Should I Use a Different Name in Internet Marketing?

by enrikm
45 replies
Just curious, will using my real name/identity in Internet Marketing be more fruitful compared to using a pseudo name?

Appreciate all your inputs.
#internet #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    I would always use my name online and have since day one. You should do the same.

    There is no reason to hide behind the internet with a fake name.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexanderBeloev
    Originally Posted by enrikm View Post

    Just curious, will using my real name/identity in Internet Marketing be more fruitful compared to using a pseudo name?

    Appreciate all your inputs.
    When I started I was using the name Joseph Carter, now I decided to use my real Name, I think it is better, because one day, when you are successful, you will have to use your real name to enter seminars and e.t.c. There is no reason to hide behind a fake name
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  • Profile picture of the author John Rogers
    Unless you have a solid long-term plan, you should use your real name. Otherwise you may decide later that your pseudonym doesn't fit what you ultimately end up doing. If you have a common name, you might change it up a bit. Bob Jenkins for example, uses Bob the Teacher.
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  • Profile picture of the author kennytan
    If you're looking for a long term business online, build reputation and name branding.

    You should use your real name. or else what would the purpose to get started online hiding your real name.
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    • Profile picture of the author mikehuff
      Originally Posted by kennytan View Post

      If you're looking for a long term business online, build reputation and name branding.

      You should use your real name. or else what would the purpose to get started online hiding your real name.
      Exactly what I was thinking. If you're teaching and selling good stuff to people, you don't need to be "Max Power." I think Homer Simpson tried that and it backfired.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Like many affiliate marketers, I've always used a pen-name for each niche, and am very glad I've done that, and will certainly continue to do so.

      It's no more difficult to "brand" a pen-name than it is to brand your real-name. Your visitors/subscribers/customers don't know that it isn't your real name (obviously).

      Among other advantages, it saves you from the potentially credibility-losing problem of potential customers finding out their "expert information provider" on the subject of desalination technology is also an expert information provider to other people on the subjects of cauliflower soup recipes and Louboutin-shoe collecting. Many people think this makes you look like "just a marketer willing to promote anything" and effectively won't give you credit for your genuine expertise and experience in the subjects you're writing about.

      I'm very surprised that your replies in this thread happened to start off with a few people expressing their preference for using their real names.

      In most of the (hundreds of) threads here discussing this question, the distribution of preferences is very much "the other way round", with the great majority recommending pen-names.
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      • Profile picture of the author MP80
        Yes, I think you should use a pen-name.

        Then, if you screw up, you can just start afresh with a new name, lol.

        Also, if you have ever had a stalker, jilted ex-lover, etc, you probably don't want them snooping around or trying to sabotage your business. You may also just want to protect your niche from prying eyes and/or unscrupulous internet marketers.

        I have occasionally heard of pissed-off, or just plain unstable, customers looking people up before arriving unannounced on their doorstep. So it depends if your ok with the possibility of that happening?

        In short, there are many reasons not to use your real identity online; it's not a 'one size fits all' situation.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kate Davies
          Originally Posted by MP80 View Post

          Also, if you have ever had a stalker, jilted ex-lover, etc, you probably don't want them snooping around or trying to sabotage your business. You may also just want to protect your niche from prying eyes and/or unscrupulous internet marketers.
          For this very reason I did hide behind a pseudonym on the web for many years. However, in the end as business grew and my online and offline business activities became more interwoven, I found it difficult to operate online with a pseudonym and with my real name in the offline world. So I have recently taken the decision to use my true identity throughout.

          I guess it depends on your plans for your business. I now have greater clarity over the plans for mine. Also, think about what name is used on receipts issued by your payment processor - that usually has to be your real name or a business name; so again if you are building a proper business, that may influence your choice.
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      • Profile picture of the author 622im
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        Like many affiliate marketers, I've always used a pen-name for each niche, and am very glad I've done that, and will certainly continue to do so.

        It's no more difficult to "brand" a pen-name than it is to brand your real-name. Your visitors/subscribers/customers don't know that it isn't your real name (obviously).

        Among other advantages, it saves you from the potentially credibility-losing problem of potential customers finding out their "expert information provider" on the subject of desalination technology is also an expert information provider to other people on the subjects of cauliflower soup recipes and Louboutin-shoe collecting. Many people think this makes you look like "just a marketer willing to promote anything" and effectively won't give you credit for your genuine expertise and experience in the subjects you're writing about.

