Personal Finance 

International Star Registry Is A Ripoff

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Stars in the SkyOne radio advertisement I heard over and over again during the holidays was for International Star Registry, a company that offers the ability to “name a star after someone” for a low fee of $54.00. In addition to having the star’s new name “registered at the US Copyright office,” you get a certificate. For $54, all you get is a certificate, some star charts, and a map of your star circled in red. Pay a little more and you get a nicer frame. You can also get various charms and bracelets with your star’s official name and your name too.

It’s cute but the name isn’t official… check the fine print at the bottom of the page: “International Star Registry star naming is not recognized by the scientific community. Your stars name is reserved in International Star Registry records only.” It might be worth $54 to be able to name a star a particular name, so that every time someone mentioned it in the news you’d get a little shout out (“Look, John Smith is going supernova!”), but to have it only written down in some company’s book? C’mon.

$54 (plus shipping and handling) would be so much better spent on something else. Heck, despite my aversion to gift cards, I’d prefer a gift card to anywhere over a star named after me! 🙂

I must have heard this commercial two or three dozen times the week or two before Christmas and these guys have been in business forever, makes me wonder…

(in all fairness to people who did buy this and happen to read this, you do get a nice frame and it is a cool idea, but you aren’t getting a star officially named after you!)

(Photo derived from vorty)

{ 46 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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46 Responses to “International Star Registry Is A Ripoff”

  1. EchoMike says:

    I just bought one for my wife’s family in memory of her late father. I knew up-front what I was getting and that I was not actually paying for a star to be recognized by an official scientific organization, but rather I did it for the sentiment of it all plus the fact that the materials I paid for looked better than anything I could throw together for a comparable price. After seeing my mother-in-law’s reaction to the gift, I was sure that it was money well spent. I don’t think most people in their right mind actually believe that a re-named star is actually “official” when they pay for the service and gift, but they do it for the meaning it conveys regardless of its astronomical accuracy.

    • AlexTheGreat says:

      Right on! Countless people are pointing out the fact that “It’s not recognized by the scientific community!”. Well, it’s gonna last longer than a bouquet of flowers and hold sentimental value to whomever receives it right? Than perhaps it’s worth the $54 plus.

  2. Jen says:

    My husband “bought” me a star for our 5th anniversary this past July. When he gave me the certificate, he said “I may not be able to give you the moon, but I can at least give you a star.”
    I don’t really care if it’s “officially” named after me or not. That has to be the best gift I’ve ever gotten.

    • a_dacian says:

      Oh, my!..
      (my comment being “too short” for the validating code of this site, I would have to extend: what a lack of gift giving these days!..)

  3. jenna says:

    I had a star given to me when I was little. This whole time I thought it was official until today I read an article about how ppl think its a scam buy after reading these comments it doesn’t really matter to me. The person that had given it to me passed away last year and that gives it even more meaning to me 😀

    • Rebecca says:

      that’s so sweet! 😀

    • leah says:

      Jenna, I’m giving this to my 10 year old granddaughter…I had these same thoughts, and you just affirmed them for me. For a 10 year old, a very cool gift; and someday, when I’m gone away, each time she looks up, she’ll have a sweet memory…

      Beautiful comment. Thank you so much!


  4. Nick says:

    I just had a good idea. I am going to start a business naming cactus in the Arizona desert after people. It will include a map of where your cactus is located and a grain of sand from somewhere in the vicinity of your very own cactus. Who wants to be first?

    • Tim says:

      Love the idea of the one my wife gave me (had to get decent telescope to see it) Uh… What kind of cactus?

    • AlexTheGreat says:

      This doesn’t make you a genius entrepreneur, it just makes you a ‘Prick’! (Pun intended)

  5. a_dacian says:

    I`m in for the cactus one!
    Last week I found a meteorite, I`ve heard they`re usually a bunch of $$ some of them, so.. who wants a piece of a dacian?

  6. Donna S. says:

    Yes, I agree. I have been using this for years and it is the sentiment, not the star real estate that matters.

  7. SkeeterW says:

    It’s like buying flowers, in a way. I get it. I like the idea. You don’t have to pay somebody though. You can pick your own flowers. I made a fake company and printed out a certificate and made a youtube video about it. But I like the ‘companies’ packaging better. So I might go that way. It’s not a waste of money if it helps the bond between two people. I know it’s not official. But having said that. Some stars do pick up nick-names and sometimes they stick. Google ‘Elvie’s Droplet’. That’s the one I did myself for my wife. Or ‘Kemble’s Cascade’ which is officially NGC1502. You never know. Some people send a sample of their loved one’s cremated remains into space, if only briefly before becoming a ‘shooting star’ back to Earth. It cost a lot of money. It isn’t practical. But it is emotional and brings comfort. Same with ‘buying’ a star.
    An Amateur Astronomer. (who has probably just taken the hobby back 300 years. lol)

  8. ron says:

    i have called the company 5 times and never recieved a call back as they offer a phone number to call before the order goes in- doesnt seam to be very bussiness orented- i would try another site as there are a lot of them out there

  9. Rebecca says:

    Full disclosure: I bought the rights to name a star with the ISR (paid twenty bucks – it was a Livingsocial deal). My boyfriend and I love looking at the stars, and this was my way of honoring, in a rather silly way, that part of us. And he was happy about it.

    If you’re aware that naming a star with the ISR is not an officially recognized practice, then what’s the big deal? Have you SEEN the certificate? How could anyone take it seriously?

    I know what I paid for: a map, a certificate, a small booklet. If I were to do it again, maybe I’d draw the map, type out the certificate, and write the booklet myself. But that would take time, and truth be told I was happy pay for these things. I’m not sure all of this outrage against the company is warranted.

  10. Robert Ferry says:

    Remember…the star’s name is only recognized on this planet….People on other planets have their own names for your particular star. And in other Galaxies, they may have yet other names for your star. And if it ever becomes a point of contention, you may be starting an intergalactic and interstellar war over the naming of stars without the approval of Mork, who now oversees the Universe.

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