Real Name Or Pen Name

44 replies
I know this topic has been up and down on the forum a lot of times already.
I also know that a lot of successful internet marketers do use pen names.

A friend of mine who have just got told about this forum, and the whole internet marketing world. What is troubling her right now is choosing a good username, which of course it needs to be positively support her business in the future (because often internet marketers use their name as their business name).

And the problem here is that, she is Taiwanese, and in your opinion in terms of first impression, do you think it's a good idea to use her Asian name?

I mean, no offence to Asians, but even though her English is fluent, good enough to communicate, write posts, she is still afraid of the stereotypical Asians with poor English skills.

So, what is your opinion?
#pen #real
  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    I see no problem in using her real name but using a pen name I think is more beneficial. I am Asian too but of course our names are different from other Asian countries with non-english alphabet. I can use my real name without any problem but used a pen name in my very first novel.

    There are some Chinese-like names that are famous... eg. John Chow
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    • Profile picture of the author Xtronikz
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Adie View Post

      I see no problem in using her real name but using a pen name I think is more beneficial. I am Asian too but of course our names are different from other Asian countries with non-english alphabet. I can use my real name without any problem but used a pen name in my very first novel.

      There are some Chinese-like names that are famous... eg. John Chow
      Lol my next pen name is going to be Mr. Chow

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    • Profile picture of the author MakeMoneyKid
      Originally Posted by Adie View Post

      There are some Chinese-like names that are famous... eg. John Chow
      haha yes John Chow is worth a mention!
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  • Profile picture of the author louie6925
    I think a good catchy pen name/user name is good, but if creating any content/products then I always feel its important to be transparent and sign your real name! others will disagree, but thats just me!
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    • Profile picture of the author Ellie Days
      Originally Posted by Adie View Post

      I see no problem in using her real name but using a pen name I think is more beneficial. I am Asian too but of course our names are different from other Asian countries with non-english alphabet. I can use my real name without any problem but used a pen name in my very first novel.

      There are some Chinese-like names that are famous... eg. John Chow
      Originally Posted by louie6925 View Post

      I think a good catchy pen name/user name is good, but if creating any content/products then I always feel its important to be transparent and sign your real name! others will disagree, but thats just me!
      Yes, that's one of the most important point - it's always good to be transparent in this internet marketing world.

      The awkward moment is when you use a pen name, and when making transactions with Paypal, they will reveal your real name in the transaction receipts :|
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      • Profile picture of the author contentwriting360
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Jayne Miracle View Post

        The awkward moment is when you use a pen name, and when making transactions with Paypal, they will reveal your real name in the transaction receipts :|
        Register a business-verified PayPal account. For privacy purposes, there's an option to use your company's name instead of the PayPal account owner's name.

        Take time to read this thread. I know this will help you regarding what I said above.
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        • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
          Originally Posted by contentwriting360 View Post

          Take time to read this thread. I know this will help you regarding what I said above.
          From the only reply on that page, it looks like the solution didn't work.

          I did that originally and got an email a few days later to say that my company name did not match the name registered at companies house (because I was using the trading name), so I had to change the company name back and then go through a verification process again
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      • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Ellie Days View Post

        The awkward moment is when you use a pen name, and when making transactions with Paypal, they will reveal your real name in the transaction receipts :|
        That's why you operate your PayPal under a business name, and that's what shows up on the receipt.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Ellie Days View Post

        The awkward moment is when you use a pen name, and when making transactions with Paypal, they will reveal your real name in the transaction receipts
        Indeed. This is a big issue.

        It was because my PayPal account is in my own name that I made what turned out with hindsight to be the bad mistake of using my own name when registering as a member for this forum (I was still writing for others and being paid by PayPal, at the time, so any customers were going to see "Alexa Smith" anyway). With hindsight, I might have been able to avoid disclosing my real name and still use PayPal, by using a PayPal business account, but I was 18 in 2008, not aware of that, didn't think it through, and had no idea I'd so much regret using my real name here. ).

