Real photo or fake photo?

by Joe Ox
44 replies
You manage 50 niches and you use different pen names for any of them because not many peny people would trust you as expert in gardening, dating , dogs, hair toners , etc.

When using your 50 cool pen names, do you attach a photo of yourself for any of them? or fake ones?

And how do you deal with social networks? do you create 50 facebook accounts? or under your John Smith profile you say to people: look check out "Mark Chong" he is great. And then they click on the link and there is your photo?
#fake #photo #real
  • Profile picture of the author MovingAround
    Depends, are your fake pics stolen or are they royalty-free/bought?

    On the first, don't do it. On the second one, do it but bear in mind that someone may catch you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Ox
    Is there anyone here that manage more than one niche?
    How do you guys do?

    real name - real photo
    real name - fake photo
    fake name - real photo
    fake name - fake photo ?

    one facebook, twitter, google + profile
    multiple facebook, twitter, google + profiles?

    Thanks a lot
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    • Profile picture of the author JEasy
      I've often wondered about this. I would think the best way to go about it to have a have a pen name and a fake photo for each niche site. Of course not a stolen photo, but one you have the rights to use.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert M Gouge
    This is an interesting topic.

    I, personally, would go for a small handful of sites and just be Me for all of them.

    However, using a lot of sites and pen names, I imagine it would be best to have a unique identity for each. Using a fake photo, however, will always carry the risk of being caught; but, I don't suppose that matters if you are open about using a pen name with your fans.

    However, being open with fans about using a pen name would probably lead to trust issues between you and your customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
    In today's climate of suspicion and distrust on all levels of life, not just IM, I'm inclined to always be honest and true to people; for the mutual good of all involved. In business, a pen name and/or fake photo is a disaster waiting to happen. There is no reason to think that a person can't be knowledgeable enough in multiple niches, therefore having multiple websites to support those niches.

    If you use a pen name or fake photo, you may never be caught. But you might get caught. The worry over that alone can cause you to lose just enough focus on your IM efforts to keep you from reaching your goals. You might think you're not worried about it, but the subconscious mind pulls no punches. Dishonesty, no matter how minor, can bite you, even if no one else does.
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    • Profile picture of the author ClayPage
      I have pondered the same question - with all my interests, how will anyone take me seriously as an expert?

      It depends on how you classify yourself.

      In my case, when writing articles I define myself as an "Investigative Reporter / Researcher" and this title, which defines who I am, has lead to creditability in what I present and it takes the edge off of being "another salesperson / or a sales pitch."

      Of course when I cover a subject, I make reference to our products and services, and most of the times they are my competition. I never speak poorly of another competition and if I can't say anything positive, I do not use them as a comparative reference.

      I have found people willing to come back to what I have to offer once they explore what I reference in articles or my web site. They have told me they purchased from me because I was confident enough in my product to share competing products and ideas with them.

      It goes back to how you title yourself - "An Investigative Reporter / Researcher" will afford you the liberty to be yourself in many areas. As far as an expert is concerned, I like the definition of an expert: "Someone who knows a little more than the person they are talking to."

      As Joel stated (so true): "In today's climate of suspicion and distrust on all levels of life, not just IM, I'm inclined to always be honest and true to people; for the mutual good of all involved. In business, a pen name and/or fake photo is a disaster waiting to happen. There is no reason to think that a person can't be knowledgeable enough in multiple niches, therefore having multiple websites to support those niches."

      Honesty is the best policy - showcase your talents and knowledge!
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Niche-personified photos can significantly enhance conversion rates. Readers often have preconceived images of what an author "looks" like, and the closer a writer can meet this expectation along with a congruent writing style, the more effective it will be to make successful connections with the reading audience. Each of the 67 niches in which I market has a pen name, a very distinctive "persona" or branded writing style, and are also portrayed as photos of compensated employees or models on respective websites.
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        • And I also like Jeff's cartoon idea. Just be certain the creator of the cartoons gives you full copyrights, otherwise some years from now, the artist could come back and claim the copyrights to the images you bought, because you only bought those jpegs, and not total rights.

          Not a problem if you buy the cartoon on Fiverr.

          "Buyers are granted all rights for the delivered work, unless otherwise specified by the seller in the gig description."

          fLufF
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

            Not a problem if you buy the cartoon on Fiverr.
            Yes indeed. I must say these are among the very best things I've ever bought on Fiverr. There are some really good cartoonists and artists there. It's astonishing what you can buy for $5.

            Kurt's suggestions above look pretty useful, too, though I wouldn't feel altogether comfortable using a celebrity's (or anyone else's) photo for the purpose, myself, partly because of my concern that the result might constitute a "derivative work". But you can presumably do some of this with pics of your own, too.
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            • Profile picture of the author Kurt
              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              Yes indeed. I must say these are among the very best things I've ever bought on Fiverr. There are some really good cartoonists and artists there. It's astonishing what you can buy for $5.

