There Are Many Terrible Ad-Tech Names, But This One Is the Worst

Qriously Co-Founder: 'It's Better to Be King of Something'

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Not only did Qriously win Ad Age's "worst name in ad-tech" poll, but the company was so eager to talk about its awful name, a spokesman sent three emails to Ad Age looking to claim its prize as the "winner" -- an interview.

When that interview happened this Monday, it got off to a fitting start.

"Congratulations on winning Ad Age's poll for worst ad-tech name on earth," said an Ad Age reporter to Qriously co-founder Chris Kahler after brief small talk.

Then, "click." The line went dead.

Perhaps Mr. Kahler was not properly informed of the purpose of the call, the reporter wondered.

After a few suspenseful moments, Mr. Kahler returned.

"We're honored," he said, not missing a beat. Qriously, he admitted, was guilty of some ballot stuffing. "I think at one point, we figured, listen, I'm not going to do anything half ass and I'd rather win it by a mile than win it by an inch."

That level of determination was necessary to beat out the likes of Vungle, Nanigans, AdsWizz and Burt. Qriously trumped them all, garnering 20% of the votes.

A Qriously Poll in Action
A Qriously Poll in Action

"It's better to be king of something," Mr. Kahler said.

As for the name's origins, "Qriously" was born of practical concerns. The company, Mr. Kahler said, did not have enough money to buy a proper domain name but wanted one that connoted curiosity. So, it nixed a vowel, substituted a "Q" for a "C" and -- BAM! -- Qriously.

The Qriously name is understood to be pretty bad internally, with some employees referring to the company simply as "The Q." There are some fans of the name, but Ad Age's poll removed any doubt about its ugliness.

"Now we know for a fact that the name is terrible," Mr. Kahler said. "The people have spoken."

What else you should know: Qriously, founded in 2010, has raised $5.1 million dollars to date. The London-based company has 19 employees. It serves up questions instead of banner ads on mobile devices and then retargets users with relevant ads based on their responses.

Not to bury the lede, but Qriously almost chose a different name: Twirkz. This was before Mr. Kahler understood what "twerking" was. "We chose Qriously, thank God," he said.

A gracious Mr. Kahler sent a mockup of the Twirkz logo and tagline. Yes, this was almost an actual ad-tech company:

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