How to Come Up With A Business Name (Plus 50+ Example of Business Names)

Written by Zoe King ✏️

Last updated May 22, 2024

So, you’ve been thinking of a name for your business.

You’ve tried again and again but it’s not been easy.

You want something that is catchy, attention-grabbing, and conveys the essence of your business perfectly.

But somehow, none of the names you come up with seem quite right.

Well, don’t despair!

I have spent over 3000 hours working on business names over the years, for myself and other people.

And in the course of that, I have developed a surefire naming process that works.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to come up with a business name that truly rocks, including:

  • how to come up with a jaw-dropping name for your business, product, or blog
  • qualities and types of business names
  • a list of irresistible unique business name ideas to inspire you

 

Chapter 1:

Why Pick a Great Business Name?

 

At its primary place, a business name is your company’s identity.

A business without a name is like someone living without an identity — people will have difficulty in identifying or referencing that person.

In the same vein, a name allows your customers to identify your business, find your business, and talk about your business.

But much more than an identity, a business name is the core element upon which your brand is built.

And this is critical!

Why? Because with literally over 400 million known businesses around the world, you need not only have a business name but one that STANDS OUT.

The right name for your business or product is more important than you think. Typically, a great brand starts with a strong name.

And today, you’ve bumped into fortunes because I am about to show you how to get such glorious names.

To start with, here’s my first advice for you:

 

Chapter 2:

Don’t Depend on Business Name Generators

 

Business name generators have a big problem.

When it comes to choosing a business name, the first step MOST people take is to head over to their fave business name generator and run a business name search.

While this is the easy-peasy path, it’s actually the best way to sound like everyone else.

And in fact, business name generators do NOT generate great names. Pretty much all business name generators work the same way:

Enter a keyword > click search > and ta-da, a list of mediocre suggestions that thousands of other people have already seen.

These suggestions are typically a combination of common, everyday words with the primary keyword you enter.

Assuming you want to start a blog on cooking, let’s visit one of the business name generators to show you what I mean.

 

 

Let’s key in the word “cooking” to see the results it returns:

 

 

See that?

“Cooking Supreme” “Cooking Allied” “Cooking Reliable” yada yada yada.

A clump of uncute names you don’t want to use. And quite frankly, most of the seemingly good suggestions are almost always taken.

And let me point this out:

Most of the business name generators you see on the Internet are actually owned by some popular web hosting and domain name registration companies — as marketing tools.

So they don’t put in 100% of effort on building a remarkable business naming tool, only something good enough to market their main business.

In short, once you’ve searched for a name and clicked on a result on some of these company name generators, you’ll automatically be redirected to their parent company (usually a domain name registrar or web hosting service provider) in an attempt to get you to buy the domain name from them.

Gimmicky, isn’t it?

 

Alternatives to Using a Business Name Generator

 

One alternative to using a business name generator is to buy a pre-registered domain name. However, the trouble is that such names are utterly expensive. Think anything between $2,000 to $10,000+ per name.

As an example, see this screenshot I took from one of the pre-registered business name services:

 

 

You don’t want to throw thousands of dollars on just a name, do you?

My recommended approach to naming a business is to create a name from scratch.

Why? Because based on years and years of business naming experience, I have found that the best business names are names custom-made from scratch.

There are two proven ways you can get a name developed from scratch:

  1. Starting a contest on a crowdsourcing business naming platform. This is not free but not expensive either.
  2. Doing it yourself. This is my personal favorite approach. It doesn’t require any cost other than your time and brain work.

This guide focuses on the latter — the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach.

Now, if you decide to do it yourself, you’ll need to be equipped with certain information. In essence, there are two things you must know:

  1. The qualities of a good business name
  2. Types of business names (according to SHiFTCADEMY)

We will get to the step-by-step process of creating a magnificent business name from scratch, but first, let me walk you through the two key pieces of information.

 

Chapter 3:

Qualities of a Great Business Name

 

What makes a great business name?

Based upon my recent analysis of over 1000 business names, here are the top 11 qualities and characteristics of a good business name:

 

Relevant and Meaningful

 

The best business names clearly reflect the value of the business.

Does your business stand for luxury, endurance, personal expertise, speed, or affordability? Your business name should intelligently tell it.

