Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hey Name Boy, Don't Quit Your Day Job

Every week, wannabe namers from around the world stumble upon our Dream Jobs page and take our naming test to see if they have what it takes to be an Eat My Words namer. (So far, only 5 creative geniuses have passed.) The test is simple (at least for us)... "Send us 20 names for a sleek new external hard drive that stores an enormous amount of data." While we certainly have seen our share of hideous names that appear to have been created by our old-school competitors, at least the people that send them in are usually quite humble, sometimes even begging. But today, a wannabe Name Boy had a little attitude. Here is the email he sent:

From: (name withheld to protect the identity)
Subject: Just one
To: dreamjobs@eatmywords.com.
Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 9:24 AM

new external hard drive that stores an enormous amount of data:

Drive Outside

Go on and play with this . . .

Just one? One bad one? Don't quit your day job, Name Boy. Or as Mik says, "Hey Name Boy, go drive off a cliff." For more bad namer test submissions, check out this previous post.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gushing Testimonials from our Happy Clients

Here are some recent testimonials from clients who loved working with Alexandra and the talented team at Eat My Words. For more glowing recommendations, visit our Reviews page.

"Alexandra is truly innovative and distinctive in the business she has built. Recently, a naming exercise came into play at IHG. Because I had experienced good work with Alexandra while VP of Consumer Insights at Dunkin' Brands, I reached out to her company once more.

I received from Eat My Words, on very short notice, a very thoughtful and creative list of potential names for a new Holiday Inn venture. The creativity of Alexandra and team allowed us to perform true "due diligence" as part of our branding work, and we hold her in high esteem for that. We definitely plan to tap into Eat my Words for a project in the Spring ... and what higher advocacy measure is there than, "I plan to use this group again!"

Truly, Alexandra and team are smart boutique shop masters who take you to levels in your marketing work that are not experienced amongst more traditional suppliers. "

- Regina Lewis, PhD

SVP, Global Insights, InterContinental Hotels Group


"I engaged Alexandra to work on the naming of a new business - Wavelength. I would describe the experience as seamless, professional and quite frankly inspirational! From the outset the questions posed made us really think about what we were trying to achieve, and the 100's of ideas Alex and her team generated made us pause, ponder and often quite often laugh!!

We were truly delighted with her final recommendation, we'd never have come up with the name without her and can't recommend her services highly enough."

- Adrian Simpson

Chief Connector, Wavelength Companies, Ltd


"I hired Alexandra to help name my company because she thinks out of the box, but also is very down to earth in her approach - for example, no bizarre spellings! But most importantly, she really understood my business and me, and took a very human approach to the task. Moreover, she delivered things on time, professionally, and held my hand throughout the entire process, including getting the name and URL registered. Can't recommend her enough."

- Charlene Li

Founder, Altimeter Group

Friday, September 26, 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!

Oracle announced its first hardware product this week, called Exadata. Yawn. Apparently, Oracle has been working on this product for three years. However, it sounds like they started working on the name part about three days ago and grabbed something off of a whiteboard at the last minute. We can't find a description anywhere on the Oracle website on the meaning of Exadata Exadata, but they show a picture of the product that has an "X" on it, so that makes it clear....

Also, there is a joint HP /Oracle product that is being simultaneously released, which they are calling....wait for it......the

HP Oracle Database Machine

Really? Isn't that a description rather than a name?

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison refers to the products as "radical new thinking". Maybe, but not so much for the names.

In the "Sure, That Will Fix the Problem" files comes this "rebranding" news from WPP Group's MindShare:

Mindshare "The agency's North American senior executives are relinquishing their formal job titles. For example, Scott Neslund, CEO of Mindshare North America, will now be identified simply as Scott Neslund, Mindshare North America, the agency said."

In phase 2 of the job title changes to be implemented early next year, he will be identified simply as, "The Scottmeister".

Also, for no apparent reason, they will now be known as Mindshare, not MindShare. In related news, they are negotiating with the City of New York (their headquarters location) to change the city's spelling to neW yorK.

Interesting Trademark Lawsuit of the week: Intel is suing Intellife Travel for trademark infringement. We are all for protection of your trademark, but come on.....


