What’s in an app name?

Funny things happen when I tell someone the name of our latest app. Some furrow their brow in Dubya-esque confusion, others more subtly shift their weight and cluck their tongue, and once I swear I caught a thought bubble float away with “wow, Bahndr is a really terrible name!” inside of it. I agree, on the scale [...]

Funny things happen when I tell someone the name of our latest app. Some furrow their brow in Dubya-esque confusion, others more subtly shift their weight and cluck their tongue, and once I swear I caught a thought bubble float away with “wow, Bahndr is a really terrible name!” inside of it.

I agree, on the scale of normal names, ‘Bahndr’ lacks the functional punch of ‘Bubble Hunt’. It makes about as much sense as ‘Architecture in Helsinki’ or the ‘The Annexation of Puerto Rico‘ does.

So then why name it Bahndr?

Simple: what else would it be named? Its not as if I saw an empty textbox on the iTunes Submission sheet and panicked. Nor did we take a fairly obvious piece of verbiage, drop the consonants, and expect to hit Web 2.0 gold.

No my friends, much like Moon Unit was the natural choice when it came  time for the Zappas to name their eldest daughter, Bahndr is the obvious name for this app. To think that a good name is only one that is easily SEO’able, and “discoverable” by the average knuckle-dragger is to believe the best restaurants are only found at the top of a Yelp page.

Bahndr is kind of like Shrek,  its an onion, with many layers just waiting to be peeled by the curious and adventurous. To find its meaning, one has but to pull the right thread.

Bahndr is a hard name, it’s not one that you just stumble upon. Saying ‘Bahndr’ to someone verbally, in hopes of them finding it in the Apple Store, is an exercise in futility. But does that make it a bad name?

Contrary to what TechCrunch would have you believe, there are apps out there not trying to cater to the Angry Birds demographic. Bahndr isn’t meant for the bubble bursting buffoon. If somebody won’t download an app unless its purpose was obviously clear through a painfully contrived name, then that’s just self-selection at work.

What’s in a good name for an app? Easy, anything you want. While a great name can certainly take a shitty product and make it successful,  I believe that a great product  makes its own name. (I don’t think anybody in Redmond is sitting around saying ‘man if only the Kin had a better name, that iPhone would have been toast!’)

So if you are writing a story, having a baby, or building an app, when it comes to names, take Foster’s advice, and call it what you want.

About Bobby Gill

I am the creator of Bahndr, founder of New York based app development lab, Blue Label Labs and editor at Idea to Appster. I like crepes and I am fascinated by big data.