Kids named after Google and Windows Vista and why their parents did it

Four years before Like Adler’s earthly debut, a baby girl named Vista Avalon Simser, named after the Microsoft Windows operating system, was born.

Her dad, a software developer named Bil Simser, wrote at the time that if he and his wife had had a boy, his first name would have been Dev, for developer, and his initials would have been DOS, the name of Microsoft’s former text-based operating system. Having a daughter would have been an upgrade, they joked, hence Vista.

“Vista (the operating system) hadn’t been released yet, but we looked at it on paper. Vista. I liked the sound of it. True, it was spawned from the name of Microsoft’s next operating system but it was also a word seeded in the Italian language (from visto) meaning a sight,” he wrote.

While the Simsers, Adlers and Kais bestowed their children with brand names for free, other enterprising parents cashed in on their choices.

At the start of the dot-com crash, an American couple reportedly received $5,000 for naming their son after the Internet Underground Music Archive, or Iuma for short.

“My wife liked the idea because the child’s grandma said this baby would bring prosperity, and this contest could be what she was talking about,” father Travis Thornhill told the BBC at the time. “Plus, the kid will have a cool story when he grows up.”

The start-up imploded not long afterward, though, and based on Facebook, it seems that Iuma Dylan-Lucas Thornhill just goes by Dylan now.

Laurel Sutton, co-founder of professional naming company Catchword, says that names given for publicity or prizes rarely stick. And without an official sponsorship, a brand might not want the attention of having a baby named after it.

“Unless the company is sponsoring it, they would likely feel a bit ambivalent about it,” said Sutton. “On the one hand, it gets them more publicity and you want brand evangelists. But on the other, what if that kid grows up to be a serial killer? Companies like when their brands are used in ways they can control.”

While the state of Sonora, Mexico did pass a law in 2014 explicitly banning parents from naming their child Facebook, there haven’t been any recent news stories about kids getting saddled with high-tech names. An opposite scenario has caused trouble instead: A mother recently went viral after she wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about how her daughter, Alexa, has faced merciless teasing because of the company’s smart assistant.

“Kids are telling her, ‘Turn on my TV, tell me today’s weather,'” the mother told NBC New York. “They laugh at her and treat her like a servant, and this has been an ongoing issue, everywhere we go.”

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