Anyone who has tuned into specific YouTube content creators within the contemporary commentary space over the past year have likely seen videos sponsored by a company called Established Titles, which bills itself as giving consumers the opportunity to be dubbed as Lords or Ladies via purchasing a square foot plot of land in Scotland.
However, content creators are beginning to distance themselves away from sponsorship deals with Established Titles after damaging reports began circulating that accuse the company of basically being a scam.
For those unfamiliar with the company Established Titles, for the price of $49.95, Established Titles offer what they call a “Lordship or Ladyship Title Pack with dedicated land in Scotland,” which they market as being a unique means of obtaining the title of Lord, Laird, or Lady through purchasing a square foot plot of land in Scotland.
“Our Title Packs are based on a historic Scottish land ownership custom, where landowners have been long referred to as ‘Lairds’, the Scottish term for ‘Lord’, with the female equivalent being ‘Lady.’”
On top of the Lordship aspect, Established Titles further claims that every purchase of their title packs “contributes to the preservation and protection of woodland areas in Scotland” through donations to “One Tree Planted and Trees for the future,” as well as “planting at least one tree for every order placed.”
Established Titles has managed to conjure up dozens of partnerships with popular YouTube content creators to promote this gift set that comes complete with a certificate denoting a “proclamation” that the bearer is an official land owner in Scotland and thus has earned the privilege of the Lord/Lady title – which these YouTubers lean heavily into this title gimmick of the gift set.
But when taking a closer look into Established Title’s website, there’s a small asterisk about the purchasing of the land, one which is seemingly never audibly mentioned throughout their sponsorship deals with various YouTubers.
“*This is a purchase for a personal dedication for a souvenir plot of land. You may choose to title yourself with the title of Lord, Laird or Lady.”
The mentioning of a “souvenir plot of land” is critical because, according to Scottish law, no one can really own – in any practical sense – a souvenir plot that they purchased. Furthermore, Established Titles isn’t exactly doing anything novel with this novelty ploy.
The gimmick of selling these square-foot souvenir plots is nothing new, with Highland Titles being one of the first companies to garner mainstream attention with this Lordship stunt back in 2006.
Apparently after other companies started copying the business model, the souvenir plot business caught the attention of the Keeper of Registers of Scotland in 2012, who then issued a “caution to souvenir hunters” looking to nab a plot of land to score “a particular title.”
The Keeper noted that Scotland’s Land Registration Act of 1979 defines souvenir plots as “a piece of land which, being of inconsiderable size or no practical utility, is unlikely to be wanted in isolation except for the sake of mere ownership or for sentimental reasons or commemorative purposes,” and that the Keepers are obligated to automatically reject souvenir plots for registration within Scotland’s Land Register.
According to the Keeper, this means folks who are buying these souvenir plots don’t actually own the land they’ve been led to believe that they purchased.
“The Keeper is required to reject an application for registration in the Land Register, if the land to which it relates meets the description of ‘souvenir plot’. However, the fact that the Keeper is obliged to reject registration does not necessarily mean that ‘ownership’ can be obtained by some other means.
A real right of ownership in land (in the sense of a right that is enforceable against third parties) can only be obtained by registration in the Land Register or by recording a deed in the Register of Sasines as appropriate.”
Which then leads to the Lord/Lady title aspect of the souvenir plot deal, which the Court of the Lord Lyon also addressed in the 2012 press release as being as bogus as the purported land ownership.
“Ownership of a souvenir plot of land does not bring with it the right to any description such as ‘laird’, ‘lord’ or ‘lady’. ‘Laird’ is not a title but a description applied by those living on and around the estate, many of whom will derive their living from it, to the principal landowner of a long-named area of land. It will, therefore, be seen that it is not a description which is appropriate for the owner of a normal residential property.
It cannot properly be used to describe a person who owns a small part of a larger piece of land. The term ‘laird’ is not one recognisable by attachment to a personal name and thus there is no official recognition of ‘XY, Laird of Z’
The words ‘lord’ and ‘lady’ apply to those on whom a peerage has been confirmed and do not relate to the ownership of land. Ownership of a souvenir plot of land is not sufficient to bring a person otherwise ineligible within the jurisdiction of the Lord Lyon for seeking a coat of arms.”
In short, folks who purchase a Lordship title pack from Established Titles aren’t genuinely becoming landowners in Scotland, nor are they legitimately endowed with and Lord/Lady title in the process. Additionally, the company behind Established Titles that is pulling all the strings and shelling out the marketing dollars (ironically called Fail Ventures) isn’t even based in Scotland but is actually based out of Hong Kong and is linked to the extremely controversial company DealDash.
In light of many people catching on to the ruse with Established Titles, YouTubers like Mutahar Anas, better known online as “SomeOrdinaryGamers,” and Jeremy Hambly, known online as “The Quartering,” have decided to parts ways with the company so as not to mislead their viewers.
Saw a video regarding a recent sponsor we had. Cutting ties after investigating. Never thought much of it other than a gag gift.
Haven’t checked any contracts but we’re investigating it here. Sorry for that. Trust is a lot more important and we should have done better.
— Mutahar (@OrdinaryGamers) November 24, 2022
Cutting Ties With Established Titleshttps://t.co/D0LponCKGp
— TheQuartering (@TheQuartering) November 24, 2022
So, at the end of the day, what are people getting for their $50 with Established Titles? Basically, they’re getting a promise that a tree will be planted and a novelty piece of paper asserting Lordship that has about as much validity as those gag “Bikini Inspector” badges. In a sense, it’s all just a repurposed iteration of that ‘buy & name a star’ nonsense started back in the late 70s.
And yes, chances are many folks already viewed Established Titles as nothing more than a joke gift that one buys for a friend or themselves rather than any legitimate right to a Scottish title or land – but at $50 a pop, it seems like the joke is on the purchaser.