What Facebook, Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com can Teach Us about Product Naming

I think the leading cloud computing providers have some of the best naming strategies.  These companies include Facebook, Google, Amazon and Salesforce.com.

For example, Facebook uses single words usually with one syllable for all of its products and features:

  • Wall
  • Friend
  • Places
  • Notes
  • Timeline
  • Poke
  • Groups
  • Events
  • Credits
  • Chat
  • Like
  • Want

 

Amazon.com is also highly consistent in the naming strategy for its retail services.  It also uses single-word names, often with a single syllable to describe its offerings:

  • Prime
  • Payments
  • Kindle
  • Fire
  • Fresh
  • Marketplace
  • Reviews
  • Vine
  • Pinzon
  • Encore
  • Crossing

 Amazon’s naming strategy begins to diverge in a few areas, however. Acquisitions such as CreateSpace and Zappos retain their original branding. 

And Amazon Web Services, uses a variety of naming schemes:

  • SimpleDB
  • Simple Email Service
  • Simple Storage Service
  • Simple Queue Service
  • Simple Notification Service
  • Simple Workflow
  • Elastic Beanstalk
  • Elastic Compute Cloud
  • Elastic MapReduce

 Google also employs single word names for its various services:

  • News
  • Books
  • Toolbar
  • Bookmarks
  • Maps
  • Earth
  • Docs
  • Calendar
  • Drive
  • Talk
  • Voice
  • Sites
  • Wallet
  • Translate
  • Groups
  • Mail
  • Code
  • Finance
  • Alerts
  • Trends

 For its search services, Google uses two words with a descriptor in front:

  • Web Search
  • Product Search
  • Custom Search
  • Blog Search
  • Patent Search
  • Image Search
  • Video Search

Google does deviate from its naming strategy in the case of acquisitions.  It elected to retain names such as YouTube, Orkut and Picasa rather than replace them.

 Salesforce.com also has a very simple naming strategy, albeit less consistent than the others above.  Each of the functional areas is referred to with a generic name followed by the word cloud:

  • Sales Cloud
  • Service Cloud
  • Data Cloud
  • Collaboration Cloud
  • Custom Cloud
  • Marketing Cloud

 In addition the company uses the dot com naming convention for several of its offerings:

  • Force.com
  • Work.com
  • Data.com

 By now, you may have come to the same conclusion that I have.  These cloud leaders employ a simple and highly consistent naming strategy.  Most focus on leveraging their corporate brand followed (or proceeded) by a one-word functional descriptor.  I am a big fan of these types of naming approaches for a few reasons:

  1. The names are intuitive and therefore easy for customers to remember
  2. The simple, one-word names cannot be easily turned into three letter acronyms
  3.  The consistency reinforces the idea that there are many different services available on these platforms

  One thought on “What Facebook, Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com can Teach Us about Product Naming

  1. October 12, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    It would make your eyes water if you ever saw a full list of Oracle’s or SAP’s products.

    They are not product names, they’re product sentences

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