Behind the Scenes: The Names That Almost Were

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So we heard a little grumbling after we unveiled the new name for this site. You know, the name that wasn’t Nerd World. Some of that grumbling may even have been coming out of my mouth.

But naming a website is harder than it looks. We couldn’t get Nerd World. And when you’re attached by a hideous Giger-like umbilical cord to a multinational mega-corporation, people like to sue you, so you can’t afford to get within a parsec of some chickenass trademark fight. And people assume you have infinitely deep pockets. Seriously, we had to bid on domain names through a proxy, so no one would know it was us who were sniffing around. One of the things that made Techland so damnably attractive is that Time Inc. already owned it.

The really smart thing to do would have been to come up with an all-new, semi-meaningless-name that wasn’t actually a word, but kind of connoted the kind of thing we wanted — something misspelled or otherwise nonsensed — so we could grab it without getting into any kind of shoving match. The Gawker people do it all the time: Kotaku, Gizmodo, io9, Jalopnik, etc. They make it look easy. It’s not.

But we — meaning myself, Peter Ha, and until-recently managing editor Josh Tyrangiel — did spend a couple of weeks kicking around ideas. Below, in the spirit of open-kimono blogging, is an annotated list of some of the rejected names for Techland. Read them and weep for worlds that will never be. I think you’ll agree that they suck as much as — or more than! — Techland.

1. BLASTOPH Personally I have no explanation for this idea. They liked it, I hated it.

2. TERABOSS Believe it or not, a strong contender. I take full credit.

3. BYTE CYCLE Yeah, that was mine too. Sort of like lightcycle. You know, like in Tron? But like with bytes? I hated this one 10 seconds after I thought of it.

4. NERDFORUM Dear Nerdforum: I never thought things like this happened in real life …

5. ECHOLATOR I challenge you to tell me what this means. I challenge all of you!


7. DEE20 Awesome, right? Josh didn’t get it.

8. NERDACITY This one polled well. But everybody pronounced it “Nerd-a-city.” As in, let’s go nerd a city. Not as in, the nerdacity of hope.


10. NERD CHRONICLE … of Higher Education? of Prydain?

11. GENIUS CLUB You know what? I still like this one.