Naming chronicles

Naming chronicles

After reading Jason Cohen’s post “Naming your startup: Settle down, it’s cool!”, I recalled previously read “How To Pick A Company Name: Tips From The Trenches” and “17 Mutable Suggestions For Naming A Startup”, and even a manual from Igor International. I still remember how we came up with the name. All discussions have been recorded in our forum. Besides, I’ve never seen stories about inventing a name. And so was born the idea of this post.

Here is the (first?) naming chronicle. To ensure that you understand our conversations, I must say that English, for many of us, is the second, and for some – the third language. We were looking, of course, for an English name, so if some candidates may sound funny or have weird association in English, you’ll know that in Russian, they sound just great.

Now a few words about the subject.

Deep Shift Labs – the name of our team, and therefore the product name consonant with the words ‘deep’ or ‘shift’ would have been good from our point of view.
Selenium – our product uses Selenium, and therefore the complete or partial (root or suffix of the word) presence of this word would also be not bad.
Test-ing – our service performs automated functional tests, and therefore such a word can be present in the name.
Cloud, Elastic, Virtual – the system creates a virtual environment consisting of 10 or 100, or … virtual machines.
Bug, Error – it is clear that we are looking for – bugs, errors.

We had such, I would say, semantic environment before we started. Perhaps it is wise to start formulating it before you will start. We have not been writting it explicitly, but as you’ll see all the discussion swirled mostly around these words.

By the time this discussion around a name started in January 2010 we were already working on our system for a year and a half, and therefore we were searching for a name for the already running system. The system is created in our spare from contract work, time. From the very beginning we stuck with a consonant to Selenium name – Trillium. The word also contains the letter ‘T’ from Testing, but, unfortunately, there are* too many people already using it. Besides, it is very close to a popular chat client Trillian by Cerulean Studios. We started talking about a new name, as we were sure that we can come up with a better name with a free domain. With every moment of inspiration, we were generating and discussing names over and over again. Some of these dialogues are listed below with a small author’s corrections

The discussion participants:
Oleg – advises us when he is interested in our questions and they intersect with his knowledge and experience. We consider him as an adviser and therefore ask questions … not so often :)

Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:14 am – Igor

Trillium – current name

ShiftOS or ShiftOs or Shiftos
ShiftOZ or ShiftOz or Shiftoz – Australia – Oz
Shiftoid – imaginary
Selenoid – imaginary
Selenius – imaginary

Selen – imaginary
Selenite – “contains no significant selenium; the similarity of names comes from both substances being named from the Ancient Greek word for the Moon.”
Selenide – “chemical compound in which selenium serves as an anion”
Selenosis – Selenium poisoning
Selenious – containing Selenium

Gridder – a player

Found and immediately discarded (a word ‘test’, turned out to be quite dangerous):
Testaceous – having a hard shell or shell-like outer covering
Testa – the protective outer covering of a seed.
Testee – one who takes or has taken a test.
Testoid – any substance, as testosterone or androsterone, that promotes male characteristics.
Testis – an organ which produces sperm.

Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:08 pm – Dmitriy

In a parallel discussion topic we were talking about character/logo, where pretty soon we agreed to use a chameleon. It is catching bugs (even at a great distance, like our system), changes colour and looks in all directions. Therefore, further you will come across words that intersect with the word ‘chameleon’ (author’s note).

Chameleon is a cool personage too. You have everything – nice tail, and unique tongue, eats bugs, and the changes colours.

Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:19 pm – Igor

Two sounding like chameleon + selenium names:

Seleon – imaginary

Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:45 am – Igor

Dmitriy: “Chameleon is a cool personage too. You have everything – nice tail, and unique tongue, eats bugs, and the changes colours.”

Additionally a chameleon is a much simpler character to create funny situations around. Another perfect match is an ability to ‘stretch’ his tongue – we also can stretch and create more VMs as well as to ‘change colour’ – we can test Windows IE8 and Firefox on Linux. These are very nice parallels.

Today on the morning train I was thinking that we need to sort of align our character/logo concept with the product name and also invent a motto.