One is a small travel agency specializing in travel between North America and China and one is the world's leader in semiconductor technology. Well, we're confused, but not in the way Intel thinks we are.

Techcrunch lays it all out for us.

We can't help our fascination with the trainwreck of an idea, Namethis.com. Watch later for our discussion why it cannot possibly succeed as a real business (hint: it has something to do with venture capital backers wanting an actual ROI). If anyone wants to give us $3 million, we'll tell you how to make it really work.

In the meantime, here is the Namethis.com lame name of the week: "Pixelouvre.com", an original name for a modern e-commerce art gallery. The company preferred a "one-word name" that "must be available as a .com". That one sentence alone explains dreck like Pixelouvre.com.

As anyone who knows anything about domain names knows, one-word names are all gone. Also, emphasis on names that must be available as .com forces the production of junk names. In any case, the explanation behind the creation of Pixelouvre.com is:

"pixel + louvre. pixel represents the ecommerce." (a pixel is a single point in a graphic image..how does that represent e-commerce exactly?) "louvre: an art museum that is a famous tourist attraction in Paris (Right.... Lucky it starts with an "L" or else it wouldn't have worked with pixe"l") "the domain is available" (there is a reason for that).

P.S. As of 6:00 am Pacific time on 09-26-08, Pixelouvre.com was still available, so maybe the company that bought the name doesn't want to waste another $9.99 to lock up this winner. We were going to buy it on a lark, but decided we didn't want to face a Pixelouvre.com domain dispute dustup. For free, we offer the following (domain names available) as backups: PixelSmithsonian.com, PixelMuseumOfModernArt.com and PixelTheGetty.com.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Doctor slang is a dying art.

Is doctor slang on the wane?

From the BBC

The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients - or each other - is in danger of becoming extinct.

So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples.

Medicine is a profession already overflowing with acronyms and technical terms, and doctors over the years have invented plenty of their own.

However, Dr Adam Fox, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London as a specialist registrar in its child allergy unit, says that far fewer doctors now annotate notes with abbreviations designed to spell out the unsayable truth about their patients.

CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon)
GLM - Good looking Mum
GPO - Good for Parts Only
TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury
The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).

Dr Fox recounts the tale of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO - an expletive expression roughly translated as "Told To Go Away" - on a patient's notes.

He told BBC News Online: "This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: 'To take fluids orally'."

Quaint up North

Regional dialects abound, even in the world of the medical abbreviation.

In the north of England, the TTR (Tea Time Review) of a patient is commonplace, but not in the south.

And the number of terms for patients believed to be somewhat intellectually challenged is enormous.

"I can't believe what he just called me..."
From LOBNH (Lights On But Nobody Home), CNS-QNS (Central Nervous System - Quantity Not Sufficient), to the delightful term "pumpkin positive", which refers to the implication that a penlight shone into the patient's mouth would encounter a brain so small that the whole head would light up.

Regular visitors to A&E on a Friday or Saturday night are also classified.

DBI refers to "Dirt Bag Index", and multiplies the number of tattoos with the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed.

A PFO refers to a drunken patient who sustained injury falling over, while a PGT "Got Thumped" instead.

Digging for Worms - varicose vein surgery
Departure lounge - geriatric ward
Handbag positive - confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on hospital bed clutching handbag
Woolworth's Test - Anaesthetic term (if you can imagine patient shopping in Woolies, it's safe to give a general anaesthetic)
This is an international language - Dr Fox's research reveals that a PIMBA in Brazil can be translated as a "swollen-footed, drunk, run-over beggar".

Doctor insult

And much of the slang is directed at colleagues rather than patients.

Thus rheumatology, considered by hard-pressed juniors one of the less busy specialties, becomes "rheumaholiday", the "Freud Squad" are psychiatrists, and "Gassers" and "Slashers" are anaesthetists and general surgeons respectively.

Dr Fox is keen to point out that neither he, nor the other authors of the paper, published in the journal Ethics and Behavior, actually advocate using any of the terms.

He said: "It's a form of communication, and it needs to be recorded.

"It may not be around forever."

He said: "I do think that doctors are genuinely more respectful of their patients these days."

