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Here comes Zinzin

November 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm in Branding, Names/Naming

Set your brand free. I have just launched a new naming agency, Zinzin, that creates powerful product and company names to propel and differentiate brands beyond their competition. We help elevate a company’s messaging above the generic brand chatter that clogs cultural discourse.

At Zinzin, we believe that creating powerful names is both a science, for which we have a rigorous, battle-tested process, and an art, for it is the art and poetry of great names that separate brands from their uninspired competition. Great names become brands that foster emotional engagement with their audience, and these are the names we are passionate about.

The Zinzin website has many features to help you get a handle on the naming process, including the Naming Guide and Manifesto PDFs available for free download.

Wordlab will continue to be a great free naming and branding resource for people and small companies who can’t afford to hire a naming firm. For companies in need of professional naming and branding services, Zinzin is here for you.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @ZinzinLive.

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Canada Obscura

October 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm in Culture / History

Since Halloween is here, it’s time to once again face our fears and contemplate our scary neighbor to the north, Canada. In honor of the Halloweenery that has engulfed North America on this festive Day Before the Day of the Dead, we offer a primer on some of the more esoteric Halloween traditions unique to the land up north:

In Canada people welcome trick-or-treators by placing pumpkins called jack-o’-lanterns in their windows.
Also in Canada it is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path, enter your home, or even enter your ship.

In Canada people give trick-or-treaters sweets to make sure they are not played a trick on.

Children make Jack-o’-lanterns for hallowe’en.

Dressing up as witches, ghosts and beasts for trick-or-treating is done also.

I know, I know, it sounds like Jabberwocky to us readers in the USofA, and seems to make no sense whatsoever. You’ll just have to trust my sources that in Canada it’s all perfectly logical.

So, a Happy Halloween to you then, eh?

BONUS MATERIAL: As an extra quasi-holiday featurette, I’ve created the following poem, “Canadian Halloween”, from the 69 words quoted above, put into random order using a random number generator:

CANOLA INHALED ANEW
enter witches
they sweets path a In trick-or-treaters trick
as make is people enter make
by your is called Canada

pumpkins people
cat luck and jack-o’-lanterns black
not home your it done in your for hallowe’en
Jack-o’-lanterns Canada
even their for your to Children in played

In Also or on also
placing sure ship up are Dressing welcome
give to a bad beasts
Canada trick-or-treators
ghosts windows cross for

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Wordlab back after software and sever upgrades

October 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm in Wordlab Alerts

It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks, but we are back after multiple software upgrades and a tricky server migration, and things should begin to settle down around here. Whenever we do this kind of maintenance, you can always stay on top of what’s going on with Wordlab by checking out our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Syd Barrett – Word Song

July 27, 2011 at 2:07 am in Music, Poetry

Stained, glaucous, glycerine, gold, goat, clover
gold, local, stocks, type, food, wild, national, lake, flag,
valve, gyroscope, sect
heat, helium, lead, bare, state, invention, medieval
refraction, faction, ultra-action,
hunter, interest, bullet, market…

Loads, liquids, neon, heater, jaws, jungle
mains, signal, knives, kitchen
ingot, lovely, mirror, mold
Mycenaean, moat, poppy, rubber,
radar, rags, sugar, teak
silver, poke, tin, beetroot,
carrot, ebony, fruit, copper, silk…

Carpet, distant, pigmy, hid, pack,
timber, pudding, straw
raindrops, spattering, ramps
chameleon, prairie, pods, trigger
museum, scales, square, ultra, out of map, vent
volcano, vain, wreck, tactic
tidal, arches, valley, hand
inflect, impression, loom, last, molten
you gamma, meeting
lighting, signal, island, coral-cold

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Get ready for an explosion of branded Internets

June 20, 2011 at 9:33 am in Culture / History, Names/Naming

Whatever you think about the domain name system, it’s been pretty effective in allowing the World Wide Web to expand so rapidly over the past two decades. And for most companies, “.com” has been THE place to park your brand. But that may all change soon.

ICANN, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the non-profit, global coordinator of the Internet’s naming system. ICANN’s global Internet regulators met today in Singapore to “finalize rules for a major expansion of ‘generic top-level domains,’ that will clear the way for new offerings like .law, .coke or .nyc. Sites with those endings are expected to start rolling out late next year.” CNN.com tells the story in Forget .com, here’s .coke:

“Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”

Now, before you get all excited and start dreaming of registering “.wordlab” or “.snark” domain names, note the “gotcha”:

Crawford thinks dot-brand sites will be a hit with major companies. In addition to marketing benefits, they could help on the security front: HSBC, for example, could tell customers that a purported HSBC site isn’t legitimate unless it ends in .hsbc. And a company like Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) could market products at cellphones.verizon and store locations at losangeles.verizon.

But these benefits don’t come cheaply — or easily. ICANN charges at $185,000 per domain application, which Crawford says typically must include about 150 pages of policy documents.

Technical setup takes another $100,000 or so, he says, and upkeep can cost an additional $100,000 each year.

