Monday, 8 October 2007

Word of the day

Today's word is Ooma. Actually, the word of the day is a class of words - neologistic proper names. Ooma is the name of an internet phone company which set up in July. There are heaps of words coined or appropriated to name new technology companies - like Oodle, Noosh, Yoomba, and also Clusty, Kajeet, Zazzle and Ziggs. Not to mention Google and Yahoo, which are not strictly neologisms.

It is suggested that the reason for these coinages is that the good domain names have already been taken, so new names are the only way to go. This may be true, but it is certainly true that the supply of whimsical nonsense words, at present, far exceeds demand. The story originally appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, but read about it in Domain Name News.

Just two warnings. First, the choice of whimsical company and product names goes back a very long time, so there is no originality here. Where did Omo come from? And second, whimsicality may be idiosyncratic, one person's whimsy being another person's weird.

As you will have noticed, having a double O in the name seems to be a favoured format. In fact, there is an Australian website using those very letters -, styled "best e-tail site" and deriving its name from Overstock Outlet. Yes, cheap stuff, have a look - some real bargains there.

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