Monday, August 01, 2011

« This Saturday at San Francisco's DNA Lounge: RL/SL Mixed Reality Mashup Clubbing! | Main | Meeroos Starving Due to SL Griefers Selling Fraudulent Food & Linden Lab Closing Their Legitimate Food Source (UPDATE: Meeroos Account Reopened, But SL Still "Flooded With Unauthorized Food") »

Google Continues Suspending Pseudonymous Profiles, But Promises Profiles for Non-Real "Entities" Soon

Botgirl Questi Google Profile Suspended

Google continues to suspend pseudonymous Profile accounts that are not real names, judging from today's suspension of "Botgirl Questi", the avatar name of a well-known SL blogger. In real life, Botgirl is David Elfanbaum, co-founder of a high tech consultancy called Asynchrony Solutions. (He "came out" as Botgirl a couple years ago.) Despite an RL presence in the tech world, Elfanbaum says he would prefer not to create a Profiles account based on his real name:

"Although my identities are linked publicly," he tells me by e-mail, "they're not identical and I have no desire to conflate them at some top level AKA or nickname level." (Google has told people to put avatar names and other pseudonyms in the "Other names" section of their profile.) Elfanbaum has a very interesting argument for why his Profile should be his avatar name, rather than his real one:

"Out of 50,000 people who may be familiar with me, 95% know me as Botgirl Questi. So theoretically under their existing policy, it should be my real life account that got suspended." (Google's rules state the profile name should be one “that you commonly go by in daily life.”) Also, Elfanbaum adds, "I'm in solidarity with the majority of those with avatar identities who have not linked with real life."

All that said, judging by Botgirl's suspension notice posted above, he and others like him should have alternatives in the next few months:

"[W]e are currently limiting profiles to real people," the text reads, "and will be launching a profile for businesses and other entities later this year." This messaging fits a recent statement from Google VP Vic Gundotra, who said the company plans to introduce features for handling pseudonyms. So if you want to have a Google Profile named after your avatar, Reddit or YouTube account, or whatever, you may want to wait until then to see what exactly that option is. Hopefully Google will have figured how important pseudonyms are in online socialization, though I'm still skeptical there. Until then, in any case, if you want a Profile now and want to insure it's not suspended, make sure it's based on your real name -- or following a Google engineer's informal advice, at least "looks" like a real name.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Google Continues Suspending Pseudonymous Profiles, But Promises Profiles for Non-Real "Entities" Soon:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Angie Mornington

WTF is a "Non-Real Entity"? Casper the friendly ghost? The Poltergeist monster? Freddy Krueger? What is this really about? Oh nevermind I already know. $$$$

Nathan Adored

Oh, so now we're "entities" rather than real people? Rather than recognizing intellectually that people with nicks are just as real as people with only wallet-names, they can shove us in a box and pretend we don't matter as much as "real people" do. We're real people too, you know. oO

Unfortunately, their thought process works just the same as back when some perceived one wasn't a "real person" just because of their skin color being different, or because of their lineage, or because of the color of their hair or their eyes, or because of where or under what context they were born. That path didn't end well either.

Ciaran Laval

There's a difference between a fictional character, where someone posts entirely in character and a psuedonym, Google simply don't want to get this.


Interestingly, the Uccello Poultry identity I use for Google Blogger and Google Mail is qualified and, indeed, was invited to Google+, but my RL identity has been told to wait for an invite. Well, Google can wait for me as I don't intend to sign up unless my SL activities require it, but I don't want to jeopardize my blog or mail by getting suspended for using Google+ as Uccello.

Tateru Nino

"Google Continues Suspending Pseudonymous Profiles" and Non-Pseudonymous Profiles as well.

In fact, the Non-Pseudonymous may be being hit harder by all of this.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

A "non-entity" can be someone without any value...a schlemiel/schamozzel, in other words. Thanks, Google!


Good riddance.. less crappy avatar self awareness nonsense and more crappy self promotional nonsense from Jarvis and Scoble.


I don't know if this can be useful but there is a Google Moderator vote (Google+ feature priorities) to support use of pseudonyms for Google+

Ann Otoole InSL

Goggle is a data collector for the NSA. Combined with the soon to be implemented data retention act the 24*7 surveillance on all US citizens will be complete. Argue all you want but the only path to freedom involves never voting for another incumbent in history and never voting for another dem or republican so the bs two party system will be erased.

If you do not wish to be under google surveillance then you must block all google related domains in your hosts file. Websites load much faster that way.

foneco zuzu

Thor all the way soon!

Arcadia Codesmith

I'll require specifics before I make a judgement, but it they're lumping "other entities" with businesses, odds are that they're going to require public disclosure of identity, which is unacceptable.

Enti Ties

google+ suck my balls

Susan Fuller

I'm not a big fan of using pseudonyms however it could be argued they are brands. For all the talk about brands being important, one would think Google would understand this.


Yeah, I've wondered if I can suddenly become a business at a future date. I sort of doubt it!

Sling Trebuchet

High +x to Ciaran Laval on "There's a difference between a fictional character, where someone posts entirely in character and a psuedonym, Google simply don't want to get this."

If Google permit pseudonyms/autonyms, I think it will be on the basis of the pseudonym name being the default used in +'s and circles - but with the 'Real Name' published without option to withhold - or even always displayed beside the pseudonym.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.