Sometimes the web hosting market rather looks like a farmer’s market or a zoo. Hostgator, Host Monster, Shark Host, and FatCow + many many more mainly smaller web hosting companies decided to use an animal as part of their business name. While Host Gator is around for a long time, the other companies are mainly newcomers to the web hosting scene over the last 2 years maybe. Initially it might look funny or silly seeing a hosting company calling itself something like Fat Cow, but in the long run I think it is not such a good move. Initially the silly name might attract attention of customers, but what about the time when the interest fades away. Starting off getting attention is a good thing, but as with every startup at one point you are no longer a startup company. You have become part of the establishment no matter how hard you try not to.
The next issue I see is the market these webhosts are trying penetrate. A business name like Shark Hosting or Fat Cow is not really something I would consider a good choice when in the market for web hosting as a small business owner. Business owners need stability and reliability, but do silly company names for web hosts have a high trust factor? I doubt it and a couple of business owners I talked to would never sign up with such a company.
If you pick an animal name for you web hosting business (or any business whatsoever) and you want to grow big you need to establish a brand name. A brand name is not just your business name that is around after 2 years or so – a brand name is much more. This was the route Host Gator has taken and they have really taken web hosting to the next level. These guys can get away with a silly company name and silly company logos and banners. Others still have to prove them self and need to spend way more resources on building up the trust factor compared to web hosting providers that decided to work with a more conservative name as their business name.