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You need a simply unusual name

In a world where most shopping starts with a search engine, it’s a big disadvantage to be un-findable.

  • Does Shure outsell Etymotic because no one can spell Etymotic? I own and like both kinds of earphones, but I rarely refer Ety because I can’t spell it.
  • Do the Jewel, Shoppers, and Lucky grocery chains get less search traffic because they have common-word names?  It’s easier to find Kroger and Brookshire.
  • Does Andy Sernovitz get more referrals than social media expert Peter Kim because there are few more Kims than Sernovitzs out there?

When you’re thinking about a name for your business, you want something that is:

  1. Different enough that you’re the only one
  2. Simple enough that everyone can say and spell it

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  1. Tish Grier October 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    thanks Andy! I’ve been going bonkers with this one recently, trying to name a biz. you’ve boiled down how to think about it rather nicely. thanks!

  2. Scott Patrick October 7, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    We are Transplex Center for Medicine and Rehabilitation providing full service rehabilitation for work-related and accident injuries. We are the ONLY Transplex center, and it works for us!

  3. Julie Grisham October 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    Are you saying that everyone can say or spell Sernovitz? I don’t think so!

  4. Ben October 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    There is the famous story that, once Yahoo got its first round of venture capital, the founders asked if they might seek a “more serious” name. They were told “if you change the name, we tear up the check.”

    Unique and memorable. That’s the ticket.

  5. Etienne Garbugli October 7, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    Great tips Andy. What do you think about “Kotsego” as a business name?


  6. Robert Hruzek October 7, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    Hey, I’m in luck then! If you Google my name – I, like Tigger, am the only one! In fact, my website is the only one, too. Now… how do I turn that fact into a million bucks? (sound of crickets…) :-(

  7. Andy Sernovitz October 8, 2009 at 5:48 am #

    Dear Julie Grisham:

    You forgot to mention that you are my wife and foolishly chose to reject the lovely sounds of “sernovitz” in favor of the trite and over-used “grisham”.

    Your call, I still love ya!


  8. Nathan Gilliatt October 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    3. Available as a .com domain.

    It’s so much easier if it’s in the domain people expect. One less pebble to trip over on the path.

  9. Hilary October 14, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    Excellent point Nathan! I say amend this blog to add a #3 to the list! How many times have you visited a .info site, or a .biz or .tv site and actually considered it legit or useful for that matter? Or perhaps I’m just a .snob ;o)

  10. Stephanie M. Cockerl October 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    I was teased about my name when I was little. All I can say now is that I’m having the last laugh. (Of course, coming up with a business name didn’t hurt either.)


  1. Newsflash: not having the same name as other companies will make you stand out « PSST! Word of Mouth Marketing for Banks and Credit Unions - October 8, 2009

    […] industry really needs to learn this. Today’s post on Andy Sernovitz’s blog, “Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That” reminded me of how many financial institutions share the same name. For example, Google […]

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