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Thread: International Star Registry

  1. #1
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    International Star Registry

    I haven't posted here in a very long time, but have a need now. Plus, I couldn't get Search to work so I don't know if this has been discussed.

    The major local radio station here (WHAS840 in Louisville, Kentucky) has been airing commercials for the International Star Registry which offers to "name a star" for you. For a price, of course.

    Without going into details, it's a scam, though when I called their offices (they didn't answer my email) I got some weaseling that may be sufficient to protect them from lawsuits. I talked to a supervisor; their VP of Operations wasn't available and his schedule is unpredictable because he "works for other companies, too," so I have to take my chances on calling back.

    Anyway, I have emailed the radio station and their parent company (ClearChannel Communications) along with the talk show host during whose program the commercials aired. I got a response from the host saying that she has no say over commercials but she'd forward the email to management. No response from anyone else.

    I've also lodged complaints with the Better Business Bureau (this company is listed) and the FCC.

    It seems a straightforward thing to me: Only the IAU names celestial objects yet ISR claims to do it for a price. So I want the commercials pulled.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Has anyone dealt with them before?

    Note: When I called and spoke with a supervisor, she insisted that the naming is only a "Novelty Gift." She had no real response when I asked her why neither the website nor the commercials say that.

  2. #2
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    Point them to

    http://www.angelfire.com/tx4/hoaxdet.../scams_02.html

    which has some basic info.

    I wonder what happened with the legal case in New York?

    See http://www.naic.edu/~gibson/starnames/isr_news.html

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Aurora. I didn't know there were others, but I had hoped.

    I'll forward these.

  4. #4
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    I do a monthly radio segment with Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute, and we talked about this. It has not aired yet, but I'll link to it from my blog when it does.

  5. #5
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    Great, BA. I look forward to it.

  6. #6
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    The Star Registry concept was nicely spoofed by the International Number Registry.

  7. #7
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    I've tried calling the company and spoke for a while with a supervisor who insisted that the idea is just a "Novelty Gift." When I pointed out that this is not how it is portrayed on their web site or in their radio commercials she waffled. I mentioned the Better Business Bureau and she proudly stated that they are listed with the BBB to which I responded that it is not a permanent status and that verified complaints are kept on file with the BBB.

    She said I should talk to their VP of Operations, Mike Hazelrigg, but unfortunately he wasn't available because he "works for other companies, too."

    I've tried calling back to speak with Mike but have been put off each time. I've also left my phone number but have received no calls.

    So I have filed complaints with the FCC (no response from them yet) and the BBB. I have a BBB tracking number and an email which states my complaint has been forwarded to the ISR for response.

    I'm putting together a complaint for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, too, as that is where the commercials I've heard have aired.

  8. #8
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    I called the head of ISR, Rocky Mozel, many times trying to get an interview with him before writing the ISR chapter in my book. He never called nor emailed back (which I mentioned in that chapter as well).

  9. #9
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    I went and read through their website. At the very bottom was the following disclaimer:

    International Star Registry star naming is not recognized by the scientific community.
    Your starís name is reserved in International Star Registry records only.


    Seems a bit pointless then, doesn't it? Registering a Star Name that is recognized by no one - except the ISR.

    http://www.starregistry.com/

  10. #10
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    One thing that makes it all particularly awful is when one of the tabloids, such as The Sun (a UK rag), has a full page spread announcing that they have had a star named after the latest tragic child victim. In these cases you have the public as a whole being suckered into believing that it means something and will be a memorial to some poor unfortunate.

    [Edited to add...]
    At which point the description of it being a "novelty gift" sticks in the throat.

  11. #11
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconis
    I went and read through their website. At the very bottom was the following disclaimer:

    International Star Registry star naming is not recognized by the scientific community.
    Your starís name is reserved in International Star Registry records only.


    Seems a bit pointless then, doesn't it? Registering a Star Name that is recognized by no one - except the ISR.

    http://www.starregistry.com/
    Sounds Like, Fine Print, To Avoid a Lawsuit ...

    But, Will It ...

    Be ENOUGH!

