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Baby's Name to the Highest Bidder

By dave920 in MLP
Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 09:46:11 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

An article on CNN.com titled "What's in a name? Child's name offered to highest bidder" reports on two parents who are offering to name their unborn child after a corporate sponsor. Jason Black and Frances Schroeder placed listings at online auction sites eBay and Yahoo! Auctions, saying that they will name their soon-to-be-born boy after anyone who offers the highest bid. The minimum bid is $500,000.

These two parents already have two children, and see their corporate sponsored third child as a way to purchase a house and start saving for their children's college education.

Does anyone else see anything inherently wrong with this? (Rhetorial question.) While it appears that, legally, the parents are allowed to do this, I would frown on any corporation (or individual) that even made a bid on the unborn child's name, let alone had a winning bid. The torment the child would receive throughout his youth would be almost inescapable, simply because his name is that of a corporation.

Some details I would love to see on this situation is any additional legal clauses that would be in this agreement. These may include a clause that forbids the corporate baby to change his name (which would most likely become voidable at age 18), and whether or not the company that named the the boy would insure him.


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Baby's Name to the Highest Bidder | 18 comments (18 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Segfault story (3.83 / 6) (#1)
by SlydeRule on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:21:05 AM EST

Segfault has a story up, about one possible outcome.

A better question: (4.50 / 4) (#3)
by DoomHaven on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:43:55 AM EST

When can a child legally change his name?

Continuing on, how is this different than naming a child after an un-related person, such as, say, *Martin Luther* King? How many children were named "Elvis" after the singer? My mother named me after her favourite entertainer, and despite knowing that, I am not changing my (Real Life) name. Hell, my nomme de Net (DoomHaven) was originally used to name the first base I would create in X-Com 2: Terror From The Deep (I still like the name; it is a very unique name and it still sounds cool).

Lastly: I know my children are going to hate the names I given them. When they turn 18, I will give them the money to legally change their name if they choose. The first time.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Torment & Gateway to more money (4.40 / 5) (#2)
by duxup on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 02:42:24 AM EST

I saw the parents being interviewed on TV. They noted that they wouldn't accept any pornographic names because it would be tasteless and the child might be teased.

I found this logic to be both idiotic, and backwards. First I think selling a child's name (an important part about his/her identity) to a corporation for $ rather than naming the child themselves like many happy parents says something about the parents feel about the child.

Second, I'm pretty sure if they accepted something like autobytel.com the child will be teased for his/her entire life. However, considering current trends in our society if he/she were pk.com (I assume that's still a porno site, I'm at work so I can't check). Somewhere around the time the child and his/her friends & classmates hit puberty, that will be one kick ass name!

I also highly doubt that just selling the name the real plan here. Obviously, no company just wants to buy this kids name and leave it at that. If they were to shell out the money they're going to want commercials and all kinds of stuff, and thus more money.

If only the dotcom boom wasn't over (3.71 / 7) (#4)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 03:45:38 AM EST

Half a million dollars so some kid can be called "Nike" or "IBM"? Sounds like a collosal waste of money.

This is the kind of thing that could have happened during the idiocy of the dotcom boom which makes good fireside chat for a few days but is not half a million in publicity.

Well, it still is happening (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by baptiste on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:02:57 AM EST

Believe it or not its still happening - two kids bound for college put up a website saying they'd become corporate spokspeople and wear all sorts of clothes with corporate logos, etc if a company paid their tuition. Sure enough - FIrst USA bit, is paying for their college education adn the guys are walking First USA billboards. They do beach parties during spring break and other publicity stunts and events. This is just taking it to another level - one that makes you want to smack some parents upside the head.

No matter what this kids name ends up being, its real name is high school will be 'sell-out'
Top Substitutions For 'Under God' In The Pledge Of Allegiance
[ Parent ]

Well (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by skim123 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 12:10:04 PM EST

I went to college for four years and my total bill came to well under $25,000, which is well under $500,000. Also, credit card companies want college kids to sign up for credit cards in a Bad Way - the kid gets in over his head, mom and dad bail him/her out.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
Re: If only the dotcom boom wasn't over (4.50 / 2) (#6)
by WWWWolf on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 07:35:27 AM EST

Half a million dollars so some kid can be called "Nike" or "IBM"? Sounds like a collosal waste of money.

...but then again, a girl being named after the greek goddess of victory would be nice, even for free =)

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

[ Parent ]
With respect to that link (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by aphrael on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:19:58 AM EST

it wasn't just a .com-boom thing; there's a town in new mexico which named itself after a popular game show (Truth or Consequences) during the television boom of the 50s.

