This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Exposure or privacy on the web

For many years now people have been asking me how they can make money on the web. These are not "get rich quick" or "scam" people, these are honest-to-goodness people who have a product or a service that they would like to sell. And, like all businesspeople, they see the value of presenting their product or service on the web.

Before the invention of the internet, this was called "publicity" or "advertising", and it still is today. When I talk to people, I listen to whether they are willing to expose themselves. Many people are very private, and I respect that. And for some businesses, I suppose smuggling drugs for example, being anonymous is very important. For most businesses, it's not. Please let me explain.

If you started a business 50 years ago, you would have probably named it after yourself, like "Joe's Market", and you would have stood in front of it, waving to the people walking by, assuring them that yours were the best prices in town, or whatever made your business unique. If you had hidden behind an "avatar", and called yourself "Wolfmanjoe1978", people would have been, well, a little creeped out. And if you are doing that on the web to protect your privacy, and your anonymity, these people will react the same way.

Owing a business, and presenting yourself as you really are, has never required giving away private information, such as your home address. It would be nice to know that you lived in the same town as your neighbors, but that's about it.

But before you expose yourself, consider the risks. Public people attract lunatics. Just ask Jody Foster. Of course, we all attract lunatics in our lives (I'm sure you can think of a few) but public people attract more. But being a public person has its advantages, and one of them is monetary. Johnny Depp must reveal his identity every time he needs to make money. In fact, his name is worth money, as he has an excellent reputation as an actor.

If you are ready to present yourself as a public person, do so. It may not make you rich quick, but it will make people trust you a little bit more than the next guy.

- Brad Hall