Virtual World Business And Development Information

‘Second Life’ Plans To Charge For Vanity Names

Posted by SIM on April 9, 2007

Participants in 3-D virtual world will have to pay for the privilege of choosing ‘avatar’s’ handle
By Rachel Konrad

SAN FRANCISCO — In the real world, it’s something you’re given. In the virtual world, having a full name is going to cost you.

The online fantasy world “Second Life” will soon allow residents to customize their characters’ first and last names — at a cost likely to be $100 up front and $50 a year, said spokesman Alex Yenni.

Currently, participants in the popular alternative universe can give their digital proxies — called avatars — nearly any first name they’d like.

But nearly everyone has to select from a rotating stock of surnames — conventional surnames such as Geiger, Felix and Lancaster, or futuristic, foreign or odd ones like Cioc, Stenvaag and Pugilist.

Special Names

The 3-D fantasy world’s operators, San Francisco-based startup Linden Research Inc., have approved special names to only a select group of high-profile members, including IBM Corp. Chairman Samuel J. Palmisano and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards. So far the company hasn’t charged for them.

The company’s business development team decided to create a vanity name feature in part to help legitimize the growing number of executives, political candidates and other famous people who stage rallies and give stump speeches in the virtual world.

Trust, But Verify

With the new feature to debut by the end of the year, Linden Research will try to verify that avatars with high-profile names belong to same-named owners. For now, it’s nearly impossible to determine the offline identity behind any avatar.

There are already “Second Life” avatars named John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Wesley Clark, but Yenni could not say whether those avatars were controlled by the presidential hopefuls, members of their staffs or random poachers.

As of Wednesday, no one in “Second Life” was named Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney.



Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: