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August 30, 2007

Company Naming: Hulu Quits Clowning Around

When NewsCorp and NBC decided on a joint venture, Google started calling it "Clown Co," and TechCrunch wisely urged them to get a real name, fast.

It hasn't been fast, but the venture does finally have a name: Hulu.

hulu.gifCEO Jason Kilar's explanation of the name is that "Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we're building."

Those are all true statements about the name, which is probably a coinage, but we thought we'd dig a little deeper.

One of the comments on yesterdays TechCrunch post bashes the name pretty hard: "Worst domain name for a company with more than $100 million dollars behind it. Closest mental association is the Hawaiian term hula. And anything Hawaiian has an 'out there' connotation."

I doubt that Jason Calacanis over at Mahalo would appreciate the opinion that Hawaiian = "out there," even if the statement is geographically true. Isn't hula fun? Certainly going to Hawaii is fun.

The closest real word to "Hulu," however, is actually Azeri (that's the language of Azerbaijan).

When written in Latin script (the alternative is Arabic), the Azeri word for "peach" is hülü. And while it might be a bit dated, peachy is definitely a positive term.

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Posted by William Lozito at August 30, 2007 2:41 PM
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I may be the only one who thinks this, but every time I see Hulu, I think of this guy. Oh my....

"Hulu" is a real Indonesian and Malay word that means "upstream" or "head. I blogged about it here, at the Catchword weblog.

Nice commentary!

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