Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

Naming products

1 min read

One of the things I find hardest is the process of coming up with a name for a new product. Sometimes, the product itself will suggest a name. Most of the time however, there is no obvious answer.

One of our top criteria is to have a ‘blue sky’ term (as in one that is either a madeup word or not used) so that we will ‘own’ the term on search from the start. If the name is already used by someone else and there are thousands of hits on the Internet it is not going to be found easily. We will never call a product ‘Ford’ or ‘mp3’…

We also like the name to be unique so that it is memorable and not easily confused with others. In the Java PDF market there are a whole series of very similar named products and I can never remember which is which. Otherwise all you marketing efforts could be diverting traffic to the wrong place.

We also like a name which gives some idea of what the product does – I am currently playing with a PDF application which goes by the rather inspired name of CanOpener. It does indeed do what it says on the tin!

So we quite often choose an acronym, which allows us to be unique, memorable, and own the search term. We called the main PDF library JPEDAL (Java Pdf Extraction Display Access Library). This has worked well.

One last thing to check before giving a product a name is that it does not have an unfortunate meaning in any language. There is nothing worse than releasing a product and then finding the name means ‘smelly feet’ – or worse – in German or Swahili!

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Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

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