I need to build something like

Please enter a company and product you would like to study. E.g. you can enter "Apple" and "iPhone."

But I don't want to implicitly promote any company or product here, including my own company or its products, competitors, random other companies, etc., and I don't want to have to maintain this example as the old becomes obsolete and the new becomes in.

"Acme" may be an example, of American cartoon lore. I still would need a product example that isn't too, you know, violent and I'm not sure this internationalizes well.

5 Answers 5



First and foremost, the company name references the Roadrunner cartoons.

But that cartoon didn't pick this name out of the blue; according to Wikipedia, the name has a history older than that:

The name Acme became popular for businesses by the 1920s, when alphabetized business telephone directories such as the Yellow Pages began to be widespread. There was a flood of businesses named Acme, including Acme Brick, Acme Markets, and Acme Boots. Early Sears catalogues even contained a number of products with the "Acme" trademark (...)

According to that same article, it has been used as a generic company name in other works of fiction before the Roadrunner cartoons.

Make it obvious that it's a company

You don't want to distract the user from the task at hand. You don't want them to need to figure out it's a company name they need to enter in that field.

Using a well-known fictional company name, that is known by your audience to be fictional, will achieve that. Don't be humourless, but don't distract with jokes that are too clever.

Another option would be coming up with a name yourself, but again, make it obvious that it's a company.


I tend to use Massive Dynamic for a company and widgets for a product.

Massive Dynamic has a nice generic sounding name, and while many people aren't familiar with the TV show Fringe, it gets a chuckle out of the ones that are.

A widget is a fictional product and has a lot of industry-wide acceptance for being a placeholder for a real product.


This is an interesting question, and it's fun to see what other people use for their 'placeholders'. To answer your question, I'm not aware of any 'standard' fake company.

I would suggest evaluating your user interface to ensure the user understands what a company or product really is. How can you achieve this? Using consistent language throughout the product is one way, as well as ensuring the language used fits the target audience. If I, the user, understands fully the purpose of entering a company and product then I don't really need an example to get the task done. However, if this is my first introduction to the concept then it'll be harder to understand. It depends on context here a lot, so more info would be helpful.

If you really have to go with an example, I'd use your own company, depending on the context of that. Any other company is a subtle promotion, and a fake company may not actually achieve the desired effect. If I see,

E.g. you can enter "Ventoice" and "Urteltron"

that doesn't actually provide me with any information.

In summary, it depends on your context. If your users are casual, you can probably get away with a well established TV-show joke. If you're doing serious work, this might not fly. Instead of relying on the examples, I'd recommend supporting the interface with enough background information and relevant language to teach the user enough so that they don't need examples. Good luck!


Most large companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc. have a list of legally cleared generic company names and even person names to be used in mock-ups, documentation, etc. So, if you are working for one of these, consult these companies and request a list of generic company/person names.

  • 1
    Interesting, at the time I was working for one of these and we were sitting in a room not knowing what to put in our UI.
    – djechlin
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 19:36

Well, the company name should obviously be Initech.

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