We will make Name Changes available to Premium account holders in early 2020. It will be possible to change First Name, Last Name, or both. There will be a one-time fee per Name Change. Just like in the olden times, First Name will be free-form, Last Name will be from a list – and here is where this contest comes in: we want your help coming up with the first batch of Last Names!
Three submissions per entry. No reusing of old names. From all of the suggestions, we’ll pick five (5), and those five lucky Residents will be able to change their names completely free of charge (or designate another account for the name change)! You will not need to be Premium to participate or to win. The contest will run December 16th through January 15th, and participation details will be announced shortly.
Oh, and somewhat tucked away in that official contest information and policies document is a clue as to how much Linden Lab is going to charge for name changes:
A.Description of Prizes. One free Last Names change (estimated value at US$39.99 plus $11.99 to represent the value of a month of Premium Membership) on an account of Winner’s choice.
B. Estimated Total Prize package value: US$51.98. Exact value dependent on account status.
So, expect to pay US$40 to change the name of your Second Life avatar. Or, if you are going to upgrade to Premium for just one month in order to take advantage of the upcoming name change feature, expect to pay US$52 in total.
The cost is more than I expected it to be; however, there is such a pent-up demand in the system for avatar name changes, that I still expect that people are going to shell out for the privilege of a brand new name. I suspect this will be a significant enough perk to tempt people to part with their cash, and Linden Lab will certainly make money from it!
UPDATE Jan. 18th, 2020: Inara Pey has an update with all the latest information about the upcoming ability to change your name. Apparently, Linden Lab received over 6,000 entries for the contest!