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How Difficult is It to Name a Startup?To suggest a correction please Login

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Yozzi was a name that popped up on a GoDaddy auction a few years ago.

The name sounded catchy, so I bid on it an won the auction.  I’ve simply kept the name in my GoDaddy account thinking one day I might use it for something.

It seems Yozzi is also a family name and after an Internet search it appears to mean lemon popsicle in Hebrew.  אסקימו לימון.  I suppose this is from the ‘Eskimo’ brand which perhaps is only sold in Israel.  Evidently it was a film in the late 70’s and became a series of films all the way through to Popsicle VIII in 1988.

Some sites claim that yozzi means citrus in Chinese.  That may be the case in some other dialect(s) besides Mandarin.  In Mandarin citrus is gān jú.  ( 柑橘 )

So just as PolythePolyglot transformed to yozzi.com before it’s launch, it’s normal for a Startup to go through several name changes, as we saw in Berkeley during our MBA module on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Our team of five started with a name for the company ‘At Your Service’ and it evolved into ‘Hooked Up’ and then ended in ‘Go Free’. You’re probably asking yourselves what in the world this startup was planning to offer in terms of service. It was a plan to consolidate people’s errands and mundane tasks via a simple app that would have relationships with established companies. Unlike Task Rabbit, which is simply offering people to do gigs such as do some gardening, babysitting, shopping, etc, ‘Go Free’ was designed to work with the vendors in Oslo such as City Maid for house cleaning, Kolonial for grocery delivery, and so-forth. That way it would seek to avoid the myriad of legal and quality issues that companies such as Task Rabbit face. By tying in only with existing services of a high reputation, it hoped maintain a predictable high level of standards while allowing people to use an app on their smart phones to subscribe to regularly occurring services to help them get their errands done.

What are some examples of some famous name changes in the business world? Forbes has an article that focuses on pivots in the business models, but it includes a few name changes as well, such as:

Odeo to Twitter

The Point to Groupon

Game Neverending to Flickr

Burbn to Instagram

Tote to Pinterest

Perhaps another pivot for yozzi.com will still come.  This Reddit post  argues that the naming process isn’t easy and that having a short .com name that isn’t necessarily easy to relate to if it has no obvious connection with the product or service being offered.  The author writes that the name should say “something meaningful about who you are and why your offering matters.”

Antone Johnson discusses the legal aspects of startup names.  At this stage, May 2016, yozzi.com is a hobby not a business and legal realities may seem quite distant, but they need to considered early on.  Ash Maurya, author of the Running Lean and Scaling Lean also notes that legal issues are often one of the factors that cause startups / ideas to fail.  In addition to:

  1. No money
  2. Poor team
  3. Poor product
  4. Bad timing
  5. No customers
  6. Competition
  7. Lack of focus
  8. Lack of passion
  9. Bad location
  10. Not profitable
  11. Burn out

Changing the name of a startup other issues, such as an impact on SEO and brand recognition, as mentioned on StackExchange.  Since yozzi.com is officially launching at the Polyglot Berlin Gathering in May 2016, there will be limited issues regarding brand recognition and SEO.  The only sunk costs seems to be a loss is the printed business cards and the redundant domain name.

Joel Gascoigne at Buffer would likely agree that yozzi.com is more marketable than polythepolyglot.com.  As he says a two-syllable name or shorter is best.  However, he does prefer names that mean something and yozzi doesn’t mean anything to most people.

How about you? What do you think about the old name PolythePolyglot.com vs. the new name yozzi.com? Do you have suggestions for yet a third name? Share your thoughts via the comment system. Remember, you must create a log-in ID first if you’re new to yozzi.com. Looking forward to your thoughts.

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Dimitris

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