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Microsoft’s choice of Argo as the development name for its eagerly awaited digital media player has got us thinking about how other mighty digital brands might (or might not) want to draw on Greek mythology for inspiration.

The Argo was Jason’s warship when he went in search of the Golden Fleece with his fellow Argonauts.

MSFT CEO Steve Ballmer and colleagues will be hoping the device, apparently to be marketed under the brand Zune, will be the vessel that can deliver them to more placid waters in their attempt to challenge the supremacy of Apple's iPod in this arena.

In a similar vein, perhaps Rupert Murdoch should market MySpace under the new name Icarus following yesterday’s heat wave on the west coast of America which brought down its high-flying service for nearly 12 hours.

It won’t be lost on Mr Murdoch that Icarus had a nasty fall from grace after he escaped from Crete with his father Daedalus who had constructed wings made of feathers stuck together with wax.

Was this some kind of heaven-sent warning to the precocious internet brand about the perils of rising above one’s station and getting too close to the heat of the sun?

Maybe they should lay off the intrusive ads a bit and take more convincing steps to ensure that they do not sink back down to earth as quickly as they have risen.

Larry and Sergey might also want to take note here … don’t fly too high in your new jumbo jet chaps …

And here are some more mythological names for the branding and marketing guys to test out …

Nemesis – It’s no secret that Google has long replaced Open Source as Enemy Number 1 within Microsoft’s Redmond HQ and beyond. In their quest to thwart Google, and given their appetite for mythological names, maybe Messrs Gates and co should consider Nemesis - the Goddess of Retribution and Vengeance – as its new name for the long-awaited Microsoft adCenter. That’s if they ever get round to a full launch.

Phoenix – This name should be claimed by Boo.com, one of the most infamous symbols of dotcom hype which is making a comeback with a re-launch planned for later this year. Fashionmall.com acquired the boo.com name and website in June 2000 just seven months after its high-profile lift-off at the height of dotcom hysteria. A legendary website about to be successfully re-kindled from the ashes?

Golden Fleece – Going back to the tale of the Argonauts, many businesses would argue that Google should rename Google Adwords as such. There are plenty of companies out their feeling fleeced after seeing their PPC charges going through the roof.

Hermes - God of riches, trade and good fortune. Ebay? Or maybe Amazon?

Gadfly – it mercilessly tormented Zeus’s lover Io after the chief of the Olympian gods turned her into a cow.  A new name for adware or spam, the bane of many people's lives in the modern era?

Medusa - Sorry News Corp, but MySpace springs to mind again. Critics say this is a website so ugly that millions of users have turned to stone before they have had time to customise their pages.

Prometheus -  AKA Tim Berners-Lee, he stole the internet from the gods and gave it to mankind. Come to think of it, you could argue that he opened a real Pandora’s box in the process, depending on which of the AOL’s 'good-thing-or-a-bad-thing' adverts you believe.

Hybris – the embodiment of exaggerated self-confidence (resulting in a catastrophic fall from grace). Do Google’s myriad ventures outside its core competence of Search herald a spectacular fall from power?

Yahoo! have got off lightly here. Any suggestions for a new name for their delayed Panama project?

Linus Gregoriadis

Published 25 July, 2006 by Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis is Research Director at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

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