At The Water Cooler.
By: Mike Lipshultz

Have you heard about the latest in the advertising game? Local towns are selling the right to big companies to rename them, for a limited amount of time. Rumors have the city of Austin, Texas being fought over by several computer companies. Sioux City, South Dakota is being looked at by Gateway. Of course, Redmond, Washington is being looked at by Microsoft. No, they are not going to call it Bill Gates City, but it does look like it will be renamed Microsoft, Washington. Does this mean that the whole town will have to stop every now and then and close all of its windows to avoid an unexpected shut down?

Now, the idea of naming a city after a company is nothing new. In the early history of this country many a town took the name of the only employer in the area: Boron, California, for the borax mining; Hercules, California for the gunpowder company; more recently, Laughlin, Nevada for the Laughlin family, and Madonna, Nevada for the Madonna casino.

The push behind this new selling of cities is to raise some big cash for the city budgets. I wonder how much it is going to cost the private sector to reprint all the new cities’ names on cards, letterhead etc.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002