What’s in a Name? And Why Do So Many Virtual Worlds Have Such Unfortunate Names?

Did you know that Sansar comes from the Hindi संसार and means world? It’s a very fitting name for a virtual world (even if you do have to sort through many Indian-language hits when searching “Sansar” on Google and YouTube).

Yes, there is a Hindi movie called Sansar

High Fidelity is another example of a good name. The association is that the virtual world is a high-fidelity recreation of the real world. (It is also the name of the popular 2000 movie starring John Cusack.)

I used to joke that a virtual world was not complete unless it had an unfortunate brand name. Some examples from the past and present:

  • Cloud Party (Now there’s a name that will attract serious business users and venture capital. Not.)
  • DiveReal (So, your virtual world is a “dive”?)
  • Galaxity (which is a little too close to “laxative” for my comfort)
  • Pararea (which sounds like a gum disease, or a form of diarrhea)
  • Second Life (Sorry, Philip Rosedale! This is a name which I have always disliked because, to me, it emphasized that virtual worlds somehow took you away from your “first life” or real life.)
  • Somnium Space (This one always reminds me of the word somnolent (which means sleepy or drowsy) and of the drug Sominex and therefore it has those associations to me!)
  • There (Seriously?!?? You ever try to Google “There” to find this one? Another example of a common word used as a brand name for a virtual world was Space, the former name for Sinespace. I’m glad that Adam Frisby fixed that.)
  • Twinity (This gets my vote for the stupidest name ever. It didn’t help that their logo looked like, well, a pair of breasts!)

Then there are other names which do not really help to differentiate the product from other, similarly-named ones (like Oasis).

A good name is creative, descriptive, and original. It helps if the associated website domain name is available (hello, MATERIA.ONE? At least they finally grabbed materiaone.com). It also helps if it is unique enough so that search engines can find it easily without you having to dig through dozens of false hits (see Oasis, There, and Space, above).

So, what do you think? What’s in a name? What names do you think are terrible? Sound off in the comments, or join the ongoing discussion and debate about all aspects of virtual worlds on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server.

Advertisements

Sansar Outfit Outlay: Chisaki

You know, when I first heard that the Sansar development team at Linden Lab was focusing on dressing custom avatars, my first thought was “meh, I’d rather have custom skins first“. But now that I can see all the creative possibilities, I think this is a brilliant move. Dozens of new human custom avatars have appeared on the Sansar Store, and over the weekend I signed in as my alt, Vanity Fair, Sansar supermodel 😉 and picked out a new custom avatar to style.

The Chisaki Asian female avatar is a custom avatar created by KandyBrainz, for sale for S$500 (about US$5.00):

Also available from KandyBrainz is the futuristic top-bun hairstyle, for S$250 (about US$2.50):

As with any custom avatar (well, within reason), you can dress this avatar using any clothing created using Marvelous Designer (and any shoes you buy from the Sansar Store should work with it as well).

Vanity Fair is wearing:

  • the Chisaki custom Asian female avatar (there is also a second version with makeup available);
  • the top-bun hairstyle;
  • a black tracksuit jacket, one of the new items of clothing available for free in your avatar’s Lookbook inventory;
  • a pair of black matte sports pants, which I picked up for free quite some time ago, and which I cannot for the life of me find again on the Sansar Store (I think they were these ones by Tremaine, but I’m not sure);
  • and a pair of black old kicks sneakers by Wow (S$99 on the Sansar Store).

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: S$849 (about US$8.50 or CDN$11.30)

By the way, I have tested and I can confirm that custom avatars can wear Marvelous Designer-created clothing originally intended for both male and female avatars. You might have to do quite a bit of tugging and adjusting in Lookbook, though.