        I'm very surprised that your replies in this thread happened to start off with a few people expressing their preference for using their real names.

        In most of the (hundreds of) threads here discussing this question, the distribution of preferences is very much "the other way round", with the great majority recommending pen-names.
        Agreed 100%
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  • Profile picture of the author enrikm
    Hmm, so from what I have read so far, looks like this is what I understood:

    1. If your niche is Internet Marketing, then it's better to use your real name.
    2. If however you have a niche other than Internet Marketing, (e.g. weight loss, insurance, others) then it's more beneficial to have a pen name so that people don't see you as "just a marketer" and end up not buying your products.

    Does this make sense?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by enrikm View Post

      Hmm, so from what I have read so far, looks like this is what I understood:

      1. If your niche is Internet Marketing, then it's better to use your real name.
      I don't understand why people think that. I've never understood it. I've never been able to see the advantage of using your own name. I can see many advantages to using pen-names, though.

      I made a great mistake using my real name in this forum, and I wish I hadn't done so, now. With hindsight, it was entirely unnecessary, but I was only 18/19 when I joined and I didn't think it through. I certainly wouldn't make the same mistake again now.

      Originally Posted by enrikm View Post

      Does this make sense?
      It seems to, to many people here, but it doesn't to me.
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      • Profile picture of the author michelep
        I also think that it depends on your goals. If you just want to do Internet Marketing my opinion is that there is no need for hiding, just do not reveal all your personal information.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by enrikm View Post

          Hmm, so from what I have read so far, looks like this is what I understood:

          1. If your niche is Internet Marketing, then it's better to use your real name.
          2. If however you have a niche other than Internet Marketing, (e.g. weight loss, insurance, others) then it's more beneficial to have a pen name so that people don't see you as "just a marketer" and end up not buying your products.

          Does this make sense?
          Not completely.

          You could flip those and make just as much sense. If you've gone to the effort of branding your real name in a non-IM/MMO niche, and you want to release a product in the IM/MMO market, you'd have every reason to use a pen name.

          Extending that to its logical conclusion, if you have a job in a sensitive business or profession, you may want none of your online activities linked to your real name. To use a ludicrous example, if I was a respected uroligist, I sure wouldn't want my real name associated with a website peddling 'Dr. Feelgood's Miracle Penis Pills', would I?
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        • Profile picture of the author Rags2Richs
          Originally Posted by michelep View Post

          I also think that it depends on your goals. If you just want to do Internet Marketing my opinion is that there is no need for hiding, just do not reveal all your personal information.
          Was Samuel Langhorne Clemens hiding? Now days tho Paypal requires you to use a real verifiable name usually linked to your bank account.
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by Rags2Richs View Post

            Now days tho Paypal requires you to use a real verifiable name usually linked to your bank account.
            All you need to do is set up a business account with Paypal (ie registered as DBA). Some marketers may actually have hundreds of pseudonyms, for legitimate purposes cited in this and other threads discussing this topic. :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author mikehuff
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        I don't understand why people think that. I've never understood it. I've never been able to see the advantage of using your own name. I can see many advantages to using pen-names, though.

        I made a great mistake using my real name in this forum, and I wish I hadn't done so, now. With hindsight, it was entirely unnecessary, but I was only 18/19 when I joined and I didn't think it through. I certainly wouldn't make the same mistake again now.



        It seems to, to many people here, but it doesn't to me.
        Hadn't really thought of it before, but that's probably a pen-avatar too!

        Glad you do what works for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author winagain
    Maybe there are times when using a pen name is useful. Lets say I want to get into a new niche, when I am not known as an expert, so I create a new persona, and write articles and good content around it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    I believe there is no correct answer. It depends on your intent and goals whether you use a real name or a pen name.

    Something only the user can decide for themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sue McDonald
    I believe you should use your own name but I know of one successful internet marketer who used another name to get into health and was very successful doing that.

    I prefer to use my own name.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jgmurray
    Enrikm - It's entirely up to you - if you are crossing niches and you don't want cross contamination, the pen names are very handy - that's the biggest reason I use a pseudonym in some cases.

    Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author neilclues
    Originally Posted by enrikm View Post

    Just curious, will using my real name/identity in Internet Marketing be more fruitful compared to using a pseudo name?

