Web 2.0 pronunciation guide

Web start-ups: Can we talk?

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman

I was chastised yesterday by the team at Geni (a Webware 100 winner), because I pronounced the company name wrong on a video. It's "Genie," not "Jenny," I was told. Because the product is a geneaology service.

Say what?

Makes sense. But, dear entrepreneurs, if you want people to pronounce your company a certain way, you shouldn't have to ship a user's manual with your logo. Many products these days are easily mispronounced: Jaiku, for example (the CEO says like "haiku") and the same with Viiv and Wii.

Mispronunciation is not just an annoyance, it's a potential marketing problem. Brand reinforcement doesn't work when people are calling one product different things.

And wacky Web 2.0 spelling doesn't even have to get in the way. Case in point: Zooomr. Even with its imbalance of vowels, it can only be spoken one way.