If that is the case, perhaps the delights of a "Whopper with Cheese", "Handbag positive" or "Coffin dodger" could be lost forever.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Report from the Winner's Circle: Make Mine a Million $ Business

As reported on Friday from the finals in Albuquerque, I am now an official Winner of the Make Mine a Million $ Business Program sponsored by American Express. I could not have done this without the dozens of clients and friends who gave me their support, help and a big boost of confidence as I prepared for the competition over the last four months. The finals were exhausting... day one was hours of speech rehearsals and tiara fittings. This won't surprise any of you in my Toastmasters Club or National Speakers Association ProTrack group, but I was the only one of the 20 finalists who did not have my speech brutally critiqued by the Count Me In staff and professional speech coach. They were pretty harsh on the finalists, calling some of the speeches "boring," and even trashing some women's hairstyles and jewelry. Ouch! While I received lots of kudos on my speech and they didn't change a word, someone did point out that I had memorized my speech, but with 15 mandatory points to communicate in three minutes about myself and Eat My Words, I couldn't just wing it. I sailed through it on stage on Thursday morning and was announced as one of the 10 winners later that afternoon.
My prizes include a $1000 Dell gift card (which I am using to buy a new camera and TV), professional coaching, mentoring, and most importantly, lots of visibility - the American Express PR Machine goes into overtime to promote the winners. Plus, I will be part of an exclusive Yahoo Group, just for M3 finalists and winners - this will be invaluable.

All of the winners are dynamic women with interesting businesses. (Pictured here, left to right: Carla Falcone, Lana Hutchison, Alexandra Watkins, and Kimbra Orr)

Here are the 10 winners:

Alexandra Watkins
Eat My Words
San Francisco, CA
Eat My Words is a creative branding firm that creates unforgettable brand names and taglines that make emotional connections with consumers, build instant affinity for the brand, and have proven Return On Investment. The firm consistently delivers powerful, unexpected names that lend themselves to wordplay, brand-extensions and merchandising opportunities. Eat My Words is the only naming firm that monetizes names for clients including Spoon Me frozen yogurt, Frigid gourmet ice cream, and Stuff a Sock In It laundromat.

Carla Falcone & Romy Taormina
Psi Health Solutions, Inc.
Pacific Grove, CA
Psi Health Solutions, Inc. sells Psi Bands (pronounced "Sigh Bands"): drug-free wrist bands for the relief of nausea due to morning sickness (pregnancy), motion sickness/ travel, chemotherapy, and anesthesia. FDA-cleared Psi Bands are unlike any other product on the market in that they are: fashionable, adjustable around the wrist and at the acupressure point for personalized comfort, waterproof (no more soggy wrist bands), reusable, and affordable.
Lana Hutchison
Hutchison Assisted Living Services, Inc.
Albuquerque, NM
Hutchison Assisted Living Services, Inc. operates a licensed Adult Residential Shelter Care Home called Andrew House providing assisted living services to individuals. Services include housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, grooming, medication assistance and general supervision. Lana strives to offer assisted living to the elderly seeking a comfortable atmosphere at a reasonable expense.

Kimbra Orr
Kimbra Studios
Littleton, CO
Kimbra Studios produces solid sterling custom photo jewelry and accessory pieces. Customers can upload, manipulate and view how their photos will look in pieces of jewelry at the website. The jewelry is solid sterling silver and the photos are completely waterproof, making them heirloom pieces.

Tarin Wilson
plan A events, LLC
Beverly Hills, CA
plan A events, LLC is an event production and management company organizing events of all sizes with an emphasis on detail and quality. They specialize in corporate events and parties, fundraisers/auctions, awards shows, festivals, movie premieres, and receptions.

Krista Branch
Peak Educational Services
Flagstaff, AZ
Peak Educational Services is a multidisciplinary organization that works with schools and agencies in Northern Arizona and on the Navajo Nation by serving the individual needs of the child and family through professional, caring relationships. Peak provides highly needed therapy services to schools including School Psychology, Speech-Language Therapy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Special Education Instruction and Counseling.

Carol Gaab
TPRS Publishing, Inc.
Chandler, AZ
TPRS Publishing, Inc. produces and publishes Foreign Language readers, textbooks and teacher training materials that are based on a specific method called Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. It is an input based methodology that focuses on activities and techniques that expose the learner to an abundance of authentic language in a condensed period of time.

