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July 31, 2007 | Tate Linden
In Sunday's NYT Magazine there was a great article by Erin McKean about the Oxford English Corpus. Imagine having access to over a billion words that are tagged and given context. For a namer this is close to heaven. With a few clicks you could check any English word for negative connotations and sort by the most powerful connections.

What a great way to determine what a word or phrase may bring to mind. It'd get rid of those experiential biases that we all bring with us (AKA "I knew a guy named ____ and he was a twit - so I'm not gonna name my company that.")

And that's only scratching the surface.

I was thoroughly peeved, however, to learn that all the press lately is for naught. Yes it is pretty cool that there are over 1 billion words in the Corpus. But who gives a rat's arse (note the British spelling!) how many words there are if we can't look at the damn thing. Are we supposed to be pleased that the smart-folk have access and are thus shepherding our language much more intelligently than they were able to before they had access?

It is obvious that Oxford is looking to invest heavily in the OEC brand. Rebecca over at OUP notes that the "Powered by Oxford Corpus" is showing up on all the new Oxford dictionaries. One assumes this is a tactic similar to the "Intel Inside" campaign, in that even though we could buy a computer that was powered by Intel we didn't have the right to take apart the chip and figure out how it worked. Perhaps that's a weak metaphor... But since I don't have access to the Corpus I can't figure out if there's a better word grouping for what I want to say.

Also interestingly, there are no indications that people like me (and you - if you don't edit dictionaries) can't access the thing. It's like they're taunting us by telling us how cool this thing is (they even show you how to use it!) and then not even giving us the courtesy of telling us we can't use it. They let us waste a couple (okay, a few) good hours figuring it out for ourselves. It's like a word-geek clique. If you have to ask then you're obviously not going to get access...

Any dictionary editors out there want to loan me a password so I can play? I won't tell a soul...

Until then - My slogan for the OEC is: "Oxford English Corpus - The Hypothetical Anti-Resource."
July 19, 2007 | Tate Linden
The folks over at Igor's Snark Hunting site have been sending us a bit of traffic due to the fact that our site may have had a bit of social networking overkill.

We have a popular post here from February that discusses and rates the trends in Web 2.0 naming and might be of interest to you.

But if you're clicking through just to see the offending links you're going to be disappointed. We'd been quite fond of them as they were colorful, pretty, and acted as a nice visual indicator that one post was ending and another was beginning. (Okay, so when I think about it a bit more I've gotta agree they were just clutter and there for absolutely no reason at all... but still... It made me feel popular. Or at least potentially popular.)

Sadly, I have thin skin (and little talent) when it comes to my blog-designing skills so I have put my tail betwixt my legs and removed the ninety-dozen links that got the hump-backs on my case.

I was going to say something witty here about the hatin' being directed at us due to Igor's fear of fire, but realized just before I hit the "publish" button that Mary Shelley might've risen from the dead to correct me.

So, Igorians... if you think of any appropriate comebacks you can feel free to pretend they were hurled by us and be suitably humbled and intimidated.

Yeah. We roll like that.

Maybe it'll have something to do with 'stooping to your level' (Oooh snap!) Though we'd appreciate it if you could make it a bit more witty and significantly less obvious.

We'd be more agressively peeved if it weren't for the fact that they called us "an actual blog" - thus alleviating our fears that we were only hypothetically a blog, or worse, only metaphorically blog-like. Here's to hoping that the "actualness" of our blog was not inextricably linked to our abundance of clicky bookmark art.

Anyhow, thanks for the tip, Igorians. You're enabling positive change from afar.

And maybe... just maybe... tomorrow I'll be back writing about names and stuff.
May 2, 2007 | Tate Linden
It is a sad day for us. A potential client came to us asking for help with a name a few months back. We loved the concept, we loved their attitude, we loved the people - but for a few reasons they decided to name themselves. These things happen...

But so do unfortunate names.

I won't mention the full three-word name (out of respect for what is actually a great company,) but the logical shortening of the name is The VD Group.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that"

April 11, 2007 | Tate Linden
Today will have to wait a bit. My post was going to be about pronunciation and the Analogy Model - a theory established by Glushko in 1979.

It was not to be. I hit save and it vanished into the ether.

Instead you can feast your eyes on a loosely related bit o' fun and gear up your mind for the eventual information-explosion to come tomorrow.

