Use your real name in IM?

57 replies
Hi everyone,

I'm new to WF, but so far I have found the information here to be incredible.

As a new internet marketer who just finished my own product, I find that I am somewhat reluctant to put products out under my own name. I personally know a few writers who have found themselves stalked, unable to attend conventions, etc. once their names got out. These aren't A-list writers, but people who most readers have never heard of before.

I know that internet marketers aren't likely to achieve the same level of name recognition as even a B- or C-list writer, but it still makes me cautious.

So, does anyone have an opinion about this? Anyone know of any legal ramifications for not using your own name?

Thanks in advance!
#real
  • Profile picture of the author Nick M
    JT, I prefer to go with my own name because it requires me to put out my best stuff each and every time. When I did put out stuff under a pseudonym, it was usually mush lower quality since I new in the back of my mind I could just walk away from it.

    If you look at the A-listers, all dropped their alter egos a long time ago.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mrs S
      Originally Posted by Nick M View Post

      JT, I prefer to go with my own name because it requires me to put out my best stuff each and every time. When I did put out stuff under a pseudonym, it was usually mush lower quality since I new in the back of my mind I could just walk away from it.
      I completely agree with Nick - using my own name gives me a sense of accountability. I use my own name in IM and in my main niche sites. I do have a couple of pen names for use in smaller projects where I'd prefer people in my main niche to not know I dabble in other stuff too lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Jennings
    If I could start all over again I'd use a pseudonym -- but not because of stalkers, etc. 99.9991% of the time that's just not gonna happen.

    I'd do it just to keep a separation between my business self and personal self.

    Kind of like the reason you have an office (or space) that's just for work. Then you can leave it all there when the workday is over.

    Maybe that doesn't make sense and deep down I really just want to be like Batman and have a secret identity. I'm not quite sure, yet.

    Jay Jennings
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    • Profile picture of the author dirtyjazzhands
      I always use a pseudonym on some things, but if it is for any kind services that I offer or any products that require support, then I will use my real name, or at least some form of it.

      I do suppose I could use my real name throughout, but I started out not doing so and that mindset just kind of stuck...

      I think you should be fine either way. And remember, there is nothing wrong with using a pseudonym: some of the biggest novelists in the world either have used them or continue to do so.

      --Josh
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    • Originally Posted by Jay Jennings View Post

      If I could start all over again I'd use a pseudonym -- I'd do it just to keep a separation between my business self and personal self.
      That's a good point. Sometimes you don't want your customers to see your Facebook profile and stuff like that. I do agree that separating your business and your personal life is important.
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      • Profile picture of the author LynnH
        I have to use my middle name because my first name is so uniquely spelled that when you type it into google (no last name required) the few sites I use it on OWN the first few pages of google. It started to make me nervous, because I do things in such diverse fields that it was really weird having them all available to any employer or anyone else looking me up online.

        So I now do everything with my middle name and last name instead and I feel much better! I will admit I still feel like a fake sometimes using my middle name and that's even weirder because it's still my "real" name!

        On sites that would be more naturally run by a male, I just use my initials and let it go at that. I do not lie, but I do let visitors make assumptions...
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    • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
      I'd do the same thing for exactly the same reasons.

      Kim

      Originally Posted by Jay Jennings View Post

      If I could start all over again I'd use a pseudonym -- but not because of stalkers, etc. 99.9991% of the time that's just not gonna happen.

      I'd do it just to keep a separation between my business self and personal self.

      Kind of like the reason you have an office (or space) that's just for work. Then you can leave it all there when the workday is over.

      Maybe that doesn't make sense and deep down I really just want to be like Batman and have a secret identity. I'm not quite sure, yet.

      Jay Jennings
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  • Profile picture of the author jtjavins
    Thanks for your responses. I guess I just tend to be an extremely private person, and having my real name out there makes me nervous. The fact that I used to work for a govt. security agency probably doesn't help.
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  • Profile picture of the author JonAlfredsson
    Jt.. welcome to Warrior forum. You can use either way and I think it's absolutely fine. When you have something done well, you are praised and adored with your real name. THowever, here could also be disadvantages but its absolutely up to you where you'd be comfortable with. (Pen name or real name).
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  • I use my real name and I would recommend it to anyone who was considering entering any form of internet business. Trust is one of the most important aspects in my opinion when operating your own business. You have to have that good level of trust with your customers in order to build relationships. Just my two cents!
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkSherris
    use your real name! - if you're selling products or information, or even a service people are going to be a lot more likely to trust you and buy from you if you use your real name!

