What's in a name?
Potentially, a lot of money.
That's what Jason Sadler believes, and it's the reason he is auctioning off his last name, at the aptly named website Buymylastname.com.
Yes, that's right. Sadler, the 30-year-old founder of Iwearyourshirt.com, is "subletting" his name to the highest bidder for a whole year.
What gives? Is Sadler just sick of his last name, or is this all a shameless publicity stunt?
Both, actually - along with a mini identity crisis. "Throughout my life, I've had three separate last names, none of which have carried any real meaning for me or my sense of identity," Sadler writes on his website. "Though I'm incredibly close with the members of my family, I've never gotten my sense of self from any family lineage or last name. Instead, my sense of self has come from the hard work I've put in to building my company."
So when his mother told him earlier this year that she was divorcing his stepfather, Sadler laughed and said, "Now I've got to change my last name, too!"
He was joking - sort of. But then he and his colleagues at I Wear Your Shirt, a marketing firm in Jacksonville, Fla., were brainstorming ways to get more exposure. And then it hit him. "I want to change my name anyway," he told ABC News. "Let's see what the world picks for me."
On Nov. 1, Sadler launched his website, with bidding set at zero. To date, 22 companies have placed a bid, with a high of $34,500 by JLabAudio. After the auction, which ends Dec. 12 at midnight, Sadler will legally change his name in the state of Florida, and on his Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts. Under the terms and conditions, Sadler is only requiring a 25 percent down payment, with the remaining 75 percent to be paid by Jan. 2, 2013.
"I'm going to buy a domain for whatever my new last name is," he said. "That will be my new personal blog for the next year." He will also use the new name as his byline for various articles and blog posts.
Sadler is no stranger to transforming gross self-promotion into lucre. Since founding his firm in 2008, Sadler has earned about $500,000 a year helping such companies as Doritos, Pepperidge Farm and Pizza Hut publicize themselves. For a fee of $3,000 per week, Sadler wears a shirt with the company logo. He'll also shoot promotional videos of himself in said shirt, which he shares with his 23,232 Facebook fans and 40,522 Twitter followers.
He even wore a shirt for Bill Cosby. "Cosby was launching a 'clean' hip-hop album, with no cursing, in 2009," said Sadler. "He launched his Facebook page then, too."
Sadler said he would invest the profits of his name change into his company, with 10 percent going to the charity Cheerful Givers, which provides birthday gift bags to disadvantaged children.
And when the year is up, who knows? "I'm not going to change it back to Sadler. I'll either pick a random last name or put it up for auction," he said. "I really haven't thought about it yet."
Jason Internet has a nice ring to it.
- Arts & Entertainment