Late last week we were entertained by the downright bizarre story of Kim Dotcom, the larger-than-life founder of the now shuttered file sharing site Megaupload. Dotcom is now in jail in New Zealand, awaiting extradition to the U.S. to face charges of conspiring to commit racketeering, conspiring to commit money laundering, copyright infringement, and aiding and abetting copyright infringement.
Check out this Wired article to get the full, entertaining lowdown on Dotcom. But in the meantime, I wanted to fill you in on a little secret: “Dotcom” is not Dotcom’s original last name. Nope, I kid you not. It was actually “Schmitz.”
But herein lies Dotcom’s personal branding genius—whether he may be a criminal or not. Schmitz changed his last name to fit his online persona. “Dotcom” defines him. This got me thinking that a last-name change could could really benefit those PR pros looking to get more visibility for their personal brands. For instance, PR News defines who I am. So from now on I’ll be Scott Makefridaydeadline. Other notables who could benefit from this move include:
- Mark Footinmouth (Mark Wahlberg)
- Alec Wordswithfriends (Alec Baldwin)
- Mitt Muchlessthan30percent (Mitt Romney)
It’s true that athletes are big on the name change—Chad Johnson to Ochocinco for example. But his jersey number really didn’t define who he was. Mr. Dotcom is clear evidence that this move will work. After all, the FBI reports that in 2010 he was making more than $100,000 per day from his online properties. Before he was put in the slammer, Dotcom was living in a $24 million spread in New Zealand. Riches can be ours.
I’m on LegalZoom.com right now going through the process. Please join me.