The Origin of Cuil, and Other Ridiculous Web Names

Search engine company launched last night. Wupeee, another search engine. Is it me, or does it seem that a new Web 2.0/Internet/Social Media company (which I am hereby coining as WISMs) pops up every single day hour? And apparently they all got the memo stating the more ridiculous the name, the more venture funding investors will throw at them. Drop a vowel…have another million. Create a brand new homonym that violates the rules of phonetics…that’s worth an easy five mil.

In order to understand what is up with these ridiculous web service names, we decided to do a little research to uncover the origin of some of these bizarre names. The truth may shock you (but we can’t promise you’ll find it here)…


Little known fact about search engine mistress and Cuil founder Anna Patterson – she’s a blackjack junky. Hoping to cache in on a fraction of the success Google had, Anna plans to take her millions straight to the tables. Her favorite saying “See You In Las Vegas” is immortalized in the name of her company. Unfortunately, was taken. On weekends, Anna and co-founder Russell Power can be found in Vega under the pseudonyms, Max & Hootie McBoob.


Money is money and that is all that matters for Google founder’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who disliked each other from the get go. Their first argument – the correct spelling of Googol, which is the huge number 1 followed by 100 zeros. Their second – why the company shouldn’t be called Ten Duotrigintillion. Interestingly, Google recently announced that they’ve indexed their 1 Trillionth web url. They were all stoked until they realized that 1 Trillion is only 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000001 percent of 1 Googol. Looks like they still have a long way to go.


Zulu for “humanity”…or Swahili for “stupid idiots think they can make money giving away free software.” Although in business since 2004, the Linux support company, Canonical Ltd., is looking forward to the initial release of their business plan, code named “Panhandlin’ Pete“. The primary component of the plan is asking people how they should make money.


Twitter is the popular microblogging platform that is known for being extremely addicting, and extremely unreliable. The bizarre thing is that no one seems to care that it goes down more than a $2 hooker at a truck stop. Although the word “Twitter” is commonly mistaken as being derived from the sound of a little birdie that sits on your shoulder and tweets sweet messages in your ear, the real origin of Twitter’s name is far more technical than that. It is the sound made by the rusty hard disk spinning on the ancient 386 server running the application.


Canada’s answer to Twitter. This one is simple – its just another f***ed up Canadian word. Similar to words like tuque, mukluk, and canuck, Plurk is a word of Canadian origin that refers to a flying reptile indigenous to the the subartic region of Canada’s Northwest Territories. While Twitter has a little birdie that tweets sweet messages in your ear, a Plurk is more likely to chomp your ear off in one bite. Oh…and apparently Plurk was developed by the A-Team. So if you have a problem, if no one can help, you can find them in Mississauga, Ontario (I’m talking to you Twitter).


Flickr was accidentally founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Caterina Fake and Stuart Butterfield, while developing tools for an adult oriented online game called Licker. Realizing that the game was incredibly stupid, but users loved the photo sharing capabilities, the duo decided to append the “F” and rebrand the photo tools as Flicker. Unfortunately, the domain name was already taken by a site devoted to nose picking. Fake and Butterfield decided to drop the “e”, forming, starting this entire craze of messed up company names. Flickr was started in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Summary: We blame Canada for all the messed up company names.

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