    It shows you are genuine and not just going to rip somebody off.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Ayres
      Originally Posted by MarkSherris View Post

      use your real name! - if you're selling products or information, or even a service people are going to be a lot more likely to trust you and buy from you if you use your real name!

      It shows you are genuine and not just going to rip somebody off.
      Sorry but i dont agree, just because someone is using "A Name" how do you know it is theirs?
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  • Profile picture of the author gravtex
    I think it's a lot easier to gain traction in a market using your own name. I do have some markets where I do business under a pen name and a lot of my articles are published under various names, but in those markets I'm okay with walking away (as has been mentioned earlier in the thread).

    If you plan on building a real long term business, I'd recommend using your real name, but ultimately it's up to you - if you can't bring yourself to market the product under your real name, but under a pen name you can, then do what it takes to get going on your business.

    Gary
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  • Profile picture of the author badboy_Nick
    Originally Posted by jtjavins View Post

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to WF, but so far I have found the information here to be incredible.

    As a new internet marketer who just finished my own product, I find that I am somewhat reluctant to put products out under my own name. I personally know a few writers who have found themselves stalked, unable to attend conventions, etc. once their names got out. These aren't A-list writers, but people who most readers have never heard of before.

    I know that internet marketers aren't likely to achieve the same level of name recognition as even a B- or C-list writer, but it still makes me cautious.

    So, does anyone have an opinion about this? Anyone know of any legal ramifications for not using your own name?

    Thanks in advance!
    Just create a pen name and off you got.

    Theres nothing wrong with using a stage/pen name in order to protect yourself and give you some privacy. I'd go for it, nobody knows if its your real name or not anyways.

    Hope that helps

    Nick
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    • Profile picture of the author terenceyang
      My personal take is using different pen names allows you to position yourself in various niches as an authority because it would seem a little weird to have your real name as an authority over a spread of 30 or 50 niches. However, if you would like to build a single brand as an authority in 1 or 2 niches, I think it would be good to use your real name in the long run.

      Hope that helps.

      Terence
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      • Profile picture of the author JEL0221
        Originally Posted by terenceyang View Post

        My personal take is using different pen names allows you to position yourself in various niches as an authority because it would seem a little weird to have your real name as an authority over a spread of 30 or 50 niches. However, if you would like to build a single brand as an authority in 1 or 2 niches, I think it would be good to use your real name in the long run.

        Hope that helps.

        Terence
        This is exactly what I do, use a different pen name for each niche I am involved in.

        There's not a bigger turn-off when you look at an ezine author resource box and see:

        John Doe, besides being a real estate and ecommerce mogul, also is an expert therapist when it comes to a fear of flying, is a professional matchbox car designer, and has an unprecedented approach to coping with post-traumatic stress suffered from minotaur attacks.

        Visit John at ww (dot) IamGREATatEVERYniche (dot) co

        Now, I intend to use my real name in the future when I begin in the IM "make money online" niche sometime in the future, but that will not be for a little bit of time because I want a big, unique, and very profitable experience that I can develop products from
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        • Profile picture of the author TheGraduate
          Originally Posted by JEL0221 View Post

          This is exactly what I do, use a different pen name for each niche I am involved in.

          There's not a bigger turn-off when you look at an ezine author resource box and see:

          John Doe, besides being a real estate and ecommerce mogul, also is an expert therapist when it comes to a fear of flying, is a professional matchbox car designer, and has an unprecedented approach to coping with post-traumatic stress suffered from minotaur attacks.

          Visit John at ww (dot) IamGREATatEVERYniche (dot) co

          Now, I intend to use my real name in the future when I begin in the IM "make money online" niche sometime in the future, but that will not be for a little bit of time because I want a big, unique, and very profitable experience that I can develop products from
          There is nothing wrong with pen names, many great writers have used several pen names throughout their careers for specifically that reason, they do not want to look like a know it all to their readers, sometimes they do it when they write on topics which are more appropriate for writers of the opposite sex etc
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          • Profile picture of the author andr3w84
            I was pondering the same question some weeks ago. The best answer that I got, imho, was to use different pen names depending on the niche, and reserve my own name for my main niche. Many article marketers follow this same principle.