    Appreciate all your inputs.
    Hi

    It all depends if you want to brand yourself and build a following or not.

    I do recommend using your real name, but there is also nothing wrong with using a pen name either, as long as you are honest with people about yourself.

    Try using both to see what kind of results you get, just an idea

    Neil
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  • Profile picture of the author JeniferStarr
    So far I have used my real name. I don't have anyone I'm worried would do harm to my business. Using my name also makes me feel really accountable about delivering quality to my clients.

    I also have a book on Amazon using my real name. However, I'm planning a future series using a pen name because it deals with a subject matter I don't necessarily want associated with my name or business.

    But for the overall business, I'm pretty transparent.
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  • Profile picture of the author BarberShop
    For your own safety, use a pen-name. And I hope you're not posting your home address somewhere on the Internets too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Schuman
    There are some people who should not use their real name in Internet marketing. Charles Manson comes to mind. Seymor Butz, Barry Bonds, Jeffrey Dahmer, and others come to mind.

    My real name is Chris P. Bacon, but of course I changed it here in the forum to Jeff Schuman.
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  • Profile picture of the author andreas3
    How do people reconcile pen names and no-home-address with the need to publish your name/business/address in every email you send to your list (required by most anti-spam laws), on your website, and when registering your business?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by andreas3 View Post

      How do people reconcile pen names and no-home-address with the need to publish your name/business/address in every email you send to your list (required by most anti-spam laws), on your website, and when registering your business?
      By using privacy protection services for domain registration, and either a P.O. Box number, an "accommodation address service", or something similar, for those and for outgoing email.
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  • Profile picture of the author gcbmark20
    Hi,

    If you're looking to be more transparent and are using your own
    blog for example then definitely use your own name for a domain name.

    Add your own picture to your blog also, tell your visitors your story etc.

    People want to know they are dealing with a real human being and not
    a computer.

    Hope this helps

    Regards
    Gavin
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by gcbmark20 View Post

      People want to know they are dealing with a real human being and not a computer.
      It's no more difficult to brand a pen-name than a real name, Gavin.

      Visitors/subscribers/readers don't know that it's a pen-name. To them it's just as much a "person" as your real name would be. That's the point of pen-names.

      Using your real name instead doesn't typically help people to "feel that it's a real person and not a computer" any more than a pen-name does.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Willy
    Be true to yourself. It would be ok to use a pen name though, but if you are doing internet marketing, it should be the real "YOU"! People might get pissed off in the end if you are just using a fake name and getting closer relationships with them.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Using pseudonyms has actually been a rather common marketing practice for many years for example in telemarketing and companies selling to selected demographics. There is a distinct marketing advantage for pseudonyms when promoting a variety of disparate products or brands, and particularly when encountering certain ethnic or special interest groups. A catchy name or something indicating affinity can have profound effects on branding, conversions and sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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    Originally Posted by mikedcarroll View Post

    Why hide?
    1. Personal security and safety

    2. The additional reasons explained in this thread: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post8238721

    3. The further, additional reasons mentioned by Myob, in the post just above.
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  • Profile picture of the author StuartMcMinigal
    Not unless you have something to hide.

    If you are using your real name then there is no hiding from mistakes you make or labels you might pick up over time. Many do use fake names when it comes down to branding but I like to just stick to my own name and will continue to. It gives the added pressure to myself to maintain professionalism as I can only do myself harm.
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    • Profile picture of the author PandoraH
      This has been a really useful thread for me the last few days. I need to make certain decisions on how to proceed with a number of things, and identity is a big deal at the moment.

      Alexa, thanks for your comments and the link to that other thread.

      My biggest issue is that my so called "career", LOL, is based on IM and Online marketing. This is true not only for the clients I support, but the business I plan to launch in the next few months.

      HOWEVER, the niche I am building my IM business around is a health related niche, and this leads to a dilemma about keeping my health niche social media "stuff" totally separate from everything I do related to IM and online marketing.

      I don't want to use a pen name unless it's for something I do in a niche unrelated to the above 2 that I mention, but keeping my IM/Online efforts apart from my Health Niche efforts is something I am not quite sure how to accomplish.

      For example, I am not sure if I should have 2 different twitter accounts, 2 different google+ accounts, and so on..
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  • Profile picture of the author Marc Rodill
    I used to think about this question a lot before I started entering niches. Once you start doing that, you start to realize you pretty have to do both.

