The Compendium of Amazing Names (CAN): Y


A Great Brand Name That Transcends Its Literal Definition

Yelp is the restaurant and business review website and app service that has become tops in its class, the go-to source for information and reviews for many kinds of businesses, at home or on the road. And while a great name is no guarantee of success, in the case of Yelp it has definitely helped propel it above the fray of literally-named competitors like UrbanSpoon. What makes this name so compelling is not only its brevity, but that its dictionary definition is entirely negative: a short, loud, high noise that you make when you are excited, angry, or in pain; a sharp high-pitched cry, especially by a dog. Think “yelping in pain” or a “cry for help.” Most companies would have steered clear of this name, or any other with such “negative” definitions and no positive meanings. But Yelp correctly understood that people don’t literally deconstruct the meanings of brand names, and by now Yelp has been re-defined to stand for user reviews, just as Amazon has been re-defined to mean e-commerce first, big river second. And even though people don’t take negative definitions literally, the friction they create is still there, operating below the surface, tickling the subconscious mind, which makes the names that have themĀ  memorable and emotionally engaging. And that’s something worth Yelping about.

[ Yelp ]