            The most important arguments in favor of pen names would be to avoid someone else reverse engineering your campaigns / products, and to safeguard your credibility in the rest of your niches if something went wrong in one of them.
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          • Profile picture of the author JEL0221
            Originally Posted by TheGraduate View Post

            There is nothing wrong with pen names, many great writers have used several pen names throughout their careers for specifically that reason, they do not want to look like a know it all to their readers, sometimes they do it when they write on topics which are more appropriate for writers of the opposite sex etc
            I think you may have mis-read my post, I meant that is why someone SHOULD use a pen-name in niches besides IM.

            Many people have several niches that they market in, and if someone does their due dilligence and looks up so me author info, they will see the author is an "established expert" in many different fields if they don't use a different name for each niche...

            I use a pen-name for each different niche so my readers/people doing their research on me see that niche is my specialty and concentration
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            • Profile picture of the author TheGraduate
              Originally Posted by JEL0221 View Post

              I think you may have mis-read my post, I meant that is why someone SHOULD use a pen-name in niches besides IM.

              Many people have several niches that they market in, and if someone does their due dilligence and looks up so me author info, they will see the author is an "established expert" in many different fields if they don't use a different name for each niche...

              I use a pen-name for each different niche so my readers/people doing their research on me see that niche is my specialty and concentration
              I agree, I was just giving support to your post, I guess I should have started my post with "I agree", my bad
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              • Profile picture of the author JEL0221
                Originally Posted by TheGraduate View Post

                I agree, I was just giving support to your post, I guess I should have started my post with "I agree", my bad
                No worries...I just misunderstood it
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimian
    I used my middle name on one of my products. <soldin21days dot net> You may not want your name linked to certain products in case people do a search (on your name).
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Originally Posted by jtjavins View Post

    I personally know a few writers who have found themselves stalked, unable to attend conventions, etc. once their names got out. These aren't A-list writers, but people who most readers have never heard of before.
    I've been a writer most of my life and I've never heard of anyone or met anyone having this problem.

    It makes me wonder what niche they were writing in...lol.

    When it comes to marketing information if you're not willing to use your own name I, like many other people, am going to wonder about your honesty and credibility.

    I'm not saying you're not honest but it always leaves that question mark when people want to sell me a product but won't tell me their name or use a name that isn't theirs.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author BenAlberstadt
      It's simpler to use your own name, if nothing else. I think this is a big vote in favor of real name (v. pseudonym).
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      • Profile picture of the author butters
        Depends on the market, if the market will connect better with a female for an example then a pseudonym will be used. I only use it where it will help me build a connection to the reader. Now if I was in the IM niche or anything which teaches anything, then I would use my own name, its all dependent on the market iMO.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jay Jennings
      Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

      When it comes to marketing information if you're not willing to use your own name I, like many other people, am going to wonder about your honesty and credibility.
      Well, like Nick mentioned, how would you know a name is their given name or not?

      Betty Crocker and Mavis Beacon built huge brands -- and they weren't even real people. David Copperfield is a real person -- but that's not his "real" name. And in IM, I didn't know Michael Green wasn't Michael Green for a long time -- there are probably a lot of people who still don't know that's a pseudonym.

      If you're not using it to defraud someone, there's nothing wrong with using a pen name.

      Alexander Xavius Maximillian Jennings
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    • Profile picture of the author bigcullie
      Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

      I've been a writer most of my life and I've never heard of anyone or met anyone having this problem.
      Hi, I have been stalk and it nearly finished me. What was really annoying was the fact I was not doing particularly well at the time, in fact I was struggling. There are some saddo's out there wanting to throw mud. Given the choice I would prefer using my own name.
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  • Profile picture of the author TrafficMystic
    Depends on the niche. If your promoting women products for example and your blog and article name is 'Bob Smith' then I think it would put a lot of potential buyer off from the site and articles.

    It would be more prudent to use a female name..
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGraduate
      Originally Posted by TrafficMystic View Post

      Depends on the niche. If your promoting women products for example and your blog and article name is 'Bob Smith' then I think it would put a lot of potential buyer off from the site and articles.

      It would be more prudent to use a female name..
      There is a "tiny" problem regarding this issue, let me explain:

      it is nice that you present your customers with your pen name on your landing page, articles, and even in signatures inside your ebook, book etc, but the customers need, have to, and will know who or to what business he or she is making the payment to.

