There is evidence, of course, that any name can become a successful one over time . . . but here's the thing:
Why not start from the very strongest and most advantageous position that you can if you are creating a new domain, web site, or product? It's quite challenging getting "traction" and momentum for most brand new ventures - why not begin from a position of advantage?
Two social scientists, Daniel Oppenheimer and Adam Alter, after some interesting experiments, contend that "people tend to have a greater affection for words and names that are easy to pronounce" over those that are not so easy or even hard to say. Their findings suggest that the average person feels more positive about company names, products, domains, etc, "that have a high degree of fluency."
Oppenheimer and Alter did controlled experiments first with fictitious stock names, some which were easy to pronounce, others that were difficult to pronounce. Participants were told that these were real companies and they were to estimate the future performance of each stock.
The results were very clear: participants predicted that the easily pronounced stocks would outperform the others . . . but even more importantly, that the chosen stocks would go up in value while the others (the difficult to pronounce group) would go down in value.
The scientists were quite intrigued with their findings so they decided to see if the same phenomenon occurred in the real world. They chose two random groups of stocks from the NY Stock Exchange between 1990 and 2004 for their research - again, only by the differentiation of easy to pronounce vs. difficult to pronounce. They tracked short-term, intermediate, and longer term results of stocks beginning in their first year after IPO.
The results of the actual real life companies in the stock market validated those of the original fictitious company experiment.
In addition, a further study of the stock symbols of 750 companies with ticker symbols like KAR that were easily pronounced vs. those that were difficult to pronounce (like RDO) produced, again, similar results.
Researchers, through controlled experiments, have found that the pervasiveness of a handwritten message is influenced by the quality of the handwriting. That shouldn't be the case right? Great content is the same regardless of the quality of the handwriting. Yet the experiments suggest that viewers interpret a sense of difficulty reading handwriting with difficulty believing the message.
Could difficulty pronouncing or understanding a domain name or business name cause some negative consumer sentiment toward that company? In my mind . . . yes that is certainly a possibility!
What I take from all this is the importance of simple and easy communication when it comes to names in business. Choose easy to pronounce, easy to write, uncomplicated names for your domains, businesses, and products. If your prospect can't easily say a name, or if it is confusing, too complex, or unpronounceable (is that a word?) it's probably not your best choice regardless of how "brandable" you think it is.
A poll done at Stanford University found that 86.4% of students surveyed admitted to regularly using complicated language in their papers in order to make themselves appear smarter.
Don't do that in your Internet marketing. Simple, understandable, easy to say names have great value. Complexity often confuses . . . in IM, that is the kiss of death!
Have a great day!