Here's why turning your name into a brand may not be such a good idea

61 replies
I've always been rather skeptical of the suggestion given in IM to build up your own name. Building a fake name can be just as effective, and not just for shady individuals either. You might not be able to accept invitations to speak at IM gatherings but you don't risk having your real name tainted by things out of your control either (not to mention the lack of privacy that increases with your rise as a "superstar"). I bet this woman wishes her real name/picture weren't all over the place and associated with her brand:

Jerks: 'Wife Swap' Star Apologizes for Having Worst Husband in World

Summary for people who don't feel like reading so much included in my analysis:

Woman who works as a weight loss specialist for a weight loss web site (not sure if it's hers) goes on wife swap, a show that features two families which "trade" the mothers for 2 weeks. I don't watch it regularly but it is my understanding that they like to pick diametrically opposite families (which would, of course, cause a lot of tension and thus provide the entertainment that brings in the ratings). In this particular one they picked a family of rich elitist SF liberals and a family of rednecks. The rich liberal husband spent most of the time insulting and humiliating the redneck woman which in turn caused a huge backlash against him. The backlash spread across the internet, forcing him to give a really, really obviously fake apology, forcing him to quit the board of a couple of environmental groups he was volunteering for. The twist is that one of the groups he insulted while insulting the woman were fat people. Given his wife's industry you can imagine what her customers might feel now. I'd suspect quite a few people wonder if they become the butt of the jokes at their dinner table conversations. The woman (I hesitate to call her poor because I highly doubt she never knew this side of her husband after being with him all this time) is now forced into doing huge damage control over something that really isn't her fault. If her real name/picture hadn't been associated with her web site, she wouldn't have to worry about her income (her husband sure doesn't have to worry about his even though he's the primary culprit). Just some food for thought.
#brand #good #idea #turning
  • Profile picture of the author Rebecca Dean
    So are you advocating not using your real name because if you get in hot water you can just jump ship... in other words, avoid accountability?

    I think that's exactly why using your own name is so powerful. You are a real person. You believe in yourself, in your services, so much that you're willing to put your reputation on the line. And I believe that resonates with customers and clients... makes your sales appeal much more concrete and believable.
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    • Profile picture of the author pavondunbar
      Originally Posted by Rebecca Dean View Post

      So are you advocating not using your real name because if you get in hot water you can just jump ship... in other words, avoid accountability?

      I think that's exactly why using your own name is so powerful. You are a real person. You believe in yourself, in your services, so much that you're willing to put your reputation on the line. And I believe that resonates with customers and clients... makes your sales appeal much more concrete and believable.
      I couldn't have said it better myself.

      I use my real name for everything I do online because of what Rebecca said above.

      Look at my "tagline" (if you prefer to call it that) under my avatar.

      It says, "Brand YOU, Not The Guru."

      IMHO, Rebecca, great answer to this interesting post!

      Pavon

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    • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
      Originally Posted by Rebecca Dean View Post

      So are you advocating not using your real name because if you get in hot water you can just jump ship... in other words, avoid accountability?
      Avoid accountability because your husband's an idiot, for example? Yes, precisely. And there's nothing wrong with it. If I was in danger of suffering consequences over things that were somebody else's fault, I'd do all I can to avoid them.

      I think that's exactly why using your own name is so powerful. You are a real person. You believe in yourself, in your services, so much that you're willing to put your reputation on the line. And I believe that resonates with customers and clients... makes your sales appeal much more concrete and believable.
      Your customers and clients won't know the difference between a scammer with a fake identity and a honest merchant with a real one until it's too late (or vice versa for that matter). I don't need to use my real name to believe in myself and my services, nor does my unwillingness to needlessly put my reputation on the line have anything to do with the quality of my services. In fact, one could also conclude that such an individual is reckless/egotistical and be wary of doing business with them.
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      • Profile picture of the author pavondunbar
        Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

        In fact, one could also conclude that such an individual is reckless/egotistical and be wary of doing business with them.
        Can you please elaborate on why you think someone that uses his/her own name would be "egotistical" or "reckless" as you put it?

        I would love to hear this one...

        Pavon
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        • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
          Originally Posted by pavondunbar View Post

          Can you please elaborate on why you think someone that uses his/her own name would be "egotistical" or "reckless" as you put it?

          I would love to hear this one...

          Pavon
          Egotistical - they want fame and fortune built around their name.
          Reckless - see example in my original post.

          For the record, I don't think someone pimping their real name is necessarily egotistical or reckless, I merely pointed out that you can draw completely different conclusions from it just as easily as you can draw the conclusion that the individual is some sort of hero for doing it.
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          • Profile picture of the author dwshoup
            Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

            Egotistical - they want fame and fortune built around their name.
            Reckless - see example in my original post.

