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This Girl’s Viral Chinese Baby-Naming Site Is Full Of Stock Photos And Fake Babies

Beau Jessup went viral for her website that gives Chinese babies English names. But after a closer look, many details of Jessup's story don't make a ton of sense.

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The story detailed how, after a trip to China, teenager Beau Jessup was inspired to create a website that helped Chinese parents select an alternative, English name for their children to help them succeed if they choose to work or study in the UK.

However, there are a few weird things about the website.

When BuzzFeed News attempted to contact the site's owners via the methods listed, the messages either didn't send or bounced back.

The text next to the image reads:

I am Beau Rose Jessup, the CEO and founder of English company Special Name. In the past 12 years, I have visited China often. Every time I am in China, colleagues often ask me to help them choose a special name for their children. Like Chinese names, friends or colleagues will tie the English name of your child to your child’s personality. At the same time, names leave others with an important first impression. As such, naming a child is not only the extreme honour but also a great responsibility. Going forward, your child’s English name will appear on their college applications and on their business cards. Their names should represent what they want others to remember them by.

Further, many photos of babies the website claims to have named appear to be lifted from Google image searches. Multiple photos from the section appear in the image results for the search term "Asian babies."

And Big Red Bus appears to be linked to The Great British Teddy Bear Company, whose CEO, according to Linkedin, is Jessup's father, Paul.

linkedin.com

An initial press release provided to BuzzFeed News by Up Communications, the PR company linked to Special Name, made no mention of any of this, saying only, "Beau Jessup, 16-year-old pupil at Cheltenham Ladies College, has earned over £48,000 naming over 200,000 Chinese babies after developing a new service to help parents chose culturally appropriate English names for their children."

No outlet specified if the £48,000 figure that Jessup provided was the monthly, yearly, or total income made from the site.

If Jessup has made £48,000 in total since the domain name was registered in February 2015, then that means that the teenager's site would have to had to generate 167 baby names a day, seven days a week.

And when you search for Special Name on Weibo — China’s largest social network — there are almost no mentions of the website prior to the publication of the BBC Newsbeat article. And some of those sharing the article are also pretty skeptical.

Weibo

"Naming 220,000 people in 6 months, that’s 36,666 a month, if she works every day, then that’s 1,222 a day, and if she does 12 hours a day, then that’s 101 people an hour, or 1.7 people a minute. That’s a lot of work for this child worker who is only 16."

This person also tried to do the math related to the £48,000 figure reported.

Weibo

“220,000 names in six months, that’s 30,000-plus per month, and 1,000-plus a day. Working 24 hours without stopping to eat or sleep, that’d be 50 an hour, which averages to naming one baby per minute. So efficient."

Weibo

"The girl’s doing so much naming that her lips are pale and she has bags under her eyes. She looks gaunt, and her eyes are glazed over. Poor girl."

Weibo

“My friend just named her child Coco using the service."

BuzzFeed News contacted Up Communications about the various inconsistencies around the website.

A spokesperson said that the use of stock imagery was due to Beau’s young age when she created the website. And they said the use of stock images for the examples of babies named through the website were used in order to “stimulate a response for customers.”

The spokesperson also said that the domain had to be registered via someone who had a Chinese bank account, so an employee of Beau's father’s company was used.

“The owner of SpecialName.cn is an employee of this company and personal friend of the family, Mrs. Liu Xiaohua , who has known Beau since she was 4 years old,” the spokesperson said. “To purchase a web domain name in China from Wanwang [a Chinese domain hosting company] you need an Alipay account. To have an Alipay account, you require a Chinese bank account. Beau cannot have a Chinese bank account; she is not resident in China and was 15 years old when the site was set up.”

Special Name is accessible from China, but according to Alexa, a site that monitors web traffic, Special Name did not have enough web traffic to analyze.

BuzzFeed News asked to be put in contact with a customer in China who had used the service, but had not heard back from Up Communications as of press time.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

Kassy Cho is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Kassy Cho at kassy.cho@buzzfeed.com.

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