Do Guinness World Record Holders Get Paid?

What drives a person to see how long they can stay on a pogo stick, or how many things they can juggle underwater, how fast they can punch, or how horrifically long their toenails can get? Is it the acclaim? The seductive sway that their title will inevitably lend them? The promise that, when they show up to a high-society debutante ball, they will be announced as "(Blankety Blank), the undisputed champion of toenail growth?"

By their own estimation, the Guinness Book of World Records receives over 50,000 applications every year. Each individual longs for recognition in their chosen field, and a few hardworking outliers have their accomplishments enshrined in history, at least until the next year's volume comes out and someone else manages to one up them in the category of some bizarre world record like, say, most marshmallows in one mouth. Until then, the glory belongs to them.

No cash, though. They mostly have to hope that their agents hook them up with a Subway ad or something.

A world record for "most disappointment"

It's an unfortunate fact that official world record holders are not compensated for their achievements. Per the Guinness World Records website, their policy goes like this: "As the world's unrivaled authority on record-breaking achievement, our role is to celebrate the world's best, to inspire ordinary people and to entertain and inform. For these reasons, we do not pay record-breakers for their achievements or for carrying out a record title attempt. We are also unable to cover any expenses, offer sponsorship or provide equipment for anyone attempting a record."

Not only are hopeful applicants unpaid for their time and effort, they actually have to front a fee in order to be considered for Guinness status. If you're in a rush and want your attempt both witnessed and processed in under five months, Medium reports that there are several fees that must be paid to the organization: first, if you're trying to set a record that doesn't exist yet, the initial fee is $5. To break an existing record, it costs $800, and more if you're setting a new one. Finally, once you've given it a go, you can either wait 12 weeks for Guinness to review your efforts, or pay them $650 to get it done in a week.