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Can you guess the real cloud computing startup?

Cloud computing startups aren't always given the best names. Is it better to stand out in the crowd, or should you shove cloud in there and hope customers take notice?

Weekly cloud computing update

As the cloud market grows, it's pretty much impossible to keep track of who's who and what's what. Here’s a little quiz for you. Can you spot the fake cloud computing startups in this list?

  • Cloudera: A sleeping pill?
  • Cloud9: A methamphetamine?
  • Nimbula: The latest gym training system?
  • OpenNebula: A "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode?
  • CloudKick: A camp for kids into meteorology and soccer?
  • ReliaCloud: Call 1-800…

How many fakes did you find? One? Two? Turns out, it’s zero. They are all real.

So if you're a startup in the cloud computing market, surrounded by hundreds of other companies, do you pick a name that sounds ridiculous but forces in a cloud reference? Or do you choose a name that helps you stand out from the fray?

Companies that chose the latter -- such as Eucalyptus, Heroku and RightScale -- are doing pretty well without crowbarring "cloud" into their names. If your goal is to win customers based on the differentiation and advantages your product offers when compared to the competition, a good start would be a different kind of name.

At the same time, having "cloud" in your name isn't necessarily the kiss of death. It's just easy for a consumer to laugh and lump all the clouds together, and it's not good to fade into the background when your rivals are multiplying like bunnies every day. Plus, if your services are good enough and your employees are smart enough, your name probably won't end up mattering. What is a Heroku, anyway?

Jo Maitland is the Senior Executive Editor of Contact her at

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