Patch Linden added a bit more information to the recent announcement that Linden Lab was going to allow Second Life users to change their last names. He said, in a thread on the official Second Life user forums, that you would be able to change both first and last names:
It will be complete and total name changes, both first and surname. Just to set expectations on this, it is a later this year item.
When asked if the change would be available to everyone, or just those with the Resident last name, he added:
It will be available to everyone.
And, in answer to yet another question about whether or not you could hide your name:
No hiding of names. First name and surname combos will have to be unique like they are today. A couple of other questions that came up – no re-use of retired names, once a name has been used, it belongs to that account forever. We keep a transnational name change history. Only standard English characters will be permitted.
Just to make it clear, this is an upcoming ability to change to the actual avatar name, not the display name. When asked about how this change will affect the display names of avatars (which can be updated once a week):
This has no affect on display names and largely I do not anticipate we will change how display names work. If anything, it somewhat sunsets the need for them.
So, that makes everything a little clearer! Thanks, Patch! I predict that there will be a land rush on names once this feature is turned on for users. Being able to change both your first AND your last name (as long as somebody else doesn’t already have that combination) is a very nice feature to have!
UPDATE March 23rd: Inara Pey has a very detailed blogpost on this announcement by Linden Lab, with even more details:
The plan is to allow people to change their first and last name whenever they wish.
- As with the “old” system, users will be able to choose whatever first name they like, then select their last name from a pre-set list of available names.
- Once a name combination has been created, it is forever tied to that avatar, it cannot be used by anyone else, even if the “owner” later changes their name, or their account is deactivated.
- Previous names will be retained by the system, so if you can remember someone’s previous name, you can search on that and get their current name.
- As with the “old” system, this list of last names will be routinely changed with different names appearing on it.
- To help keep the available names relatively fresh, the Lab is considering accepting suggestions from users.
- It has not been determined if someone will be able to switch back to using a name they’ve previously used.
- Unicode will not be supported when entering a first name.
SECOND UPDATE April 2nd: Inara Pey has posted more details on the upcoming ability to change your avatar name in her report on the Second Life Web User Group meeting of March 28th:
- “Original / legacy” last names will not be re-opened for use.
- New users joining Second Life will still be given the automatic “last name” of “Resident”, but have the option of changing if they wish.
- The fee for name changes has not been announced, however, at this point the indication is that the fee will be in fiat currency (i.e. US dollars) not Linden Dollars.
- One of the reasons the return of last names will take time to be implemented is that all of the SL web properties – like the Marketplace – have to be updated to recognise users as they change their names (something which applies across almost all of the SL services when you think about it).
THIRD UPDATE Aug. 14th: Dakota Linden weighed in on the whole last names issue in a post on the official Second Life user forums:
It is wise not to speculate about what “might” happen at some time in the future regarding anything related to Second Life, or life in general for that matter.
1. ALL new accounts will be created with the Resident last name. Whether your personal choice in viewers allows that name to be hidden or not, ALL new accounts will have the last name of Resident.
2. IF a user chooses to become a Premium Member, they will have an option to purchase a different last name. The available last names will be from a Pre-Approved, rotating, list. If you do not want to purchase the option for a different last name, then don’t. No one is being FORCED to choose a last name other than Resident.
3. Will having the option to choose a last name change the gobbledy-gook first names? No. Why? Because some people will still choose to have weird or goofy first names that have no meaning at all, regardless of whether or not last names are available.
4. Will using your preferred, chosen, first name be easier when last names are available? YES! Why? Because you pick your own first name, then have an option from a pre-approved list of last names, to pick from. This means you will ALWAYS be able to have your preferred, chosen, first name, even if someone else is also using that name. Provided you are a Premium Account member AND you have paid for the option to have a different last name.
What is new about this information is that you have to have a Premium account in order to purchase a last name for your avatar. (Thanks to LittleMe Jewell for pointing out Dakota’s update!)