One of the most important--and difficult--parts of launching a startup is choosing the right business name. Some companies hit it out of the park: Beats, Facebook, and Snapchat, to name a few. Other companies...not so much.

Inspired by BetaBeat's list of the 21 worst tech startup names, we compiled a few examples of companies that didn't fare so well in the naming game.

1. Lawdingo: The legal startup that puts users directly in contact with attorneys fulfills a serious need for a convenient and affordable way to connect with lawyers. The name, which evokes a dog acting as legal counsel, is hard to take very seriously, however.

2. Chubbies: This men's clothing company is known for its brightly colored shorts. But when the brand's name is a synonym for being overweight and a euphemism for other risqué things, it doesn't cultivate the best mental image.

3. Fashism: Users of this app could crowdsource fashion advice by uploading photos of potential outfits, which friends could vote Yes or No on. The ultimately unsuccessful startup's name was a play on the word fascism--an odd choice for an app based on voting.

4. Xobni: The add-on email analytics service derives its name from the backward spelling of inbox--a clever concept but one that's impossible to pronounce.

5. Bawte: This app, which makes it easier for people to take inventory of their belongings, derives its name from the word bought. The problem with making your name a deliberate misspelling of a common word is that potential customers are probably going to misspell it, too.

6. Fairtilizer: The music company was founded as a way for independent artists to share and distribute music. The name came from a desire to help artists grow--the eventual rebrand to came from the very sane motive of not wanting to be associated with manure.

7. Us Likey: This app for sharing products you like with your friends has a name that succeeds in getting its purpose across. But the success of a social-media app relies on its "cool" factor, and a name that utilizes the cringeworthy grammar of Jar Jar Binks is anything but cool.

8. Twisper: The travel guide's name is fine on its own. But with social-media heavy hitters such as Twitter and Whisper already on the playing field, a name that's essentially just a combination of the two will have a hard time standing out.

9. This online social marketplace's name is intended to be pronounced Five-OC--raising the question of why it wasn't simply named that in the first place.

10. Hadoop: The big data analytics platform is a very powerful tool--with a very silly name. Yahoo may have entered the world's vernacular by naming its company a nonsense word, but it's the exception, not the rule.


Published on: May 13, 2014