            For the record, I don't think someone pimping their real name is necessarily egotistical or reckless, I merely pointed out that you can draw completely different conclusions from it just as easily as you can draw the conclusion that the individual is some sort of hero for doing it.
            who is talking about heros? we are talking about being honest and trustworthy. Something that this business needs a serious shot in the arm of.
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            • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
              I actually watched that episode while eating dinner. To say I got indegestion from that episode is putting it mildly.

              I noticed the wife wasn't exactly a winner either (hint: when you know tens of millions of Americans are watching, saying no to being proud of being an American is asking to get your ass kicked) so she probably shared the same values as the husband, she just actually had a lick of sense not to be so obviously obnoxious.

              As much as I hate seeing the backlash (remember, we do have a first amendmnent here), they brought it all upon themselves. Open mouth, insert foot, get beaten like a rented mule.

              Instead of using this as justification for not putting your name out there, how get the real lesson: Don't be an ass, or you'll get beaten like one. Treat each situation in life as if cameras are rolling, because like Michael Phelps found out, you never know when they really are.
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              • Profile picture of the author dwshoup
                Originally Posted by Floyd Fisher View Post

                I actually watched that episode while eating dinner. To say I got indegestion from that episode is putting it mildly.

                I noticed the wife wasn't exactly a winner either (hint: when you know tens of millions of Americans are watching, saying no to being proud of being an American is asking to get your ass kicked) so she probably shared the same values as the husband, she just actually had a lick of sense not to be so obviously obnoxious.

                As much as I hate seeing the backlash (remember, we do have a first amendmnent here), they brought it all upon themselves. Open mouth, insert foot, get beaten like a rented mule.

                Instead of using this as justification for not putting your name out there, how get the real lesson: Don't be an ass, or you'll get beaten like one. Treat each situation in life as if cameras are rolling, because like Michael Phelps found out, you never know when they really are.
                Hear hear! You nailed it with that one
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      • Profile picture of the author johncarterinc
        Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

        I don't need to use my real name to believe in myself and my services, nor does my unwillingness to needlessly put my reputation on the line have anything to do with the quality of my services. In fact, one could also conclude that such an individual is reckless/egotistical and be wary of doing business with them.
        I can understand what you're saying here. Some charismatic people have fleeced large numbers of people by using a hyped-up, trumped up story making themselves look far better than they really are. However, (excluding Bernie Madoff) over time, I would think a person using their own name would be more trusted and respected than a faceless corporation providing the same services at the same quality.
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      • Profile picture of the author dwshoup
        No way! Your original post just shows why if you have something to lose you should avoid going on network "reality" shows. If she had ever seen the show she would have known what it was like. If she hadn't seen the show then she should never have signed on for it. Use your real name with your customers if you don't have anything to hide.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

        Avoid accountability because your husband's an idiot, for example? Yes, precisely. And there's nothing wrong with it. If I was in danger of suffering consequences over things that were somebody else's fault, I'd do all I can to avoid them.
        .
        Why do you assume that because the husband is being trashed, the profits from the wife's site are down?

        I'll bet a coke, she's making more money than ever from her site, simply due to the free publicity she got from being on TV.

        Before I buy your premise, you'll need to show some actual, bottom line proof that she is really being damaged finacially. I'm not into blind guessing.
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi,

          The woman in the OP article didn't do anything and her name's getting tarnished anyway.
          As James and a couple of others said, she did do something - she got paid to go on reality TV, swap places with a diametrically opposed family and was forced to live their lifestyle.

          If you're that keen to get 'fame' that you let the world pick apart your personal life via TV camera, then you deserve the consequences.

          It's not about whether you use your real name or not, it's about not going on reality TV designed to humiliate - simple. If she hadn't done that, none of this would have happened.

          If I was in danger of suffering consequences over things that were somebody else's fault, I'd do all I can to avoid them.
          A lot of people seem to mention 'somebody elses fault', no-one seems to mention that marriage is a partnership - 'for better, for worse.' If you marry someone, you are going to suffer the consequences of their actions - there is absolutely no way of avoiding it.
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          • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
            Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

            Hi,

            As James and a couple of others said, she did do something - she got paid to go on reality TV, swap places with a diametrically opposed family and was forced to live their lifestyle.

            If you're that keen to get 'fame' that you let the world pick apart your personal life via TV camera, then you deserve the consequences.

            It's not about whether you use your real name or not, it's about not going on reality TV designed to humiliate - simple. If she hadn't done that, none of this would have happened.
            She's not getting badgered for appearing on the show. She's getting badgered for her husband's behavior on the show. That's not "the consequences" of simply going on this show.