What is the essence of our system? We are a “Selenium cloud”. Cloud means an elastic, stretchable environment which can be used on demand (when needed). Amazon calls its service Elastic Computing Cloud, Oleg’s business is called Parascale** which uses ‘scale’ or ‘scalable’. I also used word ‘valium’ thinking of combining it with ‘selenium’ and motto ‘Stress free Selenium testing’ or something along these lines but after passing several stations (remember I was on a train), I realised that being in fact stress-free it does not reflect the root purpose of our service, which is from my point of view – scalability Selenium way.

After I realised this I started with words which are:

combining them into names:

Valenium (+)
Selanium (+)

Selium – should not be here but ….

Closelin (-)
Closeus (-)
Seclonium (-)
Closenium (-)
Elanium (+)

The ones I liked, I marked with a plus and otherwise.
Motto in all these names could be:
- stress free Selenium cloud
- elastic Selenium cloud
- Selenium on a cloud

We can polish motto further. I am expecting this motto in big letters to be on top of the home page on the right side from logo and service name.

Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:04 am – Alex

Dmitriy: “Chameleon is a cool personage too. You have everything – nice tail, and unique tongue, eats bugs, and the changes colours.”

Agree. Well, congratulations, on settling with a personage.

Selium – – should not be here but ….”

I associate Selanium and Elanium with drugs anyway, similar to ‘relanium’. Selanium sounds better. Can I offer a couple of options? No? Well, I will anyway – Secleon (Selenium cloud chameleon), Scasecl (Scalable selenium cloud).

Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:16 am – Igor

Alex: “I associate Selanium and Elanium with drugs anyway, similar to ‘relanium’.”

Agree. Was carried away a little.

Alex: “Well, I will anyway – Secleon (Selenium cloud chameleon), Scasecl (Scalable selenium cloud).”

Your names account for everything but are hard to pronounce. Perhaps it makes sense to abandon attempts to include many things into a name as we can end up with something similar to A.S.S. Concerts, and just call it, for example – Debugz. Sounds as debug and bugs and destroy bugs and move essence of it – Selenium cloud – into a slogan.

Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:22 pm – Oleg
(we sent slogans and asked for an opinion – author’s note)

“selenium in the cloud” – sounds as a good description
“stress-free selenium service in the cloud” – good slogan to me

Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:33 am – Igor
Debugz – domain name taken.

Read here: – domain name is obviously taken but I write anyway may be it will enlightens you with some deviations of it – “and rapidly extrudable tongues” thinking of ‘eXtrudius’ or ‘Extrudius’.

Since it is Selenium on demand – may be ‘Demandus‘ or ‘Demandium’ or ‘Demanium’ with а Selen-ium suffix?

Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:35 am – Igor

Moving to Esperanto.

Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:29 pm – Igor

From Esperanto:
eskali or eSkali – translated as ‘scale’. It can be written in eBay style – small letter then capital). Registered trade mark is not found.
insekto or inSekto – translated as ‘bug’. Word contains ‘Se’ which is Selenium from periodic table. Registered trade mark is not found.

Other words from Esperanto:
demand – debito
kill – mortigi
cloud – nebuligi, nubo

Other non Esperanto names – trademarked and domains are taken:

Harry Potter theme: – available but I am afraid of J. K. Rowling legal action :) – was it dementor in a book? I like it. Do you? – available –it is better than we were thinking of. Domain is available.

Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:39 am – Alex

Discussed (with Dmitriy – author’s note) and think that ‘eXtrudius’ or ‘Extrudius’ sound good.

Igor: “Demandus or Demandium or Demanium”

These ones smell demonology which is scary :)

Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:52 am – Alex

We had a discussion tonight. Initial considerations – the trademark and domain name must be at least similar, ideally be the same. Of course this is not necessary condition, but it is highly desirable.


The last two names seem to be ok (,, as previously discussed names ‘eXtrudius’ or ‘Extrudius’. But none of them is an undisputed leader in each has some flaw to us. To make it easier to choose we also have prepared some names. All domains are free: (1) (3) (1) (1), (3) (2) (2) (2) (1) (1) (1) (1)

In brackets is the number of votes for each name, the favorites are easy to see :) Let’s now based on the resulting list (three votes) will hold a final vote by selecting the three candidates and get the winner.

Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:53 am – Oleg

Except for “selentos” and “escali”, everything else sounds bad to me.
You seem very focused on the -os and -us endings. Those aren’t terribly appealing.

