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Picking Business Names is ‘Part Art, Part Science’ – Austin American-Statesman

By Gary Dinges


Not every startup has a weird, wacky name. There are a few, at least, that opted for a more straightforward approach.

At uShip Inc., where shipping companies compete to haul goods for businesses and consumers, Web mojo factored heavily into the naming process.

“It’s part art, part science, especially when it comes to credibility with Google,” CEO and founder Matt Chasen said. “It’s incredibly hard to find a URL, even if you have a great name.”

Chasen “made a dozen or so derivatives of brands related to shipping” and ended up picking, a URL acquired from a bankrupt firm. “We were lucky to be able to do that,” he said.

He advises entrepreneurs just getting started to grab as many variations of their company’s name as possible in case Web surfers mistype. He regrets that he couldn’t get, which is owned by Maersk, a container ship operator. Using more practical names is what Thompson advises her clients to do.

To break through the clutter, a business name should “say who you are and what you do,” she said.

Examples she points to include Austin-based Front Gate Tickets and HomeAway, as well as Car2Go.

“If you told your name to 10 strangers, would at least half of them know what you do?” Thompson asked. “That’s a really great way to test things out.”

Now, where’d that guy in the chimp suit wander off to?

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