Perhaps you’ll recall seeing this widget on Copyhackers.com and a few other sites in the summer of 2013:
That’s the little incentivized survey we’ve been building for, oh, ever…
At first, we were calling it Kyvio, which stood for:
We liked the name. The domain was available. And “Kyvio” seemed relatively easy to pronounce + not overly quirky, which the names of online / digital services can too often be (more about that later)…
So we felt good about the name Kyvio going into our alpha testing last summer…
…at which time the entire idea for Kyvio fell spectacularly to pieces. And, for quite a while, the mother-effing name was the least of our worries…
What Went Wrong with Kyvio
The reason we created Kyvio was because we love using surveys to learn about visitors and prospects – and we allllllways recommend our clients use them – but survey response rates can be very, very low. So low as to make the data basically useless…
We saw, in our CRO experience, survey response rates hover around 5%…
Which means that, if you’re running a website with 1000 visitors per day, you might get 50 responses to your survey per day.
Which doesn’t sound bad, right? Totally not…
…Except a lot of the businesses that most need to learn from their visitors are lucky to get 1000 visitors per day…
…And let’s remember that 1000 visitors to your site in a day is not necessarily 1000 visitors exposed to your survey. If you expose it to 25% of your traffic to prevent ‘annoying’ the whole works, then you’ve got 250 prospective respondents and a max of 13 respondents per day. If you expose it to 100% of traffic but only on your site-proper — not on your blog because you want to keep data about your blog traffic separate from your sales-site traffic — then you could have as little as 100 prospective respondents per day. And 5 actual responses. Even though you’ve got 1000 visitors to your ‘site’ per day.
How can a startup learn — or hypothesize — with so little data?
So we thought, okay, well, what’s the big objection to visitors completing surveys on sites? It would be in the answer to that question, we believed, that the solution to better response rates lay.
How we went about answering that question is the subject of another post entirely – although it really came down to asking and observing users – but what we found was this: Surveys are not only interruptive, but they’re also thankless work. It’s hard to avoid interrupting visitors… but perhaps there was something we could do about the thankless part.
Like, y’know, we could thank people.
And what if the thank you was bigger than the word “thank you”? What if it was… a reward? Like… a coupon code?
The wheels began turning. Then they turned faster.
We saw Kyvio taking shape in our heads. We wireframed it. We spoke to a great developer we know about building it. We applied what we know about persuasion and gamification to make the survey more engaging. And along the way, we had this glorious… incredible… amazing… genius epiphany. Here it is:
We would feed all the survey responses
into a Visitor Avatar
that would clearly and definitively
show marketers exactly who their visitors really are
The heavens opened. Angels. Harps. High-fiving. All of it.
THAT was something people would pay for!
We built a prototype with the help of these cool peeps.
We put it on Copyhackers.com, and the results were beyond awesome. More than a 12% response rate to a whopping 5 questions. Kyvio could get people to answer FIVE QUESTIONS IN A ROW! And the data appeared to be good – only one “yer tits” comment in the lot. Plus, our paid conversion rate nearly doubled, thanks to the coupon codes people were earning. Whaaaaaat?? Holy shit. It was a CRO consultant’s dream.
So we asked a few of our friends if they’d run the Kyvio alpha on their sites. We told them they would learn sooo much about their visitors, it would blow their minds…
To which they said…
“Um, yeah, sure.”
And then they asked, “How long do you need it to stay up for?”
And then, when it was running, they asked, “Can we take it down soon?”
And we were like, What’s going on here? Sure, the Visitor Avatar part wasn’t built yet. But they were getting great feedback – and lots of it – from their visitors. Where was the enthusiasm? Where was the love? This stuff was gold. Why didn’t these smart business owners see that?
So we asked them to tell us what was up.
And, by and large, we heard this: “I’m not really sure what to do with the data.”
Business owners have more data right now than they can shake a stick at. But we leave it in their hands – often rightly so – to figure out how to use that data to better their businesses, their products, everything.
With ho-hum interest from the people we considered to be good prospects, we were dejected.
We sadly put Kyvio on pause… and went through a mourning period… and then tried to move on.
The Realization That Revived Kyvio
Over the next six months or so, as Lance went to work on the very-cool User Hue, I’d get a tweet every so often about Kyvio.
@copyhackers I’m so looking forward to your survey application. I want it right NOW!
— Taylor B. Jones (@taylorjones) October 23, 2013
Or an email about it:
You had that cool survey thing with the discounts. I’d love to use it for my visitors, when is it coming out?
And those would make me go look over the great feedback we’d already had about Kyvio – like the 100s of super-positive things survey respondents told us about using Kyvio:
“Great hook with the savings, feels like you’re giving something back in exchange for my feedback”
“I love how fast it was and how it let me stop at any time. But how could I stop? Really, I was compelled!”
“thought it was cool and want it for my site. Advise how to implement”
And while I was drowning my sorrows over the good idea that just couldn’t be, I’d reflect on tweets about Kyvio from people like @thedavecollins:
— Dave Collins (@TheDaveCollins) June 27, 2013
Kyvio became something I couldn’t let go of. Like the proverbial monkey on yer back. I tried to talk myself out of it. I told myself it was the bad ex-boyfriend, it would only bring me pain, it would steal my youth and zest for life and give me tired blood, and there is no cure for tired blood…
After years of chronically watching Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, I had the voices of brilliant business minds in my head telling me to give up on it. I could visualize Kevin O’Leary telling me I’m dead to him if I move forward with a solution that businesses have shown they do not get and/or do not want…
…It was around this time that a guy with a 100,000 person list emailed me to ask when Kyvio would be ready. He wanted to use it. I was like, “Why? Use some other survey. Stop bothering me.” And he was like, “I don’t want the survey, fool! That’s just a means to an end. I want the coupon delivery.”
