Online Baby-Naming Contest Revealed to Be a Hoax

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 4 2013 4:20 PM

No, a Woman Isn't Letting the Internet Name Her Baby for $5,000. She's Not Even Pregnant.

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Screenshot from the Baby Ballots website

Remember all those stories last week about how an expecting mother had sold the naming rights to her unborn child for a $5,000 pay day? Yeah, turns out, the whole thing was a hoax orchestrated by a baby-naming website to drum up publicity. NBC's Today's Moms website got to the bottom of things this morning after questions began to surface about the story:

Natasha Hill, a struggling single art teacher in Los Angeles, was named by the website Belly Ballot last month as the winner of an essay contest and the $5,000 prize for agreeing to let the Internet name her unborn baby. ... Hill, who said she was due in September, told TODAY Moms in a phone interview last week that she planned to use her winnings to pay off credit card debt and start her baby’s college fund.
But it appears Natasha Hill is actually Natasha Lloyd, an actress, and she is not pregnant, according to Belly Ballot founder Lacey Moler of Texas. After TODAY Moms received a tip and uncovered seeming inconsistencies in Hill’s story, Moler confessed to the hoax Sunday night and admitted it was her idea. "We came up with the idea for the contest and we knew it would be controversial,” Moler said. ... "We never thought it would get this big."
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Loyd also confirmed the news when contacted by NBC, although she gave no additional details. Moler had originally claimed that 80 women had applied to the contest, but she now admits that, in reality, not a single real-life mother was willing to hand over the naming decision to the Internet. More over at Today.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.