Tuesday, November 01, 2011

How Do Famous Sites Get Their Names? Five Stories.

1. GoDaddy.com

Ever heard of Jomax Technologies? That was actually the original name of Go Daddy back in those days when founder Bob Parsons and his team were actually struggling to find a better name for their online business. A couple of brainstorming sessions all led to zilch--until someone jokingly suggested "Big Daddy" for their name. Fortunately for them, BigDaddy.com was already taken, so they settled with the now infamous GoDaddy.com. And the rest, they say, is history.

2. Google.com

Another one of those “unfortunate-domains-that-were-already-taken-but-led-to-a-much-juicier-name” story, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin first thought of adapting the name, "Googol" after their original name, "BackRub", got "rubbed" out of its existence. Googol is actually a mathematical tem that makes a million look as trifling as a penny (a miser's dream come true), and the two thought it sounded better than the last one. However, it turne d out that googol.com has been registered since 1995 to a certain "Mrs. Jello" of Livingston, New Jersey; and fate nailed the deal when Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote his $100,000 check to "Google" instead of Googol. Talk about bad spelling gone right.

3. Fark.Com

What the heck's name does fark mean, anyway? We don't know; and even Drew Curtis, the founder of the site doesn't know, either. So why that word? According to Curtis, he came up with the word while surfing the Net randomly in the early 90's. Whether or not it looked like some drunken bozo typed the word, or an angst-ridden schmooze wanted to substitute an "F" word, it stuck to Curtis; which later became the name of his site dedicated to wild and weird stories. Lucky for him, the name was available, unlike others we know of (sorry BigDaddy and Googol). Today, Fark is a great alternative to those boring news that needs some extra-odd zing. Sounds farking great, right?

4. Asus. com

And we thought Greek mythology is dead. Asus--created by ex-Acer wonder nerds--was named after the Greek figure, Pegasus. According to them, they used its last four letters as their name to "embod[y] the strength, creative spirit, and purity symbolized by this regal and agile mythical creature, soaring to new heights of quality and innovation with each product it introduces to the market." And of course, in a less romantic note, the word also has an advantage in search engines. Company founder Jonney Shih said in a 2008 interview that the Asus assembly decided that a name starting with "A" would be the best thing to do, obviously because it can be easily found in alphabetical name searches. So we’re now guessing that Xanthus and Zeus didn't make the cut, then.

5. Yahoo.com

It's only fitting for Yahoo to be called Yahoo, especially if you know what it really means. Co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo, who used to call it "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web", turned to the reliable dictionary and chose "yahoo" for its definitiion: "rude, unsophisticated, and uncouth." Merriam-Webster also lists it as "stupid", and is synonymous with "dimwit," "doofus," and "chucklehead." And with all its public goofs and hot, fresh-off-the-grill punchlines to date, it's no wonder they chose that name for themselves.

Dmitry Davydov works for PickyDomains.com, world's first risk-free naming agency. We can find a perfect domain for you or your business and you pay us only if you decide to use it.