Announcing the worst name of 2008

Posted by Alexandra Watkins on February 12, 2009

What happens when software engineers drink and play Scrabble?Thanks to all of you who voted in the 2008 Head Scratcher “worst name of the year” contest. This cheeky annual award, created by naming firm Eat My Words (that would be us), is inspired by our no-brainer philosophy, “A name should make you smile, instead of scratch your head.” Contenders are judged on their “ick factor” and ability to pass the Eat My Words SMILE & SCRATCH Test, which has been featured in Wall Street Journal, a fact that we like to mention as often as possible.

Drumroll please…

E1234118741 The name that chalked up the most votes was a new “financial literacy” site for children out of Oklahoma named Shryk. A name that made us shriek.

The tacky pink trophy was ready to be engraved and then…
Another drumroll please…We were tipped off that Shryk renamed themselves with an even worse name: iThryv.
E1234072834 Whaaaaaat? Did one of their software engineers say, “Hey, we need a name with vowels so let’s get drunk and play Scrabble again”? (Why not iShryk?) The website explains it all by saying “Shryk changed the name of the corporation to iThryv in an effort to dispel any confusion related to the name of the company versus the name of the product. Now, when someone mentions iThryv — you know they are talking about financial literacy.” HELLO! What about regular literacy?! The name iThryv is so severely spelling-challenged that an entire generation of children are not going to know that the word “thrive” is spelled with vowels. Isn’t it already tragic enough that “No Child Left Behind” didn’t work and kids don’t know how to spell “flicker” or “delicious”? And sorry iThryv, the “i” doesn’t buy you a vowel. Beginning your company name with an “i or an “e” is so 1998. Just like iStockPhoto and eHarmony, the name iThryv screams, “WE’RE ON THE INTERNET!” Yeah, everyone is. If iThryv is still “thryving” 20 years from now, the name will sound even more ridiculous than it does today.

How can you avoid a Head Scratcher award?Tip #1: Your company name needs to spelled exactly as is sounds. As anyone from iThryv, Takkle, Xobni, or countless other dot coms will reluctantly admit, when you have to verbally spell out your name (and silly-sounding email address) for people, it’s embarrassing and annoying. And if it’s annoying for you, how do you think your customers feel when they type the name they hear in their browser and discover what iThrive is?
For more tips on when to scratch your name of the list, check out our Kitchen Sink Blog and the Eat My Words SMILE & SCRATCH Test, which has been featured in Wall Street Journal, a fact that we like to mention as often as possible.

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