The name 'guru' once was an exclusive title reserved for a spiritually enlightened teacher. Someone hailing from India, swaddled in orange robes, sporting a long beard and mala beads. Someone who looked like the guy above.
Today, however, the word has taken on a life of its own. Anyone can be a 'guru' of something. There are marketing gurus. Fitness gurus. Legal gurus. Real estate gurus. Dog training gurus. GURU also happens to be the name of both an organic energy drink and a bowling ball.
When it comes to the naming of businesses and products, this ancient Sanskrit word has penetrated Western society with vigor. Nearly 4,000 companies currently have 'guru' in their business name, according to the Hoovers Database.
"Guru is a great word," says Mark Skoultchi, a partner at Catchword, an agency that develops names for businesses and their products. "To us Westerners, the image of a guru is someone who lives and breathes their word and their teachings all the time. When someone uses 'guru,' it simultaneously promotes themselves as more enlightened about their industry."
Now guru has come to the digital naming space. Last year this word was released as a "not-com" option on the Internet. If you consider yourself an expert of something, you can classify yourself as a Dot-Guru (.GURU) within your URL name. More than 70,000 domains have been registered using .GURU since the "not-com" option was first made available last year.
It's become a darling of modern-day vernacular and naming conventions -- even if the original meaning has been distorted to fit present-day needs. (Sorry, gurus of India.) For businesses and websites, specifically, the connotation and succinctness of the word serve as a marketing advantage. It's a trendier alternative to calling yourself an 'expert.'
"It is short, graphically arresting with the repeated letters, and more memorable, both because of the repeated letters and its relative uniqueness," says Skoultchi.
Below are a few clever uses of .GURU in website naming. The names say exactly what they mean. Perhaps it will inspire the 'guru' in you.
Are you a .GURU? Share your business story with Name.Kitchen.