        Having made the mistake of using my real name online (mostly here - not for any of my marketing niches), I'd strongly advise people, especially women, especially young women, to use pen-names.
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        • Profile picture of the author June Loh
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post


          I'd strongly advise people, especially women, especially young women, to use pen-names.
          Yes, u r right. Besides that, Chinese name hard to spell, read & remember for some people. Even my own french teacher who is a Chinese, cant remember my Chinese name :confused:.
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        • Profile picture of the author aprilm
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          Indeed. This is a big issue.

          It was because my PayPal account is in my own name that I made what turned out with hindsight to be the bad mistake of using my own name when registering as a member for this forum (I was still writing for others and being paid by PayPal, at the time, so any customers were going to see "Alexa Smith" anyway). With hindsight, I might have been able to avoid disclosing my real name and still use PayPal, by using a PayPal business account, but I was 18 in 2008, not aware of that, didn't think it through, and had no idea I'd so much regret using my real name here. ).

          Having made the mistake of using my real name online (mostly here - not for any of my marketing niches), I'd strongly advise people, especially women, especially young women, to use pen-names.
          That's very insightful Alexa. Thank you for this. As a woman, I often get nervous about using my real name for things online. It's not that I want to be deceptive in any way, but I want to protect myself and my family from possible predators. The sad truth is, you really never know who is going to try to find you. Scary but true. And the internet is so huge, you have no idea who is reading your stuff.

          I publish Kindle books, and as of this writing, all of my books are under a pen name. I use pen names on Kindle for genre distinction and authority, but have been tossing around the idea of publishing some books under my real name.

          I haven't decided what I will do yet, but I just wanted to chime in and say thank you for bringing this point up.
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by aprilm View Post

            As a woman, I often get nervous about using my real name for things online. It's not that I want to be deceptive in any way, but I want to protect myself and my family from possible predators. The sad truth is, you really never know who is going to try to find you. Scary but true. And the internet is so huge, you have no idea who is reading your stuff.
            This ^. As a male often marketing in specialized gender-based niches (medical) I frequently use female pen names as a marketing strategy. There are huge competitive advantages when your name appears to "fit in" with the majority of your target market.

            However, there is indeed a sordid vulnerability downside for females, and security precautions need to be in place against predators as well as the time-wasting annoyances of getting "hit on". Turning the tables does change ones' perspective.
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        • Profile picture of the author BrandonLee
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          Having made the mistake of using my real name online (mostly here - not for any of my marketing niches), I'd strongly advise people, especially women, especially young women, to use pen-names.

          If your going to deal with the general public - and really if your going to sell stuff on the Interwebz you don't have much choice - you should use a pen name. I've been online since 1998 and always used my real name, so I'm still just going with it. I was 19 and thought gosh why would I want to hide?

          I have a friend that has a reasonably successful business, nothing huge, but nice -he probably makes around $200,000 or so a year. He once had someone who was unhappy with his product (the guys overall refund rate is under 5%) and found out where he lived. This POS customer actually confronted his young teenage son about what a terrible person his dad was and that he needed a refund and he should talk to his dad etc. This idiot actually thought that would help his cause.

          This is the most extreme example of something like this I'm aware of, but it happened to an actual person I'm pretty good friends with - and I've heard of a lot of other cases too. Back in the early 2000's I know of a guy was writing a newsletter for stock market traders and got killed by an unhappy customer who had lost money.
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          • Profile picture of the author aprilm
            Originally Posted by BrandonLee View Post

            Back in the early 2000's I know of a guy was writing a newsletter for stock market traders and got killed by an unhappy customer who had lost money.
            Stuff like this really scares me.
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            • Profile picture of the author AprilCT
              For the most part, I agree with using pen names. As Alexa said, there are so many unknown people out there reading your article or even ordering your product, and there could be problems just due to people's personalities.

