Avatar or not to Avatar

by RRicart 24 replies
Hello Everyone,

Quick question for you regarding avatars...
As you know when we participate in these forums, we build an online Identity and reputation. How important is it for you to know the face of the warrior or member you are buying from?

I know that I have been a member here for a long time, just came back recently and started posting again and for that time I never had an avatar...but recently I started thinking that if you want to build an online business you shouldn't be afraid of posting your name and photo because if I intend to provide quality, and build something legitimate, an avatar could only help...

so my question to you is this, does a profile with an avatar have any weight over those without avatars when you intend to purchase a WSO or online product....let me know your thoughts.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #avatar #avatars
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean A McAlister
    For me

    I am more likely to buy from a face than a cartoon.,..or no face at all...

    Sean
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  • Profile picture of the author CSwrite
    Absolutely, it makes a huge difference. I've noticed that when I'm on Twitter - I automatically recognize the faces I know from here. I can probably rattle off 100 or so warriors that I recognize from photos - but the member names of those that don't - not so much.

    It took a lot for me to add my pic, as I've had a pretty bad stalking experience before, but I'm very glad that I did. I think it's important to put your face out there. If you want people to trust you, they need to develop an emotional connection. They can't do that if you don't give them something to go on.

    It's like the old ads - would you buy a car from this man? Just as in print marketing, pictures do make a difference.

    My two cents
    Cary
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    • Profile picture of the author RRicart
      Originally Posted by CSwrite View Post

      Absolutely, it makes a huge difference. I've noticed that when I'm on Twitter - I automatically recognize the faces I know from here. I can probably rattle off 100 or so warriors that I recognize from photos - but the member names of those that don't - not so much.

      It took a lot for me to add my pic, as I've had a pretty bad stalking experience before, but I'm very glad that I did. I think it's important to put your face out there. If you want people to trust you, they need to develop an emotional connection. They can't do that if you don't give them something to go on.

      It's like the old ads - would you buy a car from this man? Just as in print marketing, pictures do make a difference.

      My two cents
      Cary
      It also took me a long time to make that move - I just kept on hearing my mother 10 years ago telling me about all the crazies on the net lol.
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    • Profile picture of the author George Wright
      Hi,

      Very interesting topic.

      No, having your picture as an avitar makes no difference to me at all. If you are offering a nice product at a good price I'll give it a chance. We had no avatars on the old forum and did just fine. Of course we had profile pictures but a lot of Warriors traditionally used other pictures other than ones of themselves. I.E. Monkys, Animated Gifs, etc.

      The very difinatin of Avatar suggests that it would be a graphic of something other than you.

      Definitions of avatar on the Web:

      A graphical representation of a person in a chat room. The word comes from Hindu mythology in which spirits come down and inhabit bodies.

      A digital representation of a user in a virtual reality site.

      In multiuser internet environments and games, an avatar is a user's own graphical representation.

      Sometimes chat rooms are designed to enable people in those rooms to have graphical representations. These are called avatars, and the chat is often referred to as an avatar-chat

      An icon that represents you on message boards, chat rooms, IM programs, 3-D chat rooms and virtual worlds. Your avatar can be whatever you want it to be. There are graphic elements, animals, cartoons and pictures used as avatars on the Internet.

      Avatars are small images that are displayed next to a username. Avatars can be changed in your profile and settings

      aspect thereof). "It derives from the Sanskrit word daveed which means "descent" and usually implies a deliberate descent into lower realms of existence for special purposes. ...

      Your virtual on-screen representation. Can range from being the main character in a story-driven game, aka Lara Croft, to a self-created virtual persona which embodies you within the gameworld, such as in World of Warcraft.

      A graphic or pictorial repesentation of a user in a 3-D chat area. Usually chosen by each user, the avatar can be an animal or caricature.

      A digital representation of yourself which interacts with other avatars, representing other people, in a virtual world.

      An avatar is computer user's representation of himself or herself, whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, a two-dimensional icon (picture) used on Internet forums and other ...
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave Cornish
    If the product actually delivers I have no issues with whether or not I can actually see the deliverer.