Consider that many very popular web startups had weird names that had nothing to do with what they actually produced. If you want something that specifically focuses on what you do, what is it you think your business does? Selenium on demand testing. Selenium is derived from greek “selene” — moon. Is “moonwalk” taken?

Igor: “ is taken.”

Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:50 pm – Igor

Moon theme –
We can draw a chameleon behind a name and make two o’s his eyes. Pronounced as moongle. is taken so I used triple ‘o’.

Also Moon in Latin is Lynaris and is available but I like Mooongle more – sounds better and even like “you know who”.

Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:31 pm – Igor

We turn to the names of the Aborigines.

Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:00 pm – Dmitriy

Oleg: “… many very popular web startups had weird names that had nothing to do with what they actually produced”

We discussed the idea of using some Russian nice-sounding word, such as ‘oblako’ (cloud).

Igor: “We turn to the names of the Aborigines “

Many nice words I have already heard (Dmitriy knows them as our clients branches are functioning in these towns – author’s note). For instance arana – moon. By the way, I like the words aranda and armidale. Toowoomba also sounds mysterious.

Igor: “I like Mooongle more.”

The only thing I don’t like about Mooongle – association with Google. Or it is a good association?

Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:46 pm – Igor

Another brainstorming session on a train to work.

Domain names and mottos: – finding errors in a pleasant way – finding errors with stress free Selenium cloud – same as above – moon and shoot – just and easy to say word related a bit – free from suffering Selenium testing – this one is cool – find your web application errors with Selenium cloud (my kid said it sounds like mooning and we do not want it right?)

I like ‘moonshu’.

Dmitriy – I agree – trying to sound like Google is NOT good.

All domains are available. Let’s now not only offer options but state if domain is available or not. Many aborigines’ names (I posted earlier a link) appear to be taken.

Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:59 pm – Dmitriy

Igor: “I like ‘moonshu’.”

I think it is too Asian. I like nerrvana more.

Igor: “finding errors in a pleasant way”

Nice one :)

Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:04 pm – Alex

Dmitriy: “The only thing I don’t like about Mooongle – association with Google. Or it is a good association?”

In principle, any associations are good if name is easy to remember. The only bad thing it is hard to pronounce ‘ngl’ in Russian. Name is not bad apart from it.

Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:13 pm – Alex

“ – finding errors in a pleasant way – free from suffering Selenium testing – this one is cool”

These two names are better than others to me. And if to choose from them I would take a second one. I do not like double letters, people will make mistakes and come to a different domain. If we would have in the same business with, it would be a clever move. By the way, they acted short sighted by not registering this domain.

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:39 am – Oleg


Honestly, this -um or -us ending doesn’t sit well with me, but it is just me. My preference, now that you pointed it to me, is to go with an aboriginal name.

Nirvanium sounds least offensive, but it is too close to Nirvanix. That’s grounds for customer confusion and a possibility Nirvanix getting upset and suing you — not that they’d have a case, but can you afford fighting it?

But it’s your company, not mine :)

Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:28 pm – Igor

Some companies have such nice for my heart names – Igor International while offering guidance on finding a name.

Turning to the Maori dictionary now :)

demand – tono. Any ideas around ‘tono’?
‘Test’ and ‘try’ (source)

In many languages a word ‘moon’ starts with ‘lyn…’

‘Minder’ is a good word and variations from it for your consideration: – taken – demand, error, minder – sees errors instead of you – motor + error – just another weird name in English but cloud in Russian – moon + bite – show ‘dulya’ to errors in your application – do not allow errors to sleep into your application – no comments :) – place where errors die

Looks like we need a break. Will print aboriginal dictionaries today and have a look once again.

Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:02 pm – Igor – what about this one ‘fire tests with testyfire’? is already taken but testyfire is even better as it looks like tasty/test=testy (well I remember dangers of starting with test… – ok, ok) – virtual Selenium cloud – this one like Japanese sushi bar :) ‘shot’ ‘moon’ – has debug and bugie and also like bungie – aboriginal ‘moon’ – aboriginal ‘moon’ – Southern Cross but typing it will be a nightmare. Will anybody need to type it? – box tree – just sounds nice – ‘moon’ – ‘moon’ – ‘moon’

Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:08 pm – Igor

While you were sleeping Oleg and I exchanged quite a lot of emails and summary of preferences we have:


It does not mean you have to agree or select from these ones.

