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Stand Out in the Crowd: Yahoo! Livestand Name Review

By Mark Skoultchi

November 2, 2011

Introducing, from one of the greatest brand names of all time (i.e., Yahoo!), Livestand, a powerful new digital publishing platform for news and media publishers and content hungry consumers (eh, it’s a cool new reader).

If you own a phone or a tablet you probably have a reader on it.  For me, it’s Pulse.  Love Pulse.  This is my reader.  There are others just like it, but this one is mine.

Flipboard is probably the most popular product in the space, but it’s only available on iPad, and I’m a Gazoogle guy.  But they’ve got like millions of downloads and partnerships with scores of leading publishers.  They like to say they’re combining the beauty of print and the power of the web.  I’ve seen it.  It’s pretty cool.  Other players in the market include Zite (CNN), Editions (AOL), Zinio, Taptu, and Issuu.  And in the weeks ahead Google will announce its own offering, codenamed Propeller.  Everyone take cover (and keep an out eye for our review of that name when it takes flight).

So what to make of the Livestand name?  As I indicated, I have a lot of respect for Yahoo!’s naming decisions.  Can’t imagine too many research respondents checked that top-2 box endorsing Yahoo! when that name being considered.  “Joyce – what did you say?  You think Infoseek is so much more telegraphic.  And you, too, Frank.  I think that’s a shared feeling in the room.”  Might as well have been ordering the Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl at Domino’s.  It’s at-your-risk naming, folks.  And yeah, I know, the original Yahoos probably aren’t even around anymore.  It’s a different sideshow now.  New louts in marketing.  But it’s a culture, people!

I really like Livestand.  The name, that is.  I don’t think it’s revolutionary in the way that Yahoo! was, but it’s a smart name for a bunch of reasons.  It alludes to a news stand, it implies a dynamic interface, and unlike most of the other product names in the space, it’s fairly intuitive for a news and media reader.  I could be wrong, but I think most people have to noodle on the word “Issuu” a bit before realizing that it’s probably hoping to recall the word “Issue”, as in subject matter (I really don’t know if that’s the intention, but I guess that’s the spin I’d put on it if I were marketing that name).  Livestand is much clearer, though still unique.  In fact, after a quick trademark screen of the name it appears to be the only LIVESTAND in any trademark class.  Sui Generis!  Practically unheard of, and another strong case for composite naming.  I’ve said before and I’ll say it again and again and again, composite names make for unexpected brand names and are oftentimes cleaner looking trademarks.

I really like the balance the name strikes between traditional and modern publishing.  Different as they are, both forms have their virtues, and I like that Yahoo! wasn’t afraid to incorporate a term (i.e., “stand”) that recalls the publishing days of yore.  While Zite, Zinio, Issuu and others all spurned the association for more futuristic looking and sounding names, Yahoo! embraced it, and used it to their advantage (the same may be said about CNN’s Editions, which is unapologetically conventional in look, tone and meaning).  The pairing with the word “Live” was a savvy move.  It’s a great word that communicates a lot about this product and the direction in which the space is headed.  It speaks to interactivity, currency, dynamic content, and of course live, streaming news and media.  It evokes “coming alive”, and draws associations with a multidimensional, truly immersive news and media experience.  And it feels like a very natural fit with the word “stand”.  That is, the two real words when combined feeling perfectly organic, compatible, and harmonious.  Like soulmates, it’s as if they were always meant to be together.  Live looked into Stand’s eyes and they just knew they had a future together.  Sometimes nauseating but in this case just wonderful and smile inducing.

Lastly, while the word “Live” is sometimes a tricky one to work with in naming (is it LIVV or LYVE), not once did I mistake the name for LIVV-STAND.  For me, it’s clearly pronounced LYVE-STAND.  It’s a matter of context, and in this case, it works.  No confusion about pronunciation here.

So, well done, Yahoo!.  Way to break out of the pack with a smart, appropriate, powerful composite real word name.

Overall Grade: A-

Grade:
A-
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