Author's Corner: Jennifer Moss of babynames.com
We launched the site in 1996. I’m a computer programmer by trade, and I wanted to learn the web platform as well. I created this database of names and their meanings for a software program that I had produced. I decided to put it online and play around with it. The site just grew from there and became a business.
I love how everyone who works at babynames.com is a family member.
We are a true family-run business. The site grew to a point where I just couldn’t do it alone. I needed help with user support, the message board and other aspects of the site. So I recruited the smartest women I knew – my sisters – and we work together. Each one brings something different to the table. One has a Ph.D. in nursing, one is in marketing and one is in education.
Even your Mom is on the staff!
My mom Peggy owned a very successful daycare, and at babynames.com, she answers the child care issues and gives parenting advice.
Let’s talk about the site itself.
Currently, we get 1 ½ unique million visitors a month. There are over 12,000 names and their meanings on our website. By far, this is the biggest draw to the site. We wanted to be most accurate source online containing the most ethnically diverse names. There are many websites that propagate information from other sources, but we don’t. We actually hire name experts, (true scholars in the field) to make sure everything is accurate.
What are the trends in names today?
There’s a big trend in the boys side to go for Irish and Celtic names. Braden, Aiden and Owen are very popular. As for girls, it’s a reversion to old names, such as Emma, Olivia, and Isabella. Another trend for girls is to use the surname, like Madison; for boys, it’s Jackson. People are taking surnames from their family tree and then honor the whole branch by using that name.
How did you choose your daughter’s name?
My daughter is Miranda, and that’s my husband’s mother’s maiden name. I chose it even before we were married!
Now, what was the impetus for the book?
I always wanted to publish a book as a companion to the site. I wanted the book to glean information from the database, but also from the visitors, too. We get great data and stories from them. We actually have input from millions of visitors. We got quotes from people who have common and uncommon names and how they feel about their names. It’s totally unique.
As Jennifer’s, our name was super popular in the 70’s.
It became popular from the movie Love Story. That’s when it exploded.
As a Jennifer, which do you prefer: Jennifer, Jen, or Jenny?
I prefer Jennifer or Jen, because I was a Jenny as a little girl. When I was a teenager, I said, “Don’t ever call me Jenny again.” [laughs]
What projects do you have coming up?
We just released an iPhone application that we’re excited about. And we’re going to integrate more social networking on the site. We’re also working on a second book strictly related to celebrity baby names from the past to current celebrities. Celebrities tend to be more creative when naming their babies. We definitely want to cover that subject; it should be really interesting and fun!
What are some important things for parents-to-be to consider when naming their baby?
When they’re making their name list, it’s good to set time aside to “namestorm”. This is one of the most important decisions you’re going to make together. It’s good to consider the initials, and make sure you’re not including too many people in the decision! Most of all, it has to be something you truly love.
For more information on babynames.com, please click here. For more info on The One-In-A-Million Baby Name Book, please click here.