“People thought we sold dog treats”: Business owners reveal the secret to choosing a good business name

What’s in a name? Well, if you ask some of the world’s biggest new-age companies, the answer would probably surprise you. Success stories such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo! and IKEA all have instantly recognisable names, but fairly strange reasons for choosing them in the first place.

Google, for example, was initially going to be called BackRub, before being named after the mathematical term for 10¹⁰⁰, googol.

Yahoo! was initially an acronym for ‘Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle’, and gained the iconic exclamation point simply because another company was already registered with just plain ‘Yahoo’.

Many companies founded in the last 50 years also have some odd reasoning behind their names. Australian companies fare no different: Canva was once called ‘Canvas Chef’, Optus is derived from a couple of Latin words, and Envato is a word that’s entirely made up. You get the idea.

But just as there are hundreds of companies with weird and wacky names, there’s just as many with fairly standard names (General Motors, Commonwealth Bank, the list goes on) which have been just as successful as those without. Read more

Dominic Powell - SmartCompany - 27 September 2018

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