ibotta – What an awful name for a shopping app

Every so often a name comes along that actually gets some publicity or has the money to promote itself on TV. I was horrified when I first saw this name on a TV commercial.  Wow. Launching a new consumer shopping service (or is it a payment service) is hard enough nowadays, without having to drag an albatross name around your neck.

rotten names, bad consumer namingIt still makes my skin crawl.  I have asked around and asked if anyone gets it. No. Do they like it. Heck no. What does it mean? Don’t have a clue unless you do some research and see the company claims it is short for ” I bought it”. Sounds to me more like they bought the farm – bottoms up to you too. At least now I know it is not pronounced ebot ta.  Could mean ta thanks for the ibot I guess as well. (Or even I spanka your bottom).

These are the kind of names that may sound clever when someone finds the domain free, but cost you an enormous overhead in sales and marketing. Imagine being a salesman and calling around and explaining that to each new prospect. Or marketing trying to craft a message around it. What imagery comes to mind? None of course. Even their logo lacks any style or class and I don’t blame the graphics designers, given that meaningless name.

This is where some professional naming help up front could have saved them hundreds of man hours and dollars and given them a name that is much easier to pronounce and identify with – hence making all the branding so much easier. After all, you are selling to humans – and by and large they don’t buy anything ugly.


Rotten names for shopping sitesNow I discover that one of Ibotta’s big competitors is called Rakuten. What is going on? Another strange name for western ears – with no meaning at all. Yes it is a big Japanese company. Yes it is a cool word in Japanese meaning “optimism”. But how many know that?  Even their own commercials are pronouncing it Rack oo Ten completely ignoring normal Japanese syllabary. Even beginners in Japanese know to break it apart as three Japanese characters: Ra, Ku and Ten.  Ra pronounced like in Rah Rah. Or like in Ramen – the cheap Asian noodles we lived on in college.

Of course their old name is EBates which was pretty rotten too. At least it didn’t sound like some Asian noodle or rice cracker dish.

(C) 2019 Brighter Naming


Posted in Branding, Consumer Goods, Domain Names, International Naming, Name Origins, Naming Education, Retail, Rotten Names, Strange Names