APR: Naming Our Product

nexus logo

We’ve come up with a name for the site we’re creating as part of our agile project. Read on to see our rationale.

nexus

The dictionary has several definitions of the word nexus. Two of which are “a connected group or series” and “center, focus.”

Vision

In our vision document, we defined the following:

Create a site that allows people in our niche to help each other find great articles, regardless of who wrote them. People will identify and evaluate (rate/review/score) articles on their merits. People will also categorize (taxonomy/folksonomy) the articles to make it easier for others to find documents that they are looking for at that time. When a person is searching in our space for an article, it is either as a beginner or an expert (on that subtopic). This site should help people filter to look for articles appropriate for the type of search they are doing at that time.

We want to focus on sharing and reputation, while incorporating elements of identity, conversations, and relationships. We do not want to focus features on groups or presence.

Nexus is a great name for realizing that vision.

Naming

Naming is a tricky thing. Roger Cauvin writes about it regularly (and recently). There’s an interesting dichotomy that descriptive names are apparently good for business to business products, yet non-descriptive names have been successful in business to consumer products. His article links back to others he’s written on the topic, and they link back to more still. Check em out.

David Meerman Scott, of Web Ink Now, has also influenced our feelings about naming and branding, from too many articles to link to. You should just read his stuff. And go buy his new book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR. I’m looking forward to reading an advance copy next week. Thanks again David!
Nexus is a business to business consumer product. While our customers will be acquired and retained as consumers, they will be using nexus to help with their business. As non-experts in branding, we had no idea how to tackle this. We’re excited to have a name that is descriptive, while still sharing the single-word, two-syllable, unique/easy-to-remember elements of many non-descriptive names. I think we dodged a bullet with this name.

The Logo

Our logo for nexus

nexus logo again

tries to demonstrate the characteristics of the vision:

  • We (the users of the site) are the focus of the site. This is demonstrated both with the color of and the placement of the “us” inside the central hexagon.
  • Nexus is intended to be the hub into which great content feeds and connects. The smaller elements represent the individuals who contribute by sharing, reviewing, rating, and writing content.
  • Nexus will have a compounding effect that helps people follow threads of knowledge and explore and discover new content and new contributors. This drives the “second order” connections to the node on the bottom right.
  • And the logo is cool.

Feedback Welcome

Would love any feedback that folks would like to share!

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This article was published on Monday, May 14th, 2007 at 8:13 pm and is filed under Agile, Agile Project: Ratings, Product Management, Software development.
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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for citing my thoughts on naming.

    “Nexus” is short, easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and even a bit alliterative (the ‘x’ and ‘s’ sounds) – all good qualities for a brand name. It is somewhat descriptive, but not what Ries calls “generic”.

    Seth Godin recommends evaluating the name in terms of how many Google search results it has. The fewer search results, the better, because it indicates you’ve found a unique name and can quickly and easily come to dominate the Google rankings.

  2. I like both the name and the logo. Your explanations make sense to me.

  3. Bravo. I name, the logo, the emphasis on US; it works. Good job.

  4. Thanks guys!

    We’ve got 40 million search results in google (for nexus) to climb up over before people start finding us by name, but most people will find us by looking for content, not ‘nexus’, so that’s ok.

    I’m doing some more modifications to the url structure right now. If you’re reading this comment and we haven’t officially launched yet – please consider yourself invited to start using the site. Sort of a stealth-invitation for comment-thread-trackers.

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