What’s in a Name? And Why Do So Many Virtual Worlds Have Such Unfortunate Names?

Did you know that Sansar comes from the Hindi संसार and means world? It’s a very fitting name for a virtual world (even if you do have to sort through many Indian-language hits when searching “Sansar” on Google and YouTube).

Yes, there is a Hindi movie called Sansar

High Fidelity is another example of a good name. The association is that the virtual world is a high-fidelity recreation of the real world. (It is also the name of the popular 2000 movie starring John Cusack.)

I used to joke that a virtual world was not complete unless it had an unfortunate brand name. Some examples from the past and present:

  • Cloud Party (Now there’s a name that will attract serious business users and venture capital. Not.)
  • DiveReal (So, your virtual world is a “dive”?)
  • Galaxity (which is a little too close to “laxative” for my comfort)
  • Pararea (which sounds like a gum disease, or a form of diarrhea)
  • Second Life (Sorry, Philip Rosedale! This is a name which I have always disliked because, to me, it emphasized that virtual worlds somehow took you away from your “first life” or real life.)
  • Somnium Space (This one always reminds me of the word somnolent (which means sleepy or drowsy) and of the drug Sominex and therefore it has those associations to me!)
  • There (Seriously?!?? You ever try to Google “There” to find this one? Another example of a common word used as a brand name for a virtual world was Space, the former name for Sinespace. I’m glad that Adam Frisby fixed that.)
  • Twinity (This gets my vote for the stupidest name ever. It didn’t help that their logo looked like, well, a pair of breasts!)

Then there are other names which do not really help to differentiate the product from other, similarly-named ones (like Oasis).

A good name is creative, descriptive, and original. It helps if the associated website domain name is available (hello, MATERIA.ONE? At least they finally grabbed materiaone.com). It also helps if it is unique enough so that search engines can find it easily without you having to dig through dozens of false hits (see Oasis, There, and Space, above).

So, what do you think? What’s in a name? What names do you think are terrible? Sound off in the comments, or join the ongoing discussion and debate about all aspects of virtual worlds on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server.

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One thought on “What’s in a Name? And Why Do So Many Virtual Worlds Have Such Unfortunate Names?”

  1. I’ll add another vote for Twinity being the stupidest name but for anything.They really must have been beat hard with the stupid stick to come up with that, then the compounded it with the logo.

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