Friday, August 29, 2008

Tasty Tidbits from the past week...

Choking Hazard Sometimes we find juicy news not worthy of a full blog post, yet too darn good to not share with you. These "Tasty Tidbits" are digestible bites of news about new names and the naming industry and what we think of them here at Eat My Words. Bon Appetit!

America's # 1 Populist ! blows the lid off of the Naming Industry! ! A populist is an advocate of democratic principles, making Naming Consultants Socialists or Communists we guess. His in-depth investigation uncovered our biggest secret; that Naming Consultants get $500,000 per name. He also introduced us to a great new word to explain what we do...humbuggery. He claims that "I’m not a naming consultant, so who am I to question?" Right. You be a populist and we'll name stuff. We'll give you the friend discount and charge you only $400,000.

In an article entitled The 6 Coolest Jobs for Weird Majors, one of our competitors explains their naming process:

Linguistics plays a big role at New York-based namebase, a brand naming firm responsible for coining "Fruitopia" and Tyson's "Any'tizers," says President and Creative Director Jim Singer. The daily grind at Singer's firm involves searching for a neologism (a coined word) that communicates so well, it virtually advertises the product itself. Sound is key. The name of a small car should sound small. The name of an antidepressant should sound helpful or upbeat. The company's linguistic analysis checks for word associations and colloquialisms in a variety of languages.

Some Eat My Words differences in process:

  1. We don't consider our work a " daily grind". The only grinding at our office is the fresh coffee beans we start our day with.
  2. We don't search for coined words that virtually advertises the product, but rather look for real words that do advertise the product.
  3. We think a name should not sound small or helpful or upbeat , but rather evoke small or helpful or upbeat.
  4. None of our names have apost'rophes in w'eird pla'ces.


Reis pieces "Branding expert" Laura Reis recently changed the name of her blog to Ries' Pieces in an entry entitled "The Time for Change in Now." She explains that "pieces is a great triple entendre that describes my blog posts, TV appearances as well as the correct pronunciation of my name."

Further she fesses up that "there is one problem. You can’t use apostrophes and other punctuation marks in a website address. But you can cover your bases by buying close but incorrect names and redirecting them to your main site. I got and to cover my new name and address RiesPieces."

She goes on to say, "No name is ever 100% perfect, but Ries’ Pieces is a name that I think is worth moving to." WHAAAAAAAAAT????????? No name is ever 100% perfect???!!! On the contrary.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

There's Something Rotten in Zenmark

This is a continuing series of postings that will spotlight other naming firms. We think our clients should have a choice, and clearly Eat My Words is not the only naming firm in business.Zenmark3

Next up is the self-proclaimed "Last Word in Naming", Zenmark.

Besides being the last word in naming, they are the first to apply for a patent on a naming process, or should we say a "Verbal Identity Engineering Process."

Really. No joke. They did it. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

Zenmark Brand Engineering, Inc. announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has received and acknowledged the company's patent application filing for its invention of a unique and innovative creative development process in the area of product, service, and company naming. Zenmark's Verbal Identity Engineering (Patent Pending) process has proven to revolutionize the naming industry by applying a rigorous and repeatable methodology to the often unstructured and undisciplined process of brand name creation.

"Our engineered approach combines art with science, which is entirely new to naming," said Greg Balla, president of Zenmark. "By adding scientific scrutiny to the process of legal analysis, linguistic assessment, and market testing, it gives clients more confidence that the names they ultimately choose will be the ideal vessels for their verbal identity and the most solid infrastructure for building brand equity.


We have a few questions:

  1. Do you want a naming company to apply a rigorous and repeatable methodology to your naming project? Does it sound even remotely creative? We want our dentist to apply a rigorous and repeatable methodology to cleaning our teeth, but that's about it.
  2. What's wrong with being unstructured and undisciplined? We embrace it. The best names come from non-linear thinking.
  3. Proven to revolutionize the naming industry? According to whom?
  4. "What on earth is adding scientific scrutiny to the process of legal analysis, linguistics and market testing? Scientists are not good namers.
  5. We would love to take a look at the patent application, but we can't find it in the USPTO database. According to the Patent Office it takes 1.5 to 2.5 years to get a patent. Zenmark applied in May 2005, so.....