For instance, our SHiFTCADEMY brand is quite typical of a great brand name. It meaningfully and immediately communicates what the brand stands for, which is a place for learning how to SHiFT your life forward.

 

Short and Sweet

 

The longer a business name, the harder it is to pronounce, spell, and remember. So you’re going to have to keep your business name short and sweet. Anything between 1-3 syllables is okay.

Google, Canva, and Uber are all great examples.

Now, imagine if Facebook was called something like ZuckerbergSocialNetworking.com. You’d probably not want to say the whole name.

 

Easy to Say and Spell

 

Chances are that your business name will go beyond just written webpages — to things like word of mouth, podcasts, networking events, and so on.

What you want to avoid is having to say your business name twice before someone is able to spell it… or having to spell it out before someone can say it.

Compare names like BuzzSprout and Blubrry. Both are in the podcast industry, but one is somewhat more challenging to say and spell.

 

Catchy and Memorable

 

The world is a crowded place as we know it. You want your name to stick in customers’ minds once they come across it.

The best way to do that? Make it catchy but relevant to the customer.

Most of us never forget names like Pinterest, Starbucks, and FedEx.

 

Distinctive and Unique

 

Your name doesn’t have to be far-out or weird. However, it does need to be unique within its industry so you don’t end up sounding like all the rest of your competitors.

Startupist.com, KillerStartups.com, StartupGrind.com, StartupNation.com, and OnStartups.com are all easily gone in the crowd. But GeekWire.com? That name stands out dramatically even though it covers information about tech startups as well.

 

 

Preferably Not Abbreviated

 

The American Insurance Association may have been the official shirt sponsor of a big European football club but you may not know it.

Well, except you actually did run a search on the full meaning of AIA.

 

 

Clear and Straightforward

 

There used to be a time when one company called itself Del.icio.us (hope I got that right, guys!)

And worse, they were not selling food. They were a social bookmarking service.

Their name caused a lot of confusion for their users. That’s what you don’t want.

Avoid things like confusing spellings, hyphens or unnecessary periods within the name, and words that aren’t relevant to your solution.

 

Language-friendly and Linguistically Non-offensive

 

While foreign languages might offer great business name options, you also want to make sure that a name you pick in one language does not have an offensive or a negative meaning in another language.

This is especially important if you’re hoping to target an international audience.

To give you an idea, one product I saw one time on ProductHunt has “Mumu” as its name.

 

 

Obviously, this word has negative meanings in German and African languages as some users pointed out.

 

 

Evidently, the owner of the product never cared to check before going with the name.

 

Available and Defensible

 

Your name should be both available to register as a domain name for your website and legally not owned by another business.

If you find a name you like, don’t get excited just yet until you’ve tested it for availability and defensibility (I’ll show you how to run these tests later on below).

 

Allows for Business Expansion

 

What happens if “Sydney Women Shoes” wants to open a new branch in Melbourne? And what if they want to expand to selling men’s shoes?

On the opposite, Nike can expand to any front or sell shoes to any niche market without worrying about business name limitations.

Your name should not be generic, but it should not also be too particular to the point of hindering possible future business expansion.

 

Trend-proof (and maybe ageless)

 

Imagine picking a name today based on current trends only to end up sounding “last year” by next year.

The best business names don’t age. Whether it is industry trends or a general naming trend, you’d want to avoid those.

A couple of years ago, every startup wanted to call themselves a name that ended with “ly” — Bit.ly, Crowdly, Smel.ly, Ad.ly, you name it.

 

 

That trend quick.ly faded out and those companies started sounding bad.ly dated. Like.ly not what you want!

 

Chapter 4:

Business Name Categories and Styles

 

In this chapter, I’ll introduce to you the 15 types of business names (according to SHiFTCADEMY). All of the business names you’ve ever heard are found within these fifteen.

If you want to create a successful business name, your name will most likely be found under one of these categories. Without much talk, let’s get to it!

 

Fictitious Business Names

 

These are business names formed from words that have been fancifully fabricated but without real-world meaning. This sort of name is usually unique, easy to trademark, and available as a domain name.

Examples: Xerox, Ikea, Kinsta

 

Wordplay Business Names

 

Wordplay is the clever exploitation of the meanings and ambiguities of words to arrive at a playful business name. Think of WhatsApp as being a wordplay on “what’s up.”

