Emsisoft is not Emisoft – Let’s talk about our name for a moment

  • November 20, 2017
  • 3 min read


Back in 2003 when I founded the business, I was researching for weeks for a nice company name. My main objective was that it should be easy to pronounce in most languages around the world. Any special characters such as the German umlauts (ä, ö, ü) were a no-go, as were accents and two-vowel combinations that are pronounced differently in other languages, like “eu”, “ae”, “ei” and so on.

Then I thought, okay, let’s give it some really cool, security-related name. But the truth is, I simply couldn’t identify with any combinations of virus/spyware/adware/malware/threat/pest/hacker-stopper/blocker/defender/destroyer/sweeper/buster/doctor/protection. I was actually looking for something that stands for a solid and honest business and not just start another short-lived buzzword brand name.

What led me to choosing the rather neutral “Emsi”

As a person who likes efficiency, my self-chosen nickname on ICQ in the early Internet days (pre 2000) was simply “mc”. Two letters – my initials. I spent quite some time on the newly established online chats, where I met lots of interesting people, some of whom are still my friends or business partners today. One of them thought it would be a funny idea to call me “Emsi”, which is the German notation of the English pronunciation of the letters “M” and “C”.

Emsi sounded more like an actual name, rather than initials, so I kept using it as my online nickname. Since my search for a fancy techy name didn’t lead anywhere (congratulations to the guys at Malwarebytes in that regard!), I chose “Emsisoft” as the new company name. A quick trademark search revealed that it wasn’t taken by anyone else yet, so I applied for the trademarks in various countries.

What’s the thing with “Emisoft”?

Honestly, I don’t know why, but at least one in ten people miss the “s” in “Emsisoft”. A quite high percentage of our website visitors google “Emisoft”, but Google shows results for the correctly spelled name “Emsisoft” anyway (thanks, Google!).

And that’s not the only search typo. Our website analytics show there are people coming to us through various search phrases like “emisisoft”, “mc soft”, “emissoft”, “emsisift” “emmisoft”, “emsisof”, “emsissoft”, “esmisoft”, “emsysoft” and “emsisfot” (okay, the last one is probably just a common typo).

But after running the business for more than 14 years, I still feel sorry for the unintended harm we do to the folks at “Emisoft“. Yes, it really exists! The Norwegian company specializes in environmental management systems and is not related to Emsisoft in any way. This is a prime example of how one letter can have a major impact on perception and confusion. If I knew that the first “s” in “Emsisoft” would be invisible (for some reason) to so many people, I probably would have chosen a different name.

A funny anecdote

Founding a company in Austria was always a bureaucratic nightmare. I initially applied for the business name “Emsisoft” but it was rejected by the authorities. The law back then required the name to be descriptive of the nature of the business, and they argued that “soft” could stand as well for a toilet paper manufacturer. Not joking! So, I initially had to go for “Emsi Software”, which our early customers may still remember.

Luckily, that funny law was made obsolete a couple of years later so I was able to officially rename the business to “Emsisoft”. During our move to New Zealand, the name was kept, of course.

So much about big naming decisions.

Have a great malware-protected day with “Emsisoft”!

Christian Mairoll

Founder & Managing Director



Emsisoft founder and managing director. In 1998 when I was 16, a so called 'friend' sent me a file via ICQ that unexpectedly opened my CD-ROM drive, which gave me a big scare. It marked the start of my journey to fight trojans and other malware. My story

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