This (patent pending) process is so revolutionary and unique that Zenmark warns...yes warns potential clients that:

"Zenmark’s Verbal Identity Engineering (patent pending) Process can currently be shared with you and your team only under non-disclosure. Federal law prohibits any unbound discussion of the trade-secret details involved in the Zenmark Design Team’s unique creative development in the area of naming and branding."

We share mints with our clients and never threaten them with federal statutes.

OK, so what does all this double-talk and folderal about engineering and scientific scrutiny get you?

The Zenmark Portfolio!

  • Airave
  • Afaria
  • Amicor
  • Applimation
  • Audistry
  • Certiport
  • Evoltra (anyone else think of revolting when reading this name?)
  • Explorist
  • Fusic
  • HipTop
  • Jurni
  • LifeDrive
  • MassTrans
  • Mobshop
  • NetVein
  • Print 2.0 (Nothing like immediately time-stamping a client's name.)
  • RoadMate
  • SabreSonic
  • Suvus
  • Trax
  • Vistrio
  • Wellbound
  • XOHM (Read our previous post about this howler which is a leading contender for the worst name of 2008)
  • Zoove

So that's what a rigorous and repeatable methodology buys you. On the other hand, if you want a name that is free-wheeling and unique like Neato home cleaning robots, Spoon Me frozen yogurt, Cake Financial, Frigid ice cream or Monkey Dunks dips for kids, give us a call.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spoon Me licks the competition with eco-friendly stores

It was only a year ago that Eat My Words named Spoon Me, and now it's the coolest frozen yogurt franchise on the planet.

Here is some recent press from the Daily Herald, which also includes a video of founder, Ryan Combe. (For the record, the word "cuddle," makes us cringe.)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

'Spoon Me' frozen yogurt shop looks to cuddle environment
by Ace Stryker

At Spoon Me, you can always chew on the silverware if your frozen yogurt hasn't filled you up.

"We don't recommend people eat our spoons, but people eat 'em," said Craig Jaynes, partner and manager of the new store that opened July 24 on Provo's Bulldog Boulevard.

It's not every day that a restaurant operator can view so cavalierly the consumption of his hardware without inviting serious litigation -- let alone the store's trash bags, which Jaynes suggested are also edible. That's because both products are made from corn derivatives. It's part of a larger effort on the part of the fledgling company's leadership to go "green;" from floor to ceiling, nearly everything in Spoon Me is designed to be easy on the environment.

"Yeah, you could eat a trash bag, I guess -- if you wanted to get crazy," said Ryan Combe, the company's founder and CEO.

Spoon Me started out with a vision by Combe and Jaynes's older brother, David, to capitalize on the popular frozen treat market while treating the earth as well as their customers.

"That's really what we're lacking today in America in business," Combe said. "We kind of went in blindly. We said, 'We'll be the ones that will kind of bite the bullet on it."

The first store opened in Salt Lake City last October. Then one in Sandy followed, and Provo's new location made it a trio. But the train doesn't stop rolling there: Combe and crew are opening another location in St. George on Thursday, and there are others in development in Las Vegas; Phoenix; and Austin, Texas. Combe said he plans to open one or two stores a month for the foreseeable future.

"We're proving that you can be successful doing little things," he said.

Walking into a Spoon Me shop, there isn't much that immediately screams environmentalism. A simple menu advertises the all-natural goodness of the product, but that's just the beginning.

Eco-friendly paint adorns the walls. The indoor and outdoor lights were chosen because they demand less energy. The same is true of special breakers installed in back that power the yogurt machines.

Employees wear shirts made of recycled linen and other green materials. The cleaning supplies might have been borrowed from under Mother Nature's kitchen sink.

"We really wanted to be a progressive company and do more than other people," Combe said. "

By no means do we want to be unique in this aspect."

In fact, Combe said he hopes his enterprise will inspire other businesses to pick up the same torch. He predicted that in five years, thanks to growing consumer awareness, eco-friendly commerce will be the norm rather than the exception.

That would make Spoon Me's day-to-day operations easier, Combe admitted. He said he battled conventional wisdom in the industry when he dreamt up the idea and still pays a 25 to 50 percent premium on green supplies.

"The convenience aspect of it is frustrating," he said. "If we run out of forks, we can't just run to Costco and get more."

But, he insists, the move is worth it. Knowing that spoons and bowls from a couple's date won't still be rotting in landfills when their great-grandchildren have passed is tough to put a price on, he said.

