« Unfortunate current practices for HTTP over TLS | Main | IronBee, a new Apache-licensed web application firewall »

How to choose a good name for your product or project

February 11, 2011

Recently, at work, we spent a decent chunk of time trying to come up with a good name for a project. It's tough. As part of the process I came up with a list of things to take into account. I am posting it here as a way of remembering it, and hopefully it will be useful to others.

A good name should be:

  • Interesting
  • Meaningful
  • One word, short and memorable
  • Not a trademark (registered or not)
  • Not already in use for something else very popular
  • Search produces few results
  • The .com domain name available
  • Easy to pronounce and spell; difficult to misspell
  • Sounds good
  • Unique (because you want to build a brand around the name)
  • Not generic (cannot be trademarked; difficult to find on a search engine)
  • People would wear it on a t-shirt
  • Can be paired with a good symbol or mascot
  • Does not have negative connotations (in any major languages, including slang)

If you are looking for inspiration, try Impossibility, which is a combined name generator and domain name check in one. Very useful.