Examples: unPhogettable, Sofa So Good, Delhicious

 

Conflated Business Names (AKA Portmanteau)

 

Conflated names are those names gotten by combining or blending parts (not whole) of two words into a composite whole. It’s a bit like mixing chocolate syrup with cow milk to have “ChocoMilk.”

Examples: SHiFTCADEMY (SHiFT+ACADEMY), Accenture (Accent+Future),

 

Compound Names

 

More like conflated names, compound names are gotten by joining two whole (not parts) unrelated words together to form one name.

Examples: Loveworld, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign

 

Eponymous Business Names

 

If you feel you’ve got a pretty personal name, this might be for you. Eponymous business names are names that are based on the founder’s (or some other person’s) name. This is most common with creatives — writers, designers, photographers. Big organizations, big-name influencers, and even foundations tend to use this too.

Examples: The Zoe King Foundation, Tommy Hilfiger

 

Everyday Words

 

Some businesses decide to pick a single everyday word and turn it into a brand name. Usually, such words have unique stories behind them as relevant or related to the company.

Examples: Apple, Target, Stripe

 

Alpha-Numeric Business Names

 

When naming a brand, we’re told by “experts” to avoid numbers like the plague. But it turns out there are companies that have used numbers to create strong brand names. Alpha-numeric brand names are names with one or more numbers in digit or written form. Numbers like 365, 360, and 24 seem to be popular choices.

Examples: Qihoo360, 99designs, Forever21

 

Descriptive Business Names

 

Some businesses pick descriptive words or phrases that explain exactly what is being sold. This can be useful if you don’t intend to spend much on branding but it can also be problematic. While functional and practical, descriptive names could sound uncreative and even plain.

Examples: Elegant Themes, Click Funnels

 

Acronymic Business Names

 

Although this is not a recommended naming approach, it is not uncommon to find businesses that use abbreviated names.

Examples: HSBC Bank, KFC, IBM

 

Suggestive Business Names

 

These are words that give you a hint of what the business is about. These names employ adjusted words to allow the customer to easily tell what the business does.

Examples: Fiverr, SkillShare, LastPass

 

Associative Business Names

 

Some brands decide to go with existing names or words that have positive associations. For instance, Amazon.com is named after the largest river on earth because the founder intended to associate the brand with Amazon’s huge scale.

Examples: YouTube, Facebook, Amazon

 

Foreign Language

 

Given that many sweet English word names are already taken, companies do turn to foreign languages to find relevant names. Outside of being unique, these names are mostly available for registration. Typically, they have some kind of meaning that may be relevant to the business.

Examples: Samsung, Ubuntu, Häagen-Dazs,

 

Local Names

 

If you intend to mostly market your products and services locally, a name rooted in local culture, history, or folklore may be effective. Local names can also be useful when you want to highlight the source of your products such as wine from a well-known wine-making region.

Examples: Toronto Raptors, Baidu

 

Tweaked Words

 

This is when a business changes an existing English word, either by adding, removing, or changing letters, to form a new unique word. It also involves using phonetics to create new English-sounding words.

Examples: Google, Reddit, Hostinger

 

Alliterative Business Names

 

These are names made up of words that begin with the same sound or letter near one another. They typically sound sweet and are easy to say. Alliterative business names are arguably the most memorable company names.

Examples: Bed Bath & Beyond, Coca-Cola, Hobby Lobby

 

Chapter 5:

My Surefire 5-Step Process for Creating a Glorious Business Name

 

Now that you are familiar with the qualities of a great business name as well as the categories and styles, it’s time to learn how to come up with a business name you’ll be proud to associate with.

It’s a skill that takes time and practice to master.

When I started out with business naming back in the day, it wasn’t always easy. At some points, I had to spend weeks on a single name.

So if you’re going through the same fate, I completely understand.

Here’s something:

Over the years, I have developed a simple process that has helped me, my students, and my consulting clients come up with excellent business names fast.

In this chapter, I’ll walk you through a lite version of the process.

 

Step #1: Describe Your Business

 

The process of naming a business starts with making clear decisions as to what you want the name to communicate, how you want people to perceive your company, and how you want the name to sound.