"In as little as 90 days, the remnants of your date will not exist anymore," he said. "I can go home at night and say, 'At least I'm doing my part.' "

The third leg of Spoon Me's mission, complementing its focus on the customer and the earth, is making a difference in the community. Each month, every location picks a local cause and puts a bowl on the counter for donations -- this month, Provo's store is raising funds for the Provo High School cheerleaders. Combe said his stores have raised as much as $1,000 a month to return to the community.

"That's why I think people have gravitated toward us," he said.

Both Combe and Jaynes expressed ambition in expanding Spoon Me to become a national, maybe even a global, name. At the rate they're going, it might not be too long before people everywhere are eating their silverware. "We want to spoon everyone," Jaynes said. "We're gonna spoon the world."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tasty Tidbits from the past week...

WarningChokingHazard250Sometimes we find juicy news not worthy of a full blog post, yet too darn good to not share with you. These "Tasty Tidbits" are digestible bites of news about new names and what we think of them here at Eat My Words. Bon Appetit!


In the company most in the need of an immediate name change department is the Viet Nam based airline company "Air Speed Up". It turns out that the name in Vietnamese means "Death and Grief."


We think it is not a wise move to name a children's product something that implies child abuse. Apparently the "PopATot" people don't have such qualms.


The name change explanation of the week comes from SaleBuild, who changed their name to Salesify.

Here, is their own words, is the impetus behind the name change:

The Company's former sales-centric services have been significantly expanded to include marketing processes and the name, Salesify, reflects this strategic repositioning.

The Salesify name is also aspirational, and while grounded in more than 30 years of industry experience, points towards our dynamic, innovative and out-of-the box thinking," continued (company CFO, Oliver) Deng.

Um, what? Did they that name from


drank is the past tense drink that comes to us promising us that it will "Slow your roll" with a Drank-2007 combination of valerian root, melatonin and rose hips. We are getting sleepy already.

The problem is that drank is a slang term for a homemade cocktail consisting of Sprite soda and prescription strength Promethazine/Codeine Cough Syrup. Good idea.....really. We think their next product should be an energy drink called Speedball.


Our favorite book title of the week is:

Momma Is Daddy Going to Hell? MOMMY DADDY HELL

From the book description we get:

Captivated by the sermons on Hell at his mother's church, Little Johnny started to question his mother about the great abyss. His curiosity covers topics such as the fate of his adulterous father, celebrities, false teachers and different religions to name a few. (our emphasis)

We think this is less about Little Johnny's curiosity and everything about his adulterous father. The book title we think is not a question, but a hoped for fate for Little Johnny's adulterous daddy by Little Johnny's momma.


We hope we didn't spoil your dinner.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 - you get what you pay for

Lamethis-logoWe commented before on the crowdsourcing website, where $99 gets you a new name for your product, company or service. As we predicted, it has not gotten any better. The names generated are painfully bad, as evidenced by recent "winners" including: - Career Oriented Website /Personal Branding (sounds like a human resources magician to us)

Sheppard Systems - Online Church Communications Tool (why not spell it Shepherd?)

Givolution - Gift Card Website - Website for connecting people with services

fAIRhenheit - new technology for central heating and air conditioning systems (misspelling and case sensitive weirdness included at one low price!)

EcoCool - First Stage of an Air Conditioner Motor

Frescomfort -Second Stage of an Air Conditioner Motor (thank God it stops here and there is not a third or fourth stage)

Health eJourney - medical tourism website (an "e" name"? Helloooooo 1990's!)

Manĝaĵo - 100% Organic Fast Casual Californian Restaurant (this one is a classic..... it's Esperanto......Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton?)

We also noticed...

  • The same peple are "winning" over and over which implies that the "crowd" is more like a small informal gathering.
  • The crowd is getting asking questions and not getting answers
  • The economics don't add up. The company keeps $36 of the $99 it charges for a naming job and they are not breaking any volume records. Case in point. As of today, they have two, count 'em two, naming jobs in the queue. The investors who ponied up $3,000,000 for the parent company probably want a little more bang for their $3,000,000 bucks. is the poser-child for you get what you pay this case, namedreck, and is proof that crowdsourcing in many cases sounds better than it actually is in practice. NameThis, we are putting you in the deadpool.

