Last week I mentioned a case of Second Life avatar identity confusion caused by users with matching display names (which can be changed). I asked the Lindens about this -- specifically, how does Linden recommend SLers protect the identity and brand associated with their avatar name, when display names can easily spoof both? And company spokesman Peter Gray told me this:
"As the Display Names FAQ notes, Display Names are not intended to be unique identifiers and your Display Name could be the same as another user's. By default, a Username is displayed if it differs from a Display Name (as it would if a newer user selected a Display Name that matched an older user's Username), and it's easy to toggle them at any point to see the Username of the person you're interacting with inworld to confirm that it's the SL user you've known by that Display Name."
On Monday, I asked Pete his advice to SL vendors who discover people are creating a similar display name to game SL's search engine? (Which apparently does happen.) I haven't received a reply as yet, and will update this post if I do.