Nadine Johnson
Sous Kitchen, Inc.
San Carlos, CA
Sous Kitchen, Inc. provides customers with chef-prepared, frozen dinner kits to cook at home. Customers can prepare their own meals at Sous Kitchen or call ahead and have their meals prepared for them. They also have the option of picking up their meals at the kitchen or having the meals delivered to their home or workplace.

Barbara Spohn-Lillo
Prosthetic Illusions Inc
Lakewood, CO
Prosthetic Illusions Inc specializes in creating custom artificial eyes, facial prosthetics, partial digits, and custom breast prostheses. Creating prosthetics requires a graceful combination of technique, artisanship and attention to detail, to which Barbara and her company are dedicated.
Theresa Stelter
Hillcreek Designs
Santee, CA
Hillcreek Designs sells buttons with a folk art finish. Each button is hand dyed and packaged for retail and wholesale clients worldwide. Catering to quilt and craft stores, Hillcreek Designs also sells linen thread, wire quilt hangers, patterns and simple stitch templates. Hillcreek Designs also works with designers for their specific projects or books. The buttons have a matte surface, rich in color, and are washable.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Alexandra Watkins Wins Make Mine a Million Contest!

We previously announced that our own Alexandra Watkins was a finalist for The Make Mine a Program from Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence.
Pretty Alexandra1
We can NOW announce that as of a few minutes ago, she was picked as a winner! While none of us here at Eat My Words ever had any doubt, we were nonetheless on the proverbial pins and needles until the announcement. Alexandra worked very hard to come this far this fast, and this win validates it all.

We will fill you in with more details on what all this means next week when Alexandra gets back from a well deserved weekend in New Mexico.

Congratulations Alexandra!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spoon Me a healthy, green yogurt shop

Spoon Me franchise owner Carolee Millet, left, and Spoon Me founder and CEO Ryan Combe inside the new Sandy location. The interior is eco-friendly and the yogurt had no artificial ingredients.

By Lesley Mitchell
The Salt Lake Tribune

SANDY, UTAH - You won't find the typical vanilla, chocolate or strawberry flavors at the Spoon Me frozen yogurt shop.

In their places are more mysterious flavors - acai (berry from Brazil), green tea or "natural."

The Utah-based chain, with locations in Sandy, downtown Salt Lake City, Provo and St. George, is among a number of companies popping up nationwide that aim to provide a hip alternative to the frozen yogurt-shop concept that soared in the '80s, only to fizzle somewhat in recent years.

"There's definitely a growing trend toward a healthier dessert product," said Spoon Me co-founder Ryan Combe.

Aside from Spoon Me, there are other stores with trendy frozen yogurt concepts opening up, including Red Mango, which has three Utah locations. Spoon Me, founded by Utah natives Combe and David Jaynes, is trying to set itself apart from competitors in a number of ways.

"I wanted to create something more marketable" than the other offerings, Combe said. "And I wanted something more responsible" in terms of the environment and community.

The chain uses as many environmentally friendly products as possible in its stores, from spoons made out of corn starch to highly biodegradable cups to hold the yogurt. Virtually everything that goes into the stores, from the paint and light fixtures to the toilets in the restrooms, are designed to be easy on the

Although Combe, 26, said he hasn't spent a lot of time working in the restaurant industry, he does have the pedigree: He said his uncle was involved in the Arctic Circle hamburger chain and his cousins run the Warrens and Dylan's fast-food chains in Utah.

But he's also trying something vastly different, especially for conservative Utah. Marketing phrases such as "Go on, Spoon Me. You know you want it," and "If you love me, spoon me," say it all.

Combe said he was living in California "surfing a lot" when he and Jaynes, 32, then a vice president for Lehman Brothers in California, decided to become entrepreneurs.

The pair, with a third partner, Utah orthopedic surgeon Wayne Mortensen, opened the first Spoon Me in downtown Salt Lake City in October. The Sandy location, the first franchise and one owned by Combe's aunt, Carolee Millet, opened in June.

