The deal-of-the-day site Groupon is offering a most unusual purchase opportunity that is sure to generate attention and controversy. For $1,000, Groupon will name your baby "Clembough."
In the product's description, Groupon explains:
"All too often, the importance of a child's name takes a backseat to other "needs" such as food, shelter, and clothing. Groupon, the World's Foremost Authority in Baby Naming™, has stepped up to address this issue. Upon your child's birth, Groupon will relieve you of the burden of naming your baby by bestowing a specially selected, custom first name upon your infant son or daughter. Purchasers will e-mail Groupon with their voucher number, and we will e-mail you back with a name for your child based on the name's aesthetic value and for how it might look emblazoned on a trophy one day—for a child named by Groupon will grow tall and proud, and he or she will be a beacon of hope in a world that is in such desperate need of one. Don't settle for non-Groupon-approved names such as Kevin or Bridget—let us gift your sweet child with a moniker for the ages."
Just to be clear, the site is not offering you $1,000 to name your baby Clembough. It is charging you $1,000 for the so-called service. In the offer's "fine print," Groupon notes: "No substitutes or modifications. Spelling non-negotiable." In other words, you'd be paying the company $1,000 for a name they have already announced to the world. So is this offer for real?
The Chicago Sun-Times writes that a Groupon spokesperson confirmed that the offer is in fact legitimate. And according to the Groupon site, at least one person has actually paid for the service, though Groupon is not revealing the purchaser's identity. Business Insider says it thinks the offer is a "PR stunt" done in conjunction with Father's Day. After all, why pay $1,000 for Groupon to name your baby? If you've somehow fallen in love with the name "Clembough," there's really nothing standing in the way of prospective parents giving their newborn baby that name.
It's certainly possible that Groupon is both having a bit of fun and entirely willing to honor the terms of its deal. In the offer's discussion forum, a Groupon representative chimed in to address skeptical readers, writing:
"This is the most serious deal that Groupon has ever seriously run in its serious history."
And here's a little suggested reading for people tempted to go the unconventional route in naming their baby. The Freakonomics blog notes that research indicates people form more positive impressions of people with easy-to-pronounce names.