Web Apps and Their Weird Names

Digg, Flickr, Reddit, Meebo, Odeo. What do they all have in common? Well, aside from their being part of all this “Web 2.0” hype (AJAXy-websites, community-driven/oriented content, etc.), they have weird names that seem nonsensical at first glance. Of course at second glance, their names are still nonsensical as they were the first time you read (or hear) about ’em. I, myself, have been using several apps for the longest time without even having the chance to know the stories behind their names.

Thing is, these days most new Web apps seem to have a preference for the weirdest of names. I mean, what happened to “Yahoo!,” or “Microsoft Network,” or such normal-sounding names.

Is it because all the good .COM domain names are taken (or hoarded, perhaps)? Or is it because wordplay is the in thing among Web apps these days? Or maybe the creators simply want to make a strong impession on their prospective users, and even possibly make a verb out of their names. “Digg,” for instance, might as well be the word the year for 2006–it’s practically a verb now, much like how one would use its base word “dig.”

Qwerky is a cool site that tries to dissect those seemingly obscure Web app names. From bastardized English, to the use of “alpha” or “beta,” to losing the “e” (as in “Flickr,” “Frappr,” “Mappr”), and to using variations of foreign words, among others, Qwerky never fails to offer interesting commentary and analysis for each weird Web app name it chances upon. Heck, even “Qwerky” is a weird name (actually supposed to be a play on “quirky,” and possibly QWERTY but who knows what else is behind that name?).

Perhaps because all the relevant domain names are taken, or abstract and play-on-words is the new hip, or itâ??s an all-out effort to get your attention, one quirky little trait of these new web applications seems to be their obscure names.

Qwerky … is a notebook of these weird webapp words, and what they actually do. How eye-catching and memorable are they, really? Will they ever release a non-Beta version? Is Google going to release an OS thatâ??ll turn both Apple and Microsoft insane? Letâ??s find out.

It’s quite interesting to dissect these Web names and apps on how they fare in the weirdness aspect in terms of the naming scheme, how they rate as a “Web 2.0” application, how many of these actually use the “beta” or even “alpha” tagline, and even how the heck they get their money/funding!

But I’d think the real test of success (at least moneywise) would be how well these Web apps can follow the footsteps of another great company with what had been a weird name, and yes, that’s Google. Google was probably the precursor of this all. If you can get your quirky–okay, qwerky–name to go mainstream, then you deserve the attention you’re going after with your name in the first place.

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