              Kurt's suggestions above look pretty useful, too, though I wouldn't feel altogether comfortable using a celebrity's (or anyone else's) photo for the purpose, myself, partly because of my concern that the result might constitute a "derivative work". But you can presumably do some of this with pics of your own, too.
              I'd say changing a photo beyond what is recognizable person is considered "fair use" and would fall under being "transformative", but each person should be make their own decision, just as making the choice to use a registered trademark in their Warrior sig.

              Another benefit of using mug shots to morph is that they are public domain in the US.
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            • Profile picture of the author gundammeister
              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              Yes indeed. I must say these are among the very best things I've ever bought on Fiverr. There are some really good cartoonists and artists there. It's astonishing what you can buy for $5.

              Kurt's suggestions above look pretty useful, too, though I wouldn't feel altogether comfortable using a celebrity's (or anyone else's) photo for the purpose, myself, partly because of my concern that the result might constitute a "derivative work". But you can presumably do some of this with pics of your own, too.
              Do you have a recommendation of a really good provider?
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              • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
                Banned
                Originally Posted by gundammeister View Post

                Do you have a recommendation of a really good provider?
                I haven't started off a new niche for about a year and a half and my information would doubtless be terribly out of date, even if I could remember - sorry! I think fLuFf (posted above) may be able to help you - she knows everything about Fiverr. Or just try one with a large number of happy reports and no negative comments? Sorry not to be more helpful, I honestly can't remember, it was so long ago. But I've bought cartoons from 2 or 3 different people there and they were all good. I think it's kind of "Fiverr at its best".
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Burritt
    Banned
    I heard an author speaking at a book conference. He was promoting his newest book. On the projector / big screen they put up a picture of his book. His face was right on it.

    The author, turned and looked up, saw his book and face, then turned to the audience and said, "You know it's a really good picture of you when it looks nothing like you"
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Burritt
    Banned
    Q: How does Clark Kent turn into Superman?
    A: With a little help from Hollywood.

    One compromise between Real or Fake is to use a cartoon representation of you.

    It's still you. But it looks they way you need it to look for your niche/site etc.

    Lots of caricature artists on Fiverr.com can do this for you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Robert M Gouge
      Originally Posted by Jeff Burritt View Post

      Q: How does Clark Kent turn into Superman?
      A: With a little help from Hollywood.

      One compromise between Real or Fake is to use a cartoon representation of you.

      It's still you. But it looks they way you need it to look for your niche/site etc.

      Lots of caricature artists on Fiverr.com can do this for you.
      This is a good point that I didn't think about earlier.

      Creating a site mascot and being the voice behind the mascot isn't a bad idea. For example: The Geico Gecko. He's the face, voice and brand for the company. And, as an added bonus, he'll live forever.
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      • Profile picture of the author Warrior Simon
        Most of the time I use a real photo and only my first name.
        Using fake stuff makes me feel uncomfortable.
        I would also say that using a real photo and your real name makes you stand out from 90% of all affiliates. And I'm convinced it shines through when writing your presell.
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  • Profile picture of the author madelyndon
    For me, this is a tough one! On one of my blogs I have put my real picture but on the other I'm creating, I definitely won't. I still have a 9to5 and it would be in direct conflict of what I do. I already represent my company on the website, and my blog would not be a good reflection of them. The blog basically has "characters" in it, so I am just one of the characters. I think it will work because it isn't a serious focus like other blogs, where you want to get to know the writer.
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    • Profile picture of the author robg1
      It doesn't matter how many different niches you have reviews in. As long as you are honest and tell readers that you have thoroughly researched the niche, given them an extensive review along with maybe some customer reviews they will be happy to take your advice.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        For each niche I use either a pen-name and a photo of me from which I'm not easily recognisable, or a pen-name and no photo.

        I'm not sure I'd manage that for each of 50 different niches, but I wouldn't really be able to manage 50 different niches, anyway.

        Originally Posted by robg1 View Post

        It doesn't matter how many different niches you have reviews in.
        To me it matters very much indeed, because it does to some subscribers.

        I learned this the hard way.

        I don't want any of my subscribers in the cauliflower soup recipes/e-books niche finding out that I'm also the person who does all the domestic desalination technology articles, e-book and information, because experience (from when I made this mistake, back when I first started) has taught me that that does detract from my credibility to some of them in one niche or another - and that some of them will even say so openly and they'll end up preferring "information" from someone who actually knows far less than I do, just because that's such a big issue for them.
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        • Profile picture of the author Lance K
          Have you ever noticed what the "For Dummies", "Complete Idiot's Guide", etc. series do?

