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What's in a Name - in $?

  • Ted Landphair

Lovely name. Means honeybee in Greek. Would you change it to Ugly or Stupid for the right price?

Lovely name. Means honeybee in Greek. Would you change it to Ugly or Stupid for the right price?

After some market research, we could easily put an estimated dollar value on a company's name. Often it's worth so much that a Coca-Cola or Ford or Yahoo, say, will go to great lengths to protect it and keep it from being misused by somebody else.

But what is YOUR name worth? Would you change it if someone paid you to take a different one?

Your name here?

Your name here?

It's been done. Most recently, a 19-year-old Wisconsin man, Calvin Gosz, put his name up for sale on the online auction site e-bay. He had moved to Wisconsin in September, he told the Associated Press, but hadn't had any luck finding work and badly needed money. His name was just about all that he owned.

If people can have a name like 'Mercedes' for free, why wouldn't McDonald's pay me to have 'Ronald McDonald' for a name? Gosz asked. The clown character Ronald McDonald is the hamburger chain's mascot.

In his buy-my-name-please listing, Gosz wrote: Literally will change it to anything: corporation names, toilet humor, random letters, you name it.

The old Mr. Gosz (and new Mr. Con) might have better luck with his new persona here. This is Helsinki.

The old Mr. Gosz (and new Mr. Con) might have better luck with his new persona here. This is Helsinki.

Gosz set a minimum bid of $5,000. So he certainly had no trouble setting a value on his name.

Sure enough, a Finnish electronics company, Verkkokaupa, took him up on his offer, submitting the only bid at his asking price.

So Calvin Gosz says that as soon as he can get down to the courthouse to officially change his name, he will become Verkkokaupa Com – the last name, Com, presumably referring to the company's .com Web address.

The man formerly known as Calvin may be surprised that a lot of people he meets won't bat an eyelash when he introduces himself as Verkkokaupa. There are a lot of Scandinavians in the northland state of Wisconsin!

Read more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted Landphair's America.

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