Conventional Wisdom On Unusual Names

Hello all and welcome to the new year!  This is a wonderful time of new beginnings, renewed focus on our goals and a hopeful eye towards all that 2016 can offer.  And with that I would like to share the struggle I’ve been wrestling with over the holiday break as well as what I’ve learned in my research.  I’ve been mulling over the name I want to establish and use for my endeavors for the last week or so and as of today have only completed half of what I set out to do with creating and maintaining a name I can call my own.

Ground Rules For Naming Yourself (As Brought To You By Various Blogging Resources)

I did quite a bit of research trying to find good business practices for naming websites, companies, games, etc over the break.  This research yielded some good basic information as to what to avoid or aim for when choosing a name.  For instance, your name should at least be related to what it is you are trying to do with it.  Trying to establish a board game company?  Avoid using words that identify other industries or could cause potential confusion with other brands and companies.  No one understands what keywords like IO or data have to do with games, let alone whether they have any bearing to board games.

Another good rule of thumb is to use your own name if you are an independent entity.  This allows you to spread your name and double dip on that recognition as being THE James Smith of Smith Co.  The advantages to using your own name are clear, but it is important to keep the first rule in mind when considering your own name.  For example, Googling Weigand brought about quite a few different companies all over the United States.  Everything from contractors to construction and various personalities with companies small and large showed up in the search.  That seemed like a decent indication that my name might not be the best to work with.

I also discovered that being clever for the sake of it was probably a terrible idea.  We all have weird spellings of words (like my gaming handle, elmntfire), words or phrases that we focus on due to their status as an inside joke (my friend’s idea for a rock opera based on Less than Jake songs labled “A Skapra” comes to mind) or unusual words that are easier to acquire (quixotic being one such word for me) that we cling to in times where finding a name might be difficult.  These words are familiar to us and may make sense in the short term, but they are hardly serving your best interests in the long term.  These names make it hard to find you by being obscure, difficult to spell, or limiting in scope.

One of my favorite criteria I took away from my research was referred to as the bar test.  The bar test is simple.  Imagine yelling your prospective name while sitting at a crowded bar.  Did they hear you right?  Or did they go look up something completely different.  While it may be rare to encounter that scenario, mistyping your name is something you should keep in mind when finding one that suits you.  Also, conventions are loud.  Really loud.  People will mishear you, so you should probably carry business cards too.

What’s My Name?

At the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that while I like the name of the blog,  it would make a poor company name.  If I am going to have designs and a professional face for the community, it should be something that plays well with the ground rules I’ve uncovered and describes me well.  I’ve narrowed down my options quite a bit and should be ready by next week after running some basic testing with my choices.  In all of this, I did somehow discover a good name for a game I’ve been working on and will be unveiling both names together.  If you have any pieces of advice to add to the discussion feel free to share and I look forward to hearing from you.


Charles Weigand


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