      You can only do business under your own name as a sole proprietor, as a DBA name (where you do not have to use your own name or the name of your company), or as a business name, (partnership corporation, LLC etc)

      Doing business as - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Quote:
      Notably in California and also in other areas, filing a DBA statement also requires that a notice of the fictitious name be published in local newspapers for some set period of time to inform the public of the owner's intent to operate under an assumed name. The intention of the law is to protect the public from fraud, by compelling the business owner to record his/her name with the County Recorder, and making a further public record of it by publishing it in a newspaper. End Quote

      Either way the buyer will find out who you really are, writers do not have this problems because they are not the business selling their books, they are just writers receiving money from a company which sells books.

      Some people think that a sole proprietor does not have to provide his real name to the buyer if he is doing business under a DBA, They are right, but the DBA they are using has to be registered under their real name.

      So, it is clear that the ones who can legally hide their identity from their readers are only the writers or product creators who do not sell their own material themselves.


      note: by the way, I am making a thread about this pretty soon, because there is many people out there who are confused about how they should be doing business and how not to, and many of them end up losing every thing they have because of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketItAll
    I also use my real name and I agree with the second person that responded that it makes me put my best stuff out there, or at least better than I would if using an alternate name or pen name.

    I don't have any worries whatsoever having my real name out there, what's someone going to do? Hunt you down because they don't like your material or marketing methods or messages? Not something I think you should worry about at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author TruAnne
    Hi
    I'm new to the forum too.
    I haven't read all of the replys in this post so if I'm repeating what someone else has said I'm sorry.
    I think a lot of IM use their real name for "How to build an online business" type niche but a pseudonym for other niches.
    I think its ok either way, just go with what feels right for you.

    Oh! by the way Hi everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author PLRwithAlex
    Whether you use your own name or a pseudonym, be honest in all dealings. I think that's the bottom line.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGraduate
    Originally Posted by cjmo75 View Post

    I definitely don't use my real name. I just think there are two many lunatics out there. Even if you put out an awesome product, chances are somebody won't like it and try to get back at you somehow. If they have your real name, it just makes it easier. Call me paranoid, but in today's world...

    how do you accomplish this legally?

    names of business owners are public record, and names of people DBA (doing business as) are also public record
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  • Profile picture of the author jfinley
    I would use your real name its a good way to brand yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian York
    There are no legal issues with using a pen name and if you have any concerns about using your real name just choose a pen name.

    Either way, once you have made your decision, you should stick with it
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  • Profile picture of the author krisDupree
    I am pro real pen name. lol. Use your real name, I mean seriously do you know how many people have the same name..even the spelling.
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  • Profile picture of the author statquo2010
    Good feedback here. I wondered the same thing and just settled on using a different pen name for each different niche.

    Eric
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  • Profile picture of the author Sue McDonald
    I like to use my own name but I guess if I wrote in a really odd niche I may change it. I just think it is important to use your own name as a "brand". Just ensure what ever you do, you always give value.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jim Gillum
    I think that using your real name builds trust.
    Can help you build a strong brand........
    I use my real name in my domain and it sits at #1 on yahoo for a holding page.....
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  • Profile picture of the author Prisqua
    I have been using my real name for quite some time which is good and bad sometimes and I now tend to use my Second Life's Last name. But just my first name is enough to find me so I can't really hide!
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  • Name under your product is important.
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  • Profile picture of the author Phil_UK
    I think it depends on the niche you are in.

    For example, I think if you had a IM site where you should brand yourself, show that you are genuine, and want to demonstrate trust with your readers, use your own nam, or at least, a slight variation of it.

    However, there's plenty of good reasons where you would additionally use a pen name for your other, lets say, product specific niches.

    After all, you can't use the same name, whether it be your own or a pen name, to state you are an authority of 50 different markets/niches/products!
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  • Profile picture of the author woodymcgrath
    Using your own name adds credibility.

    - It also gives you a sense of social responsibility towards your product and your service instead of hiding behind a pseudonym

    Just my 2 cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rich Rockets
    I would like to meet the person who stalks b list internet product creators... I'm sure his life story is quite interesting

    I wouldn't worry about using your own name bud, any whacko can just grab your name out of the phone book if he really wants. But I do agree that creating your own products will make you somewhat of a "target" I guess? Be it criticism or guns I don't know, but a target, sure!
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Actually, nobody should assume that just using your own (official) name would lend you more credibility than a pen name.

    In a previous life of mine I used to be a journalist, author using my own name (with a kind of "middle name" initial). Then I moved to another country and went to work for a newspaper where the editor in chief had exactly the same name as mine. Guess what? I was forced (OK, nicely asked...) to get a pen name. I did.

