An “-ify” Proposition

Things began, as they often do, with an e-mail from Athol: “With Spotify near an IPO, why don’t we look at other names using the –ify suffix?”

I’m back from the Interwebs with three categories for these names: the Useful, the Baffling, and the Intriguing.

  1. The Useful

A number of these names have the virtue of simply adding “-ify” to a word or phrase that lets you know exactly what the company is up to. As a quick test, I tried to categorize the sort of business the company is in, based solely on my knowledge of its name, then looked at the web site to see how good my guess was.naming help for retail chains

Name My Guess Actual
Shopify Retail Web site services (retail-oriented)
Beautify Cosmetics/skin care Cosmetics/skin care
Backupify Data backup and recovery Data backup and recovery
Expensify Business/accounting software Automated expense reporting
Fluentify Language training Language training (English)


Quick disclaimer: the boundaries between the Baffling and the Intriguing are blurry and very subjective. That said:

  1. The Baffling

What on earth are the people at Melify, Yotify, and Huify doing for a living? Would any of these names give you an idea as to what goods and services are on offer? These names don’t even have enough inherent appeal to attract clicks out of curiosity, unlike…

  1. The Intriguing

I likewise have no idea what’s up at Zensify, Moosify, and (my personal favorite) Cahootify…but wouldn’t you really like to find out? (They are, respectively: an iPhone social aggregator; music-oriented social media, since acquired by Tastebuds [nice double entendre for the acquiring company!]; and “online portfolio and team-forming platform for film, media and entertainment”.)

Music naming services and consulting branding4. Verdict on Spotify

If you weren’t following this company, or reading the financial pages, how good a name would “Spotify” be? IMHO, not very good—this is pretty much a Baffling name. First thought is laundry detergent. Maybe geolocation? Faux-leopard pillbox hats? (Spoiler alert: it’s actually online music.)

5.       Great Missed Opportunities

With so many names and URLs already taken, we regret that we won’t be able to see all of the matchups below in the real world. (Any entrepreneur following up on these: I’m sure the lawyers engaged by Brighter Naming will be able to work out a royalty arrangement with you.)

Name Actual My bright idea…
Modify Domain available! Salons to make you look like Herman’s Hermits or the Dave Clark Five.
Satisfy Under construction, not for sale Upstart competitor of Barcalounger and La-Z-Boy
Objectify Ad aggregator Porn for the Woke!

–Greg Marus


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Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Retail