How Did Zynga Get Its Name?

I like the domain name Zynga.com. Like oObly, it is really short (just 5 characters), and like oObly, the word Zynga doesn’t really doesn’t mean anything, which means that you have the freedom to take such a name and brand it into anything you like.

This is not the case with names like, say, TechCrunch, which will, forever be associated with technology. Also, at 10 characters in length, the domain name gets into the double digits (is really long) and thereby warrants another URL shortened domain name (tcrn.ch) that introduces regional implication and laws depending on which TLD you select  – China in the case of tcrn.ch and Libya in the base of kred.ly.

So I always wondered how Mark Pincus, co-founder of social gaming company Zynga came up with the brand name. Today, I found out.

How Zynga Got Its Name

In a blog post about finding and selecting a domain name for a business, Fred Wilson, a VC and Principal at Union Square Ventures, says how he was on the phone with Pincus in March 2007 when Pincus asked him about branding his company. Pincus had just launched the Texas Hold’em Game on Facebook operating under the company name Presidio Media. While Pincus listed out a series of possible domain names, the name of his dog – Zinga – came up.

At that time, Pincus did not own Zinga.com (that’s Zinga with an i, not y). He had tried and failed to buy that domain for 8 years. One of Pincus’ Engineers at Presidio Media came up with the idea to spell it as Zynga (with a y instead of the i) and Zynga.com was available!

Needless to say, the Zynga logo prominently features Zinga, the dog. The rest, as they say, is history.

[source: Fred Wilson @ avc.com ]

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One Response to "How Did Zynga Get Its Name?"

  1. David says:

    I thought the name Zynga had more symbolic origins. I just read about Johan Huizinga, a Dutch Historian in the 1930´s that wrote Homo Ludens (1938). In the book he discussed the possibility that play is the primary formative element in human culture.

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