My Google+ Profile has been suspended because I'm using my Second Life avatar identity

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Opensource Obscure, the name of my Second Life avatar, is the only way I'm known on the Internet.
The Community Standards of Google say "use the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you" and in my case, that's "Opensource Obscure". Still, my profile is currently suspended because of the name I chose.

The suspension started on 2011/07/08 morning (Italian time).

A dozen of hours later, after review of my appeal, the Google Profiles Support Team determined that "Opensource Obscure" name violates their Community Standards and told me "Google Profiles requires you to use the name that you commonly go by in daily life. You can review our Community Standards at".


Talk about this. Let your friends know. Be aware your Google+ profile may be suspended as well
If you're on Google+, you can use the "Send Feedback" link in the right-lower corner to explain Google that a Second Life nickname/picture can be a legit identity to use. Note that this could bring attention to your current profile.


Best coverage is -once again- by Tateru Nino. As soon as I made my issue public, she wrote an insightful article which explained my issue. In a related follow-up, she pointed out why pseudonyms make sense - and why the Google stance on this topic is contradictory. Another good article by Tateru is Of nyms and names.

Other coverage in reverse chronlogical order

New York Times: No Pseudonyms Allowed: Is Google Plus's Real Name Policy a Good Idea?

Pointing out the obvious: Google+'s "No-Pseudonyms" Policy is Homophobic, Not Just Anti-Social

Lauren Weinstein: Google+'s "Identity" Controversy: No Easy Answers

thechromesource: Google’s Google + Account Culling

Terra Nova: Google+ to Second Lifers: Get Real

ReadWriteWeb: No Pseudonyms Allowed: Is Google Plus's Real Name Policy a Good Idea?

Cnet: Google+ faces thorny online identity issues

Business Insider: Google Will Not Allow Google+ Profiles With Fake Names
(also on Yahoo! Finance, San Francisco Chronicle)


Plurk -

Google+ Discuss: Real Life Name required?

Metafilter: We Don't Care If You Are A Member of the Gorillaz. Let's See Some ID

SLUniverse: Here we go again, Google+ culls "fake" profiles

Gareth Halfacree on thinq_: Google carries out account cull on Google+. Virtual identies targeted for removal

Second Life residents

G+ and Beyond - What's Your Target?

No Google Plus for Avatars

Kara Trapdoor Is Real

Pseudonymous suicide – living minus Google+

Rodvik makes The Mark; I get philosophical about virtual identity


The Pitfall of Early Adoption

Google + and the Future of Avatar Identity

What's in a name?

Google + Doesn't Look Second Life Friendly


Daniel Voyager, ak Yip, and 13 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. Adromaw Lupindo 44 months ago

    This is the result of clinging to the word Virtual no doubt. Virtual relating to something that doesn’t exist and isn’t real. Replace Virtual with Digital expressing the medium and all of a sudden I’d bet people would understand the actual tangible relation of internet activities. Who knows if legislative changes would follow such movement, but the idea of Virtual is flawed and inaccurate. All data has a physical location after all which is anything but Virtual. The way it stands now you could call a published paperback Virtual too. The fact people don’t is a double-standard.

  2. serra.anansi 44 months ago

    Oh man! I really thought that Google would be a bit more hip than this; I am very disappointed in you, Google.

    Wasn't Facebook anti "alias" a while back as well? And didn't they cave?

    Looking at the few handfuls of people in my Google+ circles, 98% of them are alias's and (sorry to say) should be banned as well... including my own.

  3. Wizard Gynoid 44 months ago

    This is not news to those of us who went through this issue with Facebook. In fact, after my Facebook account was deleted sanctimoniously by a curt Facebook officer for being "Fake", I formed the "Fake Pride" group in SL. These companies are valued the way they are because of the *information* they hold. They are more valuable if the information they have on you is linked to your Real Life because they can make more money off of you then. They will attempt to discourage the use of so-called pseudonymous names. On Facebook, those of us who remain tend to keep our heads down so as not to attract the attention of over-zealous Facebook Nazis. My advice would be for Google+ residents to keep their heads down as well if you wish to remain. If you don't there's always:

  4. Yotoen 44 months ago

    What Wizzy said. Welcome to the meat market, apparently OO doesn't sell very well.

  5. Jim Tarber 44 months ago

    "Google Profiles requires you to use the name that you commonly go by in daily life."
    What if you simply reply that that *IS* the name you go by in daily life? Because it is. They didn't say "what name do you go by if the police pull you over?" How many hours of the day do you spend interacting with your social network of virtual identities?

  6. Sanura Snowpaw of .: Somnia :. 44 months ago

    I go by Sanura in my daily life. Just because it's not the name on my drivers licence does NOT make it any less MY NAME! I have been a google fan for years and this truly saddens me. I guess it is back to plurk for myself. Where they not only let us be but they have embraced us even giving us Second Life as a location and our own space on their front page.

