What’s the Gig deal? Name review of Gig car share
The Bay Area is undeniably the wild west of new tech. And if Uber and Lyft thought this town ain’t big enough for the both of them, well, they’ve got another thing coming; there’s a new horse in town. The next means of getting from the downtown Oakland saloon to your hideout in the Berkeley hills is called Gig. Giddyup!
Gig is a car share that, like some city bike operations, lets you drive a car without returning it to where you picked it up. It’s $2.50 a mile, and then $.30 cents a minute if you park it but keep it reserved (or park it outside of downtown Berkeley or Oakland). There are hourly and day rates as well.
Gig fits a lot of the criteria for a great app name. It’s clever, short as can be, and has a repeating letter which, even non-sequentially, makes a name more memorable. Giggle is a great, subtle suggestion, and little may some people know, one of gig’s historical definitions is of a two-wheeled carriage pulled by one horse. (Hence the wild west claptrap at the head.)
However, in the current zeitgeist, the strongest connotation of gig is a short job. We’re living in the heyday of the gig economy, and so the name ironically brings us back to competitors Uber and Lyft. Gig is not, however, part of the gig economy, because the service doesn’t come with a driver working as a contractor. Gig is not really part of the sharing economy either, because the cars are owned by the company. It’s really a new spin on rental cars more than anything else, so the gig economy suggestion may be slightly confusing.
Another aspect of the gig economy I’d like to note – and this is important for the name simply because it can be associated with the word gig – is that in some political and social circles (including East Bay circles), the benefits and consequences of the gig economy are starting to be questioned more and more and more by economists and journalists. (Of course, there are many that also laud the gig economy.) That trend may continue, and if the gig economy becomes increasingly criticized, the name Gig will suffer.
Lastly, for the sake of equal airtime, I’ll end with the other definitions of gig: a musical performance engagement, a type of rowboat, a spear used for frog hunting, slang for a demerit for an infraction of military dress code, and slang for gigabit-speed internet. You may see the name lampooned (or harpooned) in Bay Area Frog Fishing Monthly, but other than that, no huge issues there.
Grade: A- In the current zeitgeist, the strongest connotation of gig is a short job. We’re living in the heyday of the gig economy, and so the name ironically brings us back to competitors Uber and Lyft. Gig is not, however, part of the gig economy…