October 1997 – Naming The Beast

I worked on creating this new web site throughout the rest of 1997, mainly during nights and weekends. As it slowly took shape, I needed to come up with a name for it. One evening while having dinner at a local pub, my girlfriend, brother and I brainstormed company names. The two favorites from that evening were Commulist and Socialist. After I sobered up, being the no fun kind of guy that I am, I ditched those ideas. I thought the name should have list in it. And I liked the idea of the name expressing the fact that our service was the only one, or the best one. Singular in all its, umm, greatness. So, I settled on Monolist as the working name of the company. Ugh.

Luckily, I wasn’t terribly happy with Monolist. It had the right elements, but wasn’t quite there. With a couple of weeks of software development remaining, I tweaked the name a bit and ended up with ONElist. I registered the onelist.com domain on October 22, 1997. What I didn’t realize until a couple of years later is that I should have registered any alternative spellings of the domain. After we started getting popular, people registered 1list.com, one-list.com and other variances. Most of these domains went straight to porn sites. I love America.

Porn Aside #1

Speaking of porn, skipping ahead a year and a half or so, we had an interesting discussion on how to increase revenue from our service. Noticing that porn was popular, someone came up with the idea of ONElust, a separate porn mailing list service. We never really pursued the idea, however.

Porn Aside #2

Interestingly enough, and skipping ahead even more, it turns out that our main competition at the time, eGroups, also had similar thoughts. They registered eGrope.

Porn Aside #3

There is no third porn aside.

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