Unemployed US teenager gets curious new name - Verkkokauppa
By Elina Kervinen
For the first 19 years of his life an unemployed US teenager was known as Calvin Gosz, but after selling his naming rights to a Finnish consumer electronics retailer he is now called Verkkokauppa Com.
The contract says that Calvin Gosz, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin will legally change his name to Verkkokauppa Com in exchange for the asking price of USD 5,000 (ca. EUR 3,400).
The purchase was finalised on Friday night through the social networking site Facebook.
”Calvin’s idea was so funny that we absolutely wanted to get involved”, said Managing Director Samuli Seppälä from the Finnish consumer electronics retailer Verkkokauppa.com, explaining why the company wanted to perform such a marketing trick.
Earlier last week, Calvin Gosz put his naming rights up for auction on eBay, but eBay later removed the offer as inappropriate.
As the number of immigrants in the United States is high, the legislation regarding names is rather loose, which is why changing names in the country is relatively easy.
After the purchase was finalised, Verkkokauppa.com sent Gosz a down payment as well as some money for the name-change process.
As soon as Seppälä has received legal documents for the name-change - for example a new driving licence, the Finnish webstore company will pay the young man the remaining sum.
In addition, Gosz will get a further USD 5,000 if he is lucky and the news of his name-change hits the headlines of any national television channel in the USA.
”We have seen quite a number of different spellings of our company name, which is why we stressed that the name will have to be spelled correctly. Otherwise the young man could be left without the remaining sum of money”, Seppälä notes.
Gosz himself admitted that he was surprised to find a taker.
”I was pleasantly surprised that they actually transferred the money. Nice of them to help me out like that”, says Gosz on the website of The Sheboygan Press, the local newspaper in the Wisconsin town on Lake Michigan. There seems to be some confusion over the meaning of the new name Calvin has taken - the newspaper says "Verkkokauppa" means "catalogue", when it is closer to "online shop" or "online trading". But what's in a name, really?
Gosz says he moved to Sheboygan from Florida in September.
Since then he has filled out more than a dozen job applications without any luck. Now he plans to use the money to help him through school.
The young man believes that his family and friends will still call him Calvin even in the future.
”But people whom I have not met before will call me Verkkokauppa”, he adds.
Verkkokauppa.com is Finland’s second largest consumer electronics retailer, selling computers, home electronics, and mobile phones, as well as gaming and navigation products online and through its network of three stores, and via post offices and R-kiosks.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 8.11.2009
Verkkokauppa.com (in Finnish)
Article in The Sheboygan Press
ELINA KERVINEN / Helsingin Sanomat