              I learned a long time ago to write using a pen name, especially important when you work for a mill and an editor can change your words.

              When you totally change subjects you are working on for Kindle books, etc., different pen names become a necessity. Otherwise, readers might not take you seriously, who wants to read someone publishing cookbooks and some suspense or sci-fi novels? It just doesn't seem right. A lot of people might not care, but you have lost the sales from the ones who do.
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    • Profile picture of the author MP80
      Well, if your friend is just starting out, then a pen-name might be best. That way she can make mistakes/ask dumb questions, without worrying that it will reflect on her business down the track.

      She can always still use her real name later, once she finds her feet.

      Regarding the first impressions thing.. Personally, it doesn't make any difference to me if it is an Asian name, or any other name.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketinguk
    Yeah I personally like to use my real name for everything but many use pen names and have no issue with it at all. I certainly agree though with Louie that at least for your own product you should use your real name.

    Joel
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  • Profile picture of the author contentwriting360
    Banned
    Hi Jayne,

    You may give your friend an advice that she can use her real name. Serious marketers (online and offline) do not make decisions based on how the service provider's name sounds or looks like. There are far greater things than every single letter in the brand name of any service provider. These are the following:
    - how do you treat your clients?
    - do you sell to help or do you sell to earn?
    - do you show and make your clients feel that genuine interest to help them?
    - do you listen to your clients' feedback with the intent to understand and not to reply?

    Nonetheless, a good brand name is one of the ingredients of any business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    Instead of using a "pen" name, why not use her brand? Come up with a unique identity for the business and work as the business. Still keep your name tied to it, but let the brand carry the weight.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ninja Ana
    Same here, I see no problem if the person use his real name. Good business begin with transparency.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketinguk
    Is it just me or does there seem to be a theme developing here that people from London are very into transparency of their products/businesses and other Nationalities don't really care so much as long as it's branded in a certain way?

    Just a thought, and i'm sure fellow Londoners will come on here soon and tell me i'm wrong lol.

    Joel
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Ox
    I am writing from London and so far Ive been using my real name for my products and websites.

    My question is: if you use pen names for many different products or niches do you attach your real photo with any different pen name or a fake one?

    and how do you deal with social networks? do you create as many facebook accounts as your pen names?
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  • Profile picture of the author TomYevsikov
    That depends what for..

    I decided to use my real name, my full name is artiom but people call me tom thats why I writee Tom Yevsikov, no matter what name you use, eventually people will get used to it

    (eban pagan used to be considered a "weird name! for IM.

    but think about it, eventually all the big boys use their real name..
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  • Profile picture of the author Searchlabmedia
    I messed up early on and used my business name for my name here on Warrior Forum. I wish I would have used my real name from the beginning, but lesson learned. I would use my real name if you plan on making a real business out of this.

    Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author AgentHomes
    Use your real name for you business, it provides you with more credibility.
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  • Profile picture of the author Parry
    A Taiwanese name would be unique and not common like a lot of other names. Everyone will remember her posts of course they should also contain useful information

    Once your friend builds up her IM career she will be proud of her Taiwanese name and the fame that it acquired.
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  • Profile picture of the author MatthewWoodward
    Well I use my real name it builds a better connection and level of honesty between you and others. I wouldn't use a fake name if I met you in real life so why online unless I'm hiding something?
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  • Profile picture of the author blackhawkup
    Banned
    funny how people with no experience are so against using pen names while I know for a fact many high paid internet marketers use pen names and are obviously successful.
    eben pagan>david deangelo
    frank kern>dean rankin (i think)
    and you can google (famous pen names) to find a whole list of people who use pen names.

    in fact one of the writers from the blog "men with pens" just revealed (some months ago) that HE is actually a SHE.

    Pen names don't stop/hurt your business. Many use it for marketing purposes to psychology associate themselves with their niche.

