User Generated Content: Selling Naming Rights for Your Baby

by Marianne Richmond on April 6, 2006

An article in the Wall Street Journal notes, "A little boy came into the world last Friday at 2:19PM, 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….for two weeks, paying $375."

Horizon Industries, a consulting firm, according to the WSJ has offered to purchase naming rights to the baby for the next two weeks…."Young ChamberMaster would then be called Horizon Industries." The article says its all in good fun and for a good cause.

Yes, I see. But according to an American Baby poll mentioned later in the article, 49% of respondents said they would consider accepting money in exchange for naming rights to their babies. Sounds like lots of fun in the name of good causes!

Enough fun for now?.. Is this the ultimate example of user generated content? Newsweek in their recent cover story on The New Wisdom of the Web, which is all about user generated, not only provides a start up crib sheet (pun intended):

  • The smartest guy in the room is everybody.
  • Tom Sawyer was an early adopter. Fence painting was an early example of user generated content.
  • It’s all one web.
  • It’s not an audience, it’s a community.

Newsweek ends with the statement, "The web is where we live." Of course, now sell naming rights to your baby and go home. Hmmmm, now I wonder if all those people who asked me in 1994 if I named my son, Forrest, after the Tom Hanks character in,  Forrest Gump were onto something? Run Forrest, run.

Debi Jones in a great post, at Mobile Jones and at Blogher, states that User Generated Media Must Die and discusses a post by Derek Powazek where he writes, "Calling the beautiful, amazing, brilliant things people create online "user generated content" is like sliding up to your lady, putting your arm around her and whispering, "Hey baby, let’s have intercourse." Or selling the naming rights for the "outcome" and making the baby into media.

Debi poses some interesting questions about ownership, copyright infringement and rights to content. As everything, including babies, become a media channel it will become more and more important to understand these definitions in disintermediated media.

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