Student sells his own name online

19:32, May 14 2012
Alex Brown
NAME CHANGE: Alex James Brown is allowing the highest bidder to choose his new middle name.

A cash-strapped Auckland student has started a Trade Me auction where the winning bidder will be legally allowed to give him a new middle name.

Alex James Brown, a full-time first-year Media Design School student, is hoping to raise funds to start his own business.

"The business idea is based around website hosting and design," he said. "There are not too many direct hosting companies in New Zealand that use their own servers."

"I'd base it around students more officially and would hope to partner with universities so we could provide the service for under $4 a month."

The 18-year-old, known as AJ, has put the Trade Me auction reserve at $1000, but hopes bidding will reach $5000 so he can buy his own server.

And with a student loan of $9000, which will grow over his next three years of study, the Coatesville resident said he didn't want to land himself with more debt by trying to start his company at the same time.

"I didn't want to get into debt with a loan and I wanted to do something different," he said.

"A guy overseas did something similar thing a couple of years ago and a company bought the rights to change his name."

Brown will legally change his name for 10 years and the only restriction he has is that it can't be offensive. He will also donate 20 per cent of the proceeds to a charity chosen by the winning bidder.

While the entrepreneur's parents were initially unhappy with the auction, they're now backing their son.

"There was initially some talk about disrespect, because your parents give you your name so why would you want to change it? But they've now said they're happy to support me. They're also happy I'm showing initiative to raise money."

Brown said he would use his new full name on Twitter, Facebook and business cards to give it some exposure.

To change his name, Brown will have to pay $180, sign his paperwork stating his new name in front of a witness, and have the form signed by a Justice of the Peace.

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