            A lot of people seem to mention 'somebody elses fault', no-one seems to mention that marriage is a partnership - 'for better, for worse.' If you marry someone, you are going to suffer the consequences of their actions - there is absolutely no way of avoiding it.
            Yes there is. Keep your business out of your personal life.
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        • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
          Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

          Why do you assume that because the husband is being trashed, the profits from the wife's site are down?
          Because I've yet to run into a weight loss IM who hires angry mobs to bombard their sites with nasty messages. All publicity was good publicity in every business elance would be full of professional internet tough guys.
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          • Profile picture of the author Kurt
            Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

            Because I've yet to run into a weight loss IM who hires angry mobs to bombard their sites with nasty messages. All publicity was good publicity in every business elance would be full of professional internet tough guys.
            In other words, you don't have a clue if she's making more/less money and are just guessing.

            Makes you wonder why she even keeps the site up, since according to you, she's only being insulted. I guess that means she's just a cyber masochist.
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    • Profile picture of the author johncarterinc
      While I understand your point that someone can "ruin" their life by trashing their real name, that's the whole point of using your own name. The necessity of maintaining one's integrity, honor and "good name" is understood by others when someone does use their own name. That is what we respect and trust them for, and why we are more likely to do business with them than someone clearly using an invented name or persona. "What goes around, comes around." So, treat others the way you want to be treated. When you do, there is no need to worry about trashing your good name.

      I guess this is an obvious statement, but it feels good to remind people why it's important to do the right thing. There's nowhere to hide any more if you mess things up.

      John Carter
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      • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
        Originally Posted by johncarterinc View Post

        While I understand your point that someone can "ruin" their life by trashing their real name, that's the whole point of using your own name. The necessity of maintaining one's integrity, honor and "good name" is understood by others when someone does use their own name. That is what we respect and trust them for, and why we are more likely to do business with them than someone clearly using an invented name or persona. "What goes around, comes around." So, treat others the way you want to be treated. When you do, there is no need to worry about trashing your good name.
        The woman in the OP article didn't do anything and her name's getting tarnished anyway. Furthermore, you'd respect and trust anybody who will use a real sounding alias because you would have no way of knowing they're lying to you. Trusting someone just because they use a real sounding name is dumb IMO.

        I guess this is an obvious statement, but it feels good to remind people why it's important to do the right thing. There's nowhere to hide any more if you mess things up.

        John Carter
        What if a scammer used the name "John Carter" to rip off a bunch of people? Then he'd have plenty of places to run and hide and the only person who'd catch any flak is you.
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        • Profile picture of the author johncarterinc
          Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

          The woman in the OP article didn't do anything and her name's getting tarnished anyway. Furthermore, you'd respect and trust anybody who will use a real sounding alias because you would have no way of knowing they're lying to you. Trusting someone just because they use a real sounding name is dumb IMO.



          What if a scammer used the name "John Carter" to rip off a bunch of people? Then he'd have plenty of places to run and hide and the only person who'd catch any flak is you.
          Well, if I had already built up some trust with my customers, they would believe me when I tell them someone else did the scamming, not me. I am thinking this boils down to relationships that are being built. Once you have built that relationship, it takes more than a single scam by an imposter to "trash" your name. What if someone started a scam using a name like Willie Crawford or Frank Kern. No way I would believe that it was them.
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          • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
            Originally Posted by johncarterinc View Post

            Well, if I had already built up some trust with my customers, they would believe me when I tell them someone else did the scamming, not me. I am thinking this boils down to relationships that are being built. Once you have built that relationship, it takes more than a single scam by an imposter to "trash" your name. What if someone started a scam using a name like Willie Crawford or Frank Kern. No way I would believe that it was them.
            You might not but people who have no idea who they are would. That would include most of the internet. 40 year old woman runs into "Willie Crawford" selling akai berries diet. "Willie Crawford" takes off with her money and mails her a pack of dollar store vitamins. 40 year old woman demands refund but nobody listens because "Willie Crawford" is snorting coke off a hooker's back in Jamaica. 40 year old woman looks for some other diet product, finds Willie Crawford selling a diet ebook and runs for the hills.
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    • Profile picture of the author Elaina
      Originally Posted by Rebecca Dean View Post

      So are you advocating not using your real name because if you get in hot water you can just jump ship... in other words, avoid accountability?

      I think that's exactly why using your own name is so powerful. You are a real person. You believe in yourself, in your services, so much that you're willing to put your reputation on the line. And I believe that resonates with customers and clients... makes your sales appeal much more concrete and believable.
      I absolutely agree with this!
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      • Profile picture of the author GeorgettaSterling
        I am going to take an unpopular position here and agree with the OP's thesis, but not necessarily for the reasons outlined.