The Provo location, which is corporate owned, opened its doors in July, with a store owned by another franchisee opening in St. George at the end of August. Spoon Me's yogurt product is different enough to put off some fans of the traditional sugar-laden varieties of the past. Its three varieties are a bit tart and for the uninitiated may seem a bit more like sorbet than frozen yogurt.

But there is apparently plenty of demand for the concept. Existing stores are doing well, Combe said, and franchisees are planning several additional locations.

The next location, this one also company owned, is scheduled to open at the end of the month on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. Additional locations, all franchises, are planned for Ogden, Orem and American Fork, as well as Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas.

Spoon Me stocks the three flavors of frozen yogurt and numerous toppings of fruit or nuts for health-conscious customers, and Fruit Pebbles, Nilla Wafers and Oreo toppings for those who want more sinful alternatives.

Prices range from $2.50 for the smallest size of "Natural" yogurt without a topping to $6.75 for the largest Green Tea or Acai-flavored cup with three toppings.

On a recent weekday afternoon, south valley resident Angie Davidson brought her mother, in town from Seattle, in for her first taste of Spoon Me.

Davidson said she has been in the shop a few times since it's opened.

"I told her she just had to come taste this," Angie Davidson said.

Her mother, Bobbie Zavala, gave it a thumbs up. "It's a totally different taste. It's very, very good."

Saturday, September 13, 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!

BCBGMAXAZRIANordstrom's is advertising BCBGMAXAZRIA, which we guess is some kind of clothing line that in no way wants customers to remember them.

improvA is a new online tutoring site. We're not sure if it's pronounced with a long or short "A", butImprova we are sure the name should sit in the corner with a dunce cap on. If that is not bad enough, they have a "customized personal tutoring" service called improvA+. Not so smart for a tutoring company to basically compete with themselves by saying their basic service is not that good. It reminds us of another name that makes us cringe: Learnia.

We're not convinced that the whole crowdsuckingsourcing thing is viable, but another new entry has floated to the surface anyway. It is Authonomy, described on their site as:Authonomy

"authonomy invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project - and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.

Visitors to authonomy can comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.

We hope the authonomy community will guide publishers straight to the freshest writing talent – and will give passionate and thoughtful readers a real chance to influence what’s on our shelves."

We think it will collapse from the weight of the copyright infringement lawsuits that will abound by putting unpublished manuscripts online.

Oh, and the name is awful.

Note to Journalists:

Please stop using this headline for stories about naming:

What's in a name?

It stopped being remotely clever about 414 years ago. Today in Google News a search for "What's in a name" returns 183 news stories using the title in the last month alone. Some examples:


Namethis.com lame name of the week: "Hirelyzer", a pre-employment screening service. We especially loved the description of the name..."This bomb name is the sum of hire + (ana)lyzer."

We at least agree it's a bomb.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Dish from Eat My Words

Lots of excitement going on at Eat My Words besides Alexandra being selected as a finalist in the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business program. (See next post.) Our wildly colorful office is being featured in a new book called Boutique Offices. Our upstairs has a fresh new look - no more Client Crash Pad. Rena Wessels is our new whip smart Office Manager. Her Great Dane puppy, cleverly named Get Off the Couch, (aka Sofie or as Alexandra calls her, Sofa), is also a welcome addition. Heidi and Sherry are now happily pursuing their true passions. Our superstar Sous Chef, Gina, continues to impress us with her proliferation of creative names and taglines. And Mik continues to be our knight in shinning flannel, acting as our business strategist, blogger, web guy, and of course, rockstar namer. We have many new clients including InterContinental Hotels Group, Long John Silvers, and Altec Lansing, makers of fine audio products. We're very excited about the later, whom we are helping transition from alpha-numeric names to evocative whole word names. Stay tuned for news on those... If you haven't snacked on our fun website lately, check it out to see our revamped Name Dropping page, which now features some of our success stories. There are also new additions to our Portfolio and Press Page, including this week's coverage of Alexandra in MarketWatch.

