Ralley is changing its name to Zeplo.
Changing your name is not something you take lightly, and you don't do it unless you really have to, so here are our reasons. Hopefully, our naming mistake will help you to avoid the same fate in the future.
TLDR; Don't pick a misspelling of a word as your product name, unless the real word is very uncommon (e.g. Google) or the pronunciation and spelling is significantly different. And make sure Google is not correcting for your name.
Why we picked Ralley
We picked Ralley as it is a slight misspelling for the word rally, and that sounded like a nice fit for a company that collects requests and passes them on (recovering them if they fail).
Here is one of definition for rally:
To come together again to renew an effort
To return to a better condition
We felt like this made sense, and on top of that the name had a nice ring to it. It sounded friendly and approachable.
We also did a mandatory check on the SEO difficulty before picking the name and everything looked fine. Getting to number 1 for Ralley should have been a piece of cake.
So we went with Ralley, and launched on ProductHunt. I've launched a few things on ProductHunt, and usually after a launch ProductHunt gets the #1 spot for your brand name (assuming there is not much competition for the name). However, even though we did reasonably well on our ProductHunt launch (getting >500 upvotes), there was nothing to be seen on Google still.
After making a considerable effort to rank for Ralley, we realised that this was going to be an uphill battle.
Ralley is hard to spell correctly
When you talk about Ralley verbally with a friend (which we hope you will do! 😅), there is no way to tell that we've inserted an e into the world Rally. The pronunciation of Rally and Ralley is the same. So you now have to tell your friend,
Me: It's called "Rally" but it has an extra e in it
Friend: Wait, where do you put the e, in the middle?
Me: No, kind of at the end, it ends in ey
Yuk, what a mess.
Rally is often misspelled as Ralley
It happens, we misspell stuff, and if enough people do it Google tries to... ahem... correct you. So Google is pretty sure you mean rally.
Given that ahrefs told me that I only needed a few backlinks to correct this and have it rank for Ralley, it turns out the algorithm doesn't work well when this type of correction is in place.
Rally is a very popular word, with a very different meanings
On top of this, Google already has a very hard time deciding what to rank for "rally" because rally could mean many different things:
- Rally - a political rally where people meet to promote their cause
- Rally - a type of car racing
- Rally - the stocks have rally on the their second day
So Google already struggles to know what you mean when you simply type in rally, and each of those things are quite popular terms. It would be incredibly hard to ever rank highly for rally.
Obviously, the word we want to rank for is ralley not rally, but it seems that a lot of people misspell rally as ralley, and so Google pretty much shows the same content for both (even to the extent of asking if people meant rally). It's possible that with enough backlinks we could overcome this part of the algorithm, and rank for Ralley, but it would take a lot of work.
So why Zeplo?
Zeplo doesn't mean anything by itself, yet despite this it's still quite obvious how to spell it. And because there are no words close enough to Zeplo, even if a user misspells it, Google will learn that they really want to go to us and we'll still rank for it. We also like the name Zeplo because it sounds a bit like Zeplin, and I like Zeplins.
What do I need to change?
Nothing. All existing queues and services will continue to work under the existing URLs forever:
The only thing you need to change, is the name when you're taking to your friends 😉.
Thanks for all the support so far!