        I submit that building a business on a "personality" is NOT A BUSINESS. It is an interesting money-making endeavor, but when it relies on the "personality" of one highly visible person, then it cannot survive that person's exit.

        A "business" is an asset. It can be bought and sold. It can be valued on the basis of revenue, assets, profits etc. How do you value the "personality" business without the "personality"??? You can't.

        Small example: take Frank Kern. He IS his "business" (as in, he doesn't really have a business). He cannot sell his business. He can sell his products, sell rights, etc. but all that is for FAR less than his whole empire would be. Without Kern, there isn't a business structure as such, so there isn't any value for "the business."

        Bigger example: take Apple Computers. Steve Jobs is so intimately tied to Apple that any time he sneezes, Apple stock plummets. While they certainly have much more of a "business" than Mr. Kern does, they are ridiculously tied to the "personality", as though that were worth billions of dollars. When Jobs is ill, Apple stock drops like a rock. What happens when he leaves completely?

        I don't see a connection between presenting your "real" name and integrity. Lots of people with tremendous integrity have used pen names. Lots of organizations also present themselves as the entire organization, and not just some guy. For big markets, would you really run out and buy from "some guy"?? Would you buy your TV because Joe is an interesting techno-nerd and seems to make neat TVs? Or would you buy because Sony, or Samsung or whatever your choice is, is an organization that will be there if things go wrong, and have developed some reputation for quality production? Do you buy your car from Toyota or Billy-Bob's Cool Car Company?

        My biggest example - there is an internet marketing organization that is FAR bigger than all the gurus mentioned in this post put together ($-wise, think $60-100 million/year), called "Early to Rise." They are associated with Agora, an even bigger internet marketing organization (think $200+ million/year). The company is headed by "Michael Masterson." Now, he is a real guy, but THAT IS NOT HIS REAL NAME. It is his pen name. Yes, he has been in a few videos (supposedly). He has written/co-written a series of books (supposedly) under the "Michael Masterson" brand. But that isn't his name, and ETR has admitted that many things written by "Masterson" are actually written by a team of staff writers. When the human being behind "Michael Masterson" leaves, the organization can continue, and "Michael Masterson" can continue as a bunch of other staff writers.

        "Michael Masterson" can sell that company if he chooses upon his retirement, as a real, going concern, complete with figurehead, for a great deal of money. If it was the "real guy", he could never leave, or the organization would sell for far less money.

        Just some thoughts.

        Best Regards, Georgetta
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    • Profile picture of the author dwshoup
      Originally Posted by Rebecca Dean View Post

      So are you advocating not using your real name because if you get in hot water you can just jump ship... in other words, avoid accountability?

      I think that's exactly why using your own name is so powerful. You are a real person. You believe in yourself, in your services, so much that you're willing to put your reputation on the line. And I believe that resonates with customers and clients... makes your sales appeal much more concrete and believable.
      Rebecca I love your abililty to state the obvious. I agree with you whole heartedly.
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    • Profile picture of the author jhall85
      Originally Posted by Rebecca Dean View Post

      So are you advocating not using your real name because if you get in hot water you can just jump ship... in other words, avoid accountability?

      I think that's exactly why using your own name is so powerful. You are a real person. You believe in yourself, in your services, so much that you're willing to put your reputation on the line. And I believe that resonates with customers and clients... makes your sales appeal much more concrete and believable.
      I agree that this is the best way to look at it. If there is no accountability people will start to lose conscience. No reason not to do something looked down upon if you can just make a fake name to scapegoat. That is not respectable behavior at all.
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      • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
        Originally Posted by jhall85 View Post

        I agree that this is the best way to look at it. If there is no accountability people will start to lose conscience. No reason not to do something looked down upon if you can just make a fake name to scapegoat. That is not respectable behavior at all.
        You know, just because you guys can't be trusted to do good for good's sake and have to put yourself in situations where doing bad might hurt you doesn't mean everybody else's as easy to corrupt as you are.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaijav29
    It is very important to be yourself always especially when you are chatting or talking with someone. For I myself is a very true person, I am not the pretentious type. So better use your real name or your shortcuts or something...this is just my opinion.

    thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Rebecca Dean
    @pavondunbar Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Ray Erdmann
    Personally, I think it's funny how the 'big guns' (Mike Filsaine, Armand Morin, Joel Cromm, Russell Brunson, Jon Ledger, Derek Gehl, etc., etc., ) all use their real names/pictures for their business, but the ones that are not yet up to that level of success, are also the ones that say to not use your real name....Just an observation I've noticed during my time here on the WF.


    Ray
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    • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
      Originally Posted by Ray Erdmann View Post

      Personally, I think it's funny how the 'big guns' (Mike Filsaine, Armand Morin, Joel Cromm, Russell Brunson, Jon Ledger, Derek Gehl, etc., etc., ) all use their real names/pictures for their business, but the ones that are not yet up to that level of success, are also the ones that say to not use your real name....Just an observation I've noticed during my time here on the WF.
      Ray
      What a stupid comment.

