Editorial: Why Is the Second Life Avatar Name Change Feature Taking So Long?

We want it NOW, not later!!!

You might be interested to know that my blogposts about being able to change your Second Life avatar name are among my most visited (notably, this one, with over 9,000 views so far).

We have been waiting a long, long, long time for Linden Lab to release this eagerly-awaited feature. The last time I wrote about it, I quoted a Linden Lab blogpost that said:

Soon it will be possible to change the name of a Second Life account. This is one of our Residents’ most requested features and we’re working furiously to make it available by the end of January. 

Soon?!?? It’s already March and we are still waiting. I don’t know about you, but I am starting to get fed up.

At the very least, give us a new timeline and/or deadline, Linden Lab. This is getting ridiculous already.

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UPDATED! Second Life Name Changes Contest: You Could Win a Free Name Change for Your Avatar! (Also: What Linden Lab Will Charge For Name Changes When They Become Available in 2020)

Second Life has announced the details of their Name Changes Contest:

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. 

So, put your thinking caps on, get creative, and enter the contest! Here’s the official contest entry form. And here are all the official contest rules and regulations. Good luck!


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:

5. PRIZE.

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!

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.