Latest WTF trend—paying people to name your baby

Not sure what to name your baby? There's now a service that can help. No, we are not joking.

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

Wine With Everything. Cherries in the Snow. Back to the Fuchsia. If you ask me, naming lipstick (or nail polish, or My Little Ponies, for that matter) would be a dream job. But being paid to name humans certainly never occurred to me as a career option.

According to a recent recent Bloomberg report, parents-to-be in the U.S. and Europe are paying experts to name their future kids. Yes, you read that correctly. In Switzerland, one agency's fee will run you close to $30,000 per name. In the U.S., you might find yourself paying only several hundred dollars. What a deal! But you'd better save your pennies if you’re considering a double name or want a professional to pick out the middle name, too.

These firms, which seem to be made up of former marketing people, research names to assure parents that their children’s names don’t come along with bad associations from history or mythology; that these names are unique and have positive meanings (some people think that can lead to your kid's future success). The report they provide is usually about 30 pages long. So in between doctor's appointments, setting up the nursery and napping, you can read this very long and detailed document.

With the rise of the Internet and popular sites such as Nameberry, I’m not surprised to see old-fashioned baby-naming books being replaced by online databases. But given that the Internet makes it so easy to research on one's own, the idea that one could open a specialized baby-naming firm is confounding to me. Why can't parents just name their kids themselves?!

I get being superstitious and wanting to give your kid the best chance in life with the name you pick. But do you really need to hire an expert for that? Just Google the meaning of your fave names and use that leftover $30,000 to open a college fund for your kid.

And while an expert—anyone, actually—could research past affiliations with a name, they can’t predict future ones. After all, they can’t account for what associations a name will have in that baby’s lifetime (unless they can predict the future, in which case that would surely be a service people could actually use).


Now some parents are using this service because they can't agree on a name, which is a legitimate issue. But maybe ask family members for their opinions. Heck, why not just flip a coin? Just don't spend money on something that is so personal. I chose to give my daughter the middle name Francis and used the masculine spelling. My family was none too happy about it, but I liked it. And that's what really mattered.

This article was originally published on Apr 22, 2016

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