Lance and I were like, huh?
Turns out the guy thought we’d built Kyvio to cleverly disguise incentive-delivery as a survey. He thought we’d seen its core value and built it with that in mind. He thought we knew it was a smart way to compel visitors to buy from you by ‘earning’ a coupon code…
New question #1: Could we be the blindest people alive?
New question #2: What if the survey is only PART of the solution? What if the real solution is not to “know your visitors inside-out” but something else… something more directly tied to the bottom line? What if people could increase their conversion in two ways: by learning, and by incenting?
We decided to do the thing they mock on Silicon Valley: we pivoted. A little.
Renaming the Survey-Thing Now That the Survey-Thing Was Only Part of It
In truth, no one knew what KYVIO stood for as a name, so we could have kept it. But Lance and I hesitated to keep it because:
- A meaningless collection of letters is just that: meaningless
- Kyvio had no brand equity, so keeping it would only be for the sake of convenience / laziness / saving $9.99 on a domain
- We’ve seen that a name sticks better when people ‘get it’, like when a story of some kind – whether clear or the stuff of legend – is behind it
Bear with me while I go to potentially eye-roll-inducing places… but Steve Jobs could name Apple “Apple” way back when because restrictions on naming were not what they are today. It’s hard as hell to name a startup now! Imagine trying to get a 5-letter domain using a real word like “Apple” today? There are million-dollar auctions for that sort of thing…
You’ve probably already experienced the frustration of feeling cornered into a name based purely on a) its availability as a domain and b) its short length (yay for short Twitter handles).
When we started revisiting the name Kyvio, we first landed on this semi-cute name, and we thought we had a winner: Incentee.
Domain available? Check. Twitter handle available? Check. Understandable value? Check. Easy enough to pronounce and remember? Check, check. Not super-long? Check.
Then we asked some people who’d signed up to be Kyvio beta users what they thought of the new name – because, hell, why not ask?
- 19% of people said they loved Incentee
- 23% said they didn’t care what the name was
- 14% said they hated Incentee
Others said Incentee sounded “cheap”, “grammatically suspect” and “like t-shirts”.
…So maybe we didn’t have a winner?
And so began my transformation into Dante and the beginning of our long, arduous walk through the levels of Hell that are naming a solution when multiple people are involved…
Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here
Among the many, many names we considered over the longest week of my life:
- runaway train
For a while there, we thought we’d landed on something with Blue Dot. After all, many people who’d used Kyvio had commented that the “blue dot”, which is the dot where the incentive increases, was awesome. And then there was the whole connection to Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot, which made star-gazer-geek Lance pretty happy – and I liked the nice cleanliness of those simple, unassuming words: blue dot. But Justin didn’t think it sounded very powerful or aspirational. Plus, weren’t we going to let people change the color of the blue dot to match their brand?
So we scrapped Blue Dot.
In our frustration, we stumbled on a post – which I’m sorry but I can’t find now – that said that great names a) use alliteration, b) are iconoclastic, c) rhyme or d) are self-describing. And so:
SELF-DESCRIBING NAMES (easy to understand and remember):
Perhaps you’re starting to smell our desperation?
Nothing was sticking. Nothing was working.
What the F**K was the name supposed to be???
Although I’d been through about a hundred thousand business- and product-naming projects back in my agency years, I was having a hard time articulating exactly what a great name needs to express. What it needs to do. What qualities it needs to have. And, of course, there was the fact that my agency days were a good while back… and the startup landscape had certainly changed since then.
So we did what any copy hacker does. We researched. And we decided that our name had to do the following, ideally in this order:
- In some way speak to the unique value proposition of our incentivized survey
- Be a name we could confidently say to a large enterprise C-level or a VC, without feeling like idiots (which came to be known as passing The Fred Wilson Test)
- Be easy to pronounce
- Be easy to spell / remember
- Have positive connotations for our audience… but avoid confusing foreign audiences
- Be fewer than 10 characters
- Be available as a .com – even if we had to add a word like “try”, “use” or “get” to the front or “surveys” to the back
- Not limit us to the product as it is today but rather leave a little room for flexibility / interpretation / further pivoting
Yeah, just a short little list…
Easy to get a name right when it has to tick all those boxes. Suuuure. Easy.
To be fair, Justin and I seemed to be far more fixated on selecting the right name than Lance was… which is why it sort of came down to me and Justin and our fave ideas…
I liked survana, SurvBoard and BlueDot. Justin liked Disco. When we measured those 4 names against the 8 criteria above, only Disco ticked all the boxes. Plus, we liked the feel of it as a word. The motion built into it. The action of it. After all, part of the charm of Kyvio – or, sorry, of Disco – is that it moves really, really fast.
“Disco” was a fit.
Did we all KNOW it was a fit immediately? Nope! Justin had presented it early on, when we were talking about our value prop and using these words a lot:
Although we all liked it early on, we were waiting, I think, for something major to hit us. An epiphany, like we’d had at points in the creation of Disco. But if we were to be honest with ourselves, the oh-so-great epiphanies of our past had hardly produced fruit. They’d just been ideas. Not even good ones, when played out. So waiting to be smacked over the head with the most genius name in the history of names would warrant a smack all right…
Disco felt good.
What do you think? Cool? Awesome? Lame? Back to the drawing board?
(Please, dear Lord, not back to the drawing board!)