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Top 10 Worst Web App Names

One aspect of Web 2.0 that continues to entertain is the strange, sometimes awful,
names that startups come up with to promote themselves. Some of them turn out to be
successful – e.g. del.icio.us – but others prove to be ineffective. Some web 2.0 names
have been compared to Star Wars
and there’s even a Web
2.0 Name Generator
, in case you need inspiration.

The R/WW authors had a pow-wow on Basecamp and we’ve come up with a (fun) list of the
worst 10 names in Web 2.0. But you’re bound to disagree with some of them, or we’ve
missed some obvious ones, so please jump into the comments to add others. In no
particular order…

1. Fairtilizer
– an online music service we recently reviewed.
The service is great, but the name attracted a bit of attention, for example Valleywag suggested (rather
subtly, given their rep) that Fairtilizer re-brand. And The Name Inspector posted about
it. Although even he seemed lost for words, starting off with: “Oh dear. The Name
Inspector doesn’t even know where to begin.” He eventually concluded that it is a
bad pun, which has some unfortunate connotations. In case the penny hasn’t dropped yet:
the name is basically a pun of fertilizer. And while fertilizer makes things grow, it is
also translates as ‘a pile of shit’.

2. Profilactic is a social network product, which
aggregates and mashes up feeds. It sounds like a cool product, but the name is just
bizarre. It could be a way of getting attention, because they’ve proudly listed on their
homepage some criticisms of it. For example Marc Canter is quoted as saying “Profilactic
sounds so – so – so named by a young person. How can that be a product?”. Nuff said.

3. gravee is a
community-powered, social search engine that personalizes results according to users’
interests. The name is a pun on gravy, but uses the web 2.0 standard of two ‘e’s.

4. LicketyShip is an e-commerce service that
delivers goods within a couple of hours of ordering. It’s a reasonable pun on lickety
split, but seems like a hard domain for people to remember.

5. Oyogi is a
community built around questions and answers. The name would connote spiritual peace of
mind… except there’s an ‘o’ in it.

6. Layoffspace – this is a social network for the
unemployed, so this name is contextual and even slightly witty. It is mainly on this list
because it’s an unwieldy attempt to copy the MySpace name.

7. iStalkr – it’s
a web app that allows you to create a lifestream tracking all your RSS feeds for services
you use, like Digg, Del.icio.us, Ma.gnolia, etc. It creates a time line of your
activities. The name is a good fit, it’s just a bit scary 😉

8. Agester
a community where you can guess people’s age, find out how old you look, and meet new
people. It’s on this list because it’s a lame use of the “ster” cliche (Friendster,
Napster, Dogster, etc).

9. hoooka is an
online store for sharing videos, photos and audio. OK it’s pretty witty and appropriate
for its target audience. Maybe the extra ‘o’ threw us (we seem to have something against
extraneous ‘o’s…Zooomr is another cuplrit).

10. Qoop is a
service allowing users to create and sell content. It’s a meaningless word, a naming
tactic that has become common in web 2.0 – pretty harmless really. We only selected it
because it sounds too much like “goop”.

So there’s our list – which ‘bad’ startup names would you add? Remember that this is
just a fun list; we’re not implying that the web apps themselves are bad.

Top image generated by Web 2.0 Logo Creator

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