    I see what you're saying about the trust factor though, but it's probably a subconscious thing. Many people, myself included, would be willing to overlook the lack of a portrait if the product is quality.

    Also, it's kind of silly that a picture can be used to build people's trust on the net when the seller could easily post any picture they desired to make themselves look more professional and convincing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Wagoner
      I certainly understand where you're coming from, and you all have valid points.

      If you want to be taken seriously, you should just face up and post your mug.

      To have a cartoon up as an avatar is just simply too childish in an internet marketing forum.

      I mean really... what's next? A monkey as an avatar?

      Hmmm...

      Honestly, I've successfully done business with people online for many years whom I've never laid eyes on, so an avatar isn't going to start making or breaking deals for me.

      Trust me, if I posted my pic you'd beg for the toon!

      Dennis
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    • Profile picture of the author RRicart
      Originally Posted by Dave Cornish View Post

      If the product actually delivers I have no issues with whether or not I can actually see the deliverer.

      I see what you're saying about the trust factor though, but it's probably a subconscious thing. Many people, myself included, would be willing to overlook the lack of a portrait if the product is quality.

      Also, it's kind of silly that a picture can be used to build people's trust on the net when the seller could easily post any picture they desired to make themselves look more professional and convincing.
      That's true, you have a valid point but on a personal level I feel good when I can see the person who I'm dealing with even if it may be a fake pic at the end of the day......I know its crazy but hey it works lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author sylviad
    Having an avatar or not will probably become more important as the Internet continues to grow in popularity. Increasingly more people will be shopping online. And the more avatars that are used, the more they will be expected.

    As a poster stated, who's to say it's your own photo? You can use any photo as your own (provided you don't get caught by the owner of that other face). Clip art books are loaded with professional-looking photos.

    Of course, there are the face-to-face meetings. If you ever decide to attend any Warrior conferences, your secret would soon be revealed.

    I, too, was concerned about stalkers and having my face out there... but over time, I'm become much less concerned. Let's face it (no pun intended), if a stalker wants to find you, it's not difficult once they have your real name.

    Would I be more likely to buy if I see the face? Not really. Some Warriors have been around quite awhile. I've become comfortable enough with that familiarity to buy regardless of their avatar or non-avatar.

    Sylvia
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    • For me it is just easier to keep track of people with an image. I forget usernames, but I remember pictures.

      Of course that breaks if you change your avatar.

      Images also allow us to increase our likability. Posting one shows an openness that not having one doesn't show.

      (As I was writing this I realized I hadn't set my avatar for the new forums :0 )
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    • Profile picture of the author RRicart
      Originally Posted by sylviad View Post

      Having an avatar or not will probably become more important as the Internet continues to grow in popularity. Increasingly more people will be shopping online. And the more avatars that are used, the more they will be expected.

      As a poster stated, who's to say it's your own photo? You can use any photo as your own (provided you don't get caught by the owner of that other face). Clip art books are loaded with professional-looking photos.

      Of course, there are the face-to-face meetings. If you ever decide to attend any Warrior conferences, your secret would soon be revealed.

      I, too, was concerned about stalkers and having my face out there... but over time, I'm become much less concerned. Let's face it (no pun intended), if a stalker wants to find you, it's not difficult once they have your real name.

      Would I be more likely to buy if I see the face? Not really. Some Warriors have been around quite awhile. I've become comfortable enough with that familiarity to buy regardless of their avatar or non-avatar.

      Sylvia
      I guess you are right Sylvia.

      Profile images shouldn't matter if the warrior has a solid reputation of integrity and reliability but I do believe they are important - I believe that avatars whether its our faces or not kind of build your identity -

      I think for new folks coming into the biz they will probably be more prone to purchase from a face because they don't know enough about a particular marketer to go by the reputation alone.....its the mindset of who's really behind that SN or just plain curiosity - who knows but I guess across the board, the importance of profile image is dependent on who the customer is....and after taking into consideration all the responses my feel on it is that Its probably best to have a profile picture because you will appeal to those that don't care whether you have one or not and you will appeal to those who think its important to know who your purchasing from......
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        I think of it in terms of branding. Isn't consistency more important than the photo? If you use the same image on WF, Twitter, etc., people are recognizing that image, whether it's a photo, an illustration, or a logo.

