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Lord of the Engines

Oh Lord, have mercy, otherwise, our produce will not be discovered and plenty will rot in oblivion. The scene opens. It’s Google’s day. The festivities are full steam ahead, the skateboarding mathematicians are jumping in joy and have thrown away used hockey sticks while sipping champagne, and they are now calculating the tractions and the centrifugal forces of the Ferraris.

Looking from a wider angle, it seems that the big revolution of “to be searched and to be found” has finally started. This evolution breaks most of the existing rules of marketing, branding and advertising, guaranteed.

Right now, you can either be found right away, or stay lost in the deep. You have no say in this matter; the mighty search engine with its mysterious and very complex software decides your exposure. You simply stay in a line, some algorithm will notice you and ask you to show yourself. This cyber name game is played like an inquisition from the medieval period. You are only summoned, otherwise you stay put. The kingdom is now in the hands of the lords of the search engines.

Let’s zoom in. The remarkable growth demonstrated by the two super-smart, youthful risk-takers form our earlier period’s exuberance is once again proof that a good idea with hard work will take you to the top. Well done. You really deserve it. Go Google, go Ferrari.

Now the flood gates of search engine techniques are opening. Because our products and services will mainly be exposed by our websites, the e-commerce gateway, these techniques and the gatekeepers will get all the attention. Help please. There are some dozens of other search engines in the waiting, and hundreds more will pop up when they see thousands of red Ferraris “Googling” on the highway.
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You always need a leader like Yahoo to start the race. Their innovations paved the ways for Google. Without mentioning specific names, most new search engines sound like "Bding, Bdong, Kling, Klong” like pots and pans rattling in a restaurants in Bombay. The name confusion and corporate branding issues are about to kick in. The search engine’s branding is based on getting instant popularity with an ultra-cool, hip personality. The more freely you use them, the more powerful and legit they become. The more the number of search engines, the more the complexity. The size and duplication of records, useless archives and blogs all becoming cyber-blobs, accidentally designed to bury everyone alive in e-commerce. Where’s Robin Hood when we need him?

The Dragon Slayers. New regiments of SEO experts are being trained all over the world as a covert operation to tackle this phenomenon, the new revolution is not going to allow any room to the old-fashioned name-branding schemes with fancy color themes and twisted slogans. There is going to be a very serious analysis of names of products and services and corporate naming.

AltaVista, Excite, Hotbot, DogPile, Inktomi, and MetaCrawler. These name identities appear almost pre-historic. If we follow the rules and laws of business naming, once again, these new icons will land on the likes of Wall Street. Financial markets are somber and conservative, looking for sobriety and with no room for the skateboarding attitudes of the dotcom and Enron eras. Proper business-name trademarks, solid global domain names and thoughtful corporate name identities are all good prerequisites for such great pursuits.

This battle is all about visibility and how to be found. Search engines will control national and global marketing access. Those who fail to appear on the first page or two will be left behind, in the dark, in the woods, where no one can hear them.

We urgently need a quick crash course; otherwise connecting with potential customers will become a very tough challenge. Lucky are those with a unique name and a short and clear dot-com name. No extra luggage with additional words or numbers, dashes, and slashes. Customers simply go directly to the site. Like Sony.com or PlayStation.com, the rest are lost when consumers enter consumer electronics or video games and get 2-3 million hits. No one has a month to through the results. This is why the produce will rot as sales are missed for being in total oblivion.

Studies have shown that more than 90% of business names are seriously problematic. Some are too long, too confusing or totally disjointed to make any sense in connection with the business itself. These problems stand in the way of achieving higher visibility. Figure out very fast what your names are doing to your corporate empire, both in print and in e-commerce, because when the time comes they better be presentable to the lords of the search engines.

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Naseem Javed, author Naming for Power, and also Domain Wars, is recognized as a world authority on global name identities and domain issues. Javed founded ABC Namebank International, a consultancy he established a quarter century ago, and conducts executive workshops on image and name identity issues. For comments reach Naseem at njabc@njabc.com.

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