  12. #12
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    I suppose that depends on how far or how vague they make their claims in expressing their "service" in commercials and in writing. If stated incorrectly, they could violate that disclaimer, and open themselves to legal action, yeah.

  13. #13
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    Well that's embarrassing, Draconis. I searched their website (I thought I did it thoroughly) for language like that. I did find some waffling in their TOS, but nothing as clear as you found.

    It probably gets them off the hook for the website part.

    It does not, I think, get them off for their radio spots which, as far as I can tell, do not make such a disclaimer.


    And I have not received a call back yet.

  14. #14
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    Confession time....

    About 25 years ago, my wife registered me, and herself, with them as a surprise sweet gift. We received fairly artistic certificates(?) registering our stars located in Sagitarious, IIRC. [Hmmmm, maybe there is hope for Georgecentricity. ] I did tell her, in a nice way, it was bogus.

    As charming as it was, it is misleading at best.

    Another is Star Foundation . Here you can buy a star, as opposed to just naming a star.

    You have to really look close to find the disclaimer stating only the IAU has the authority to name stars.

    Has there been any discussion to allow an offical IAU star naming fund raiser, say for Hubble? Reserving the brighter stars for honoring scientists, naming all the 9th to 15th magnitude stars would produce stellar revenues of....$6.5 billion (at $50 a pop). Throw in whole galaxies with z > 1 and you can green shift into an additional $13 trillion (at $100 a pop). [HST, with life anew, will have to help, of course, as full color will be required, probably.]

    "You see things; and you say "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say "Why not?""...George B.S. [Bernard Shaw]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    snip
    Has there been any discussion to allow an offical IAU star naming fund raiser, say for Hubble? snip
    My guess is that there is probably something in thier charter to prevent it. And being a non-profit, there are also some legalities involved.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher
    My guess is that there is probably something in thier charter to prevent it. And being a non-profit, there are also some legalities involved.
    I'd bet you are correct. However, if a major fund-raising activity would produce a major financial advance to astronomy, would an IAU amendment, or whatever, be warranted? They would not have to be directly involved, as I would assume a separate agency would be contracted for the effort. Governments could tax it, so they should cooperate. . [(Borrowing another Faraday idea. )]

    I can think of several examples: State Governments are in the gambling business; selling bricks with one's name on them is done by public schools (school organizations apparel sales, of course, are far greater); Governments lease their lands to private individuals (e.g. oil companies and ranchers); the devout allow Bingo; etc.

    Of course, I am not suggesting the IAU become commercialized, however, but whenever a governmental entity has a monopoly on a valuable item, it might be worthwhile to consider a potential greater good by offering it to the public.

    I admit, I am a businessman by profession and I do not know have the full picture to assess its viability; that is why I am asking more than saying.
    Last edited by George; 2006-Jan-04 at 04:12 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    snip
    I can think of several examples: State Governments are in the gambling business; selling bricks with one's name on them is done by public schools (school organizations apparel sales, of course, are far greater); Government's lease their lands to private individuals (e.g. oil companies and ranchers); the devout allow Bingo; etc.
    snip
    I don't remember the laws or any details (which could be limited by state anyway) but in my experience (I was Pres of a 501C3 org for about 3yrs) we had to be very careful about raising funds. There were governement formulas that placed limits to ratios of donations vs fundraisers vs investments vs expenditures vs grants etc. I don't know if it varies by registered charter, but I would think selling star names would throw all those formulas out of whack.

  18. #18
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    If the program were taxable, governments might allow less red tape; incorporating is not that hard compared to 501c3 formation. [No doubt you have some interesting 501c3 qualification stories.]

    I suppose the biggest headache would be obtaining cooperation with most governments. This would have to be an international venture, obviously. [If we wait too long, we'll have to work with other planets. So we better address it now! .]