Should it sound disruptive, emotional, or innovative? Do you want it to appeal to a specific niche or just plain universal?

This will help you know the type of name to pick.

 

Here’s What to Do:

 

  • Write down a specific description of your business.

 

Not a nondescript, muzzy description like this:

An app that dispenses coffee.

Dig into the details and really write down the words that describe your business, including the experience users will get or the value the service will add to their lives.

This statement should state exactly what your business does (or will do) and portray how you want the business to be perceived, what you stand for, and your expertise as a business.

Your description should be in the range of ten to 30 words.

An instant coffee app developed to brew and dispense fresh bean-to-cup quality coffee through a bespoke countertop coffee machine consisting of a faucet that will pour whatever coffee beverage you decide to make.

 

Step #2: Pick Your Keywords

 

Your keyword is a word you want included in your business name, whether as a prefix, infix, or suffix.

Together with other characters, your keyword forms your business name.

In the context of creating a business name, your keywords should be sort of a one-word summary of the description you wrote down in step #1 or should at least relate to your business idea in some way.

 

Here’s What to Do:

 

  • Write down some keywords that describe your product, service, or company.

 

You would need a spreadsheet for this. Use whichever spreadsheet tool works for you — Google Sheets, Excel, Apple Numbers.

Try to write down as many keywords as possible, but a minimum of 3. I usually peck mine around 5. I also normally would use a thesaurus to find synonyms for my keywords and write the relevant ones down too.

Write them down in the row arrangement on your spreadsheet, not the column arrangement.

 

 

Step #3: Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Brainstorm

 

Generating a great business name is pretty much more about brainstorming, brainstorming, and brainstorming some more.

And this means spending quality time on your business naming process. In short, the brainstorming phase is where I spend 80% of my time when finding business names.

When you spend quality time brainstorming for business names, you’ll be able to dig up names that are unique and relevant.

You’ll also be able to avoid impolitic advice on the Internet like this one:

 

 

Contrary to this kind of advice, if you start with the wrong name, you’ll soon realize that, first of all, your brand sucks. Second, it’s both risky and difficult to change your business name later on.

Here’s the reality:

When changing a business name, it isn’t just the name you’re changing.

  • You’re killing your SEO (search engine optimization).
  • You’re literally going to start your branding from scratch.
  • All the money you put into making and marketing the old name and brand goes to waste.
  • You lose some traffic, backlinks, and even customers.

See now? It actually is better to invest a quality amount of time into choosing a great name from the outset.

 

Here’s What to Do:

 

  • From your list of keywords, brainstorm for all possible options.

 

Write down all the names that you can think of, going over each keyword at a time.

Do everything you can: tweak words, add/remove/replace letters, translate to Latin.

For now, there’s no need to filter out any idea. Write down everything that pops up, following the column arrangement — multiple suggestions per keyword.

I often would add a minimum of 5 suggestions per keyword.

You can do this with key decision-makers (your team, your partners, your dog) who have the company’s best interest at heart.

Go over the business name categories and styles in chapter 4 of this guide to see what is possible. But keep in mind that some of the categories may not be appropriate for your kind of business.

 

Step #4: Create Your Top-Performers List

 

This is the step where you will make some selections from the names generated during the brainstorming session.

If you’ve followed these steps verbatim thus far, by now you should have at least 15-25 possible names. You can go all the way up if you want, but you’re looking for just the best one, right?

 

Here’s What to Do:

 

  • Filter out the names

 

First off, go over all the names written down in step #3 and create a longlist of the top 10 options amongst the numerous suggestions. In my experience, this is usually fun but challenging.

At this point, don’t be too biased. Pick the names that best suit your business and brand.

Once you’ve longlisted your names, discuss it with some key decision-makers, if any.

And then, further, trim down the list by creating a shortlist of three to 5 names that you think are the absolute best amongst the top 10.

 

Step #5: Research and Test Your Best Business Names

 

So, you now have a shortlist of the best three to 5 names to work with.

It’s time to conduct thorough research on the names. This should let you know whether or not someone else is already using that business name.

 

Here’s What to Do:

 

Check for domain name availability, trademark, and social media availability.