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:04 pm – Alex

Igor: “Debugie”

I associate it with debug + IE

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:33 pm – Igor

Alex: “I associate it with debug + IE”

Популярный суффикс – ничего особенного
Самое извесное название пришедшее в голову

Quite popular suffix -ie nothing microsoft-ish in it. Most famous will be probably

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:52 pm – Igor

Travelling north from Sydney along the coast by map: – minor variation from real ‘geebung’ – imaginary but looked at the names on a map – imaginary but looked at the names on a map – real one

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:31 pm – Alex

Igor: “”

It’s funny. We can consider it as deep + BUH! The bigger they are the harder they fall.

Igor: “”

Very easy and resounding, I like it. Somehow, I immediately wanted to check domain It is registered until 11th Feb 2010. We may be lucky and it will expire and become available.

Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:55 am – Dmitriy


It’s pretty nice – but how to choose one?
I feel we will finally write names down on pieces of paper and pull out of it.

Wed Feb 03, 2010 13:25 pm – Oleg

The word ‘lie’ has implications. Deeplie sounds more like a conspiracy theory website ;)

Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:55 pm – Dmitriy


I also like both. We could use ‘deeplee’ to disassociate ‘deeplie’ from a lie, but it is taken.

Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:06 pm – Alex


Yes, both names are good, hard to choose.

Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:42 pm – Alex

Igor: “Google calls things this way – PubSubHubbub

Things allowed the gods, are not available for the mortals :)

Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:19 pm – Igor

Alex: “So, let’s use We have already started using it in our forum :)

I do not know about you, but I will just do other things and look at all the names again after the break.

Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:48 pm – Igor

(10 days past – author’s note)

Appear to be available: – from dictionary “prompt – ready in action; quick to act as occasion demands.”

аs well as:

Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:48 pm – Oleg

deeplie – can be associated with ‘deep lie’
feeglee – can be associated with ‘fig leaf’

Both are not very good. is neutral

I looked through old names. Do you like – it is aboriginal and it is moon(selen) – so nobody can say we tried to get as many ‘g’ as google has :)

Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:35 pm – Alex

Oleg: “ is neutral”

Sounds a bit ‘mumbly’

Igor: “ or – as Virtual sELENIUM”

Velenium sounds nice.

Igor: “ – using virtlib command ‘virsh’ used to manipulate virtual machines.”

All consonant sounds are muffled and sizzling. And we still remember name (this was Alex who turned us back to it – author’s note) and we still like it.

Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:21 pm – Igor

I remember
nerrvana? Which post?

Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:39 am – Igor

Morning recap:

Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:10 pm – Igor

Morning workouts with ‘err’

Is ‘eterrnity’ a bad association? I do not know how to think of eternity as ‘timeless’ as I do not want it to be associated with never ending process

Motto could be: in eternal (never ending) search of errors (not never ending system work) – makes errors visible – Shift Labs approach for searching errors – deep frying bugs since 2010 – a new way to debug errors with Selenium

Anything touched?

Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:00 pm – Dmitriy

Igor: “Anything touched?”

Yep, use of ‘err’ in the end – perfect!

I like:

First two are similar to killerr (btw domain is available!).

shifterr – good.
Shifter is also “an adjustable wrench/spanner” but it is ok.

Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:40 pm – Igor

Err at the beginning:

Unfortunately is taken.

Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:40 pm – Alex

Igor: “Anything touched?”

Not bad –

Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:31 am – Igor

Alex: “Not bad –”

Your and Oleg’s point of views matched this time, and he likes our names very rarely.
New names are born every day now. It has probably became a habit.
enderr – easy to say and a good combination of words ‘end errors’

Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:14 pm – Alex

Igor: “”

Éclair – not our audience. Beer-air, chips-air fit perfectly :)

Igor: “ – good name but hard on pronunciation a bit (compare with velenium)”

Completely agree especially for people who speak with a lisp.

Igor: “ – I would like to check trademark”

Hmm, interesting name.

Igor: “ – easy to pronounce and associated with Virtual Selenium”

Also not bad.

Dmitriy: “We also had:,,,”

Comparing with and they definitely loose.

This concludes our naming chronicles and discussion switched to the logo, and this, as they say, is another story. Somehow without even voting, we have registered and started using a new name – Nerrvana.

* – USA trademarks can be checked on USPTO site
** – Parascale was acquired by Hitachi Data Systems

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