    As long as people from every nation are willing to financially support noble astronomy and space causes (e.g. saving Hubble), with the added benefit of having their name on a star, why not find a vehicle which would produce a means to this end. If astronomy wants to sow and reap more, better to use a John Deere than just the mules.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    [No doubt you have some interesting 501c3 qualification stories.]
    No, it was done before I was born, and we had people who "remembered" how it worked. (that's why I don't know much)
    Quote Originally Posted by George
    I suppose the biggest headache would be obtaining cooperation with most governments. This would have to be an international venture, obviously. [If we wait too long, we'll have to work with other planets. So we better address it now! .]snip
    (I think) That headache would be if the charter did not allow it, otherwise it would just be up to the IAU to both say "let's do it" and "who gets what"?

  20. #20
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    Of course, there is one other possibility none have mentioned. If engaging the IAU in such a venture seems insurmountable, I wonder if a more honest, more noble, more fitting, more knowledgeable, more astronomical, just a bunch more wondeful site could be found to serve as a vehicle to unofficially name stars and receive funds ear-marked for the Hubble, or other special project, including heliochromology . Net after expenses goes to the project designated. Let's think aBAUT this. It would be nice if this hypothetical site was also made up of skeptics that are a little uncomfortable with the disingenuous approach of the other star naming outfits, some might even call this...bad astronomy in today's universe.

    Buyers would get not only star coordinates but classification, temperature, color (except for G and T class ), spectral irradiance (assuming Sloan folks don't mind), size, distance, etc., plus an appropriate certificate artistically matching their designated fund preference.

    [I suppose, in the worst case scenario, if the fund does not reach the level necessary for its use (e.g. HST repairs), the buyer would need to designate other preferences. ]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  21. #21
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    I was searching this line " all stars are free of cost +s&h free".

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntrack2
    I was searching this line " all stars are free of cost +s&h free".
    I suspect it's more of a "pick and pull" program.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntrack2
    I was searching this line " all stars are free of cost +s&h free".
    Please send me E. Eridani via Fed. Ex.

  24. #24
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    we should all start star naming companies

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kebsis
    we should all start star naming companies
    Perhaps we could all start companies that specialise in the naming of "star naming" companies?

    If someone sends me $10 I will call the "International Star Register", "Grapefruit" (or anything else you like as long as it isn't defamatory.) It's new name will be recorded in a little book, and if there is enough interest I could register a copy with the Library of Congress.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortis
    Perhaps we could all start companies that specialise in the naming of "star naming" companies?

    If someone sends me $10 I will call the "International Star Register", "Grapefruit" (or anything else you like as long as it isn't defamatory.) It's new name will be recorded in a little book, and if there is enough interest I could register a copy with the Library of Congress.
    That reminds me of the time I drove into Austin, years ago, to attend another association event, when on my left was a building - "Society of Assoiciations". It's an association to help associations. Hopefully, in time, there will be an organization for these societies. IIRC, it's still there and probably quite beneficial, but I did laugh as I can become too associationally inclined.

    Can we offer free plastic pet meteorites with each registered and certified patron.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Has there been any discussion to allow an offical IAU star naming fund raiser, say for Hubble? Reserving the brighter stars for honoring scientists, naming all the 9th to 15th magnitude stars would produce stellar revenues of....$6.5 billion (at $50 a pop). Throw in whole galaxies with z > 1 and you can green shift into an additional $13 trillion (at $100 a pop). [HST, with life anew, will have to help, of course, as full color will be required, probably.]
    That would be terrible! The extent to which the world has been commercialised is bad enough. Having to contend with stars with names like Pepsi......... eugh!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Can we offer free plastic pet meteorites with each registered and certified patron.
    Of course we can, though there may be an additional $20 handling charge associated with each one.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lianachan
    That would be terrible! The extent to which the world has been commercialised is bad enough. Having to contend with stars with names like Pepsi......... eugh!
    In a way, the absence of stars called Pepsi would indicate what the commercial world thinks about the ISR...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lianachan
    That would be terrible! The extent to which the world has been commercialised is bad enough. Having to contend with stars with names like Pepsi......... eugh!
    Or planetoids like Buffy and Xena? Actually, I wouldn't expect science to use all the registered names, as they could be in the millions eventually, and astronomy has a better system. Of course, there would be exceptions, the new perplexing large red galaxy found in the Hubble UDF would be ok, I suppose, if it were named Big Red.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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