In Name Changes: $40 per change(?), some thoughts and a poll (December 17th, 2019), I offered some thoughts on the proposed US $40.00 fee for name changes, together with a (very) rough-and-ready poll on how people feel about the capability and the fee (so rough-and-ready that on reflection, I should have structured it a little differently and used Google Forms for the poll for greater flexibility rather than the tools provided by Automattic for WordPress.com users, which are perhaps a little too basic).
As I noted in that piece, since last names were eliminated in 2010 in favour of “Resident” and the use of Display Names, there have been frequent calls for them to be “returned” to SL. These calls started almost immediately after “Resident” was introduced, through both forum threads and via Jira feature requests. Such was the demand, that by late 2011, LL were actively looking into bringing last names back, although ultimately they gave up on that attempt.
However, I also noted that the fee itself might be a limiting factor (together with the fact that the option will be limited to Premium members), and whilst admittedly a small sampling, the results of my very straw man poll would seem to support this. Just under 61.5% of respondents indicated that they probably won’t use the service, whilst over 80% of those responding the the question on the fee indicated that they felt it was too high.
Given that most people will naturally be opposed to paying almost any kind of fee for anything (even the L$10 upload fee for textures / sounds / animations is a source of grumbles), then opposition to the Name Change fee is to be expected. But the volume of negative responses, together with the level of disinterest expressed in the capability, would seem to point to the fact that – again allowing for the fact it is limited to Premium members, and the responses to the poll likely came from Basic members as well – the $39.99 fee may will be a limiting factor for users after Name Changes go live beyond the natural pause LL hope it will provide against too-frequent changes that might otherwise impact services – and might in time prove counter to the degree of effort LL have had to put into implementing the service.
Fee aside, comments that followed my December 17th article and made through the likes of Twitter and direct IM, suggest that Premium members who are eligible for the service may well be put off from using it due to what they perceive as a another potential shortfall: the inability to re-use last names previously made available by LL. Those who wish to take their partner’s last name, for example, are effectively unable to do so except by continuing to use Display Names, while those who have a favourite last name that has previously been offered by by the Lab will similarly be out of luck.
Again, this is only a small sampling, and one that uses a very basic poll to gather feedback. Nevertheless, it does suggest that Name Changes may well face a very mixed reaction once deployed, the former interest among users to have a last names make a return to SL notwithstanding.