Why choosing a name matters in business

AudioBoo may have limited its revenue by its choice of name

AudioBoo is a social audio site, offering a very effective and simple podcasting power to the masses. Their free version lets you either record and post short mp3s from your smartphone (adding text, picture and tags as you go) or upload audio files from your laptop. Their ‘Plus’ version gives you the same plus up to 30 minutes duration for each file, making it a fairly simple – but dependable – podcast hosting option. Which is exactly why I’m comfortably paying £60 a year to use it to host my ‘Glider Show’ podcast. 30 minutes is as good an ‘imposed limit’ as anything so I can work with it. The next nearest option would have been a LibSyn account which – while I like their service a lot with its in-depth statistics and other podcasting features – would have been closer to £250 a year.

All has been fine with using AudioBoo Plus so far. All except one thing; the name. There’s a kind of unhelpful, unconscious ‘non-business’ logic behind the AudioBoo name which is surprisingly and depressingly common in the online world. It goes something like this: because our basic offering is ‘free’ (because we’ve mistakenly come to believe that we’re giving you something for nothing) then we can give it a name that you might be uncomfortable and less than willing to use. ‘Boo’. You can almost imagine someone at a development meeting saying “Yeah! We’re gonna kill the word ‘podcast’ and replace it with ‘boo’!”

Making customers use your terminology when they’re more comfortable using their possibly isn’t that great an idea. They may be willing to ignore it as just a part of the exchange for getting the service free. They may find ways to minimise it when paying £60 a year to use AudioBoo as a hosting service for their podcast. But will they want to introduce AudioBoo into their professional organisation?

Because, for a couple of years now, our business has been looking for a way to capture (among other things) audio on the fly so that our team can share information and updates on important projects in an intuitive way and without the hassle of going back to the office and writing up notes which all too likely end up as unlooked-at files in the back of some directory structure somewhere. Obviously we would need this to be private, with the – NO! I DON’T WANT TO SAY IT!! – ‘boos’ available only to our team.  Several times, I’ve looked at AudioBoo to find out whether its possible to make ‘boos’ private. Now, it appears that it is – with their ‘Pro’ option. “Extended recording time and private boos” it offers (with no indication of the kind of cost involved). “Contact us for package info”. Bad move, AudioBoo.

So while I’m reasonably happy with the ‘Plus’ option for my podcast hosting the reality is that if something else came along with less emphasis on its own brand (and without a silly name and new word for ‘audio file’) for the same kind of money the point is I’d probably go in that direction simply because in business it’s about what the customer wants, not the supplier – and the reality is that I need a solid audio host more than I need another social network to play in. And that’s a pity because AudioBoo deserves to hold this territory longer since it got in there first and did the hard work and there’s no reason why it can’t offer people like me what they need in the way they need it.

And so I don’t think that I’m even going to click the ‘Contact us for package info’ button for two reasons: one, I can’t see myself forcing my colleagues to use the word ‘boo’ in their day to day business and two, making me contact them for some indication of the price of this service is just another example of it being all about their needs and not mine. A pity.

It’s a lesson I learned the hard way myself several years ago when running my own business – mukaumedia. People we met and heard us talking about our business knew we were ‘moo cow media’ because they heard us saying it. But the very first time I took a phone call from a prospect and heard them struggle, self-consciously over the name – “Is that er…mm-m-makoo-m-media?” – I knew it was a big mistake, no matter how much the name mattered to us. We live and learn :-)



  1. e-bay & pay pal have frozen my account 3 times, I don’t think they’ll like the fact that I have uncovered they have stolen millions of pounds of their customers money, If everyone signs the Avaas petition I’ve set up maybe they’ll have to refund everyone, it would be nice to see them out of business, especially as the site harms every British shop on the high Street but pays no tax in this country, Bastards! e-bay the tossers who never replied to any of my registered letters and I hope they also enjoy reading this have closed my pay pal, all my money frozen and e-bay I don’t think they like the fact that I’ve found them out that they’ve been keeping millions of pounds of their customers money, “FOR YEARS” basically anyone who has done a refund directly through pay pal & then not gone through all the crap of the resolution centre they’ve (eBay) kept the fee’s, MILLIONS £££££££££’S People don’t check as it’s automatically updated on their e-bay page, have you ever gone through your fee’s page, exactly, you’ve to find it first! After 60 days you can’t check either, it’s deleted automatically, e-bay lied to me 8 times regarding this and then I finally got the truth, they know the final value fee belongs to anyone who does a refund directly through pay pal but if you don’t claim it they keep it! you couldn’t make it up, I also reported to pay pal a criminal gang on e-bay stealing £5000 per week off their customers, they did nothing about it, this gang has been selling music memorabillia on e-bay for the past 4 years!!! kind regards, Carl

  2. Sam Deeks says:

    Hi Carl
    Sounds like they’re going to regret treating you that way! And a haven for criminal sellers… why am I not at all surprised?

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