So there you have it — only “major companies” who can afford the cost and regulatory overhead will be able to buy into this, and the result will likely be more brand clutter and confusion, with new domains like .coke, .pepsi, .verizon, .hsbc flooding the Internet with millions more corporate websites. No longer would users just go to coke.com to find out — wait, why do users go there? — whatever they need to find out, but potentially there might be thousands of separate .coke sites. Any large company could basically build its own Internet now — imagine a self-contained, Chromewashed .google empire. And forget about just one “iCloud” for Apple — they could create a mega-cloud of .apple websites.

In addition to companies, non-profits, NGO’s, citizen groups, artists and any sort of non-corporate entity that can raise the funds could also create its own self-contained micro-Internet. Imagine legions of fans registering .gaga, .bieber, .kanye or .diddy domains for their fanblogs, with all that registration money going directly to the artists instead of GoDaddy. That is, if there’s anyone left who wants to have their own website, when a Facebook page is probably all they need. We’ll see.

It’s enough to make your head spin. And in the not-too-distant future, people will misplace websites and domains the way they misplace car keys. Honey, where did you park my files? Was it at cloud.apple, icloud.apple, app.apple, cloudapp.apple, cumulus-cloud.apple, docs.google, mydocs.google or vault.amazon?

Of course, there will be apps to help you remember where you put your digital life. Oh-yes-there-will-be.apps.

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New Team name generator added

April 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm in Names/Naming, Wordlab

If you are looking to name a real or fantasy sports team, or a charity, academic or business team, or any other kind of team, Wordlab’s free Team Name Generator will deliver 16,703,520 of them to you one at a time, at the push of a magic button.

I just tested it for my own team name, and here are some of the beauties I came away with:

North Stucco Stumblers
Lucky Chillers
Hopping Steel Chameleons
Headless Turf Monkeys
Stealth Hillbillies
Macho Fire Strikers
Gritty Metal Aftermath
Bouncing Chemical Wheelers
Tri-City Green Wasps
Phat Vampires
Irrational Space Zealots
Pastel Beige Miltons
Hot Desert Crawlers
Tripping Silverbacks
Grunting Day Rats
Tainted City Burnouts
Giant Marsh Groundhogs
Hard Red Prawns
The Chemical Beancounters
Random Surf Rappers
The Champagne Patsies
Noble Longhairs
Limping Bush Hackers

If you need help with a specific team naming project and the Team Name Generator isn’t quite working out for you, sign up for a free Wordlab membership and post a New Topic to the Sports Team Names group Forum, and members of the Wordlab community will jump in and help you beat your arch rivals to a better team name. And see all the other name generators on our Name Generators page.

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Inside the process of creating the title of a novel

April 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm in Literature, Names/Naming

As part of James Salter month at the Paris Review, the journal’s blog has posted some of Salter’s notes and scribblings, documenting a little bit of his process coming up with the title for his 1975 novel Light Years: “At every magazine or publishing house, there’s always an editor or two with a knack for titles. But even so, rarely does one come in a flash of divine inspiration. There are iterations and themes and the same words written over and over. Here is a glimpse of what James Salter’s process was like with his 1975 novel Light Years…. Salter seems so close at points, circling back to light and years, sometimes on the same page but not always the same line, ranking his favorites and weighing the opinions of others.” (Click through for more images.)

James Salter Light Years title optionsReally James, Estuarial Years didn’t merit a strike-through? The Tortoise must have liked it…

Salter might have benefited from the input of Wordlabbers if only he’d traveled a few decades into the future and posted a new Topic in our Publications Forum.

Attention authors: give Wordlab a try for novel titles, non-fiction book titles, short story titles, and even character names. (Via The Paris Review via Flavorpill)

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Wordlab improvements

April 8, 2011 at 1:34 am in Wordlab Alerts

New fixes to the Wordlab infrastructure have solved the annoying problem of the Forums page not loading, and greatly improved overall speed and reliability. As a result, a number of features, like Post Ratings (only for members — sign-up now for a free account) and the moderation ability to flag spammers for deletion (see the bottom of each member profile page — again, only members have this power), that had been mothballed, are now back. So jump in and start Wordlabbing!

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Today’s Patent Poem: get your orthogonal divisional multiplexing freq on

February 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm in IP Issues, Poetry

Have yourselves a Friday Patent Poem, inspired by Systems and method for orthogonal frequency divisional multiplexing, in the Abstract, no doubt.

Orthogonal Freq

Systems and methods
systems and methods
what is the frequency of
systems and methods
when your orthogonal embodiment is in division
and you feel your modem go cold

De-modulate!

A true multi-carrier uprising
receiving symbols from the plurality
the spectrally overlapping modulations
signals coupled to the transmitter
processors controlling data controlling processors
Fourier on all fours with his symbols

Payload data!

If I ever get out of this orthogonal overlap
buy me a drink and give me a slap.

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Save the Words

December 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm in Language

Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the English language. Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved and unwanted.

Today, 90% of everything we write is communicated by only 7,000 words. You can change all that. Help Save the Words!