I'm so happy! Today I got my first piece of "hate email", so that means I'm almost cyber-famous he he. A little more work and my little blog may as well go from Google PageRank 5 to 6!
Well, I'm really exaggerating here, the mail was more of a patronizing rant by a "Colin" (of course no last name or web site) regarding my blog entry about the PHP Photo Albums:
In this article, you state, "Thereâ€™s a little problem with Gallery (besides the unfortunate name that is so common that is impossible to find the site in a web search)..."
Fernando, Fernando, Fernando. Allow me to introduce you to two of the most popular search engines in use today: Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com) and Google (www.google.com). Go to either of these search portals and search the word "gallery". That's right, gallery. Now click the search button. What do you see in the very first hit? What's that? What's the unfortunate name of the online photo gallery software? Was it Gallery?
When I first read this "unfortunate name" claim of yours, I thought to myself...Hmm, another typical Internet user...all those search engines and they don't have a clue how to use them. THEN! THEN, Fernando, I clicked on your "About Me" link. What I read here absolutely astonished me:
"Iâ€™m an Information Technology professional with over nine years of international experience..."
"Some of my interests are: open source software, computer and network security, web publishing..."
I too am an IT professional. And I am embarrassed.
Keep studying, Fernando. Colin.
So I guess some people have lots of free time and have nothing better to do than trolling around and that's OK.
The funny thing is that while Gallery is now top result in the search engines for "gallery", it wasn't the case when the article was written over a year ago, not even close (tip: before ranting about an article, check its publication date please). There's even a whole new version: Gallery 2. I'm happy to see that the stuff I pick early on gets bigger and better, like Ubuntu or Wordpress. Watch out now for Django!.
Surprise, surprise, time flies by in the Internet, and by the way I know a thing or two about web searching, including a professional project involving a niche search engine and working for Google as a Web Quality Rater (this is some undisguised name-dropping here, there's nothing like having your own blog eh!).
Since I'm in a self-serving inertia, to show some examples of how time changes things quickly in the Internets and its tubes, who do you think is a (or "the") world expert now according to Google in 4images coppermine gallery , wifi troubleshooting , macbook airport internet sharing , webmin vulnerabilities , defending against ssh brute force or ubuntu security tools ? Yes, I know, scary.
Now, changing gears to talk about good names and bad names. There are probably a gazillion blog entries by your Guy Kawasaki or your Seth Godin or their wannabees about good product and company names and even a few books dedicated to the subject too. Anyways, here's my random list of things to have in a good name:
- Easy to remember. I walk everyday into my office building besides a sign of a company name that I could never remember, something like "techmax", "maxtech", "techcom" or the like. Please, no more "star", "tech", "com", "max" etc combinations in tech companies. And please drop the three letter names or acronyms too. (I'll leave the "azura" type of name of "Web 2.0" companies for another day, whatever Web 2.0 is). Something that brings an image to the mind is easier to remember, so "Red Hat" and "Sleepy Cat" (oops, Oracle ate the sleepy cat!) are good names, better than a made-up "Web 2.0" name. A contradiction or funny image is still easier to remember, although it's not suitable for "serious" stuff: when I was looking for a memorable domain name in 1999 to play around with HTML and PHP3 I came up with "LazyAnt.com".
- Easy to spell and pronounce. I worked for a company called "Megaxess"; I had to spell it several times when mentioning it and I just had trouble remembering the right spelling, not to mention that it sounded like "mega sex".
- For Internet presence, the name must be easy to search. So common words or letter combinations are not good choices, this is the origin of my "Gallery" complaint. I'm working (rephrase that: I should be working) in bringing Mandriva's "msec" program to Ubuntu, and as you can imagine, the abbreviation for millisecond is not a good name choice regarding web searches.
- Other stuff. There's lots of other common good advice, like making sure the name is not something offensive in some language, starting the name with an "a" (this is probably overrated Guy) and for products it's good if the name evokes in a positive way what the product does, like "Front Row" for a multimedia application or "Gallery" for a photo album program.