      First, lots of "gurus" could tell you they're using their real name when they're not and you wouldn't know any better because it's the internet.

      Second, lots of "shadow marketers" could be making millions without attracting any attention at all and you wouldn't know any better either. The above is merely a lame "argument from authority" logical fallacy. "Because Filsaine/Morin/Gehl/etc. use their real name, there's a relation between using your real name and success". There are plenty of noobs running around telling people to use their real name when they've had no more success than I have. How come you don't use those as examples? 8-)

      As a matter of fact, I cannot, off the top of my head, name the CEOs of IBM, Sony, Walmart and loads of other massive multi-national corporations. In fact, I can think of the names of two people on the top 100 richest men in the world list (Bill Gates at 3 and Warren Buffet at 1) and to add to the irony neither of them made their wealth by pimping their name.
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      • Profile picture of the author HarveyJ
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        • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
          Originally Posted by HarveyJ View Post

          To use examples of people raking it in without their real names: Nickycakes and ShadySEO. Cool guys. They laugh at this place a lot... can't say I disagree with them after seeing threads like these, honestly.
          And they manage to make their money without selling get rich quick schemes, ebooks, reports, or WSOs.
          And let me guess, they would've never raked in the same amount of money if they had used fake but real sounding names. Gimme a break. Please explain why using their real name is NECESSARY for them to sell their products. If I'm looking for a SEO product I don't give a damn if it's being sold by Jim or Frank and I'm not gonna hire a private eye to do a background check on the merchant and make sure they're using their real name. I wouldn't care much (if at all). If Jim builds up "Frank" as his online name, people will trust the name "Frank" just as much as they would have trusted Jim if "Frank" has delivered solid products in the past.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
        Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

        What a stupid comment.
        No need to be rude Darth. Now you're behaving like that guy on the show.

        First--that's a reality show. That's their bread and butter. The producers cast those in ways to create controversy for ratings. Like Jerry Springer. I don't see a connection between making a fool of yourself on National TV on a reality show vs. using your name for your business. Even if he used a fake name like Darth Executor he still would made a fool of himself on TV and would had to resign those boards he belonged and all that.

        I'm a private person and it was hard for me at first to use my name and put my mug all over the place. It's not that I'm egotistical it's just good business. I have no shame in what I do and I stand behind it. I'm not worried that anyone is going to recognize me on the street or that some weirdo is going to knock on my front door. It's just a non-issue.

        You might not be able to name the CEO's of Sony, WalMart, etc. but if you go to their website guess what. There is a big old picture of them. With their full name, their full bio, even how much money they make (if it's a public company) so just because you can't name them doesn't meant their hiding behind a fake persona.

        For example WalMart CEO Rob Walton...
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      • Profile picture of the author dwshoup
        Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

        What a stupid comment.

        First, lots of "gurus" could tell you they're using their real name when they're not and you wouldn't know any better because it's the internet.

        Second, lots of "shadow marketers" could be making millions without attracting any attention at all and you wouldn't know any better either. The above is merely a lame "argument from authority" logical fallacy. "Because Filsaine/Morin/Gehl/etc. use their real name, there's a relation between using your real name and success". There are plenty of noobs running around telling people to use their real name when they've had no more success than I have. How come you don't use those as examples? 8-)

        As a matter of fact, I cannot, off the top of my head, name the CEOs of IBM, Sony, Walmart and loads of other massive multi-national corporations. In fact, I can think of the names of two people on the top 100 richest men in the world list (Bill Gates at 3 and Warren Buffet at 1) and to add to the irony neither of them made their wealth by pimping their name.
        they also haven't hidden their names either
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    • Profile picture of the author oneempowered
      Originally Posted by Ray Erdmann View Post

      Personally, I think it's funny how the 'big guns' (Mike Filsaine, Armand Morin, Joel Cromm, Russell Brunson, Jon Ledger, Derek Gehl, etc., etc., ) all use their real names/pictures for their business, but the ones that are not yet up to that level of success, are also the ones that say to not use your real name....Just an observation I've noticed during my time here on the WF.
      It's funny that you should mention those names.

      Is Armand using his real name here? Michael Lee Austin - Country Music Artist

      Also, more than one of those guys you mentioned have published ebooks under female pen names as well.

      I think there is merit to both branding your name and branding your business. Last year, I heard Armand talking about focusing more on his business brand and less on branding himself.

      Remember what happened a few years ago when a brilliant young IM guru died in a car crash? Top internet marketers all started to think about continuity planning and how their brand could survive them.