        People talk about how photos build trust and so forth, but that's only if you assume the picture is actually of the person you're communicating with. You don't know for sure and, in that regard, a photo is no different from a logo. On top of that, even if it is of the person, people will often use their best photo, so what you see in a photo isn't necessarily what you'll see if you were to meet the person for real.

        So, the notion that a photo builds trust is largely illusionary; it uses as its basis the trust that the person is using their real photo.

        And, even if the photo is real, so what? No one has ever been ripped off by a person they've seen? No one has ever been lied to by a salesperson in-person?

        It's the reputation that matters. If you become known for ripping people off, will people suddenly change their minds about you if you put up your picture? I don't think so.
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        • Profile picture of the author George Wright
          You know Dan,

          I guess I have to agree with you. I have Click Here on all of my web sites blogs and forums. Almost every other IMer also uses my Avatar Click Here.

          Man, as much as my brand appears allover the Internet why am I not making more $$$??

          George Wright

          Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

          I think of it in terms of branding. Isn't consistency more important than the photo? If you use the same image on WF, Twitter, etc., people are recognizing that image, whether it's a photo, an illustration, or a logo.

          People talk about how photos build trust and so forth, but that's only if you assume the picture is actually of the person you're communicating with. You don't know for sure and, in that regard, a photo is no different from a logo. On top of that, even if it is of the person, people will often use their best photo, so what you see in a photo isn't necessarily what you'll see if you were to meet the person for real.

          So, the notion that a photo builds trust is largely illusionary; it uses as its basis the trust that the person is using their real photo.

          And, even if the photo is real, so what? No one has ever been ripped off by a person they've seen? No one has ever been lied to by a salesperson in-person?

          It's the reputation that matters. If you become known for ripping people off, will people suddenly change their minds about you if you put up your picture? I don't think so.
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          • Profile picture of the author sylviad
            It's much like the price you put on a product... it's based on "perceived value". People still like to deal with real people because it helps us perceive the person we're talking to. It's inherent in us to want to see faces. They provide clues into the individual, by their expressions and features. We naturally interpret what people say by how they speak, how they react. We make judgments based on faces. We can't help ourselves.

            Although these interactions are not possible with avatars, we still tend to lean towards the familiarity of faces and direct human contact.

            RRicart, you couldn't have said it better. At least with an avatar, you won't offend anyone... hopefully.

            Sylvia
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            • Profile picture of the author Ephrils
              For the moment I'm going with no avatar. The line is pretty split between "a form of expression" and it "needs to be you". Plus, I can't find that picture of the monkey with the gun I was going to use
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              • Profile picture of the author lewister
                I'm with Dan. I went up and down and back and forth and then in a few more circles. It really doesn't matter exactly what you use as much as it matters that you are creating a consistent brand with your image. When I moved to a cartoon image, I made sure I started using it everywhere to keep it consistent for all the people who know me online. I see it as my "logo" now and like any major brand, I'm consistent in how I use it and in the persona behind it.

                I'm generally a little more comfortable with the graphic than I was with the picture I had before. Still worry a bit about the stalking thing. But I do have the added benefit of my avatar actually looking just like me, right down to an overly pointy chin. :-)

                *******

                (First post on here! And I'm contributing to the most weighty matter I could find.)
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                • Profile picture of the author David Campbell
                  Here's a quote from Jonathan Leger, who started the $7 report craze and is the author of "Write That Report!"

                  "I always include a picture of myself in my "about the Author" section. I feel like it gives people the same kind of connection to me as a good eCover gives people to the product." [Elsewhere he says that a professional ecover can double your sales.] . . .

                  "The reality is that you are selling yourself to your customers, not just your product. The more real you can make yourself to your customers, the more they will trust you."

