Yesterday, Josh wrote a comment on my blog directed at another commenter who used the initials “JP” in his comment, “Curious who you are, I see a lot of comments on boards by ” jp ” and since I am known by JP myself I have people getting us confused so I switched to just my name. Who are you ?”
It’s a good point from Josh, but I can’t blame JP from using his initials, as he has done for quite some time when commenting on my blog. It gets confusing when people respond with just a name, moniker or initials. People may assume one person is responding when it’s someone else.
This is the primary reason for why you should sign up and get a Gravatar. Connected to your email address, a Gravatar is a small logo graphic that appears next to your name in a comment on many WordPress blogs. Gravatars are free to use and quick to make.
Take 5 minutes sometime soon and get yourself a Gravatar.
I got mine not too long ago. I like being able to see my picture by my posts. I think it more or less helps your branding efforts too, if you think about it like that.
When I post on domaining blogs, you see the image that represents my blog.
I took my 5 minutes a couple weeks ago 🙂 . I think it’s a good idea if you post comments a lot.
The power of TechCrunch is amazing. They are the ones that really pushed Gravatar. I like to put a face to my posts and I can change it depending on what email I put in. I can go with this
Or I can go with this. LOL
One of the issues I have with gravatar is it allows tracking users. The way gravatar works, it uses the MD5 hash of your e-mail address as a unique identifier. While that allows an icon unique to you to be used, it also means that bots can track what and where you post, so it comes at a cost of less anonymity.
Unfortunately, most people are not aware that this feature allows them to be tracked, even if you have never signed up with gravatar.com. They post under the assumption that they have some anonymity because it says their e-mail won’t be published, yet an un-salted hash of the e-mail is in fact often published (depending upon the avatar theme).
And if your e-mail address is part of any list, those who track users can easily create databases of e-mail addresses to MD5 hash and then know exactly who you are.
For this reason, I believe webmasters have a responsibility to obfuscate the hash used with gravatar, but most webmasters don’t even understand the implications of how it works.
It is a neat feature, but it really needs to be opt-in – and not just opt-in by signing up at gravatar.com, but opt-in meaning each blog you post at, the user should have to opt-in to have their gravatar avatar used.