      Having said that ...

      It's true that using a real name and photo builds trust - just like testimonials (and we know that those are never disingenuous or faked ).

      If I were trying to sell something to warriors, I would post my picture, real name, books, accomplishments, etc. just to remove any "barriers" for trust.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
        Not a problem. I'm never going on the Wife Swap show.
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  • Profile picture of the author theinfomaven
    The internet is becoming a "small world" scenario, increasingly tighter and more viral.

    Breaking anonymity may not seem to have any consequences now, but once you put something out there, it's out there.

    Just ask "Boxxy" (Google).

    It's astonishingly easy for people to trash you, even just as a joke for their own amusement.

    If you think that following the do no harm principle is the only thing needed to keep you safe online forever, keep dreaming...

    And if it's money that you care about more than your privacy.

    See: The Rich Jerk and "David Deangelo".

    Creativity with an online avatar goes a LOOOOOONG way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josef Kane
    I think I would be pretty upset if my name got trashed because of someone elses actions so maybe having an alias is no bad thing. Loads of people have had aliases, pop groups have aliases and are still proud of their work and are upfront people but just to let you know the people in Status Quo aren't really called Status Quo in real life.

    As for the gurus using their real names, and I am not casting any aspersions etc here but how do you know if they are their real names or their professional ones anyway. Could be just their marketed name for example.

    For example am I really called Josef or not?
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
    My attitude is to treat being online like I would in the "real" offline world.

    I've had my identity stolen offline when I lost my wallet and the person that found it used my name in a hit and run accident.

    I went to court and explained that it wasn't me and the judge had me sign my name so he could make a comparison and cleared me.

    Part of what helped me was the fact that I had no record and was a "good citizen" and people there spoke on my behalf which went to character.

    The same is true here. Anyone here could basically tell the difference between Willie Crawford and an impostor. After all of the years he had spent online building his name would make it hard for someone to dirty it up.

    If anyone came in here and said that Willie had ripped them off 150 people would come in here and say "I don't think it was Willie. That does not sound like Willie. There must be a mistake".

    Which is why it's important to start using your name now when people can get to know you and you can build your reputation and character here.

    I can't stop people from doing bad things and some times those bad things are done to me but I'm not going to give up my life and run and hide because bad things happen.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
    Really the moral of the story is not to go on reality TV. Most of them end up bad except the occasional success like Jesse James.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      James -

      That's just what I was thinking - I saw parts of that Swap show a couple times and it's tacky.

      Of course, avoiding shows like that would be especially important if you are married to a rude idiot, wouldn't it?

      kay

      edit: the story at the top left of that page listed by the OP is funnier! Former Yahoo CEO freezes 29 yr old heirhead daughter's trust account. Why - because of a fuss with a Vegas casino guard where she screamed "google me".
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      Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

      I'm going to work on being less condescending
      (Condescending means to talk down to people)
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  • Profile picture of the author nata_sha
    I think that's exactly why using your own name is so powerful. You are a real person. You believe in yourself, in your services, so much that you're willing to put your reputation on the line. And I believe that resonates with customers and clients... makes your sales appeal much more concrete and believable.
    How can you tell who's using a real name or an alias? Do they provide their national identity cards copies with their real names? I can't see how using your real name (i.e. natasha) would fetch more customers than using a fake one (i.e. melissa) in your sales appeal?
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  • Profile picture of the author Nikoka2005
    Hi,
    I think that deppends on what do you want...
    Maybe sometimes put your real name give trust to your customers.

    That's my opinion

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author lithotoyz
    Hi, I would agree that using your real picture and name lend credibility to your brand and business. However, having said that, I think there are other points to consider. Safety is the first thing that comes to mind. After reading an article on Sitepoint about the problems that google street maps are causing people and what a threat it is to their sense of security, I'm beginning to think twice about the "open use and availability of one's identity" and how ANYONE can find out where you live in a matter of seconds. I'm not trying to "hide my views" from anyone, but I'm not so sure I want unsavory characters knowing my whereabouts.

    We all need to be better stewards of our identity. Look at the incredible rise of identity thief, someone decides to be you, and you don't "exist"--meaning you can't get credit, etc. I think there is a much larger ISSUE here, It's not that people should hide, but for their own safety, maybe a laissez-faire attitude is also less than desirable. Can't you still be a private person and have a business? I think we all need to realize the reality of the world we live in. Personal and identity protection should receive much more respect than it gets. I really don't want to live in a fishbowl. . .or a glass house.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      I think there is some confusion about using a pen name vs using a handle like IMakeMillionz. Michael Green is also a pen name since he is or was a member of the British parliament. Mark Twain pen name. Armand Morin used a pen name for his country thing but they still used their images and branding. There was still a person and name you could do business with. And comparing to buying a Toyota with doing business with someone online is not even in the same ballpark.

