Product naming trends over time

It took me months to settle on the name Lighthouse for the product I’m working on, which combines the functionality of an RSS feed reader, a newsletter reader, and a read-it-later app, to fight content overload.

Some people excel at naming their products. I’m not one of them. I experimented a lot with different strategies. After a friend mentioned that all of my suggestions sound outdated, I started to research how naming trends of SAAS products changed over time.

Here’s what I found.


Descriptive and functional

In the early days of SAAS names often related directly to the functionality of the software. For example, Salesforce (with sales right in the name), TurboTax, or Mailchimp. The name was usually enough to guess at least the market the product is in.

Misspellings, dropped vowels, and suffixes

A couple of years later companies became more creative. Names tended to have misspellings or dropped vowels, just enough to create a unique name but still have the original word recognizable. For example Flickr or Tumblr.

Another trend at the same time was adding suffixes, most often -ly and -ify. Shopify and Spotify are probably the most well-known examples.


The next trend was a move toward unique names that didn’t necessarily have a direct relation to the product’s function but were memorable and often had a playful tone, such as Zapier or Slack.

Abstract words

Products shifted towards single-word names, not directly describing the tool’s function but rather a concept related to the product.

Lighthouse, for example (the name I chose in the end), is such a case. Here the concept is that a lighthouse guides ships. It’s similar to the product, which helps users weed out low-quality content.

Larger companies usually have a whole branding strategy around the name.


Memorable domain names are important for businesses, and when a company becomes large enough, they eventually buy their .com domain. .com is still the most important TLD for SAAS businesses.

Over time fewer and fewer good .com domains were available, so people started to get creative. At first, they used prefixes like get or use before the product name.

Over time this expanded to include prefixes like join, my, go, and postfixes like app or hq.

Additionally, other TLDs like .io, .co, .ai, .app, .dev, have gained popularity alongside .com.