Landing on Zamzar: How we chose our company name

When starting up a business, one of the key decisions to make is what your company will be called. Let us tell you a story from 2005, before Zamzar was born …

What’s in a name?

Your company name can say a lot, or a little, about who you are as a company and what you do. It can influence how people perceive your brand and what they think of your products and services. Ultimately, it could even decide whether people will remember your company or not when faced with a list of competitors.

In an online world it’s crucial to pick a name that allows you to build a presence. Does the name you choose allow you to easily acquire the domain and social media handles for your proposed business, is it easy to pronounce and spell, are key considerations.

How did we name Zamzar?

the-metamorphosis-22The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, originally published in 1915, follows the story of a young salesman, Gregor Samsa, who awakes one morning to find he has been transformed into a giant beetle overnight. It’s a story of what it is like to face alienation from society, but also a story of transformation.

One of Zamzar’s company directors, Chris, read the story at school and was impacted by the story’s main character Gregor Samsa. The man’s surname, ‘Samsa’, was used as the basis for our company name because of its powerful association with change and transformation; linking to the changes that take place when we convert files.

In the same way that Samsa was changed from a man to an insect, Zamzar focuses on changing one file type to another.

The name was tweaked, replacing some of the letters to make it unique, and thus, ‘Zamzar’ was born. Easy to spell, memorable, unique. A new word to introduce to the world without pre-conceived ideas or dictionary definitions as to what it means.

The new name was tested, alongside others, amongst friends, family and colleagues and came out as the top pick.

The shortlist

Digging back through paperwork from 2005, we uncovered some of the other names that were briefly contenders, and amongst them were a few, er, gems:

  • Konvertieren – The German for ‘convert’, we played around with translating what we do, converting files, into another language and liked the sound of this German word. It was ultimately dismissed as being too long though.

  • Khamailen – A play on the word ‘chameleon’; the original Zamzar mascot. The English word chameleon derives its name from the Greek word ‘khamailen’, meaning ‘lion on the ground’. It had a good ring, but proved too tricky to easily spell.
  • zamzar-2006
    While we didn’t go with ‘Khamailen’, we did keep multi-coloured chameleons on our website for over ten years.
  • Obrogo – A Latin term meaning ‘to amend or repeal a law by introducing another’. Although not strictly related to our core business of changing files, we liked the sound of this term. Ultimately it wasn’t quite snappy enough for our liking.

Once ‘Zamzar’ had been chosen, it was easy to secure the domain and social media handles due to the fact that the name was a brand new word. This was a key part of our due diligence before settling on a winning option.

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 11.16.43As our company grew and file conversions increased across the globe, ‘Zamzar’ has become a known and loved word amongst our customers; gaining recognition for the ultimate transformation: changing a file from one that is less useful, to the one that you really need!

Enjoy the power of Zamzar’s transformations for yourself — try our free, quick and easy file conversion service today!
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