Why Startups Use Misspelled Names

When I read the news these days, I see lots of startups using misspelled words as their names, though when you read them, they pronounce like legit words. A few of them have grown pretty big, such as: Flickr (flicker), Tumblr (tumbler) and Reddit (read it).

There are more out there:

The list goes on and on.

Why they are using misspelled words as company names? In one of his post, Jeff Knupp said: “Start-ups don’t make developers wear multiple hats by choice, they do so out of necessity“. Similarly, I believe startups chose the misspelled words as their names out of two necessities.

First, domain names are very expensive. It was said that XiaoMi paid tens of millions of dollars for the new domain name mi.com (was xiaomi.com). I also heard that JD.com paid a lot for the new domain name, to replace 360buy.com. I haven’t seen any rumor about box.com, but I believe the price tag must be at least multi million. To get more idea about the hefty price tag on domain names, go to godaddy.com and check it out.

Second, I guess those misspelled names are good SEO (search engine optimization). For example, see what you can get by searching for “louder” in Bing. But if you search for “loudr”, loudr.fm pops up as the first result.

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