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June 6, 2007

Is Naming by Anagram nuTsie?

Nutsie ImageMobile podcasting company Melodeo has just released a new service called nuTsie(TM), which allows users to access their iTunes music library from their cell phones.

At first blush the name seems, well, nutsy. But, as the Seattle Times explains, "nuTsie" is an anagram of "iTunes." This is entirely appropriate for a service that changes the way you look at iTunes.

But is it too clever? Anagrams are not obvious to everyone. Unless you explain the source of the name, there's a good chance people won't get the joke.

On the other hand, studies have shown that people who are asked to solve an anagram before seeing a brand name for the first time are more likely to believe they have seen that name before, whether or not they have. So far, at least, this hasn't created a wave of anagram-solving landing pages for new products.

Anagrams as names raise some interesting questions. By definition, an anagram for a word is not the same as that word, so it should be possible to trademark an anagram name like nuTsie without receiving a Cease and Desist letter from Apple's lawyers.

On the other hand, before you select a name, you might want to see what kind of anagrams jokesters (or competitors) might make out of it by visiting the Anagram Genius page. The first suggested anagram for "Strategic Name Development" was "Complete vendetta smearing." The server claims that "iTunes" is too short to yield useful anagrams, however.

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Posted by Diane Prange at June 6, 2007 1:06 PM
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2 Comments

There's also the software Senuti, which is an anagram of sorts:

http://www.fadingred.org/senuti/

Moreover, its letter-order (the exact reverse of "iTunes") also has the advantage of reflecting what the product does -- it allows one to download material from an iPod to iTunes, the reverse of the usual functionality.

Your comments are interesting about the nuTsie name, but Apple has not trademarked an anagram of iTunes, so Melodeo ownes it and others are saying they don't like the name. It is a good sign that people are talking about the name though as it was a blank page from a branding stand point. Thanks for the link to the Anagram Genius page.

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