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December 6, 2007

Seussical Domain Names

As someone who works for a company called GELF (and is about to launch a new company with an even sillier name), I'm always entertained when stodgy media outlets are forced to discuss the newest high-tech advance as taking place at a company called something like Xobni. Evidently, that self-consciousness has turned into inspiration, as several different news organizations have taken it upon themselves to chide entrepreneurs for looking to a certain literary M.D. for inspiration.

McClatchy-Tribune Business News, September 12th

There’s Clusty, Kajeet, Zazzle and Ziggs. Ooma, Yoomba, Oodle and Noosh. New Dr. Seuss characters? Hardly. These fanciful-sounding nonsense words are company names.

Washington Post, November 28th

Among the many things the Internet has added recently to contemporary life, there is this: Many grown-ups now sound like babbling toddlers when speaking about the digital world—because many corporate names now have the ring of a collection of Dr. Seuss characters.
Friends tell friends about the hot new videos on Bebo and Joost, or Hulu and Revver. They buy movie tickets on Fandango, trade songs on Kazaa and find amusing news items on Fark. Zug is a comedy site, Yelp is a review site, Woozyfly a music-sharing site. Zune? Not a Web site at all, but rather a music player.

New York Times, December 6th

These are all actual Web sites that have hit the Web in the last year or so: Doostang. Wufoo. Bliin. Thoof. Bebo. Meebo. Meemo. Kudit. Raketu. Etelos. Iyogi. Oyogi. Qoop. Ooma. Kijiji. Zixxo. Zoogmo. These startups think that these names will stick in our minds because they’re so offbeat, but they’re wrong. Actually, all those twentysomething entrepreneurs are ensuring that we won’t remember them. Those names all blend together into a Dr. Seuss 2.0 jumble.

As some of these articles mention (with way too little emphasis), these nonsense company names aren't necessarily the result of CEOs distracted by thoughts of baby batter and bong resin. There are few domain names available under seven letters in length, and almost none that resemble words of any kind. And as type-in traffic remains a major source of web readership, people want their product to be reachable with as few button pushes as possible.

As an example, Gelf did a quick overview of actual Dr. Seuss vocabulary (using his Dartmouth dictionary of terms as a guide (PDF)) and found exactly zero available domain names. Here's a brief list:

Wumbus.com (warning: house music)

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- Internet
- posted on Dec 07, 07
Joe User

Your an idiot... Your position has no merit... Explain these names if you think wacky names are worthless...

What Is A(n)...

Yeah, all those words have a meaning... They clearing represent the industry and/or products they provide.

You have no marketing brain cells. So please, save the ink on your mindless babble because you are confusing all the other mindless people who read your work.

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