How TagTooga Got Its Name
LUKE BURBANK, host:
All right, Ali. Let me throw some words at you, okay?
ALISON STEWART, host:
BURBANK: Dadango, TagTooga, Boora, Frengo, Wakoopa, WoozyFly?
STEWART: The latest dances?
BURBANK: No. Also not the top six hot new baby names. Actual Web sites, those all are. Gone are the days of drugstore.com, things that are that obvious. Got an employment Web site? Monster.com, naturally. Let's say you're selling Web site addresses, what would you name something like that? How about godaddy.com?
STEWART: Addressesforsale.com? Does it work?
BURBANK: No, no. I think godaddy makes a lot more sense. The L.A. Times and The Washington Post have both recently written about this Web-naming strategy. So we've decided it's time for our patented segment, Ripped Off from the Headlines.
Here to chat is Andy Valvur, a senior branch strategist at Igor International, a company that names new products. He's in San Francisco.
Good morning, Andy.
Mr. ANDY VALVUR (Senior Branch Strategist, Igor International): Well, good morning.
BURBANK: All right. First off, a naming company called Igor International? What?
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. VALVUR: It's a great name.
BURBANK: Well, it got my attention.
Mr. VALVUR: That's exactly what it was supposed to do, because all the others are named the Name Farm, Name Gaming, Name Guys, Name Stormers, Name Barn, you know. How do you separate yourself?
BURBANK: You named yourself Igor, I guess.
Mr. VALVUR: There you go.
BURBANK: All right. Well, so, I guess, is that the theory behind, like, Holoo and TagTooga and Oodle and Rankoo(ph)?
Mr. VALVUR: Well, no. That is basically there - everybody is jumping on the money bandwagon because that's where they figure, you know, if Kazaa made it and got some money and, you know, Yahoo and Google - so they're going for the name that doesn't - that makes no sense. And now, unfortunately, you know, that's the - I think it's Web 2.0, there's Web 1.0 was, you know, drugstore.com, pets.com, et cetera. And Web 2.0 was these silly names which the ones you just mentioned. You know, and I think, hopefully, Web 3.0 will get back to some sort of normalcy because words still have power.
BURBANK: What about this other trend, these Web sites that have words that you would recognize, but they're misspelled, like Flickr?
Mr. VALVUR: Flickr's good, you know.
BURBANK: Flickr's missing the E.
Mr. VALVUR: It does what it's supposed to do, right? You know, it hearkens back the black and white movie. It's, you know, it's fun.
BURBANK: Yeah. Except that it's missing an E. Or is that the letter it's missing? It's F-L-I-C-K-R.
Mr. VALVUR: I'm sorry. Say it again?
BURBANK: But it's missing a letter, and you would think your big fear is you had a Web site would be people misspelling it. And if you've got an intentional weird spelling in there, aren't - is it going to be harder for people to find it?
Mr. VALVUR: Well, you know, given the state of today's educational system, most people thinks that's spelled correctly.
BURBANK: There are also these sites, like, that kind of, do like a Zestimate? Zillow is the one that's like the sort of the house-hunting one, house evaluing one.
Mr. VALVUR: Right.
BURBANK: I mean, is there a point at which the name - great, it's Zillow, it's creative but it's - there's so little resemblance to what it's supposed to be doing. I mean, isn't that, at some point, going to make it worse for you?
Mr. VALVUR: No. You know, names, you know, what you're doing is, you know, this - there's all the stuff about these, you know, going from weird names and stuff that, you know, when you're naming your company, you're not naming the name. You're naming the position of the company. That's really what we believe in, right?
You're naming the positioning. It's - let's take an example, like if you're naming a new computer company back in the day, right? And you want to tell them that you're doing something completely different, right? And up until this point, computer companies have been called International Business Machines and Unisys and, you know, Xerox and all that, and you want to tell them that you're doing something completely different.
What are you going to do? You want a name, and you want it to say, well, it's a computer for the people. It's a simple computer. How about Simplicity Computing? Or you could just call it Apple, right? And now, if you had two choices, and when Steve Jobs originally had - you know, he could make two choices, what's he going to say? Things like, well we could either go with strawberry, or we can go with Apple, right? We have two fun little fruit things. We're going to make great little logos.
But how are we going to decide between the two? Well, when you think of strawberries, what do you get? Well, strawberry milkshakes, strawberry shortcake, strawberry fields, and that's about it. You've run out of strawberry stuff.
But when you go to apple, what do you got? You got an apple a day. You've got the Garden of Eden. You've got William Tell with the apple on the kid's head. These are all cultural things that, you know, are global. People have all these same things that they know about apples. And then you can go up on tangents, like, Newton and Macintosh and Gala and what have you. So you've got so much more built-in culturally with a word like apple, and it also - it says simple. It's easy. Anybody can do it. Anybody can grab it.
BURBANK: So you got…
STEWART: It's also about associations?
Mr. VALVUR: But it's all about association. It's, you know, words are human. Their warm things. And they've got, and they all have things that people connect to. You know, look at Igor, our own name, right? I mean, when we initially - you know, when the founders were going to start Igor, they decided - you know, all of their friends told them - and they had friends in the advertising business and the naming business, because apparently, for some odd reason, San Francisco seems to be ground zero for naming.
Everybody said, you're out of your mind if you go with Igor. No large company is ever going to take you seriously. But since then, we've worked with, you know, we're currently working with Nokia. You know, we've worked with DuPont, Microsoft - I mean, you name it. So they do take us seriously, because Igor just lands us at the top of the list in terms of standing out.
BURBANK: Well, we found you. Somehow, one of our producers tracked you down, so I guess it worked. Next time we have you on, Andy, we'll discuss my - I wanted this show to be called News Hole instead of THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT. I lost that argument. We'll - I'll get your opinion on that. I'll give you a little time to think about it, though because we're running out of time on this hour.
Thank you, though, for coming on.
Mr. VALVUR: You bet.
BURBANK: Andy Valvur, senior brand strategist at Igor International.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.