Learn about Sphinn

A wiser man than myself once said “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” If that’s the case, we really need to get to the bottom of this ‘Sphinn’ mystery.

Not familiar with Sphinn? If you’re interested in search marketing, it would be a good idea to introduce yourself to this wonderful website. According to their webpage, Sphinn is “a social site for search and interactive marketers. It’s designed to allow you to share and discover news stories, read and take part in discussions, discover events of interest and network with others.” In other words, it’s basically like Digg, but for search marketing. You can find all sorts of popular news on search marketing, social media, online marketing, etc.

But that’s not important. Sure I could tell you about their many features and how to effectively use Sphinn to your advantage, but that isn’t the issue here.

How can we visit this site on a regular basis if we don’t even know how to pronounce its name? Imagine having to greet the same coworker every day and not knowing if you’re pronouncing their name correctly. Trust me, it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved.

So where do I start? Normally I would start with myself, but I really don’t know how to answer this question. Logic tells me that the correct way to pronounce this exotic word is ‘spin’. After all, there’s no such thing as a ‘sfinn’, is there? It does sound a bit Swiss, but after checking the Swiss dictionary that I always keep on hand, looks like I’m out of luck. Spasterkapp? That’s a word. Spegilbild? That’s in there too. Sphinn? No dice. Just to be sure, I also checked the “unofficial” Swiss dictionary (IKEA.com). Nope.

But on the other hand, we can’t just ignore the presence of the ‘ph’. After all, if the creators of Sphinn wanted to be pronounced ‘spin’, why not just take Spinn.com? Or if that was taken, why not Spiin.com? No, I’ve got a feeling that the ‘h’ is there for a reason. This is turning into The DaVinci Code all of the sudden.

I decide to go straight to the source. Surely Sphinn’s website must have some clue as to how to correctly pronounce their own name. After a few minutes of searching, I stumble onto this little tidbit toward the end of their ‘About’ page:

Finally, why Sphinn? We liked the idea of a place where marketers could put their own spin on news by commenting on stories or having discussions. But spin.com was taken, as was spinn.com and sphinnn.com was a N too far, we felt. So we went with sphinn.com, pronouncing it “sp-hinn.”

So there you go. An answer straight from the cyber-horse’s mouth. Speaking of horses, with this mystery solved, looks like it’s time for me to ride off into the sunset like Harrison Ford at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Another job well done by…

Wait a minute…

Does that say ‘sp-hinn’? Is that supposed to be ‘spin’? Or is that ‘spa-hinn’? So now we have ‘sfinn’ and ‘spin’ AND ‘spahinn’???

Sigh…back to work.

After more research, I come across an old story about ClickZ.com. Apparently when they first launched, the correct pronunciation was ‘clickzzzz’, but so many people started referring to it as ‘click-zee’ that it became the correct pronunciation and is how the site is known to this day.

So really, this is a more democratic answer than I first expected. Instead of one dictator telling us how Sphinn should be pronounced, it’s really up to us out here on the internet to decide how it should be correctly pronounced. Mob rules? Sign me up!

To get my final answer, I took to the streets. And by streets, I mean the rest of the office here at SEO Inc. Not only did I ask my coworkers how they would pronounce Sphinn, but in some cases I also asked a few follow up questions as sort of a baseline control in my experiment. Some may call it boredom. I call it science. Let’s see how this plays out…

I didn’t think I could come out of that video any more confused than I was going in. I was wrong. Spin? Sfinn? Schvine? Steve?

Look, just call Sphinn whatever you want to and call it a day. Since there’s no official pronunciation, you won’t be right…but you won’t be wrong either. And sometimes in life, that’s good enough.

Now where’s Harrison Ford with my horse?

Riding off into the sunset

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