When $700,000 Isn’t Life Changing Enough

by | Aug 23, 2013 | Uncategorized


In the middle of stripping beds and collecting a week’s worth of worn socks from the floor, I answered the phone, balancing a pile of crumpled dirty sheets on my hip. It was after I said hello that my brain synapses connected the first three digits on the screen.

I realized that I ran from the bedroom to the kitchen to answer a sales call. When the male voice on the line said he was with Go Daddy, I was apprehensive, then relieved.

Two days earlier, while scrolling through middle of the night emails, trying to wake myself up from my cozy spot in bed, I noticed I’d been charged for renewals of services for my website, services I’d never used in the first place. And  then I forgot about it.

I assumed the call was a follow up sales tactic, but I was wrong.

Bernard was actually calling to fix it. I quickly warmed up to his serious business voice infused with humor and startling honesty. At the end of our conversation I told him that I really don’t want all the domains I own, I just want a web address that’s my name.

“Let me check on it, maybe it’s available now,” he said traveling down a new tributary in our rambling exchange.

A few minutes later he told me what I already knew with added details. Two people are squatting on versions of my name and one of them is named Cheryl with a C. Go figure.

It was the first time it ever occurred to me that someone would be shrewd enough to buy up common names in order to make a profit.

I laid the heap of sheets down on my kitchen table when Bernard started down a haunt of storytelling that made me laugh and forget this was supposed to be a sales call.

It turns out that a few years ago, a forward thinking businessman bought the domain, 21st Century Fox, and 20th Century Fox has been trying to obtain it ever since. The last response to an offer of $700,000 by the movie making operation for the domain was this:  “It isn’t enough of a lifestyle change.”


While in a debate over money, the people at 20th Century Fox pointed out that acceptance of that kind of money would mean retirement on the beach.

The savvy businessman responded by holding up his phone to the sound of crashing waves and said, “I already live at the beach.”

Bernard joked, “I guess he’s holding on to that golden ticket for another 87 years.”

Yesterday while H sat at the bar in the kitchen, I stirred a pot of curry simmering on the stove and we debated the pros and cons of new Twitter handles. We discovered that most of the ones we brilliantly came up with were also the ideas of someone else last week, or five years ago. Many of those feeds boasted five followers and a couple of tweets.

They were squatting on the names and not using them.

I thought about the interview I watched on television recently with Author, Marisha Pessl. My brain did a flip when I learned that she was offered $615,000 for her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, at age twenty-seven. I’m still reeling from the reality of that juxtaposition with authors I know who barely make a living on their marvelous, inspired books.

That amount of money was obviously life changing enough for her.

Somehow, that random sales call morphed into a modern day version of the parable of the talents. He gives platforms, domains, handles, status updates, pins, and images as an investment. When He asks what you did with them, how will you answer?

Because no one owns your name but God.

Linking with Kristen for Out of the Blue.

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  1. cheryl

    I just want to say that I am not the Cheryl with “C” that has your name.

    • Shelly Miller

      You are so funny. Love you Cheryl.

  2. Sylvia Robertson @sylvrpen.com

    Yes, Shelly, my blog originally was to have my own name, but, somebody had “squatted on” it and was offering it to me for sale. Buy my own name? You said it: no one owns my name but God.

    • Shelly Miller

      I know it seems ridiculous doesn’t it?

  3. Lynn Morrissey

    I know that it’s really vogue to use your own name now as your brand, website, and blog title, but I do like Redemption’s Beauty. It points to God and what He has done in and for you. I have a feeling He will direct just whom He wants to follow one who is using her platform wisely, for His glory.
    Love you, Miss Shelly Miller without a C.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Lynn, I agree. It comes down to letting him take care of the sand. *wink*

  4. Sarah Richardson

    You should try being named Sarah Richardson. Seriously, it’s not so much fun. There are 1,059 of us. Including the lovely Sarah C. Richardson in all of my classes in university. That’s why everyone calls me Sars and all my online names, addresses, handles and otherwise are under the name Sars. Sure, it’s a disease in Asia, but at least I only share the name with ONE other entity. 🙂

    This was wonderful Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh my goodness Sarah, that is a lot of Sarah Richardsons. I should have asked Bernard how many Shelly Millers there are as well. Thanks for explaining about your name, I’ve wondered. Lovely to see you here in the comments. Grateful you stopped by.

  5. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    “No one owns your name but God.” And what will we do with that? Great post, Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Good question Jody, yes in deed.

  6. DeanneMoore

    There’s a little voice I hear saying, “Go to the bookstore to the “Dummies” section then you can comment coherently 🙂 I like my name even though few call me by it until I had to use it as it is on Disqus. Jeff and my friends call me Dea and my old friends and family Deanne. I am good with either. I was called the wrong name a lot because of my twin’s rhyming name Leanne. Someone saw her last week and totally thought it was me. So funny at this point in the journey.

    • Shelly Miller

      I was actually concerned about that when I wrote this, all that technical jargon does require a manual or dictionary or something. Believe me, I’m still learning but it all sounds like a foreign language sometimes. I bet that was fun to be mistaken for your sister at this point. Thanks for being here, always.

  7. Christie Purifoy

    This is great, Shelly! I’ve often been grateful for my uncommon last name (especially since I was such a latecomer to wordpress and twitter), but, of course, you are absolutely right – no one can own our names. How blessed we are to be named (and known) by God himself.

    • Shelly Miller

      Christie, I think about all my friends who had unusual names that were always misspelled or mispronounced and had to be corrected. This might be the redemption for many of them who are looking for domains.

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