Skip to main content

What's in a name? Man auctions surname

By Ramy Inocencio, for CNN
December 14, 2012 -- Updated 0053 GMT (0853 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Winning bidder pays $45,500 to change surname to "Headsets.com"
  • American entrepreneur Jason Sadler will assume new last name for 2013
  • Sadler: "Mom going through divorce, I don't need this last name anymore"
  • Highest bidder gets to name Sadler but legally retains "last right of refusal"

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- Some people might give you the shirt off their back for free. Others might give you their last name -- for a fee.

"I just saw an opportunity -- my mom is going through a divorce and I don't need this last name anymore," explained 30-year old entrepreneur Jason Sadler, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. "I thought 'How am I going to find a new last name?' well 'Why not just sell it?'"

To many, the idea of selling off the family surname might be crazy. Sadler says he wants to reinvest the money he makes into other "fun marketing things" and "give 10% of it to charity."

The bidding ended December 13 on Sadler's website -- buymylastname.com -- and the winning bidder will pay $45,500 for Sadler to change his name to Jason Headsets.com.

For all of 2013, Sadler will legally assume the new surname decided by the winning bidder and will need to change all official forms of identification.

The legal process may take several weeks, according to the Florida state courts system, and involves submitting fingerprints for a state and national criminal check, the associated cost for processing, a court date to consider the name change request and a judge's final approval.

The reason I say that is that I don't want this last name anymore. The name Sadler doesn't mean anything to me anymore. And for me I want to work with a brand.
Jason Sadler

This is not Sadler's first attempt at a more creative -- if unorthodox -- moneymaking scheme. In 2009, the entrepreneur started wearing the shirts of other companies, serving as a walking ad space for a day. He pulled in more than $66,000 on top of his regular day job that first year. That start-up still operates today at iwearyourshirt.com.

Watch: Human advertising in space

Sadler, interviewed earlier in the week by CNN, rejects the idea that he is selling out.

"The reason I say that is that I don't want this last name anymore. The name Sadler doesn't mean anything to me anymore. And for me I want to work with a brand. I live in this kind of online marketing world and I'm very passionate about it. If I said I'll take any casino or pornography site -- that would be selling out."

Sadler set some guidelines before the winning bid.

"I had some legalese written up. If you read the terms and conditions -- nothing political, nothing religious, nothing defaming anybody. There's been a lot of talk on the internet about giving me a dumb last name. It's just not going to happen. I have the last right of refusal."

Beyond 2013, Sadler says he might do it over again and represent someone new or just "pick a random name from the phone book."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1537 GMT (2337 HKT)
Cyprus, the tiny Mediterranean island bailed a year ago, is starting to rebuild itself, the finance minister tells CNN.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1157 GMT (1957 HKT)
Mobile World Congress spans the full spectrum of untethered gadgetry Explore this year's top trends with Stuff Magazine Editor Will Findlater.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 1203 GMT (2003 HKT)
CNN's John Defterios says India's election race will likely boil down to three simple numbers: growth, inflation and interest rates.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
More than a million Londoners live in flatshares. And while this used to be associated with students, more mature people find themselves sharing.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1050 GMT (1850 HKT)
Nina Dos Santos visits Baselworld the world's most prestigious event for top jewelry and watch brands.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
Will Xi Jinping's historic visit to the European Union headquarters help the Chinese leader get what he needs from the EU?
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Binnaz Saktanber says many feel trapped between their brains, telling them to leave Turkey, and hearts, which tell them to stay.
April 1, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
"I thought I'd sold it," says Norwegian man who left luxury boat in marina two years -- with keys tied to railings. What happened?
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
The United Kingdom is champagne's biggest export market. CNN's Isa Soares reports on what's driving sales.
March 26, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
"Sorry, I don't go south of the river," was once a common refrain from London taxi drivers. Not anymore. South London is booming.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1834 GMT (0234 HKT)
The list of Russians targeted by Western sanctions includes people from Vladimir Putin's inner circle -- including his judo sparring partner.
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Her passion for public speaking and networking have earned Julia Hobsbawm the moniker "queen of networking." What is her secret?
Google Glass is trying to shed its public relations problem of a nerdy image by teaming up with the company behind Ray-Bans and Oakley sunglasses.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1337 GMT (2137 HKT)
European leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss further sanctions against Russia. But they are likely to be cautious. Here is why.
ADVERTISEMENT