 

  • Checking for domain name availability

 

Start by running the name on Namecheap to see if it’s available as a domain name. This is for the purpose of creating a website for your business.

First, go to Namecheap.com, enter the name in the search bar, and then click on the search button. You’ll be taken to the results page where you’ll see the available top-level domain (TLD) extensions.

 

 

It is best to go with a domain name that has the .com extension available.

 

Recommended Reading:

How to Create a Website for Your Business Even If You Can’t Code

 

  • Checking for social media availability

 

Next, let’s check to see if the social media handles (for example: @yourbusinessname) are available on major social networks like TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

A tool like Brandsnag works great for this:

 

 

And it’s easy to use:

  • Go to Brandsnag and enter the name
  • Next, click on the search button
  • Scroll down to see the results

 

  • Checking for trademark availability

 

Next, go to the website of the trademark agency for your country (USPTO for the United States and IPO for the United Kingdom) to check if the name has been trademarked by another company.

 

What if the names are already taken?

 

Well, first of all, if you do your homework well, at least one out of the 5 names should be available. But if it is otherwise, here are some things you can do:

  • Tweak your favorite name from your shortlist to make it available; you can add prefixes or suffixes.
  • Go back to your longlist and pick some other options.
  • If there’s a name you really like and seriously want to go with it, then you can try another top-level domain extension (example: .org, .net, .co) although it is always better to stick with a .com extension.

 

how to create a website

 

Chapter 6:

What to Do After Finding a Name

 

It is not enough to find a beautiful business name and then let it sit there. You ought to move fast and secure the name.

You know that finding a name isn’t exactly easy. You don’t want someone else securing the name before you do.

Here are the steps to take:

 

Register the domain name

 

Once you’ve found a name you like, and it is available for registration, the next step is to register the domain name immediately.

Domain name registration typically costs around $10 a year.

 

Secure the name’s handle on major social media networks

 

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok. Whichever social platform you plan to use for your business.

You have to secure the name on the major platforms even if you’re not planning to use all of those platforms just yet. It is first of all for brand protection and then marketing.

You might also want to secure the username on popular email services like Gmail. In short, unless you prefer to use your personal email to register the domain name and sign up for the social accounts, then you would actually have to sign up on Gmail or whatever email service you want to use.

 

Incorporate with your state or country

 

This is not always a compulsory step at the immediate beginning, but if you care about going legal, you can go on to register the business name with the authorities in your locality.

This formalizes your business and protects your brand identity so that no one else can use your name.

For some countries, the business name registration process is usually a breeze while for others, it could take some time. Whatever the case is, your goal is for you to start the registration process already — even if your country’s business name registration process does not allow same-day completion.

 

Chapter 7:

Business Name Ideas and Examples

 

I have noticed that people perform better with business naming if they are shown some ideas and examples.

In this chapter, I’ll show you some interesting examples of business names, including examples of bad business names for your avoidance, beautiful business names for your inspiration, and some real-world business names that stand out.

 

Examples of Bad Business Names to Avoid

 

Let’s first go over some examples of bad business names to help you know what to avoid. I have also included some quick explanations of why I think these names aren’t that great.

Note that these are not real-world businesses, but I have created the names — by imitating exactly what is out there — to help you avoid certain naming mistakes.

 

Xivit.com

This name would indicate that the owner wanted something short but failed to take into consideration pronunciation. Is it pronounced —  ex-ih-vit, si-vit or ziv-it?

The point is this: if you mention your business name once to someone at the airport, can they quickly spell it out before their flight takes off?

Key takeaway: While being unique is important, try as much as possible to make your name easy to spell and say.

 

SnapText.com

Okay, so this company might be selling software that allows users to snap pictures and send as text messages. But not only does the name infringe on Snap Inc’s (Snapchat’s parent company) copyright, it also targets Snap’s market — snapping and chatting.

Key takeaway: Avoid being a copycat and try to stay out of existing businesses’ legal territories.

 

HouzeFindr.com

So many businesses try to adjust their chosen names just to be able to get the .com version. While companies like Google have gotten away with adjusting “googol,” this strategy might not work for some names.

Users might mistakenly type either HouseFinder.com, HouzeFinder.com, or any of the numerous variations for this name. That means losing visitors and struggling with branding.

