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. Aya @ Thrive says:

    Although a somewhat sweet gesture, it is a little ridiculous at the same time. I’m a big fan of personalized gifts, but things like these don’t exactly qualify – it’s not like the
    any effort is involved besides paying for it.

    I always did wonder if they really officially named the stars, but I guess not. I would have to agree that if someone were to spend $54 on a ‘star’ that won’t be named, I rather ask for the cash 🙂

  2. Wow… I thought at the very least you actually got the star named after you. I guess not.

    The first time I ever heard about this was a friend of mine who’s father had died… they had a star named after him. Makes me sad to think that they really didn’t. 🙁

  3. jimmy37 says:

    Aside from the fact that the star is “registered in book format with the US Copyright Office,” which, as you stated, is worthless, there are only some 2-3000 stars visible to the naked eye on a perfectly dark night. So even if you decide to blow $54, the odds are you can’t see the star without a telescope. All you will see is a point of light, indistinct from the other billion points of light.

  4. Cathy Quik says:

    My grandmother is a vegan and a passionate animal lover. One year I bought her a sea turtle – similar deal as the star selling. The only difference is that the money I spent on the turtle helped the movement to preserve sea turtles.

    I’m fine with conceptual gifts, but the stars seems more like a scam.

  5. thomas says:

    A gift that makes a ton of money for that company, especially those in the affiliate market.

    I don’t think “scam” is the proper word to use as they clearly list out that the naming is not official.

  6. MoneyNing says:

    How did this not get flag as a scandal? Or did the company register in the Bahamas or something? Even if they spell it out, it’s still can’t be a legitimate business right?

  7. Eric N. says:


    I seriously have never given thought to the legitimacy of this. I didn’t hear any radio ads but it sounds a bit ridiculous nonetheless.

  8. jimmy37 says:

    There is nothing illegal/illegitimate about what the company does. It’s just that it presents what it does in a way that people do think that there is some legitimacy or longevity to the name. No one needs to pay anyone any money to name a star for any one. Just point to some star and tell your honey that you are naming it for her. For $10, I’ll be glad to print out a Certificate of Authenticity, suitable for framing. For another $20 plus s&h, I’ll frame it for you! 😉

  9. Jace says:

    “I’d prefer a gift card to anywhere over a star named after me!”

    Even a gift card to the International Star Registry? 😉

  10. Scott Jenkins says:

    You all are coming down a little hard on this. As a memorial gift some family friends purchased a star name to honor my grandfather Reginald “Scotty” Jenkins. Both of my aunts are avid amateur astronomers and my grandfather during the early years of WWII was a navigator on an ASW bomber in the Navy and learned to navigate by the starts, which is where my aunts became so avid in their hobby and why my father and myself have always owned telescopes. Stellar observation has always been a part of my family life and it is a tradition I continue by firing my wife’s interest and hopefully will be able to do the same with my daughter when she gets a little order. It was a very appropriate gift to the family at a time when we lost a pillar of our family who inspired us through his thoughts and deeds throughout my life.

  11. Kandy says:

    Yall all need to shut up and suck it if someone wants to spend 54 dollars on a star whether its officially named after them or not thats their business. Not yours so stay out of it and let people haven freedom to do as they please.

  12. Poster says:

    Since I was 16yo when I purchased “naming rights” from the International Star Registry, I would have appreciated if someone had gotten “in my business” as I didn’t understand exactly what I was purchasing until many years later. Either Kandy is drunk or doesn’t understand the necessity of full disclosure when your plunking down your hard earned money for something. I’ll be sure to give her a call when I’m ready to sell my 15yo car.

  13. thisisbeth says:

    This is something that my dad has giggled about since the first commercials came on years ago: “Published in BOOK FORM.” He’s also bummed he didn’t think of the idea.

    So one year I “named a star after him” for his birthday. I wrote up the “certificate” myself, and put the directions to the star “The one up there. No, a little to the left, now up a little bit. Not that one, the one next to it!” He laughed.

    It’s not necessarily a horrible gift, but if you’re expecting to make it an immortal legacy to your loved on, really it’s just their name published in a book. No one will likely ever see it again.