    In a year or so the new persona with the pen name became a well-known and trusted journalist (in a niche?) - nobody knew that in my passport I had a different name.

    Then I moved again to another country... another language... another field of work... oh, well

    Just my $0.02 (CAD)
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  • Profile picture of the author danes1
    I say go with your real name. Be sure you put out good products. Having your name on products that do well or at least are well liked by your costomers will let it be known that it is for real and you are for real. Plus you yourself can become a brand and that can lead to even greater success.
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    • Profile picture of the author Hesaidblissfully
      I say it depends on your niche. For example, if you're creating/promoting content or products around an adult niche or some other sort of controversial topic, then I can see why it might be smart to use a pen name.

      Eben Pagan used a pen name for his dating products and was pretty successful at it, and while he talked about the marketing reasons behind the specific pen name he chose, I suspect the fact that he chose to use a pen name at all may have been because he didn't want to risk potentially hurting his credibility by being "that guy who teaches guys how to get chicks". In his business oriented programs, he uses his real name.

      Likewise, if you're selling sex toys, or you blog about certain controversial political topics, you might have a good reason to use a pen name.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Hess
    I think using a human beings name is important whether it be your real one or a pen name for brand purposes and establishing a relationship with customers. If you're struggling to think of a pen name: http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/
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    • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
      My actual name is very common, its Stephen Allen. I also go by another name in the entertainment business.

      If you need my real name for some sort of credibility, then don't buy my product.

      I'm a professional outside of Internet Marketing and Sales, I have a full time career. I make sure my online stuff doesn't mix with my personal career, and especially with my personal life.

      In fact, EVERYTHING I DO ONLINE is through a gimmick, or a persona. It isn't necessary for me to project my actual self online when I can project a persona that can be used and twisted for sales.

      If that diminishes my credibility, then oh well, it's not like I really cared in the first place. At least not as much as I care about releasing quality content to consumers.
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelJames
    If your online for the Long Run for sure you need to use your real name at least for your main business. Its a very good idea to brand yourself and get your name out there. People will eventually listen to you more and pay more for what you have to offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelJames
    Originally Posted by Razer Rage View Post

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with using an alias when running your business. Just make sure you use an alias that can become your "brand" (think "The Rich Jerk").
    Yeah that is a good example. Branding yourself is good but using a nickname to brand yourself is fine. Sometimes its best not to be found.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by jtjavins View Post

    I personally know a few writers who have found themselves stalked, unable to attend conventions, etc. once their names got out.
    This is illegal. There are laws on the books to protect people from this.

    If you are actually being stalked in person, contact the police.

    If you have good reason to believe you may be stalked at a convention you plan to attend, contact con and/or hotel security.

    If there has been significant disruption to your personal and/or professional life as a result of stalking, even if it's purely online, contact an attorney about potentially filing a civil suit.

    If nothing is actually happening, but your life is being dramatically impacted by the stress of worrying that something MIGHT happen, contact a mental health professional.
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  • Profile picture of the author FriendlyRob
    I just use a pseudonym for my articles that I wouldn't want my mother to read. Otherwise, I prefer to use my own name.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tonio Smith
    Speaking As Someone That Had to Deal with Stalker Issues

    no matter what you do in life there is no guarantee that one thing will happen or one thing will not happen. So could you have a stalker if you use your own real name. Yes. could you have a stalker if you do not use your real name. Yes.

    Could you launch your project and utterly ruin your name. Yes. Can you recover from ruining your name. Yes.

    you must be honest to stay congruent with what you say. So if you do choose to go and have a pen name do it legally and get a DBA ( doing business as ) so that you can stay honest to yourself as well as everyone else.

    ClinTonio

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  • Profile picture of the author HealthMan
    This is a great discussion.
    I think that using a pseudonym is a good idea if your real name isn't easy to pronounce or spell. Not just for American market, but globally, a catchy name does wonder for your personal brand. Of course you have to pick a name and stick with it.

    David Copperfield is a great example, and so are David DeAngelo and Madonna.
    Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't easy to spell for most people, but somehow it conveys Strong Austrian image and it works .. go figure.
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  • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
    I have been putting my name on EVERYTHING that I have sent out over the last decade. I figured that if you can't put your name to it you shouldn't be sending it out anyways. As a result I just searched my name in quotes and saw near 50,000 sites come up. Which of course helps my credibility a bit when meeting new prospects. So yeah, I say use your name on everything you put your hands to.
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