Hulu's A Lulu Of A Name
"The first thing I thought of was those little plastic hula girls people put on their dashboards," said Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner Research.
"Come on," pleaded Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey. "It sounds like they figured that all the good company names were already taken."
Predictably, the blogosphere was no less critical. Hulu-related posts on the popular industry blog TechCrunch were remorseful at best.
"Worst domain name for a company with more than $100 million behind it," concluded magnusdopus. "Closest mental association is the Hawaiian term hula. And anything Hawaiian has an 'out there' connotation. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 4. With YouTube being a 10."
"I give this a negative infinity out of 10, with YouTube being a 10," added TechCrunch commenter Jason Moy. "Laughable."
Worse still, critics of the long-form video distribution platform--variously referred to in the past as "NewSite," "New Co.," and "Clown Co."--received more ammunition when Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said the site would miss its previously announced late-summer release date.
"Now it's October?" quipped Forrester's McQuivey. "We all knew they weren't going to make it by end of summer, but now you have to ask where else could they come up short."
Added McQuivey: "I hope they bought every URL with a variation of the spelling, because no one's going to know how to spell Hulu."
If only by name, Hulu does mesh with the endless stream of Web technology and content brands coming out of Silicon Valley, conceded some analysts who were willing to admit that the quality behind a brand is ultimately more important than its name.
"It's hard to remember," said Gartner's McGuire, "but people must have thought brands like Yahoo and Google sounded just as strange as Mahalo, Twitter, and Vuguru sound today."