Ever wondered where some tech companies got their strange names? Well, wonder no more! This handy list will not only satisfy your curiosity, but also make you thankful for not having to send out a Twitch, Sky Peer to Peer your friends or find websites on David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.

Ever wondered where some tech companies got their strange names? Well, wonder no more! This handy list will not only satisfy your curiosity, but also make you thankful for not having to send out a Twitch, Sky Peer to Peer your friends or find websites on David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.

Twitter

Back when Twitter was in its infancy, it was a nameless program that went by the working name of “Status.” The creators realized how lame and obvious this was so they decided to hold a much-needed brainstorming sesh. Basically, they wanted a name that captured the mobile aspect of the product, especially the vision of users buzzing in their friend’s pockets at all hours of the day.

The first idea, “twitch,” conjured all sorts of strange images and was immediately vetoed. So they whipped out an old-fashioned paper dictionary and looked for words near “twitch.” They spotted “twitter” and fell deeply in love. The creator, Jack Dorsey said it best in an interview with the Los Angeles Times: “As for the bird thing: Bird chirps sound meaningless to us, but meaning is applied by other birds. The same is true of Twitter: a lot of messages can be seen as completely useless and meaningless, but it’s entirely dependent on the recipient.”

Blackberry

When RIM needed a name for their most popular device, they turned to Lexicon Branding in California. According to Lexicon, names linked to the word “e-mail” lead to increased blood pressure (I totally believe that), so they tried for something playful and non-deadly. Someone then mentioned that the buttons looked like seeds, and after trying out all sorts of seedy fruits they settled on “blackberry.” It sounded nice, and at the time most Blackberries were actually black. Bonus.

 

Yahoo

In 1994, before Yahoo was Yahoo, it was a non-searchable website directory with the most incredible name: “David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” Unfortunately, David and Jerry turned to a dictionary to give it a much catchier name.

Yahoo technically stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," but David and Jerry insist they really fell in love the general definition of a yahoo: “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” I always thought Yahoo was named after a shout of joy, but “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” would have been my second guess.

Hotmail

Like Yahoo, I thought this one was incredibly obvious. Hotmail was launched in 1996, when everything was described as hot. Or phat. Or mega. Or da bomb. But actually, Hotmail was originally capitalized as HoTMaiL, which was a not-so-sneaky reference to HTML. Clever.

 

 

foursquare

Before he created foursquare, Dennis Crowley had built a similar, SMS-based program called Dodgeball. Dodgeball was way ahead of its time, which is why Google bought it for a rumoured $1 million and then killed it.

Unhappy with the death of Dodgeball, Crowley created foursquare. Like Dodgeball, foursquare’s name conjures images of games, fun and general good times, which is what foursquare is all about.

Etsy

The origin of this name had been one of the world’s best-kept secrets until Rob Kalin, Etsy’s founder, blabbed the truth during an interview with Reader’s Digest. He really wanted a nonsense word because the brand was built from scratch, and while he was watching Fellini’s 8½ he kept hearing the Italian word etsi, which means “oh, yes.” Its Latin definition is also perfect: “and if.”

 

 bebo

It stands for “blog early, blog often.” That’s all.

 

 

 

Skype

Because Skype is peer-to-peer contact that happens over a mysterious, magical connection, it was originally called “Sky Peer to Peer.” Seriously? Can you imagine saying to your friend, “Yeah, just Sky Peer to Peer me later.” No you can’t. Thankfully, it was shortened to Skyper. And when they had a hard time getting domain names for that, they cut it down to plain ol’ Skype.

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