Identity for Sale

March 17th, 2006 by Larry Smith

The Wall Street Journal’s Jeffrey Zaslow writes about the latest trend in personalization: selling the rights to your baby’s name.

A little boy came into the world last Friday at 2:19 p.m., weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces. His name: ChamberMaster Mead — after a software company that won the naming rights in a charitable auction mounted by his father.

Chris Mead, a vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, hoped to use his son’s birth to raise money for the organization’s scholarship fund. The company, ChamberMaster, which sells Web-based software to chambers of commerce, bought naming rights for two weeks, paying $375.

A consulting firm, Horizon Industries, has offered to purchase naming rights to the infant for the two weeks after that. Young ChamberMaster would then be called Horizon Industries Mead. Eventually, when corporations lose interest in the boy, he’ll go by the name John Douglass Mead, a source tells me. (OK, that source is his eye-rolling mother, Laura.)

And then there’s this: For $19.95 and up, a company called Save a Saying, will let you add your favorite phrase to its international registry and send you or the lucky recipient of this gift a certificate and laminated registration card. You go, girl.