San Francisco's Eat My Words Makes Million Dollar Business Finals

Picture 1

Founder Competes for Financing, Mentoring, and Other Prizes to Help Catapult Her Businesses' Revenue to a Million Dollars

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Sep 09, 2008 -- Business growth program, Make Mine A Million $ Business(TM), selected Alexandra Watkins of Nationally Acclaimed Naming Firm, Eat My Words, as one of twenty finalists to compete for an awards package at the New Mexico event on September 18, 2008. The event will feature female entrepreneurs from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and California who competed for business development packages including money, marketing, mentoring and technology assistance to help their businesses grow into million-dollar enterprises.

The upcoming competition provides the twenty finalists the opportunity to present their business in a three-minute "elevator pitch" to a panel of business experts and a live audience. Ten winners will be chosen by the audience and judges.

Watkins founded Eat My Words in 2005, a distinctively different naming firm whose primary passion is generating conceptual, unforgettable names and taglines, after a successful 15-year career as an advertising copywriter where she discovered she had a passion for naming things. Without a college education or any formal business training, the 44-year-old entrepreneur has turned her passion into a company with clients like Frito Lay, Del Monte, Plantronics, InterContinental Hotels and infomercial giant Guthy-Renker.

Finalists will receive several of the key components of the Make Mine a Million $ Business awards package that will help their businesses break the million-dollar barrier, which includes inspiration, community, business coaching and mentoring from a "dream" team of coaches and business experts from Count Me In, and select discounts from national sponsors.

Launched in 2005 by Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence and founding partner American Express OPEN, the Make Mine a Million $ Business program was created to help post-start up, women-owned businesses grow to one million dollars in annual revenue. Since its inception, the program has hosted 18 competitions in cities around the country and grown into a nationwide movement. For this year's event, more than 400 applications were submitted in hopes of securing one of the finalist spots.

For more information about how women can grow their businesses please visit www.makemineamillion.org.

Frigid, Mixin' Vixens Stuff a Sock In It

If you guessed that Frigid, Mixin' Vixens, and Stuff a Sock In It are all cool brand names created by Eat My Words, congratulations! Bonus points if you figured out that Frigid is the name of a gourmet ice cream store, Mixin' Vixens is an all-women bartender service, and Stuff a Sock In It is a laundromat. When you see or hear an "Eat My Words name," you'll never ask what it means, how to pronounce it, or "What were they smoking?!" Our super-likable names make powerful emotional connections, build instant brand affinity, and make our clients rich. Yes, rich. We are the only naming firm that monetizes names. For instance, we turned the name Frigid into cold hard cash for our client by creating a t-shirt for them that says, "Not tonight dear, I have an ice cream headache." Ca-ching! Our Stuff a Sock In It client will be slapping their new logo on laundry bags, t-shirts, and other merchandise geared at their college kid customers. Ca-ching!

Of course, the client who is monetizing the bejesus out of their Eat My Words name is Spoon Me, the frozen yogurt store that is one of the hottest franchises in the country. They are selling Spoon Me pajamas, booty shorts, underwear, baby clothes, stickers, buttons and of course t-shirts with slogans we created like "Shut Up and Spoon Me." Ca-ching! Ca-ching! Ca-ching!

Would someone buy a t-shirt with your company or product name on it and pay you to advertise your brand? To see if your name has potential, take the Eat My Words SMILE & SCRATCH Test, which was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal.

10 domain naming tips that will save you time and Tums

The biggest misconception we dispel here at Eat My Words on a daily basis is a client's belief that they need to own the exact dot com of their business name. Not true. Even if you are a pure online business. (When you are shopping online and, for example, Google "lemongrass candle," do you really care what the domain names are in the companies in the search results?) We recently named a company Wavelength. They "connect the leaders of the world's most visionary, successful companies and pioneering social entrepreneurs." (In other words, people on the same wavelength.) The domain wavelength.com was taken, so they got www.thesamewavelength.com, which is even better because it reinforces the brand - and it was $9.95 on GoDaddy. Another example is one we did for a new "s-e-x for midlife and beyond" business named Second Wind. They just secured getasecondwind.com. (If you're curious and over 18, here's a spicy article by the founder, midlife sex relationship coach, Katherine Forsythe.)