[ Parent ]
And the childs name is Micro$oft (3.00 / 3) (#7)
by BobRoy on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 08:02:21 AM EST

Well some are willing to do the funniest things to get some money. I'm glad my name isn't Microsoft, or even worse "the hun." What if a large pornsite outbid the rest :)

Huh... Get born, go to school, save some money (500.000) then start a firm and name it after you.

If it's wet, Drink it!

Much as the parents would probably disagree... (3.80 / 5) (#8)
by jd on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 09:05:09 AM EST

The name -does- define the child, to a very large degree. It defines what they do, how they interact, what peer groups they fit into, etc.

In essence, then, what they are selling is not just the "naming rights", but the child itself. This is NOT "adoption", as the parents are still taking care of it. Adoption is arguably ethical. This is not. This is some variant on child slavery.

Isn't that going a bit too far?

Maybe not. Think about it. As other posters have noted, the company will want SOMETHING for their money. A poster child would be great. Lots of media attention even better. But that requires that the company (and the parents) have ABSOLUTE power over that child. Not just the routine stuff, but total dominion. That child has no power to say no, to expect fair and decent treatment, or to expect a nurturing environment.

The only environment they'll know is an insidious, cruel one.

The parents aren't interested in the child's well-being. They want to get rich, quick, using a new scam. The companies aren't interested in the child's well-being. They want the publicity and cash-flow that it can generate.

If, at some age, those parents and the winning company jointly realise that the child has no more cash value alive, but a "mysterious accident" could rake in a little more, what's the kid's life-expectancy?

That's a bit dramatic, isn't it? Surely they wouldn't go that far?

Why not? What's the difference? The parents are already seeing cold cash as more meaningful than a warm child. Is it REALLY so "obvious" to say that that life is going to suddenly start meaning more, when the cash-flow starts running out?

Parents regard children as property. And, arguably, someone has to be responsible for them. The child isn't capable of full, cognitive, logical thinking from the word go. And, even if they were, they wouldn't have the knowledge to be able to make use of that.

However, there is a world of difference between being responsible and owning the child. The child is not a car, or a coffee mug. I hope that this is challanged, and that children are liberated from this semi-legal slavery.

18 years later... (4.40 / 5) (#9)
by MicroBerto on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 09:34:47 AM EST

So does the child get to sue his parents for $500,000 (or more) because of all the ridicule and mental stress he was put through because his/her name was Starbucks?

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
the way this should be handled (4.62 / 8) (#11)
by gtx on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 01:07:46 PM EST

some company should outbid all the rest (assuming anybody even bids, which i find unlikely) and then name the child something normal. i'd have much more respect for a company that helped save these children from their psychotic parents than i'd respect a company who named a child after the company.


i don't have anything clever to write here.
Maybe (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by duxup on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 08:09:25 PM EST

You might just have named the point.

[ Parent ]
I disagree (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by jesterzog on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:25:17 AM EST

I have mixed feelings about what you've just suggested, as I would be quite repelled from any company that thought it wise to give this couple any money at all.

The concept of selling their child's name to a corporate sponsor - let alone having a minimum bid of $500,000 - seems quite disgusting to me. They shouldn't be rewarded by some company who feels sorry for the child, or it will only encourage more parents to try to get away with it.

I hope most people would see it as an equally pathetic thing to do, and thereby encourage businesses to stay away from these types of dealings.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
by Warpedcow on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 04:38:24 PM EST

Here's the link to their auction... starts at $200G... no bidders (yet)



The only way this could be good advertising (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by coffee17 on Mon Jul 30, 2001 at 05:37:40 PM EST

would be for some corp to win the bidding rights, and then give the child a normal name, like Fred... it would be too much bad publicity to name the child "Microsoft Bob v2.0" and surely even the PR droids at most large companies would see that. Luckily for this soon-to-be kid the days of dot com money are mostly gone. Of course, with parents willing to do this the kid might be better off if the mother miscarries.

Corporate Name (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by scorpio66 on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 06:04:18 AM EST

I'd quite like to be called Jeeves - it has a touch of class about it. Not sure about fcuk, but I expect you'd get used to it. Damn site better than Kylie or Britney, imho.

The only way this can turn out well (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by acqant on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 01:47:19 PM EST

is if some evil empire actually did buy the name and the parents then said something to effect of

"We were curious to see just how far one (or many) corporations were willing to go to promote themselves in the ever growing sensationalistic marketing environment we that exists today. They should be offended at even considering such an offer!"

But I don't see that happening...unfortunatley.
On a side note.. It's times like this that I dream about winning the lottery. Not to buy houses and cars or travel but to punish people like this. Name the kid something like Myparentsarestupid.

Baby's Name to the Highest Bidder | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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