Firstly I am NOT asking this because I want a name which is taken, and certainly not because I feel entitled to a name someone else got first. It's just an idea I came across a while ago and thought was interesting, and I'd like to know other people's thoughts.
How would you feel, hypothetically, if one day you received a mail or a whisper in-game from someone saying they really like one of your character names and they want to know if you'd be willing to give it to them, or sell it. Would you do it? Would you ask them to pay for the name change contract? Maybe charge extra? Would it depend on the name? Would it depend on who was asking and why/how badly they seemed to want it?
Usually people who want taken names seem to assume they're on inactive accounts and a 'name purge' would free it up. But someone a while ago pointed out that you'd be better off if it was an active player because then they might give it up, whereas you can't even ask and inactive one, and I thought the idea was really interesting.
Although with me the chances are the answer would be no. I spend a lot of time making my permanent characters, before I even get into the character creator. I come up with a whole concept - what they look like, what they'll do, what their personality is etc. and the name is part of that. It's usually a description, although not obviously so, for example my white, black and pale green sylvari is called Bethe Arian which means silver birch. If not then it has another meaning. (The one exception is my asuran guardian Xexxi, that's literally just something that sounded like an asuran name to me, but even then I've had it for 5 years now. I think I'd only change it if the person who beat me to Xixxi wanted to swap.)
Although I usually go through several variants of the name before picking one, and make 'demo' versions of the character so I know many of those variants are/were free (apparently not many people share my taste in names) so I could suggest an alternative.
But then I also have at least 1 character slot reserved for temporary characters - ones I've made for a specific purpose (playing alternate versions of the personal story, trying builds, key farming etc.) and I'm going to delete them after I'm done. In that case I'd let them know when I deleted the character so they could get the name 24 hours later. Unless it was going to be weeks/months, then I might ask if they want to buy me a name change contract so they don't need to wait.
"You can run like a river, Till you end up in the sea,
And you run till night is black, And keep on going in your dreams,
And you know all the long while, It's the journey that you seek,
It's the miles of moving forward, With the wind beneath your wings."