Let me just say before I begin that I think everyone should come up with their own names. I could never understand why companies pay naming consultants to come up with empty product or company monikers that nobody can remember anyway. (Unless you are Altria, and you just want people to forget that you are really Phillip Morris). Well, now companies can ask strangers on the Internet to name their product. I’m not sure this is a much better idea, but it is more fun.
Crowdsourcing startup Kluster (which launched in February), publicly opened up a new site today called NameThis. It works pretty much like Kluster, except it is only for coming up with names for products or startups. A company pays $99 to put up a challenge describing the product or entity to be named, the community suggests names and votes for the best ones by investing their allotted ‘Watts.” The people who come up with, influence, or invest the most in the top three names split $80 among themselves, and Kluster keeps the rest as its fee.
There are obvious problems with this and with crowdsourcing in general (for instance, read about the implosion at Cambrian House). But one thing this has going for it is simplicity. Anyone can come up with a name. (Anyone can steal a name too, but that is another issue).
The site just launched today, so most of the “namestorming” challenges are just for fun. They include thinking up a better name for the Verizon G’zOne, Hot & Crusty Bakery, the Chevy Nova, Wolf Blitzer, and the Microsoft Zune. Some contenders so far: Divr (for Verizon), the Chevy Supernova, Wülf Blitzkreig (sic), and the Microsoft Rune (spelled correctly, but would be more apropos if spelled Ruin). There is even one real company that needs a name for a universal inbox service.
Just to see what people would come up with., I asked Kluster to put up a challenge to rename our recently launched video site TechCrunch Elevator Pitches. We went through an internal debate of our own before settling on that name. And some of our rejected candidates, like CrunchTime and PitchCrunch, have already come up independently on NameThis. There are also some we didn’t think of: IdeaCrunch and LaunchCrunch. Most of the rest are subpar. But you only need one good name.
Did we pick the best name or is the crowd coming up with better options? (Not that we are going to change the name. This is purely an exercise.)