10 more domain naming tips that will save you time and Tums:

1. Don't give up on a great brand name if the domain is out of reach. For instance, the PR firm we just named Potion secured potionpublicrelations.com and they won't lose any business or credibility because of it. Why? No one expects a company to have the exact dot com any more. Just as we ran out of 800#s for toll-free calls, everyone knows the free-and-clear dot coms are a thing of the past. You do not have to put your dot com name in your logo - put it in your email address or link to your site. Lastly, your customers will still be able to find you. Think of how many times you've typed in the wrong domain name - oops! Do you give up? No, you simply go to Google find it in two seconds.

2. Don't give up on a great brand name even when the domain appears to be in use. Tricky cyber squatters often disguise "parked" sites as real businesses. Do a little clicking and you may find it's a pay-per-click website. The sneakiest one we've seen is, ironically, www.sneakers.com. Click through any of the sneaker brand logos and you'll discover it's a slick pay-per-click site.

3. Don't think just because a site is "parked" that the price is astronomical. Spoon Me negotiated SpoonMe.com for $5000. EatMyWords.com was a bargain at $1200.

4. Don't think "not for sale" is written in stone. If you pony up enough cash, some people will sell a domain, even if it's an existing business. We named a "luxury on the installment plan" shopping website Venue. Even though Venue.com was in use by another company and there was a notice on the site that said the domain wasn't for sale, our client persisted and got it. (It sure beats their old name, Peach Direct.) On the other hand, the company we wanted to name The Gravy could not get the guy to sell thegravy.com, despite the fact that his band, The Gravy, has disbanded. He had dreams that they might make a comeback one day.

5. Don't name your company something just because the domain name is available on GoDaddy for $9.95. While we do occasionally find these names for our clients, for the most part, every whole word name and name combination are taken. Welcome to our world.

6. Don't get a domain name that is spelled differently than it sounds like Naymz or Takkle. Besides constantly having to spell it for people, everyone types the name they hear into their web browser and ends up at places that are spelled the way they sound - like Names and Tackle.

7. Don't leave out vowels ala Flickr. Unless you have a million dollar ad budget or the next Pet Rock, you can't afford to leave out letters. This is so dated and in 5 years will look as ridiculous as eHarmony and iMotors sounds today.

8. Don't put dots in your name like del.icio.us. This silly technique is dated, annoying and impossible to remember. Del.icio.us regrets this mistake and was forced to buy delicious.com for $100K.

9. Don't come up with your name over a bottle of wine. Some people we really like did this and almost named their social networking site for investors Portfolia. Yikes! Luckily, we renamed them Cake. The domain squatter wanted an insane price for Cake.com, so our client got cakefinancial.com for $9.95. The word "financial adds instant credibility to the name.

10. Don't go bald pulling your hair out trying to come up with a domain name. To get a powerful, unforgettable name, contact the experts at Eat My Words.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TechCrunch - hopefully the products are waaaay better than the names

Techcrunch_logo TechCrunch50 says this about itself. They have a "simple goal: find the best start-ups and launch them in front of our industry’s most influential VCs, corporations, fellow entrepreneurs and press. For companies who raise a gazillion dollars in venture funding, you would think they could fork over some money on a name. But, noooooooooooo. These are names that only a mother could love. That is, if that your kid came up with sucky names like Atmosphir, Bojam, GazoPa, PlaYce, Tweegee et cetera. Here are the 50 worst offenders out of the 52. (We spared DropBox and Footnote, which at least are whole word names.)