          They establish a publishing brand and partner with experts to create their content.

          If you're really going after 50 niches, you may want to study their model. Otherwise, do what Alexa said.

          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          For each niche I use either a pen-name and a photo of me from which I'm not easily recognisable, or a pen-name and no photo.
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          • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
            Originally Posted by Lance K View Post

            Have you ever noticed what the "For Dummies", "Complete Idiot's Guide", etc. series do?

            They establish a publishing brand and partner with experts to create their content.

            If you're really going after 50 niches, you may want to study their model. Otherwise, do what Alexa said.
            That is a good one from Lance. You could even let your name (or one of you pen names) be the publisher of all these books/programs/website that "feature" other authors - the other pen name you use.

            And I also like Jeff's cartoon idea. Just be certain the creator of the cartoons gives you full copyrights, otherwise some years from now, the artist could come back and claim the copyrights to the images you bought, because you only bought those jpegs, and not total rights.

            Remember, the creator of the art automatically owns the copyrights, unless it is in a work-for-hire situation in which he/she is an employee using your computer, your software, in your payroll. The independent contractor is not an employee, and as such, would still own the rights unless spelled out in writing.

            I'm not an attorney, but I have had to deal with this for several decades while owning a photography studio.

            :-Don
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            • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
              Banned
              Cartoons/drawings/silhouettes/color-adjusted images/unusual angles ... and so on and so forth: these are all good ways of using your own photos without being recognisable. (You just have to remember not to show too many of them as avatars in the Warrior Forum).
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  • Profile picture of the author TheWrightWords
    I use a pen name, but my own photo in most cases -- I have enough to choose from, and it is no big deal to use a different candid shot -- the one in my avatar was shot by my 3yo, so it doesn't have to be fancy!
    I do have professional headshots that I use for books and magazine contributer photos, the "real" headshots are much better quality and I took the time to brush my hair, so they don't particularly look like I look every day, if that makes sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    BeFunky has a good cartoonizer, and it's free with no annoying toolbars to install. It also has some other cool features:
    Select a photo effect or try goodies application | BeFunky

    (For the cartoonizer, click on the "effects" button)

    Another idea I use is to morph two or more images. This creates a "frankenperson" that isn't real, so you don't have to worry about model releases, etc. I generally mix a mugshot, since they are all looking forward, with a good looking celebrity, so the output is usually a pretty good looking person:

    http://www.morphthing.com/

    ...And for extra measure, you can cartoonize your morph.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
      Not just the names and the photos but the website registration information needs to be handled in some way. Private registration or a company name. As far as Facebook goes, depending on the quality of the facial recognition software, you might or might no get tagged from a photo which has been manipulated.

      It is also against the TOS of many if not all stock photo services to use the photos as a representation of another person. So you couldn't go and get a photo and use it as your photo with a fake name without running some risk of getting caught. I don't honestly know how likely this, it probably depends on you stripping to exif data out.

      People do this, though, for sure, I have seen the same picture of a guy and he has a different name each time. Its kind of funny.
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    • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Another idea I use is to morph two or more images. This creates a "frankenperson" that isn't real, so you don't have to worry about model releases, etc. I generally mix a mugshot, since they are all looking forward, with a good looking celebrity, so the output is usually a pretty good looking person:

      What will my baby look like? Morph Faces and Celebrities Online For Free - MorphThing.com

      ...And for extra measure, you can cartoonize your morph.

      Way cool! I recently came across an old photo of me taken when I was 22, had what would have been shoulder-length hair, except it is soooo curly it stuck out in all directions like a giant fuzz ball.

      It is in black and white.

      Just think, I can now combine (morph) it with a current color photo of me, create the new-old me, use it as an avatar and frighten everyone on the WF.

      Halloween is coming in a few months. Hmmmmmm!

      :-Don
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      • Profile picture of the author fin
        I use a different last name, but only because mine is really hard to remember.

        Since I want to use videos I will need to use my real face. I don't really want to wear a mask lol
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  • Profile picture of the author magiclint
    I say honesty is always the best policy.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    I don't really care about using my real photo when am dealing with small niche sites unless if it's something big with brand then i showcase my self.