December 8, 2006 | Tate Linden
Okay. This post was going to be about how companies with dead blogs are perceived by the marketplace, but then I realized that the topic would be too broad. Waaay too many companies and people have dead blogs - and most of 'em probably don't understand what a dead blog does for a brand (personal or professional.)

But there are some companies that should understand the implication of a dead blog. I would suggest that any company actively involved in the business of branding should know that an inactive or rarely updated blog does more damage than it does good.

Reasons? How about these:
  • The sites become the target of other bloggers (like this one) who immaturely point to the inactive blogs and say "how can a company involved in branding leave such a big hole in its own brand?" We've been waiting to catch a word... any word... from these guys for ages.
  • Surfers who do end up finding the site may think that the company is no longer in business if the site hasn't been updated in almost a year. Kinda makes you wonder what sort of meaning the site is rich with...
  • If prospects get to a site that hasn't been updated for ages and also has blank pages all over the place then I'm pretty sure the prospects are going to motor their way over to other purveyors of branding.
  • And finally - if your name suggests that you've got plenty of labor sitting around then you'd better find time to get at least one of your experts onto your blog to keep things up to date. Monkey - groom thyself!
I hereby pledge to pull down my blog - or at least notify everyone that I'm closing up shop - if I'm alive and unable to keep the standards of the blog high. Anything else cheapens the field of branding. (I reserve the right to ditch the blog if I'm dead or get mad cow disease.)

Maybe the active branding and naming blogs can come up with a catchy name for blogs of indeterminate status.

My Submission: "Schrödinger's Blog Syndrome" I'd suggest that someone grab that name and run with it, but no one will ever be able to spell it... (Certainly we Americans have a problem with umlauts. I for one have no clue how to type them[ed: or didn't until Bob helped me out!]. Perhaps the Germans can make it work.)

Proper usage includes:
Oh crud. Yet another blog lost to Schrödinger.

Looks like Schrödinger has been adding to his blogroll

With about 20% of naming bloggers afflicted with Schrödinger's Syndrome we're keeping a close watch on William Lozito for signs of weakness.

That's it. If y'all don't stop messing with me I'm going to go Schrödinger on this blog.
Not bad for a Friday morning. (Too bad that someone already has the website.)

Tate Linden Principal Cönsultant Stokefire Cönsulting Gröup 7Ö3-778-9925
September 27, 2006 | Tate Linden

Apple is starting to look an awful lot like a mega-corp. Remember all those stories about McDonalds, Disney, and Microsoft coming down hard on defenseless non-profits and day care centers that either use part of a name or a visual likeness one of their characters? Now it is Apple's turn...

This is pretty odd when you consider that this is the same company that released "Sosumi." They went from challenging the establishment to being the establishment.

The latest? Apple is going after a startup firm for using the term "Pod." Even when "Pod" is part of a larger word...

This smacks of the trouble Apple got into when

September 22, 2006 | Tate Linden
About two months ago we heard about this story - but we didn't know what it entailed. Back in July Coles Myer said they were preparing to rebrand and rename their company. What they didn't say back then was that Coles Myers is spending $900,000 per month on the project. And now the project has lasted five months, leading to a $5 million bill.While we haven't seen any official press releases - The Australian News says Mccann-Erickson and Futurebrand are leading the project.

One may wonder how the company is paying for this. Perhaps the "retrenchings" of about a dozen marketing general managers (saving $3 million) and 2500 other employees (saving an undetermined sum) is part of it.

Here's the problem with this
September 14, 2006 | Tate Linden

Based on this press release, Stokefire is tempted to put out daily press releases stating "Yes, we're still Stokefire."

What happens when your government tells you to change your name - and you refuse? Probably something a lot like this:

August 25, 2006 | Tate Linden
What happens when a naming consultancy goes rogue? They put all their hard work and creativity into naming an organization only to find that their masterpiece is wasted on a still-crappy company? They'd want payback, right?

That has now happened. But before we get to that story, let's take a quick look at the precedence for renaming companies in trouble.

The temptation is certainly there. When a company has something to hide there's a strong inclination to find a quick fix. What could be easier than a name change? Philip Morris and WorldCom certainly found something attractive enough in the concept to take the chance. Now known as Altria and MCI, the two companies are working hard to show they've changed.

Okay, that's not quite right.