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Summary:

This weekend at DEMO a startup called Gwabbit launched a web-based contact syncing service. In seeing the name, I instantly thought of Kwedit, another tech startup whose oh-so-cutesy name makes me want to … well … womit. Startups, please don’t do this to your users.

This weekend at DEMO a startup called Gwabbit launched a web-based contact syncing service. The company makes a popular app that adds contacts from the web to your Outlook client, but in seeing the name, I instantly thought of Kwedit, another tech startup whose oh-so-cutesy name makes me want to…well…womit.

Look, I get that domain names are hard to find. And I have lived through the lowercase E and dot-com naming conventions of the late 90s. I carefully triple-check spellings as startups drop vowels (Flickr, Scanr) or bastardize common spellings to make themselves stand out (Digg, Reddit, Vidyo). When it comes to adding letters, I have a special disdain for the double-o (Orgoo, Faroo, Wufoo, Kadoo).

I gamely look up the names of startups that insert periods in between all of their letters (del.icio.us, bit.ly, me.dium), but this childish lingo is pushing me to the edge. So, please, just add a lowercase “i” to your name or the word app and leave the baby talk out of it.

Disclosure: Kwedit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

  1. I thought it was really funny you noticed this is a trend Stacey, because I guess my husband and I did this to our company without realizing it was trendy. We named our LLC company Balalaberry Media two years ago in honor of our daughter. Banana Berry is her favorite Gerber food and she can’t say the “n” because she’s autistic and has speech issues (which is also why she’s eating Gerber at age 6 still). So the company became Balalaberry. It makes a good conversation starter when people ask about the name.

    Probably the first and last time in my life I’ll be trendy. LOL

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    1. why would you admit this? no way i’m doing business with balalaberry anything. People, y’all need to get over your kids, have a (business) life away from them. You think they’re adorable; the rest of us are indifferent. it’s an icebreaker, no doubt, but don’t believe that all of those “oh, how cute!” responses are sincere. People are just being polite. Time to get professional, Nancy.

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  2. My kid’s earliest vocalization was “giga-om”. Oh yeah and “google”

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  3. Oh my god, thank you.

    If I’d seen one more big tech blog write about Kwedit with a metaphorical straight face, my head would have exploded. Now, at least, I know that there are human beings with brains made of actual genuine fleshy meat writing these articles.

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    1. I think it’s the cute factor that drove me to write this. I just can’t do cute.

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  4. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to welcome you to web 2.1. You may now have your vowels back, on the condition that you surrender your retroflex consonants and and some fricatives.

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  5. Unique, famous, good, article. you must submit that on the technorati or digg, ok! good luck!

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  6. [...] Why does every new startup have a name that sounds like babytalk?  (GigaOM) [...]

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  7. we agonised about this for ages (well half an hour) and decided to go for a ‘it does what it says on the tin’ name – PhoneFromHere.com – which neatly doubles as a mission statement :-) .

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  8. [...] babies naming start-ups? One writer over at GigaOm suspects that toddlers are lending a hand in creating a new naming convention for companies. In [...]

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  9. Add a lower case “i”? Are you nuts? That’s akin to synching your calendar with Apple’s legal team’s.

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  10. [...] in response to the declining quality of names being used by web startups, a problem Stacey discussed over on GigaOM recently: “We’re seeing more and more sites that are good ideas, but which have terrible names. [...]

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