The ‘ify’ naming fad: Did Spotify start it?

Back in 2011, The Name Inspector wrote a post about the proliferation of startup names that make creative use of the suffix -ify, such as Spotify. At the time, he deemed the trend “disturbifying,” identifying about a dozen and a half examples. Those were simpler times. If The Name Inspector had realized, in all his innocence, just how… Read More


Can this name change really save BlackBerry?

BlackBerry continues to wither on the vine, with market share for the once iconic smartphone maker slipping to under five percent. So, can a company name change salvage what’s left? I guess it’s worth a shot. As anticipated, Research in Motion — the maker of the BlackBerry — changed its corporate name to BlackBerry this… Read More


The name Kindle Fire: Hot or not?

At first glance, Kindle Fire seems like a pretty good name. It uses a thematically coherent naming strategy, similar to the one that Apple used when it named the Macintosh, presumably inspired by the apple variety McIntosh. What’s more, the word fire, like the word apple, is simple and familiar, and has lots of metaphorical significance and emotional… Read More


Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little (Book Excerpt)

[Editor's Note: Seattle author Christopher Johnson, aka The Name Inspector, shares an excerpt from his newly-released book, Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little, with GeekWire. In this chapter, Coin a New Word, Johnson discusses the origins of a number of high-tech names, from Google and Bing to Fandango and Jobster. The book, published by W.W. Norton &... Read More


In wake of Tulalip name dust-up, match these Microsoft code-names to the actual product

Is Microsoft’s use of the Tulalip name for a secret, internal social networking effort insensitive to the Native American tribe? That’s the question on the minds of some in Snohomish County where the Tulalips live. Here’s the back story: Last week, Microsoft inadvertently released a Web site touting a new social sharing service called,… Read More