In Second Life (SL), a model’s name is their ultimate trademark. The term trademark is used informally to refer to any distinguishing attribute by which an individual is readily identified, such as the well-known characteristics of celebrities. Therefore your modeling name not only defines who you are but makes you instantly recognizable from the many other models out there, even after you have changed or adjusted your shape and skin multiple times. It is something that should be protected and not given free reign for others to use as they please. The use of one’s name can very well enhance or damage their career and all because of the name’s association to a company or group.
Companies generally use the names of well known, trending people to add popularity and sales to their products. It is a common practice and is generally done in the form of a contract where the name bearer receives a commission or percentage of the sales. Most SL models do not make money off the use of their name but they do form some sort of agreement with designers and creators for their use; such as a free gift of the item created or announcement giving the model the spotlight. This of course is generally all done before the actual item or service is released to the public. The most widely known use of models names is during the Miss Virtual World competitions where commissioned clothing, hair and accessories are generally named after the contestant it was specifically designed for.
A model does not have to accept all offers for the use of their name. Offers should be taken well into consideration for the pros and cons of such affiliation. The pros can highlight their portfolio but the cons can make it harder for the model to find work elsewhere. One designer may not like another and would avoid said model that is associated with them. Keep this in mind when a designer approaches you with an offer.
When a company or designer infringes on a model’s name intentionally and without consent and/or knowledge, the model can retaliate against them. Contrary to popular belief, a model’s word can create a rippling effect in the fashion community. It only takes one to start a boycott and depending on the truth of the word, the infringing company or designer can go from being on the top of the world to the scorn of all models in SL. One blog entry, group post or picture can make a tremendous impact and with the vast networking that almost all models have, they can not only reach the communities in the fashion industries but also the customers that buy the products.
In contrast that, a model’s good word can have the same full rippling effect but in a welcoming light. While the designer using a model’s name is in essence promoting the model itself, the model in return is able to promote the designer within the modeling community; as sort of a win-win situation.