Key takeaway: If you must add, remove, or replace letters, do it intelligently. And of course, be ready to put more money and effort into marketing.

 

TheFinancialEducationBlog.com

This name tells us that the owner was being too lazy to find a more brandable name. Having such common words as “blog” in your domain name is never a good idea for branding.

People used to do this back in the day mainly because of SEO, but things have changed. Simply because you have keywords in your URL doesn’t mean Google will rank your site higher these days.

Key takeaway: Avoid “phrase” names as there’s always the temptation to use common non-brandable words. These types of names are typically long and therefore may not be easy for users to type every single time.

 

Talkify/TalkPanda/TalkMonkey/Talkly

These are all popular naming styles that are overused. Going with any of them makes you appear as an old-fashioned copycat who cannot blaze new trails.

Of course, companies like Shopify and SurveyMonkey have successfully created strong brands around such names, but these were early adopters who pioneered the trends.

Key takeaway: Some of the most popular naming styles have come and gone. It is better to go with naming styles that are the future.

 

Beautiful Business Names for Your Inspiration

 

If you’re in need of business name examples you can learn from, you will love this section. These are fictitious (nonexistent) but absolutely loving business names I’ve generated from scratch for your inspiration. I’ve included descriptions to help you see possible use cases for each of the names.

 

ChocBucket

Possible use case: Looking for sweet treats and delicious desserts? Our dessert restaurant/bakery/snack brand/food truck/beverage product/recipe blog gives you just that in buckets.

 

Selfund.io

Possible use case: A financial service that allows you to save money towards self-funding important projects without loans or credits.

 

Codengine

Possible use case: Want a seamless engine to write code, store code, convert code…? Codengine is the tool to use.

 

Podcastic

Possible use case: Listen to fantastic podcasts for free.

 

Celerrate.com

Possible use case: “Celer” is the Latin word for fast or speedy. “Celerrate” is a browser/app/service that lets you do something (say: browse) super-fast.

 

Amazing Real-World Business Names

 

And finally, here’s what I think are some of the world’s best-sounding real business names.

 

Kissflow

Apart from being pretty, this name is easy to say and spell. The name intelligently mixes “KISS” (keep it simple, stupid) and “WORKFLOW” to represent what the company does — helping organizations keep their workflows simple.

 

Zenefits

This is a clever tweak of a common word to form an amazing brand name. Even more, the name is sweet to say and still communicates the primary meanings of zen+benefits to appeal to its customers.

 

Datanyze

I feel Datanyze is a great name for a company that collects and analyzes cloud-based technology insights for companies to identify and close their best accounts. The name captures and communicates the firm’s specialization in a good way.

 

The Boring Company

This is a great example of using humor in a business name to immediately grab the audience’s attention. This name playfully describes the company’s goal, which is to dig (read: bore) an extensive tunnel system for high-speed automobile travel.

 

Quisitive

This is a prime example of when a business tweaks an existing word to form a name that’s truly simple but unique. The name sounds smart and inspires confidence. It also has a bit of an edgy feel to it, which I think is appropriate for a company that’s about IT consulting.

 

Souper Cubes

This is a great name for a company that makes meal prep easier by freezing and portioning “soup” into cubes. The play on words here is both clever and accurate, as the company’s products are literally souper (i.e., super) cubes.

 

Fun facts: Did you know that Google was first called BackRub? Also, did you know the name Google is a misspelling of the word Googol? Googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, and this was picked to signify that the search engine aimed to provide large quantities of information to users. And by the way, Google’s parent company, Alphabets, went with the domain name abc.xyz because “alphabets.com” was taken.

 

It’s Your Turn!

 

There you have it: how to come up with a business name that truly rocks!

While writing this guide, I had just one aim in mind: to help you finally surmount your business naming challenges and easily create a glorious business name fast.

With the in-depth information I have provided, I trust you will be able to achieve this.

Which of the business name styles turned out to be your favorite? Conflated, alliterative, any other?

Also, if you’d like for me to have a look at your business names, feel free to talk to me and explain why you chose them.

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About the Author

Zoé King is a successful digital entrepreneur and creator who founded SHiFTCADEMY.COM as a way to help awesome people like you find legitimate and future-proof income ideas so you can make money and shift your life forward!

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