namely.
But until recently, I never had any idea what, exactly, Namely did.
Then I finally saw their TV spot, and discovered that Namely is...an HR company! (or rather, an HR platform). HR? Really? Who would have guessed? I certainly never would have guessed from their name.
How about Contextly? What do you suppose they do? Turns out they specialize in "content recommendations for publishers". Why, of course! How could I have missed that?
What about Scopely? They're a "next generation mobile entertainment network". Yep, makes perfect sense.
And Reachly? That's a real-time analytics service (did you really have to ask?).
Which brings us to Vumly. This one is deliciously ironic. Vumly is...a NAMING company! (I hope you are not dumb-ly enough to let Vum-ly brand your business).
And let's not forget Boxly, Bitly, Singly, Yabbly, Seniorly, Leafly, Spokely, Hurdly and Scopely.
These inane, obscure "-ly" names are popping up everywhere, spreading like a virus.
When and why did this inane craze for inane, 'ly" names start? And more importantly, when it will it stop?
Naming has never been more stupid. If this trend continues, it's just a matter of time until Stupidly appears on the scene ("Oh, it's perfect for our new on-line tutoring platform!").
I suppose that some of these names can be blamed on the scarcity of domain names. But that's really no excuse for the current proliferation of 'ly" names. Let's face it. These "-ly" names (and their close cousins, the equally annoying "-me" and "-fy" names) are just a lazy attempt at making your company sound creative, silly, kooky, cutting-edge...and just like every other startup out there.
Isn't your company name supposed to differentiate you? The current lack of originality in naming is stunning. Every startup name is indistinguishable from the rest. You would think a completely incomprehensible name (that sounds just like every other name) would be a handicap in the startup world. Instead, it's a prerequisite.
I don't get it. I always subscribed to the quaint notion that a good name should help connote what your business was all about.
Consumers never had to guess what Ford Motor Company, Singer Sewing Machines, Hershey's Chocolate or Pennzoil made. Paramount Pictures...Avis Rent-a-Car...Traveler's Insurance...Walgreens Pharmacy...United Airlines? No interpretation necessary.
Names should be memorable and meaningful. Sure, if you're Apple, Xerox or Google, you can afford an obscure, non-descriptive name. But what if you're not a mega corporation with 100% name awareness? How can your startup succeed if no one even knows what you do?
What if we applied this same naming convention to small, Mom and Pop businesses? Imagine strolling down Main Street, USA and looking at the shop signs...
Instead of Tony's Pizza, we'd have Crustly.
Sally's Sewing Supplies? Needly.
Joe's Hardware Store? Warely.
Dependable Plumbing? Plungely.
But sadly, those ridiculous, completely abstruse startup names show no sign of stopping. They have become the New Normaly.