  14. Ruhama says:

    When I heard about this, I was like who the hell thought of this? And who are the suckers that actually fall for this? I mean seriously though, how can somebody sell something that doesn’t belong to them? And how can somebody buy something that can’t be sold? Think about it, they’re stars the ISR doesn’t own them, therefore they can’t sell them. I can make myself a certificate and name a star too if I wanted and I wouldn’t need a fake organization to do it for me. PEOPLE wake up and smell the coffee…don’t be fools..DON’T get SCAMMED!!!!

  15. Ruhama says:

    So basically you’re paying forty something dollars for just a piece of paper…hmm..must be a special piece of paper huh?

  16. Bob says:

    A Snuggie would have been a better gift.

  17. Chris says:

    Ha… think yourselves lucky i bought my gf one off these for $400 on her 16th bday 6 years ago… only to find out recently it was a scam – was a little bit shattering… especially when $400 to me at 16 yeras old was a bucket load of dollars! *dam the stupid movie ‘a walk to remember’ i think it is what gave me the idea*

  18. charles bukowski says:

    Well!! It just so happens that on Valentine’s Day last, my sweetie ordered a star from these people, in my name. And you know what, all you haters out there? Here’s the very real & true reason that you are hating on this company-it’s because NONE OF YOU has anyone in your lives that cares enough about you to spend a measly $54!! You don’t & won’t even get a Gift Card, haters!!
    You talk about being to smart to fall for this gimmick yet there you were hugging a computer screen all by yourselves, writing this crap. Leave the innocents alone!

  19. Drex says:

    The pragmatists need to lighten up. I gave my sister one after her husband died. We made business like cards with the coordinates. People who visit her home and see the certificate on the wall enjoy learning about the location of the star and it bonds them together with memories of my brother-in-law. No one cares about the ability to OFFICIALLY name a star. They do bond together knowing a specific star is something they can all think about regarding the deceased. It is comforting and offers a common bond and focus for a lot of people. Our family has no regrets and only has fond memories whenever the star comes up in conversation.

    • non-gazer says:

      HERE HERE! I just got one myself as a gift and don’t have a telescope but who cares. This is far better than any flowers one could give. Also looks like it cost more.

  20. nmldkl says:

    I really love your story Drex. I had just read all comments on this page and was going back and forth on which side I agreed with. And I understand how people hate the idea of it yet I was still really hoping I still had a good reason to purchase one for my boyfriend of 5 years. Your comment was last and sold it for me. It gave me relief. I understand its not official. But its the idea and thought of it that counts. Thanks!

  21. nmldkl says:

    Plus 54 bucks isn’t much to me anyways.

  22. nmldkl says:

    So why not! 😀 !!!

  23. Trish Talon says:

    The real travesty here is that if you use a tool like Stellarium or other to try to find the Right Ascension or Declination given to you by the registy to find the star, it becomes evident that there isn’t really any star there at all…. oh, well there’s one not too far from it, but which one might it be? In this day of being able to better verify a star’s existence, scams like this are more ridiculous. At least back in 2000 when I got 3 of them, you had no way of proving there really wasn’t even a star there. Now it’s more obvious. Sad, so sad.

  24. Rob says:

    My girlfriend bought me one for my birthday and it was a total surprise. I (unbeknownst to her) had already heard of ISR and already knew all the details (which I doubt she does), but I still thought it was a VERY sweet gift. I love it.

  25. non-gazer says:

    IT IS WORTH EVER PENNY>and quite reasonable at that. I was given this as a gift to commemorate someone ver close who died. It came as a surprise with their first name and date of their passing in the upper left corner. I figured it cost way more than 54.oo. I logged online to find out more about the company and found this article. Are you kidding me? This is one of the best gifts ever! Better than flowers for the cost even though I’ve got no place to hang it and no telescope. (they mention you can see it through binoculars) It makes me feel comforted that my loved one is still with me in the heavens…with more than spirit or memory even if science doesn’t recognize it and I might not ever recognize the star either!
    Geeze…don’t you people have better things to do with your time than harshly judge such wonderful things in the world that aren’t materialistic?

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