    My stance now is that you should use your real name for your "primary" market where you plan to be most active and can see yourself in business 10 years from now.

    Any other niche, my stance is you should use a pen name no matter what, because of the way people will perceive a person who is in four different markets.

    People generally have a limited way of thinking that goes something like this: "Well, you can only be an expert at one thing!" Plus if there's no "cross over" it's just not useful.

    The other route you can go is to not use names at all, and be a publishing company that hires people who do all the "dirty" work for you. The common entrepreneurial path.

    For example, a magazine isn't a personality business. Instead they bring a ton of writers together in one place for content. Blogs are doing this too more and more nowadays.

    Thanks
    Marc

    PS. Another tactic...

    I'm just starting to enter a new market with a friend, where he's the front line of the business. So that doesn't require a pen name, we just use his name.

    I'm behind the scenes and won't be introduced to the market/audience ever. So that's another path, is to partner up with people and have them be the point of contact.

    Compare it to what the music industry does for their talent. Obviously the performers and the band members produce the music, the record label and agent does the rest.

    Marketing, advertising, placement, promotion...
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    • Profile picture of the author steelhead
      Ditto. I use both depending on the niche and the media.
      Just about all of my social stuff is ME.
      All local brand marketing is ME
      Affiliate marketing may or may not be a persona
      International affiliate marketing is persona until I learn fluent Korean and a few others :-D
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinChapman
    I always use my real name, I want people in the industry to know my name! I'd be wary of someone who uses a fake name, it would make be think they have something to hide.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
      Oh phooey... now I don't what to do! lol
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      • Profile picture of the author PandoraH
        Originally Posted by Joel Young View Post

        Oh phooey... now I don't what to do! lol
        <laughs> I'm not laughing AT you, Joel, but with you...really! It's great to have all these different opinions. However, I am beginning to think this is one of those "personal" things that everyone needs to decide for themselves. Not very helpful, but identity is a very personal thing.

        I'm trying to look at this from a business perspective. From that point of view, using my real name is an obvious choice. For everything else, I think maybe interesting variations may be the way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author cpt
    I use my real name. In my industry we have credentials that can be researched. I would be seen as a fraud if I used a pen name. I know some folks are concerned about safety, but anyone who personally knows you can look up all kinds of info about you online. You are more likely to have a local stalker show up on your doorstep than someone who would invest the time and money to fly across the country to find you. The thing that freaks me out more than anything are those database websites (Intelius, Spokeo, etc.) that gives out all sorts of personal "public" information. Very invasive.
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    • Profile picture of the author janicej
      Banned
      I think using a fake name can help, for example, if you start out with several different niches and you don't want your results with one of them to influence your reputation in the other one.

      This is something of a dodgy technique though, cause if you expect from the very start to have reputation problems, it's not likely that your strategy will work out in the long run.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kevin Maguire
        Originally Posted by janicej View Post

        I think using a fake name can help, for example, if you start out with several different niches and you don't want your results with one of them to influence your reputation in the other one.

        This is something of a dodgy technique though, cause if you expect from the very start to have reputation problems, it's not likely that your strategy will work out in the long run.
        What reputation. Sorry but I'm online to make money, not for the notoriety.

        Outing yourself publicly on Warrior Forum as some kind of Top Dog SEO, who's beating Google for 4000 customers.
        Who in their right mind would then, apply that very same identity. To their network of personal sites, where they apply these greatest SEO techniques.

        You keep the notoriety, I'll keep the money.
        Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Maguire
    Pick any name you like. Pick 10 or 100.
    Call yourself Harry Jazzslinger or Polly Ubenvienrschmdit.
    Nobody care's. This is the internet. It's not real. Nobody care's.
    The only thing you want your real name on. Is the paychecks.
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  • Profile picture of the author dani0157
    I prefer (and I am using) my real name for my blog. I am even using my own picture

    Perhaps if I am ever going to go into another niche I will use a pen name since I will probably not want people to link my blog with my weight loss/dog training/gaming or whatever niche i choose.
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  • Profile picture of the author Radium
    I was struggling with this issue and it prevented me from taking action for a very long time. My real name is not pronounceable by the English speaking people so I came to the conclusion that I HAVE to use a pen name whether I wanted it or not. At first it didn't feel right but then I got used to it. The only thing I regret is that I let it stop me from taking action.
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