Update: Belly Ballot has confirmed that this contest was a hoax, and the mom-to-be who won was actually a paid actress.
You’ve cashed in all your old gold jewelry, and refinanced your car to save an extra bit each month. What else could you do in this tough economy to get some bonus cash in your pocket? These days, you could sell your baby’s name.
That’s what Natasha Hill, a pregnant woman from Los Angeles, ended up doing, reports the Herald Online. Belly Ballot, a social media site that lets you crowd-source opinions on your baby name choices, set up a contest on their blog to find a mom willing to relinquish her naming rights for $5000 in prize money. Hill was that mom. The voting begins March 18, and users will be allowed to choose from a name shortlist, determined by Belly Ballot. Hill’s baby is due in September.
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Belly Ballot’s move has garnered some criticism, though, especially from a Christian collective advocating for responsible parenting practices called The Rosa Cee Community. Their beef? “Social media sourcing of your child’s name is irresponsible parenting, plain and simple,” says co-founder and spokesperson Kasey Candela. “The contractual agreement is what we’re opposed to,” says Candela. “It much more distasteful since there’s money involved. Natasha is essentially selling her baby’s name like a billboard. In that context, where the child is being taken advantage of before he’s even born, I don’t see how this is a positive thing.”
Of course, Belly Ballot doesn’t see it that way. They’ve made it clear that Rosa Cee understands the true aim of the contest, insisting that it was just supposed to be fun and to raise awareness of the growing trend of social baby naming.
“Unfortunately, in some circumstances social media marketing can quickly turn from fun and creative to commercial rubbernecking,” says Rochelle Rich, a social media and communications expert from Orlando, Florida.
Would you relinquish your baby naming rights for cash? Did you use social media to get feedback on your baby name choices? Leave a comment