                  A few additional thoughts from me:

                  - I've seen avatars as well as photos of the person posting that were so unpleasant looking, or inappropriate, or unprofessional, or such poor quality, that it leads me to distrust their judgment. Is that the best they can do? Do they really identify themselves with that grotesque theme?

                  - I think when a person has their actual name and photo on a posting, they are prone to speak and behave more responsibly. (However, I can think of at least one glaring exception to this idea.) [For myself, I just today filed a request with the WF HelpDesk to change my user name to my actual name.]

                  - I know this may not be quite the same thing, but given the choice, on a first-time visit, would you prefer to walk into a trashed-out looking restaurant that was dirty, dingy, and smelled badly? Or would you be more prone to choose the one next door that looked clean and bright and well-maintained?

                  - In general, if you're approached by a stranger on the street, would you be more comfortable if it were a slouchy, surly looking guy wearing a hood and acting oddly? Or would you feel better if it were a tidy-looking, heads-up guy who was smiling, behaving politely, and wearing a suit?

                  - Two things I heard from a professional public speaking trainer may also apply here: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." And, "If you needlessly offend one person, that's one too many."

                  Enjoy!
                  David Campbell
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    • Profile picture of the author Ricter
      Originally Posted by sylviad View Post

      Having an avatar or not will probably become more important as the Internet continues to grow in popularity. Increasingly more people will be shopping online. And the more avatars that are used, the more they will be expected.

      As a poster stated, who's to say it's your own photo? You can use any photo as your own (provided you don't get caught by the owner of that other face).
      The new facial imaging "optimizing" software will soon be widely available. You'll then be able to take someone's face, optimize it, and it's no longer their face.

      Anyway, what if you use makeup, comb your hair, or arrange the lighting and pose for your picture? Is it really "you"?

      It's all symbolism.
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      • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
        Originally Posted by Ricter View Post

        The new facial imaging "optimizing" software will soon be widely available. You'll then be able to take someone's face, optimize it, and it's no longer their face.

        Anyway, what if you use makeup, comb your hair, or arrange the lighting and pose for your picture? Is it really "you"?

        It's all symbolism.
        LOL- New headline: "Optimize your Face for Maximum Profits!!!"

        Best!
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  • Profile picture of the author Norma Holt
    Presentation is everything and I would rather buy from a salesperson who does not hide behind a screen or speak to you through a canvas of deceit. If one is true blue (Aussie expression for sincere) then what is there to hide. In this day and age isn't it the visible media we turn to the most.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
      I'm a very visual person.

      I look through my Gourmet magazine, I'm most likely to try the recipe with a mouthwatering picture. I go to the bookstore -- or Amazon -- and I'm most likely to pick up the book with good cover art.

      It's the same here. I connect with the pictures. Real pictures of real people.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ouroboros
        I don't think it's a question of avatar or not, more like pic of you vs. avatar vs. none of the above.

        I thought about posting a clever avatar when the capability became available, but an avatar is something I use in a recreational forum or a poker site. Then I thought about posting my ugly mug and that didn't appeal to me either.

        Then I added my pic to my ezine and squidoo bio's and saw a subtle but noticeable increase in my bio views. I think it's all about branding, if I had an expensive logo design that tied all my work together I would use that.

        No pic, okay but doesn't instill confidence. Clever avatar? Turns me off. Actual Picture (detectable because no one would post that if it wasn't them ) instills trust and confidence.

        My .02 US dollars worth

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        • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
          Avatars are pretty much a meaningless way to gauge the person or their personality.

          If I'm serious about doing business with someone, I would much prefer a live phone conversation or webcam.

          Any persons posts will speak volumes about them anyway, far beyond any avatar.

          Best!
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          • Profile picture of the author jbolte1976
            When I do business online I tend adjust my trust level on how they write, how quickly they reply to my questions, how personable they make the transaction, etc.

            I try not to read a person with how they look, I've been burned by people I thought I had a pretty good feeling about.

            I personally intend on adding an avatar. I'd like for people to know I don't have anything to hide.
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  • Profile picture of the author RRicart
    very interesting point of views! thank you all for your input.
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