I’m sure that we’ve all seen company or product names which become horrendous (and/or hilarious) when spaces are removed to form a URL. I’m not going to discuss those here. Instead, I’m going to talk about two names that in their usual, unmodified form seem to be a few cards short of a full deck, jokers aside.
The fatal flaw here, I think, was a lack of familiarity with British English. Having lived in the UK for more than 3 years, I may be overestimating, but I would expect enough English speakers to be able to avoid “twit” to prevent this kind of train wreck. Haven’t most people read Roald Dahl’s “The Twits”?
What strikes me more is that removing a single letter makes a great name: “Twipic”. It has similar advantages, but without the cruel irony it inflicts upon those users who happen to have their picture selected for the front page…
First, a little background. From what I gather, this is a service that aims to create a standard Terms of Service (ToS) document that is fairer to end users. The idea is that if enough users demand these ToS, large companies will have no choice but to comply.
But here’s the (somewhat amusing) image it conjures up for me, in the form of a dialogue:
User Why do I have to pay you a yearly fee?
Company It says so in the Terms of Service!
User No it doesn’t, I’ve read the Wikiterms!
Company Which revision? Did you see my most recent edit? *evil laugh*
Yes, yes, I know that the word Wiki means ‘fast’1 and doesn’t necessarily mean something anyone can edit. But let’s put that aside. It’s the initial image it creates in my mind that’s important.
I think the problem here is perhaps a blind application of ‘trendy’ terms. But that’s only half the story – ‘iTerms’ is better, despite being ‘trendy’! The other problem is the possibly unsavoury link with Wikileaks. Put all of that together and you have a potentially massive public image problem. That will make it very hard for the effort to succeed.
Everyone knows Shakespeare’s quote about names. In context, it’s even true. But most people already have an image of what a rose is. When the public isn’t likely to have already formed an image, a good name is vital.
All copyrights are property of the respective owners. If I can, I reserve all rights to the name “Twipic”… though somebody is bound to have thought of it first.2
1At least I do now. As my friend Max pointed out, I stated incorrectly in the first version of this article that it meant “community”. I guess I got confused with ‘ubuntu’. He pointed me (surprise surprise) to the German version of this Wikipedia page
2 And indeed, someone already has. Thanks Lovkush!