For names that don't suck at any price, we recommend that you use a professional.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

VivaKi - They are at a loss for real words.

VivaKi' - www_vivaki_comOne of our best Head Scratcher scouts, Robin Wolaner, Founder of TeeBeeDee, alerted us to yet another new merger in branding land... Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Publicis, the parent of Starcom MediaVest Group, Zenith Optimedia Group, Digitas, Denuo, and agencies such as Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi, said Chicago-based Performics would be integrated into Publicis' new VivaKi Nerve Center, headed by long-term digital media czar Curt Hecht.

Got that?

To Robin's point, the name Performics merged with VivaKi, could result in a total tongue twister. The thought makes our tongues hurt. So let's just focus on one of the offenders: VivaKi.

"Vivaki is a new strategic initiative designed to significantly improve the performance of advertisers' marketing investments as well as boost Publicis Groupe's growth in the context of rapidly expanding digital markets". .....That is a quote from the press release and we have no idea what it means either. On to the name.......

You know it's a bad name when the logo has to include a phonetic key. Yikes.

According to the press release, here is the name origin:

The name VivaKi is derived from the word "viva" which means life, and "ki" (or Qi) which is often translated as energy flow. According to Maurice Lévy (CEO, Publicis Groupe), the Groupe sought a name that signified a new frontier - a new lead solution in the digital era.

Apparently the Groupe gave up on seeking a name that signified a new frontier - a new lead solution in the digital era, because they settled for VivaKi.

A few problems and oddities we see for VivaKi:

  1. Combining a 3rd person singular present subjunctive of the Latin word vivere (viva) with a misspelled Chinese word (Ki or Qi) is freaking weird.

  2. It is not easily pronounced (see above logo for reminder). We are still confused if viva is pronounced vī-və or vē-və.

  3. It has to be explained and yet still makes no sense. What does "life energy flow" have to with "a new strategic initiative designed to significantly improve the performance of advertisers' marketing investments as well as boost Publicis Groupe's growth in the context of rapidly expanding digital markets"?

  4. What is the point of the capital "K", to highlight the misspelling?

  5. We can't decide which is more pretentious, the faux Latin/Chinese name or calling yourself "life energy flow".

  6. Why not VivaQi? It's no worse.
  7. Is a slam dunk flunk in the SMILE & SCRATCH Test.

Next time you need a name that signifies a new frontier or a new lead solution in the digital or any other era (or any other naming for that matter) call a professional ,we promise no Latin/Chinese mashups.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We don't mean to be dumby, but what the heck is a Chumby?

Who, or what is a Chumby? (No fair looking.) Okay, it's not brand new, but play along, kids...

  1. A fishing boat robot cleaning device for deck chum
  2. A Chia -Gumby
  3. A bank for chump change
  4. Rugby for chums
  5. Some kind of mutant six-legged octopus

Our favorite client at Glu, David Zemke, a regular contributor to the ever-growing Eat My Words Headscratchers list, recently told us about Chumby, a real humdinger. David said he was listening to a web radio station that was giving away a bunch of Chumby's and the DJ couldn't even describe what a Chumby was.

Here are some other tries at descriptions:

Engadget - If the concept of Chumby still eludes you, just imagine an almost entirely open-source device (hardware included) designed to run widgets assigned via a web interface, intended to sit somewhere useful and give at-a-sleepy-eyed glance information -- probably by your bed.

Geek.Com - If you’re not familiar with the Chumby, it’s a Linux-based gadget that connects up to the internet via WiFi, and sports a squeeze sensor, accelerometer, and a 3.5″ LCD color touchscreen. The coolest part about it is that it runs Adobe Flash-based widgets so pretty much anything you can imagine is (or will be) available for it.

CNET - Unfortunately, despite the Chumby's adaptability, there's no one feature it can hang its hat on as a compelling default selling point. You're either convinced that all of the Chumby's little features add up to the final price, or you're not.

TheBigChair.Com - If you cross an alarm clock, a picture frame and an internet radio player with a gerbil, you would get the Chumby.

A gerbil?

Chumby fails enough of the SMILE & SCRATCH Test to flunk as a good name. We love naming electronic things and will be announcing a trio of new devices we named for industry leader Altec Lansing in the near future. We are particularly excited about this because it is the start of our worldwide campaign to rid the electronic goods industry of alpha-numeric name architectures.