      Prospects are already suspicious about doing business online it makes things easier if they can put a name and face to the product. People buy from people they know and trust. I'm not staying you're not going to get sales but you'll get more when come out of hiding. If you're that concerned about using your real name than sure use a pen name but stay consistent with it.

      I use pen names for different little niches I'm in. But the underlying company comes back to me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
      Originally Posted by lithotoyz View Post

      Safety is the first thing that comes to mind. After reading an article on Sitepoint about the problems that google street maps are causing people and what a threat it is to their sense of security, I'm beginning to think twice about the "open use and availability of one's identity" and how ANYONE can find out where you live in a matter of seconds. I'm not trying to "hide my views" from anyone, but I'm not so sure I want unsavory characters knowing my whereabouts.
      It's amazing to me the amount of false security people have in the "real" offline world. Like this stuff only happens online.

      Do you know when the telemarketers call you up and want to sell you home improvement things like windows and siding where they get your information?

      Your bank sells them your information if you are a new homeowner. Do you know and trust everyone at your bank that looks through your papers?

      How about the girl that works for the insurance guy? She looks trustworthy right?
      Especially that nice looking lady at the Department of Motor Vehicles "she reminds me of my grandmother".

      Besides, somebody is giving background checks to all of those nice folks that take care of my senile aunt at the convalescent home. I think.

      Considering that everywhere you go now and everything you do is done in triplicate with your name, address, phone numbers, email, and Social Security Number all over it how do you know who's seeing your most intimate details of your life.

      Well, at least we know one thing, it would be impossible for Chinese spys to break into Los Alamos labs and steal a laptop containing military secrets. That place has the highest security around.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    I think that if we were to find out that Frank Kern was actually Billy Zitomaface Jones from his mom's basement in Toledo Ohio, that it may have the same effect as calling us all idiots.

    Real people give real trust. I say go for it with your real name. If something happens that's out of your control, you'll still have plenty of fake names to fall back on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    I have found that using my real name gives me a sense of connection with my customers. And that personal connection inspires me too strive to give my customers the best products and support that I can possibly give them.

    My customers also realize a sense of dedication from me and this leads to them trusting me when I suggest another of my products to them. Which in turn increases not only my bottom line, but my sense of responsibility and accountability to them.

    Ken Leatherman
    The Old Geezer
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  • Profile picture of the author IMChick
    I know this is the unpopular position in this thread, but my question is are you running a business or a fan club? Both can be branded, but only one has the legal flexibility to exist on it's own without it's 'key man'.

    A business is set up to mean that some kind of corporate structure defines it. Legally it becomes it's own entity in perpetuity. It can be bought and sold and the key players can change or remain the same. And it can insure itself against adverse incidents.

    In the personal branding example, while key man insurance can be purchased, the purpose of the insurable interest is not the business, it is the person. This can not be inherited, sold, separated from the business or sent to a new employment opportunity. This is akin to celebrity status.

    I think that the confusion here lies with the celebrity status of personalities absorbing some aspects of the business (branding) but not all of them, creating this shortfall.

    This is not the case with a personal business branding scenario. To whom do you (brand-name guru) sell your vanity company? How can the new purchaser receive 'value' for personal goodwill. (short answer, they can't).

    Ask yourself this question, if X (insert brand name here) were to disappear in a puff of smoke tomorrow, what would happen to that website or business in their absence?

    This is your answer. Celebrity branding or business in perpetuity. Everything else is just marketing and business choices.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      Celebrity branding. That cracks me up. I am getting tired of beating back the throng of fans that accost me on the street begging me to autograph my ebook. I need to wear big sunglasses so I won't be recognized. I wish I would have branded myself as IMDude so I could be just left alone in anonymity.
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      • Profile picture of the author IMChick
        Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

        Celebrity branding. That cracks me up. I am getting tired of beating back the throng of fans that accost me on the street begging me to autograph my ebook. I need to wear big sunglasses so I won't be recognized. I wish I would have branded myself as IMDude so I could be just left alone in anonymity.

        Naaah, you don't want to be IM Dude traveling incognito in big sunglasses

        Be careful what you wish for because he pulled laundry duty this week.:p

        So, when can I buy your WSO on how to personally sign a digital e-book?
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        • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
          Sorry Darth...

          Please don't execute me... :p

          But this "reality show" has no basis in reality, and this example has absolutely nothing to do with showing the real face of your business.

          Not many people would show up to a offline business negotiation in a Batman suit and mask and expect to be taken seriously, why should it be different online?

          Using your real name and showing your face online is a simple matter of professionalism. It has absolutely nothing to do with wanting any kind of fame or notoriety.

