Match the Great Business With Its Terrible Original Name

The origins of American success stories.
Oct. 27 2013 11:45 PM

Play the Name-Droppers Quiz!

Can you match the great business with its terrible original moniker?

The Slate Quiz, Special Business Edition

Like many a pop idol, a lot of rock-star companies transcended their troubled or humble origins with the help of a new name for themselves or their wares. This quiz will ask you to guess the birth names of a host of major consumer brands—and to reflect on how some of the most brilliant business minds of the last 100 years could have come up with "Baby Gays," "Brad's Drink," or "Cadabra" for their products.

Question 1 of 12

Starbucks was named after a character in Moby-Dick when which name from the same novel was rejected?

Question 2 of 12

What was the original name of Google's search engine?

Question 3 of 12

Which common household item used to go by the name Baby Gays?

Question 4 of 12

For its first 17 years in business, Best Buy shared its name with which famous musical?

Question 5 of 12

Brad's Drink was the underwhelming first moniker of which future bottled-drink juggernaut?

Question 6 of 12

Which grocery-aisle mainstay was first marketed as Country Squares?

Question 7 of 12

Which television channel began life as the Pinwheel Network?

Question 8 of 12

Traf-O-Data, a company that interpreted data from roadway traffic counters, was the first failed startup by the founders of which future software giant?

Question 9 of 12

Hugh Hefner was forced to change the name of his future media company due to a trademark challenge by a rival magazine. What was Playboy's first name?

Question 10 of 12

Amazon incorporated in 1994 under the name Cadabra, as in "abracadabra." Why did Jeff Bezos' lawyer reject the name?

Question 11 of 12

Which chain launched as Pronto Market?

Question 12 of 12

What was the original name of Yahoo, which combined the names of founders Jerry Yang and David Filo?

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October 28, 2013

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Josh Keating

Slate's international news blogger

Queequeg

Ishmael's

Pequod

Flask

SmoothSearch

Backrub

Kismet

Lubricant

Huggies disposable diapers

Handi Wipes

Avent pacifiers

Q-tips cotton swabs

Sound of Music

Music Man

A Little Night Music

Jesus Christ Superstar

Snapple

Pepsi

Coca-Cola

Colt 45 malt liquor

Cracklin' Oat Bran

Toaster Strudel

Chex Cereal

Pop-Tarts

Hallmark Channel

AMC

Nickelodeon

Fox News

Microsoft

Adobe

Mozilla

Oracle

Glamour Gals

Stag Party

Bachelor's Digest

The American Spectator

Because he couldn't pronounce it

Because it sounded like the name of a lingerie company

Because it sounded like cadaver

Because of the word's association with alleged Satan worshiper Aleister Crowley

Safeway

Publix

Costco

Trader Joe's

Dave and Jerry's Internet Show

Jerry and Dave's Guide to the World Wide Web

Filo and Yang: A Web Directory

Fang

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Quiz Template by Chris Kirk and Andrew Morgan

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Jessica Winter is a Slate senior editor.

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