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Shadow Panther's Thoughts on the Google+ Names Policy

Google-

1/29/12

I've been Shadow Panther longer than Google's been Google.

Let that sink in for a second...I didn't realize it myself until just this week.

So, what's the significance, you might ask? Well, a few days ago, Google+ announced that they were going to "broaden support for established pseudonyms, from +trench coat to +Madonna." But there's a catch - you need to provide "proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following". It's still not clear exactly what qualifies as a "meaningful following", but apparently "gamer handles" don't make the cut.

I tested this out myself by trying to sign up as Shadow Panther, but it was immediately flagged as a name that would require further justification. So I submitted a list of links to Google+ providing proof of my established online identity including links to my site, my Twitter page, etc. Despite all that, I received a notice several days later that my request had been rejected because "the name provided violates the Google+ Names Policy".

I have used the name Shadow Panther, in various forms, since before 1996 when Google was first formed. I'm known as Shadow__Panther on Twitter, Shadow Panther on AOL/AIM, Shadow Panther on Xbox Live, and many more sites and services across the web. Thousands of gamers around the world know me as Shadow Panther and have benefited directly from the resources found on my personal site.

Before World of Warcraft, I had a significant following on Xbox Live (beginning with the original Xbox back in 2003) when I made charts for MechAssault, Halo 2 and other games. In those early days, I also managed the Co-op Games List as well as the massive Xbox Clan Registry, which helped numerous players find and contact Xbox clans.

I like to think that I've established a very "meaningful following" over the past decade consisting of thousands of fellow gamers who have supported me and my various efforts. Google+ may classify Shadow Panther as merely being a "gamer handle", but for me it has been my primary online presence for over 15 years.

If you doubt me, go to Google and type in "Shadowp"...because that's as far as you'll need to get before my site (and hundreds of sites mentioning me and my work) appears. If that's not "proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following", then I don't know what is.

UPDATE: (2/2/12) It appears that my Google+ account has now been approved.

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