  1. Adgregate Markets
  2. AdRocket - so dot com sounding
  3. Akoha
  4. Alfabetic - see number 6 (below), same goes here
  5. Ångströ - oddly enough this company is based in Palo Alto, so what is with all the letter decorations?
  6. Atmosphir - silly silly misspelling - also unacceptable are Atmosfear, Atmosphear, Atmosfeyr and Atmosphyr
  7. Birdpost
  8. BlahGirls
  9. Bojam - unless this has something to do with Bo Diddley......
  10. Burt
  11. Causecast
  12. Closet Couture - for all the best dressed closets
  13. Connective Logic
  14. iamnews- iambored
  15. Devunity - finally someone brings all the dev's together
  16. DotSpots
  17. Emerginvest - a four-syllable suckvest
  18. ExchangeP - don't just exchange the P, the whole name needs to go
  19. FairSoftware
  20. FitBit - NitWit
  21. Fotonauts - Polaroids in Space!
  22. GazoPa - a subsidiary of parent company GazoGrandPa
  23. GoodGuide - BadName
  24. Goodrec - WorseName
  25. GoPlanit
  26. Grockit - Grok doesn't have a "c" but nice try anyway
  27. Hangout Industries
  28. iCharts - which decade is this again?
  29. Imindi
  30. LiveHit
  31. Me-trics - me-sick
  33. Mobclix- really...why not just say MobClicks?
  34. Mytopia - mytopia?, keep it then, we don't like it anyway
  35. OtherInBox - it's at least better than one of our favorite train wrecks Xobni (inbox backwards in case you didn't know)
  36. Personalria - Everyone needs a Personal Ria (a submerged coastal landform)
  37. PlaYce - whY?
  38. Popego - Pope Go?, Pop Ego?
  39. Postbox
  40. Quant the News
  41. Rinen
  42. Shattered Reality Interactive - who wants to interact with a shattered reality?
  43. Shryk - Shriek?, Shrek?
  44. Swype - someone swyped the i and rePlaYced it with a y
  45. Tingz - tingz makes us twingz
  46. Tonchidot - already forgot how to spell it, don't know what it means, so to find it on Google.....
  47. TrueCar - FalseStart
  48. Tweegee - sounds like something a one year old would say and no one would understand, and neither do we
  49. VideoSurf
  50. Yammer- best name here and perhaps not coincidentally the winner this year at TechCrunch!
Most of these miserably fail the Eat My Words world famous SMILE & SCRATCH test. We stand available to these companies to spend some of that TechCrunch VC money on a brand spanking new name. With our ROI, you'll get it back many times over.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Who wants to be a millionaire? Alexandra selected as a finalist in Make Mine a Million $ Business Program sponsored by American Express

Out of 400+ women entrepreneurs who went through an arduous application process, I was chosen as one of 20 finalists for The Make Mine a Million $ Business Program from Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence. Their goal is to inspire one million women entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to annual revenues of $1MM by 2010. I plan to be one of them.

On September 18, I will join the finalists in Albuquerque to compete for business development packages that include money, marketing, and mentoring. Described as a cross between "The Apprentice" and "American Idol," each of us will have 3 minutes to pitch our company to a live audience and panel of business experts. Ten winners will be chosen. Based on what I've heard from previous winners, including our client Allison Evanow of Square One Vodka (who encouraged me to enter), I have an excellent chance of winning. My playful personality, polished public speaking skills, interesting business, amusing anecdotes, and potential to scale are all things that will give me an edge. Plus, considering I bootstrapped the business in two and a half years without a college education or any formal business training, I am living proof that if you follow your passion you can do anything. Please cross your fingers for me.

Friday, September 5, 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!

Bengal Star Receiver Ditches Old Name (but fails at math)

Bengals receiver Chad Johnson (he is number 85) has legally changed his Ochocinco name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco. The reason is that he wanted Ocho Cinco to be on the back of his football jersey, but the team would not permit that since their policy is to only have the players last name listed. Spanish is not our native tongue, but ocho cinco translates to 8, 5. 85 is ochenta y cinco.

Titan Prisons Rebranded as "Cluster Prisons"

Seems the English populace thinks the Titan Prisons (so named because extra large jails holding up to 2,500 prisoners) are not appropriate for proper rehabilitation. The solution? The Ministry of Justice is "rebranding" them as Cluster Prisons. Mind you, it is not changing anything but the name. It sounds like a cluster something. Other "rebranding" names considered were Crumpets, High Tea, Banger, Cheeky, Pish Posh and Mary Poppins.

E-namers - is №1 worldwide interactive naming-center, or so they say.


Um, we doubt it. E-ven their name sucks.

You know where the heart of the continent is? No?...... It's Winnipeg, as evidenced by their new Winnipeg_sign slogan:

Welcome to Winnipeg – Heart of the Continent. Proving once again that Canadians should give up on slogans that go nowhere. Runner up was Winnipeg - Spleen of the Continent.

Looks like they drew quite a crowd. What's with the random VW racer?