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RE: Do Names Matter?


trucking company names
Michael Kay wrote:
> A good name won't save a lousy product and a bad name won't 
> kill a good one.
> There's a very successful trucking company in Europe that 
> trades under the
> name "Norbert Dentressangle".

Obviously the success or failure of a product is a function of a whole range
of factors, and, as you state, the name of the product is unlikely to be the
deciding one. This isn't the same thing as saying that the name doesn't
matter, however. I don't suppose I need to point out that it's also
important to keep in mind the target market of the product (or service). I
would maintain that "Norbert Dentressangle" is a fine (though not great!)
name for a trucking company but wouldn't be appropriate for, say, a dandruff
shampoo. In a similar way, "406" is a good name for car, "XSLT" for a
transformation language and "Whiskas" for a cat food, but if you were to
shuffle them around in these categories, you'd be pushing the envelope to
say the least.

The bottom line is that choosing a good name is an important although not
decisive aspect of product marketing, and the most important criterion for a
name is that it conform to the expectations of the target market. (Noting
before someone else does that there are exceptions designed specifically to
attract attention by breaking this rule, like "Rent-A-Wreck"). "RELAX NG"
fails on this measure, IMO, because it is pronounced in an unexpected way
and fits a pattern (i.e. gerunds) that is unexpected for a technology spec.
(In fact I can't think of a single software product or technology that ends
in "-ing".) If it were up to me, I would just change the name to "RELAX",
subsuming the previous spec of this name.

Or since most of these XML technologies tend to start with X, how about
"X-LAX"? ;-)

Matt

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