I've been thinking about brand names a lot lately, both within the context of domain names, as I wrote about on Saturday, and within the wider realm of popular appeal.
There seems to be a general tradeoff between abstraction and defined description. Abstract brand names, such as Twitter and Google, are usually quite interesting and can be mysterious. Sometimes they are difficult to spell or initially remember. But once entered into personal memory, these types of names are usually more difficult to forget. Descriptive brand names, such as General Motors or American Airlines, instantly express the offered product/service. They can be quickly explained but aren't necessarily memorable.
The Internet is riddled with the full spectrum. In many ways, the product/service dictates what spot on the spectrum to hit. But in the end, the choice of brand name most likely depends on the combinations of the entrepreneur's personal taste and the overall branding trends at the time of the company's conception.