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11/30/2011
11:19 AM
Jim Rapoza
Jim Rapoza
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10 Silliest Tech Company Names Of 2011

Tech companies have created some of the strangest and funniest company and product names in business. Here's the most recent evidence that this trend is only accelerating.




Starting a new company can be a tough job in many ways. The founders need to create a compelling product, get investors interested in their business, and find enough customers to make the new company profitable.

And then there's the question of what to call the company. Do you go for a serious, descriptive name that is also boring, or should you go the silly but sticks in people's heads route?

Looking back over the history of tech, there have been plenty of examples of businesses that took the goofy path all the way to success. Many people remember when there were lots of jokes about a company calling itself Yahoo! When Twitter launched, I wondered if users of the service should be called twits (and if they should compete in Monty Python's Twit of the Year competition).

Well, those companies had the last laugh and now serious news anchors regularly say Twitter without batting an eye. And there are plenty of new companies looking to follow the same path.

Giving a business a goofy but memorable name can pay off. For startups, having people know about you is half the battle and, if a funny name gets people talking about you, then it did its job.

But there can also be a downside. If your product is designed for business, companies may be hesitant to use a goofily-named product.

And if the name brings with it negative associations, those associations can stick with the company.

Despite these hurdles, plenty of new businesses continue taking the funny name route. Here's our look at 10 company names that stick out in 2011. Let us know about any other firms or products whose names caused you to chuckle.




When you hear the word "blekko" what comes to mind? Personally, it makes me think of the sound a little kid makes when confronted with vegetables on a dinner plate (broccoli! Blekko!!).

But Blekko.com is actually an interesting new beta search engine that lets users define groups of sites in order to focus search results and cut down on unhelpful links.

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Fluxx, from fluxxlabs, is a cloud-based business management platform designed to help businesses manage all of the data that is generated today, which sounds pretty useful.

But flux is also what they used to call dysentery, and I'm not sure I'd like for my business to be associated with a terrible disease.

Or perhaps it will make you think of the famous flux capacitor in the geek-favorite movie, Back To the Future.

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Ever see those videos of people who can use their feet to eat dinner? It's simultaneously fascinating and disgusting and is, unfortunately, the image that pops up when I see the name Footfeed.

Footfeed is a startup designed to consolidate all of the services like Foursquare and Facebook that encourage people to check into locations. For example, Footfeed makes it possible to let multiple services know that you've checked into that new cool restaurant. Just remember to keep your shoes on while eating.

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It used to be that characters who walked around saying "gimme" were portrayed as spoiled jerks, such as Veruka Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Today, someone who walks around saying "gimme, gimme" ends up getting his own reality TV show.

Gimme! is a startup company that is offering a new twist on mobile coupons, making it possible to get cash-back discounts and bonuses on purchases and have them delivered to a personal PayPal account.

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I think I know where the name Gnip came from. It's Ping backwards, and it kind of makes sense for a company that provides data integration for real time social media feeds from services like Twitter and Facebook. I just can't wait until Gnip integrates with a company called Gnop. And then a friend of mine can use that. And while I'm gnipping, my friend will be gnopping.

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As a company name, gwabbit fits more in the straight silly but not that embarrassing category of names. The product is an award-winning app to ease contact management in Outlook and Blackberry. But I did witness an occasion where an executive was recommending it to a colleague, who laughed upon hearing the name.

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If you're a fan of Olympic gymnastics, you've probably seen clips of legendary coach Bela Karolyi exhorting his young charges on during training: "Work hard, poosh." Well, that is actually kind of the idea behind Poosh. This startup lets users signup to get regular motivational messages from athletes.

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When I saw the product name "Unrabble," I assumed it was something cities would use to clear out Occupy Wall Street camps. "This will get rid of those pesky protesters. Activate Unrabble! Bwahahaha!"

Actually, Unrabble is a human resources product designed to help businesses evaluate potential hires.

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This is my award winner for goofiest company/product name of the year. Isn't the WinoBot a character in Futurama?

WinoBot is a mobile app, but it isn't designed to help find which stores have the lowest prices on Night Train. What the app does do is help you pick the best wine based on the wine list available at a given restaurant. Which actually sounds pretty useful, despite the name.

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In the Saturday Night Live skit Boston Teens, which featured Rachel Dratch and Jimmy Fallon, Dratch played Zazu, a partying, often drinking girl with a strong Boston accent. Zazu is a mobile personal information app that wakes you up with all of the information for your upcoming day. Not sure if it can be configured to wake you up by yelling "Nomahhh!!"

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