          That "show" is entertainment, nothing more. and certainly no deep study into the human condition.

          No one twisted their arms to be on that show, and they most certainly thought it would boost their own profile. They were seeking fame, and achieved infamy in the process.

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          • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
            Originally Posted by Eric Lorence View Post

            Sorry Darth...
            Don't apologize for disagreeing with me. You should, however, apologize for making an argument I answered already. :p

            Not many people would show up to a offline business negotiation in a Batman suit and mask and expect to be taken seriously, why should it be different online?
            You don't have to negotiate in a batman suit to negotiate under an alias. Especially online where you don't see people face to face and getting a picture of someone that isn't you is very, very easy (assuming it even gets to people demanding your picture).
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  • Profile picture of the author Teenage Genius
    To me it's all niche persific. For example how can you claim to be a guy who made $XXXXX in a weekend AND a guy who lost 7stone of weight in 4 weeks AND a guy who has an amazing golf swing AND the list goes on. Especially if you are promoting two different products which are almost opposites.

    The chances of somebody comming across both products are rare, but personally I wouldn't use my name for promotion make money niche and weight loss products. I would use a different "character" for the weight loss niche.
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    Genius SEO - WSO : Not only do you get TOP SPOT on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask in MINUTES.... You Dominate the ENTIRE FRONT PAGE - One little 5 minute secret, massive results!
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  • Profile picture of the author Melody
    It also depends on what your ultimate EXIT STRATEGY is when you are building your site...are you building it as a business that you want to SELL at some point, which is virtually impossible to do if you have branded it under your name - or are you building your brand to sell your products?

    There are pros and cons to both strategies that go far beyond the simple accountability issue - or the avoidance thereof!

    Melody
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    Our first "Digital Yard Sale"! A massive PLR Blowout Sale to help a friend pay medical expenses.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nonny
    It's an interesting discussion, and it seems to me that internet marketing does afford businesspeople the luxury of working under an invented persona - a situation I believe is much more rare in the off-line business world (does anyone today think that Betty Crocker is a real person?). Even when the business is not run under the owner's name (such as a restaurant), the owner's real world actions can affect whether people chose to spend their money their or not.

    The SF wife in the wife swap case is a bit different than the "average" internet marketer for the following reason: part of her marketing is touting her education, credentials and work experience with offline companies. see here:
    Renee Stephens: Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified Life Coach, MBA - hosts Inside Out Weight Loss

    (If you click through to her blog, you can see her and her husband's apology, which may or may not help regain people's trust.)

    She could try that under a false name, but anyone doing a little digging would probably be able to call her out as a possible fraud. That would break clients' trust even more that having a jerk for a husband.

    - Peggy
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    ~ Peggy

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  • Profile picture of the author davcheong
    I think it is really depends on how internet user brand their work with their own name. Some are really successful by doing so, but not all. And for some reason, I do believe out there, there are many whom doesn't use their own name to brand, and actually very successful.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    I use pen names for my niches. I use my real name in the IM world.

    Just speaking for myself, when my name is attached, I have to be 100% ethical. I have a life outside of IM, and if I were to behave badly online, there could be real-world consequences. There's definitely a flip side to your OP, "Darth."

    That said, I am who I am, and I much prefer being me than being someone I'm not.

    (This thread reminds me of the following...)

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  • Profile picture of the author pavondunbar
    Darth Executor:

    Thanks for elaborating on my question in my recent post replying to your thread.

    I know many celebrities use aliases (i.e. Vin Diesel....that's not his real name) to protect their identity because they are constantly in the spotlight...

    True...

    But I personally use my real name to build trust and credibility. If someone is not happy with my product, I want to be able to address the problem and solve it ASAP.

    Why?

    Because it's human nature that someone that experiences good service will tell 1-5 other people and someone that experiences bad service will tell 100-500 people.

    If I had a problem with your product or service, and you decide to jump ship, do you know how hard it would be to track down someone named "Darth Executor?"

    As for me...you can just google my real name and I'm all over the place.

    Easy to track down...

    See what I mean?

    Pavon
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  • Profile picture of the author Charan Saini
    Using your own name shows your belief in the product, especially if offering a service.
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
      Here's Why Not Using Your Real Name On The Warrior Forum May Not Be Such A Good Idea.

      1. People might think you are a spammer/scammer.

      2. People might think you hide behind a pen name because you don't have guts.

      3. People might think you are a guru who is faking it and can't publicly admit you know bugger all.

      4. People might think you are a guy pretending to be a woman (or vice versa).

      Martin

      P.S. People have been known to plan awful behaviour on reality shows to get noticed. And, (shock! horror!) some reality show producers actually help them by getting their scriptwriters to come up with scenarios.
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