  7. gigarimini 44 months ago

    mmm why coca cola and ibm are ok in g+????? :-(

  8. Breen.Whitman 44 months ago

    I have a joke:

    Question: Whats the difference between Google+ and Second Life?

    Answer: Nothing. They are both agressive corporates, that care not for Avatars, but for the real life identity that they wish to strip mine for income in their near future business model.

  9. Akira Seymour 44 months ago

    *looks at ben's icon and name... LOL, actual name and buddy icon hm?

  10. ★theghostwhowalks★ [deleted] 44 months ago

    Several specific federal court rulings have set precedents regarding both court decreed name changes and common law name changes (changing your name "at will") for the United States.

    "One may be employed, do business, and enter into other contracts, and sue and be sued under any name they choose at will (Lindon v. First National Bank 10 F. 894, Coppage v. Kansas 236 U.S. 1, In re McUlta 189 F. 250).

    Such a change carries exactly the same legal weight as a court-decreed name change as long as it is not done with fraudulent intent (In re McUlta 189 F. 250, Christianson v. King County 196 F. 791, United States v. McKay 2 F.2d 257)."

    Which means that Google as a company is breaking federal law in the United States.

    Read more here:

    Yes people should sweep their front door before sweeping other's :)

  11. ★theghostwhowalks★ [deleted] 44 months ago

    This is my real Second Life name that i use everyday on Second Life and many other websites, all my online friends know me by that name and that name only, just tell me why i should change it to my real "first life" one? It wouldn't make sense at all.

    "Fake names, aliases, etc."
    So what you mean is that David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Alice Cooper, Ben Kingsley, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Elton John, Michael Caine, Natalie Wood, Ringo Starr, Sid Vicious, Sting, Woody Allen and many other people (even OBSCURE people) are not accountable people?

    Many of us who use Second Life on a daily basis since YEARS are nonetheless real people, and for various reasons (which are nobody's business) most of us don't want to use our real names. Does that make us trolls, harassing people, spammers? Just take a deeper look at what Second Life residents share on the internet, a lot of them actually share interesting things and sometimes have a deeper understanding in online relationships/behaviors.

  12. Opensource Obscure 44 months ago

    yes, I just deleted some comments - and no, this page is not a free space of free expression. Write your opinions on your blog in order not to get moderated by other people

  13. Opensource Obscure 44 months ago

    Your description of Linden Lab seems to be quite far from the reality.

  14. ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓ 44 months ago

    I clicked through from MetaFilter, and lo and behold... who do I find affected. :(

    It's so uncomfortably archaic and ignorant that while this kind of "social networking" is viewed as technological progress, more consideration and provisions aren't given to an expanded and evolving definition of identity. Best of hope with it, Opensource.

    I wonder if some of the bias here is against the visual portrait/thumbnail being used, as I've experienced that being the case before.

    (I've gotten multiple Google+ invites but haven't actively participated, as I don't have a practical use for it at the moment.)

  15. Opensource Obscure 44 months ago

    thanks Torley for your support!

  16. KilynnTor 44 months ago

    Obscure, how is the appeals process going? Is there one? Did you contact them and ask what you need to do to reinstate it to prove your identity? I have seen no reports of what you did after you got the email besides report it to others. I just want some clarification on what happened after you got the suspension notice to clear understanding with Google. Did they ask for proof of identity? What proof did you give them?

    They should have at least given you an appeal as they have so many others who have been suspended. They even have a guide now for t through Google staff members post.

    From what I have seen of other cases of suspensions is they usually changed they name and it gets flagged but by your account you contacted them first about the name policies which definitely got their attention.

    I'd rather there be more clarification on the matter than all these people on G+ with SL accounts panic without knowing either how this can be avoided or how we can work with Google so that we can go by the names we are known as without hassle.

  17. Opensource Obscure 44 months ago

    KilynnTor, please re-read the photo description. The appeal was quickly dismissed and the suspension has been confirmed.

    To have my Profile reinstated, I'd need to put a real name (or just a *realistic* if fake name, since they don't verify it) as my main profile name.

    Providing Google with a proof of identity can be done during the appeal: that's optional, and anyway it only makes sense if one is using her own registry name.

  18. ★theghostwhowalks★ [deleted] 44 months ago

    From what Google says on their Your name and Google Profiles, you "should" be allowed to use your pseudonym on Google+ since it's the name you usually go by in your daily online life.

  19. Opensource Obscure 44 months ago

    Yeah Crystal - that's the very reason I was using my SL username there in the first place.

    That page also says "Google Profiles is a product that works best in the identified state". I think instead it should say "Google Profiles is a product that ONLY works in the identified state", given that I'm not allowed to use it in the pseudonymous state.

  20. Eponymous Drake 44 months ago

    My reaction is yawn. If they don't want me on my own terms, who needs YASN?

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