    For instance, albeit the same person--when you hear eben pagan you think of internet marketing guru....but when you hear of david deangelo you think of dating guru. See how that works.

    people will still buy your product even if they know you're using a pseudonym. its about what are you about and what can you do for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tonylee93
    It's not the worse thing to have a pen name. Most people do it in order to protect themselves. I feel like many people online want to have a pen name in order to brand themselves a lot better as well! Makes things simpler too!
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  • Profile picture of the author HorseStall
    I personally think a pen name makes sense in many situations.
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  • Profile picture of the author BlueOak
    I use a pen name for all my projects. Not only do I want to protect my own personal privacy but I also don't want my work in one niche compared to something totally different in another completely unrelated niche. Plus, sometimes projects flop. this way you're name is protected.

    If you have success in a niche, then use that pen name to build more projects in that same niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author AGP
    I would use a Pen Name
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  • Profile picture of the author WalterWhite
    I think that for Your own privacy a PEN NAME is always a good option.

    Yes You can use a Real one in some projects but i mostly go as WalterWhite lol

    Anyway...The Customer does not care about Your name ( True or False ) as long as you provide them good quality content and as long they are satisfied with your service,blog or Product.

    I my opinion this is a TOTALLY NOT IMPOTENT subject for the customer !

    Offer them Quality and give them what they want and You can go with the name JESUS !

    Regards
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    • Profile picture of the author MakeMoneyKid
      Originally Posted by WalterWhite View Post

      I think that for Your own privacy a PEN NAME is always a good option.

      Yes You can use a Real one in some projects but i mostly go as WalterWhite lol

      Anyway...The Customer does not care about Your name ( True or False ) as long as you provide them good quality content and as long they are satisfied with your service,blog or Product.

      I my opinion this is a TOTALLY NOT IMPOTENT subject for the customer !

      Offer them Quality and give them what they want and You can go with the name JESUS !

      Regards
      W.W.
      Now that was an all round bang to end this thread
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  • Profile picture of the author TaylorLu
    Banned
    In my opinion, using the real name is better. We should not be afraid of rasial prejudice!

    This topic is really useful.
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  • Profile picture of the author RoseJBell84
    Banned
    I am going for the real name!
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  • Profile picture of the author IMSince2003
    Use a pen name/business name combination. This is because down the line, you may have a really successful business that you might want to sell or give to someone else. If you are intending to be in the limelight and to live seminars and presentations, then maybe you might want to use your own name. Don't confuse ego and transparency issues with business decisions based on your business goals.
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  • Profile picture of the author MilkerFocus
    Personally, you don't need to care about real name or pen name.
    People love your article is not because your name,
    it's because your content mostly.
    Content is King.
    Brand yourself, your name will be famous.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Tell her to use a pen name... just in case she pisses anybody off lol. And block that WHOIS information for her website domain name.
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  • Profile picture of the author IMSince2003
    Just as a side note, I firmly believe you should use pen names on sites like EzineArticles.com so that you don't expose all your niches, so that you can be an expert in each niche. That's a different topic from the OP, though.
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  • Profile picture of the author FelixUng
    I started off using pen names but I still choose Asian pen names for I am a proud Asian. I plan to use my real name when I'm starting another niche of my interest.
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  • Profile picture of the author excoder01
    I agree - pen name is the way to go! I'm currently working full-time in a non-IM industry and have a very unique real name (only two people share my name in this world). Anything I post under my real name online will affect my repuation. Even asking a question on a job site or career message board using my real name would be a risk, if my current employer Google my name and see that I'm looking for work.

    As such, anything that I post under my real name online will show up on Google within minutes! Can you imagine writing an article about hemorrhoid to sell a product and then later on an article about how to quit smoking, using my real name? People know who me in real life know that I don't smoke! Potential dates Googling my name and seeing I write articles about smoking, and weird niches would think it's awkward.

    Use a pen name first, and then once you establish yourself with credibility and knowledge, you may use your real name. Even then, there are privacy issues to consider.
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