I’m worth something!

My parents must have known something back on that snowy December day. As the flakes drifted around the state capitol dome, my mother took a break from folding towels and, more than a few hours later, gave birth to a kid who would be worth something one day. Now, some 34 years later, she can look back on all the time and effort she put into picking my name and realize it is worth $1,950 (plus transaction fees).

I don’t think it’s any big secret that I’m not my biggest fan. I generally wake up, look in the mirror, and mutter something to the effect of, “Oh, it’s you again.” I’ve embraced my self-loathing and actually welcome it on days in which I start to get a little cocky. I’m a great reminder to myself that, on par, I pretty much suck.

And, yet, sometimes I get crazy ideas in my head and try to think to the future. Thinking past tomorrow (or today for that matter) is not my strong suit. Yesterday, however, I thought, “You know, Otis, it might be a good idea to own your own domain name.”

Now, I own a few domain names, nearly all of them poorly conceived and purchased like a bobblehead doll at the checkout counter of my local grocery store. Despite being rather savvy when it comes to matters of the ether (mmmmm, ether), I never got around to purchasing one particular domain name…my own damned name. In large part, I think I never bought my name because I thought, “Why would I ever need that?” and, more pointedly, “Why would anyone ever want that?” Self-loathing, in addition to being perfect for cocktail parties, can be quite comforting, if a bit expensive.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to buy my name, if only to have it around as a constant memory (and yearly invoice) of my continued lackluster life performance. Imagine my surprise when I realized my name was off the market. There are only a few of me out there and none of them are that special–a guy who writes car reviews, some guy in the music industry, a porn photogrpaher (really), and a character from some Aussie soap opera. I’m not famous by any stretch, unless you count You Tube crayon eating fame, and that only counts for the $400 endorsement deal I got. I was nearly certain I could get my name on the cheap.

The trading of domain names is a very popular speculation game. Buy the right name today and you could be rich tomorrow. Obviously, someone out there thought it would be a good idea to pick up my name while it was cheap, just in case I started dating Angelina Jolie or something (we were so close, until that Pitt character stumbled into the picture). [Quick digression: Brad Pitt and I not only share a first name. We also share a hometown, university, and major. I graduated. He didn’t. He’s rich and beautiful. I do many things in a very average way. Life is funny sometimes.]

After owning the domain name for six years, I figured the company would realize it wasn’t worth jack. I thought, even if the domain herder wanted to stick it to me, I could get the name for $100–a price that still seems ridiculous to pay for a name that carries little weight in the world of people who care about anything. So, I sent an e-mail requesting a quote. I lined up my budget–a few crisp PayPal dollars–and waited to buy myself.

The response? Here it is, edited only slightly.

That is a very high traffic name and gets approximately 325,000 results at search engines such as google.com. Your first name is the 219th most popular first name in the United States and your last name is the 172nd most popular last name. There are thousands of successful people with this name, such as writers, athletes, doctors and lawyers – only one can own this domain. This makes this domain name valuable. In fact should you ever desire to sell it on the open market
you would probably realize a good profit.

Our asking price for this domain is $1,950 (plus transaction fees). If you are interested, we will mail you an invoice with the simple instructions on how to legally acquire this name.


Ah, validation. People like me! They really like me! Or, more accurately, they like the idea of selling a worthless product for a stupid amount of money.

I normally wouldn’t even respond. It’s hard to type in these situations. My response:

Hey. You guys are funny.

This experience has been enlightening and given me time to think. In the interim, I remembered how I can barely summon the will to show my face in public, let alone actually have to tell people they can find me on my own dot-com. So, it’s all for the best and my psyche is only slightly bruised.

Now, if I can just embrace the gray in my hair, I’ll be cured.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Da Goddess says:

    “I” ‘m not available either. Go figure. Even funnier, my IP has performed too many searches on whois.net already today so I can’t find out who owns me.

    Good stuff for so early in my morning. Thank you!

  2. Daddy says:

    You’ve inspired me.


  3. BJ Nemeth says:

    I googled myself about ten years ago, always assuming that “BJ Nemeth” was pretty unique. It wasn’t.

    Fortunately for my ego, I dominated the Google results, but I was surprised to find a few results for people who weren’t me. One “BJ Nemeth” was a member of a website about monster trucks. As soon as I saw that, my next internet stop was to purchase my still-available domain name. Glad I did.

    FYI, any Google results for my name involving poker, writing, running, politics, physics, time travel, graphic design, the U.S. Navy, Apple computers or iPods are probably me. I’m also the BJ Nemeth from Michigan, Georgia, California, and Nevada.

    All other Google results belong to “The Others.”

  4. joaquinochoa says:

    Quick digression: Brad Pitt and I not only share a first name. We also share a hometown, university, and major. I graduated. He didn’t. He’s rich and beautiful. I do many things in a very average way. Life is funny sometimes

    This was great.