    Am not much of a social media person and have very few FB accounts for my sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Joe Ox View Post

    You manage 50 niches and you use different pen names for any of them because not many peny people would trust you as expert in gardening, dating , dogs, hair toners , etc.
    And now for a reality check: The odds your dog customers find out you also sell gardening information will be slim to none; the odds they will care if they do find out are even less.
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  • Profile picture of the author bloomleroy
    Now we have lot of tools and softwares to edit any kind of photographs and add your imagination in the photographs. So people can not judge easily whether the photo is real or fake.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
    One thing is for sure, my photo is real. You just can't fake that kind of good looks and charm. :p
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  • Profile picture of the author Tobo1981
    I don't intend to use a photo for the particular project I have which is my first, but if I ever start something that requires a picture, I would get a real one taken by a professional photographer and I would use that one.
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  • Profile picture of the author denysapu
    I prefer to efficiency, at the time I was too lazy to make 50 photo, names, and social accounts, then I would just make one and declared myself as the heads of 50 experts for each of that fields.
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    • Profile picture of the author TeamTCW
      Originally Posted by denysapu View Post

      I prefer to efficiency, at the time I was too lazy to make 50 photo, names, and social accounts, then I would just make one and declared myself as the heads of 50 experts for each of that fields.
      This is really great idea!
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    • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
      Originally Posted by denysapu View Post

      I prefer to efficiency, at the time I was too lazy to make 50 photo, names, and social accounts, then I would just make one and declared myself as the heads of 50 experts for each of that fields.
      Exactly! Just as I mentioned in post #6:
      Originally Posted by Joel Young View Post

      There is no reason to think that a person can't be knowledgeable enough in multiple niches, therefore having multiple websites to support those niches.
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    I think too many people are concerned about putting a face to a product or brand. This can be an asset if you are trying to become famous or a super authority figure, but no so much when you are building a product line brand.

    Does NIKE have a company face attached to it? No, they have paid endorsers. Obviously, most businesses are not in the position to get Tiger Woods to be their face, but you do have another asset to be your face... your customers.

    I think more folks in this space need to start thinking like a company, instead of always thinking of themselves as a one man shop, be it a real man or a fake man.
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  • Profile picture of the author Abdullah Isa
    Personally I am against using fake photo's, because I see it as dishonest.

    If somebody wants to use a pen name under the guise of remaining anonymous then so be it, a person can chose his name as he wills.

    However, once somebody starts using a photo of somebody else, he enters the realm of lying and deception, and this is unethical.

    Furthermore, the proof is in the pudding - let your content do the talking.

    If your content backs up the fact that you are in fact knowledgeable of 50 niches then who can argue? and if you are not knowledgeable of 50 niches then stop what you are doing, because it would mean that you are telling lies to people.

    Be honest, work hard.

    IMHO: there is no need to enter 50 niches, why are you doing this? And how could you possibly have time to manage all 50, and create content for all 50, and supply good customer service for all 50? You must be a millionaire, and if this is the case, why are you here asking this question?

    My advice would be to become established in one niche first (if you feel a burning desire to do more, then take on no more than 3). Build one successful business, that is all you need. It is smarter to build one stable business and become known for your good service, ethic and content before launching a second or third, than it is to try to profit from 50 different niches.

    I hope my answer was helpful.

    P.S: When have you ever read the story of a genuine, real life, self made millionaire (not the types that tell their stories on the internet, who could be lying, but the ones who are known and established in the real world) who turns around and says: "oh, how did I make my millions? I started 50 different businesses and ran them all" ?

    No, this doesn't happen, it is unrealist and illogical to think and act this way.

    Listen to the people who certainly have knowledge of the field you study. Most of them took one step at a time, one business at a time.
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  • I think you should be fine using you're own picture (and it's the right thing to do) if required, as long as people know the meaning of "pen name" then you should be alright. If a real picture is not required, then go ahead and use some others non-copyrighted pictures but DON'T use pictures of other people or you could be pursued in court.

    In social networks, I think it is unethical and against any site's terms and conditions for one person to have multiple "personal" accounts assuming different identities; besides, social networks usually only allow one person to have multiple accounts when the first account is full or compromised in some way. (In Facebook) The best way is to have a single personal account and then have various pages to handle each pen name or niche. I think. :-D


    Good Luck!


    ~^_^~
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  • Profile picture of the author Born to Earn
    interesting topic, i know people who use fake photo for fake name...
    i think no one use real pic for fake name..

    some use pic of nature or natural beauty like trees, weather and quotes pic also.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Born to Earn View Post

      i think no one use real pic for fake name..
      All you had to do was look up, a little, and you'd have seen that many people actually do that. You'd even have seen some discussion about why.
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  • Profile picture of the author abinboston
    I would say it is your personal prefernce. Do you want to use your real name and photo or a pen name like many authors do. I am setting up some sites and I am undecided whether to use my real name and photo or a pen name and stock photo.

    AB
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  • Profile picture of the author Guru4u
    Use real photos of you but tailor them to your niche:
    Gardening ---> pic of you in garden
    Dogs ---> pic of you with dog
    Etc, etc

    You can photoshop yourself into backgrounds
    you can't get in real life. Easy peezy!
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