You Can Pay People To Name Your Baby For You, But Maybe It's Not As Weird As It Sounds
As someone who can't even come up with a decent name for a Word document, I will be the first to admit that trying to name your kid — a living, breathing, human person — sounds pretty daunting. But there's good news: For only $29,000, there's an agency that will name your baby for you. And if that's not the weirdest thing you've ever heard, turns out that, believe it or not, they aren't the only agency to offer this service. I know, I can't get my mind around it, either.
Once upon a time, picking baby names involved lots of couple conversations over the dinner table or time spent on the couch doing searches on BabyNames.com, but why go through all that trouble when you could have a stranger do it for you? According to a recent piece about the trend on Bloomberg, the Switzerland-based agency Erfolgswelle, run by Mark Hauser, went from just naming companies to also naming people last year. They charge $29,000 for the service — but hey, they also spend 100 hours picking out each name. And lest you think they're just heartless data nerds putting variables into a formula, turns out Hauser thinks that such an approach is too cold. The firm does look at data about a name's associations and have historians check for any unfortunate pasts. But they put more thought into it than just going over the data. And after two to three weeks and a few thousand dollars, they give you the perfect name for your baby.
And there are also people who do the same thing in the United States. Sherri Suzanne runs My Name for Life in New York, and her services are much more affordable, starting at just a few hundred dollars. She told Bloomberg she spends about 30 hours on each name report, and looks at a wide variety of variables.
"While some criteria, like name popularity, can be measured and ranked objectively, I find that other qualities, like morality of a name or likelihood for success, are very subjective and vary from person to person, community to community and particularly generation to generation,” said Suzanne to Bloomberg. She also said she tries to make sure a name fits a family's cultural background as well.
While it might seem that parents who pay someone else to name their child are basically outsourcing their parental responsibilities — after all, this is one of the biggest decisions you make for your kid; shouldn't you want to actually make it? — both Hauser and Suzanne say the parents they work with tend to be very involved. And I'm assuming they're also pretty loaded, because whether you're talking $500 or almost 30 grand, it's hard to imagine most people paying for something they could manage all on their own for free.
So are we headed to a world where "designer names" are going to be a thing? Who knows. And while this may seem strange, it's not as though parents are always the best about making naming decisions on their own. Plus, there are lots of places, such as India or South Korea, where getting people to help you name your child is the norm — though I don't think those people are typically part of a Swiss advertising agency. But there was that guy who let the Internet name his baby, too, so you could definitely do worse than a Swiss ad agency.
Personally, though, the idea of someone else getting to name your kids is already weird enough. I mean, no shame to people who want to get some help with the process, but for me the act of naming someone just feels way too personal to trust with strangers.