Actually why the name asklaila?
No one amongst us knew that this one question would need so much explanation, even after 2 years of starting up.
When we started up we knew that our business will be all about local information, and how well and efficiently we expose that information to the seekers. So there we were – working non-stop, defining the product and the usability, features and security, scalability and performance, uptime and scalability and all that jazz. And of course, a name!
The developers (4 in number then) were least concerned with the name, but the CXOs won’t let us rest without coming up with some. And then they would choose the best of the lot. Amogh had a natural instinct of coming up with the weirdest names and he came up with a list of names, which he thought were suitable for our baby. His list reads: searchwala.com, merafind.com, sahihey.com, sefigo.com(SEarchFIndGo), jstfnd.com and some others. Birla congratulated Amogh for his creativity for SEFIGO.com and topped him by suggesting sahibatao.com.
Some other names were toyed with in the meanwhile, 58989.com being the one which was closest to become the ONE name everyone agreed upon. Why 58989? Because that would be the sms shortcode for using our local search service. And we could not violently react against the bland website name 58989.com, naturally, who can hate a number? We actually got mockups from UI guys, and got our logo made for 58989.com. I thank the chinese guy who had blocked the actual domain 58989.com, and never replied to Sukrit’s emails for buying the domain.
In the meanwhile, our three CXOs were slowly nourishing their loves for 3 different website names. Kiran would not let go of totallocal.com. It was the exact name our website was all about! It was short, it was easy to remember, contained the word ‘local’, had an easy spelling and a host of other advantages. Birla was specially fond of SeFiGo.com(SEarchFIndGO), it was short too, but not too easy to remember, contained both words ‘search’ and ‘find’ (although partially). But we had to convince him that you don’t want your customer to GO after they search and find. You don’t want a negative connotation in your brand name, do you?
Shriram had come up with ‘asklaila.com‘ in the same time, which was the naturally the most controversial one 🙂
Q) Why Asklaila?
A) When you want to know about a good bengali restaurant, how do you find it? Find a good beauty parlour? Search for an electrician? Which is the best gym in my locality? Naturally, you ask a friend. We wanted our service to become that one friend, who knows everything about your city, gives the best suggestions, is up-to-date, is omnipresent and is very reliable. And it doesn’t hurt if the friend is female, and has an enigmatic name 🙂 The name sounds Indian, and would be good enough to take us international. asklaila.com would have an awesome recall value. People could love it or hate it, but won’t forget it! Laila would replace the friend whom one could just call or dial for local information.
So Kiran organized a poll for the best name amongst five. He eliminated Birla by not even having sefigo.com in the poll, smart move. To please Shriram he included only one of his own horses (totallocal.com) in the race and three of Shriram’s (asklaila.com, lailaknows.com, lailasays.com) and one neutral (4india.com, didn’t know how that cropped up). Even though he voted thrice, and we heard later that the booth was captured, in the end laila prevailed.