There are lots of various web forums and blogs online. There's just about one for every nitch group. The problem is dealing with all the various profiles that need to be setup.
For users, they don't want to have to change their profile image on every site that they visit, and for webmasters, the last thing they want to do is build a user interface for avatars.
Gravatar Solves the Problem
Gravatar makes part of the process simple by having a universal Avatar. When you put in your email address in comment field, the website will display data you entered from the Gravatar server.
Here's a brief description from their website:
Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?
Millions of avatar images are being served over 8.6 billion times per day.
It's worth a few minutes of your time setting up your Gravatar. This way you'll have it all ready to go when you need it. It doesn't cost anything to setup or to use. It will make your comments stand out on various internet blogs.
I recently integrated Gravatar to the comment section on this blog. Here are some notes on the whole process.
- It doesn't cost anything to make calls to the Gravatar server.
- It was quick to set up. I spent a few minutes reading through the Developer instructions on their site. Took about 20 minutes total
- Basically you convert the email address to a md5 Hash and then append it to a specific URL.
- Once you have it set up, you can decide what data to pull from the Gravatar server.
- It takes some tweaking the HTML and CSS to format the image. Tip: Make sure have some fail-over plan should the image not return in time.
- Using Gravatar is so much better than having to build some fancy profile page.
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