Second Life to charge for real names

Over the past weeks I have started to use Second Life a bit more again, after a one year pause. The main reason I left the community was because I just did not have time for it, and it became quite addictive. Nice if you’re bored, but not if you have hundreds of more important things to do.

However, now Zlong Games (a daughter company of Spill Group Asia) is building the virtual presence of several companies in Second Life. In order to follow the progress I fired up my avatar again, so I can now see real-time how the construction is going. Has managing staff ever been easier? You could literally do it from a tropical beach, and still watch all the people building the structures and interact with them as if you are sitting in the same room. Very cool.

Second Life has changed quite a bit over the past year, there is a lot more to see and do, and I enjoy flying around every now and then. But one thing has not changed, you still have to use a fictitious name. In my case that is Shanghai Ferraris, but I would have preferred to use my real one. Soon this will be possible: according to this article in the Sydney Morning Herald Second Life will start handing out real names by the end of 2007. But for a fee of course, about USD 100 upfront and USD 50 to keep it.

And of course this gives me a new business idea. Buy the names of some famous brands, and I am sure you can sell them for a much higher price to the multinationals that own the brands (and that will be too slow to act on this). It’s different from domain hacking, which is more like hacking a public good. SL names are part of a commercial virtual world, and if you buy and sell them you are just doing an online commercial transaction. I don’t think the brand owners could sue you for this – but I am not a lawyer of course.

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  1. Hi Marc, Im sorry I’m putting this in the comment section, couldn’t find your email address.

    I’m considering to buy a domain name because the Chinese government keeps blocking blogspot. So I was wondering as you have a domain name, do you still log in on blogger?

    I would really appreciate if you could contact me as I would love to know more.

    I really like your blog!

  2. When you use your own domain with Blogger, you still log into to publish your new posts. That domain is not blocked in China, so it should not be a problem. The help pages on explain how you need to set it up. Hope this helps, good luck.

  3. Any thoughts on HiPiHi ? I have read about HiPiHi as the Chinese Second Life, but haven’t had a chance to try it and compare with Second Life.