Machine Design, Editorial Comment
April 6, 2000

In a prior column, I made fun of DaimlerChrysler because the firms had combined their names while retaining an internal capital letter. I pointed out that their doing so violated conventions of the English language. (The only place internal capitals have acquired legitimacy in English is with the Mac and Mc prefixes from the British Isles.)

At any rate, I ended up suggesting that Daimler and Chrysler adopt the German convention of combining words without internal capital letters, yielding a full corporate name of Daimlerchrysleraktiengesellschaft.

Yes, I have a sense of the absurd. But wait! Just a bit after writing that, I found out there is an accounting firm named PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. More than once I have suggested an absurdity as a joke only to find something similar has already been done in real life.

Overall, the American business community has begun to feel free to murder English convention for the purpose of coming up with catchy names for both companies and products. Now, Ford Motor Co. has put an exclamation point inside a word. Ford has adopted the tradename Th!nk, substituting an exclamation point for the "i." The name will be put on a l!ne of cars and b!cycles that runs on batter!es and fuel cells.

Of course, what really set off the man!a for nam!ng !nan!t!es is the !nternet. People have become accustomed to see!ng all those jumbled dot-com addresses and @ symbols, so naming your product or company with alphabet!cal nonsense is now the trendy th!ng to do.

!nternal cap!tals or not, here are some "!llegal" corporate names ! have collected. They !ncorporate e!ther !nternal cap!tals, symbols, or overly long comb!nations:

AvTel communications, barnesandnoble.com Inc., BrightStar Information Technology, Broadcast.com Inc., ContiFinancial Corp., DepoTech, DoubleClick Inc., E*Offering, E*Trade Group Inc., EarthWeb, eBay Inc., eMachines Inc., E.piphany, eWallet, EntreMed, FormFactor Inc., FundsXpress Inc.

HoloPak, iVillage Inc., MCI WorldCom Inc., OnSale Inc., SmarTalk TeleServices, S3 Inc., ScanSoft, theglobe.com, Usinternetworking Inc., VisionAmerica, WorldCorp Inc., 3Com Corp., and last but not least, Yahoo! Inc.

! concede. The battle has been lost. And to show !'m not a poor sport, ! prov!de free of charge some suggest!ons for names !n the hope they are not already reg!stered and str!ke someone's fancy. Here goes:

4Closure, 4Warned, 4Kast, 4Play, 4Fit, 4Most, 4Bearance, 4Middable, What4?, 8itAll, 10Shun, 10AhSeeTie10s, Replick8, =Portions, Applepi, @Tackdogs, American Expre$$, eFective, eGads, eMasculate, eMense, Heart@Tack, iOpener.

UBA BadDude, IBA BadDude, iDolitry, iOU, Micro$oft, hcookie, nDeal, nYork, oDelity, oNanshul4Kast, uZeem, uTation, pirManiac, piInYurFace, Panic@Tack, rBoat, rBust, rMantik, rTation, cKo, Xcommunicate, Xwife, UR NoGud, URArotten!@#%*, UR Here, WhoRU?, U NoMe?, I NoU!, yMe?, SayByBy2DaDa, NoNo10003No!, and f!nally, what all th!s !s worth: XCretement.

-- Ron@!d Khol, Ed!tor