Gravatars: A Suggestion for Future Development

Right now, the FAQ on Gravatars is pretty clear: they only associate email addresses with faces. I think it would rock, however, if URLs could be associated in a like manner. That way, when I send a TrackBack or something, my smiling mug would show up instead of whatever default image the implementation uses.

Of course, this is a fundamental shift in architecture, because now you’re trying to associate URLs with individuals, which is a dangerous proposition. Most email addresses map 1:1 with the people who own them [exceptions being catch-all collection points like marketing@mycompany.com, etc.]; this is probably less true with URLs, although I can’t point you to anything that would prove this assertion in either direction.

[As Lara notes, she and I talked about this last night. I’d thought about this before, but our conversation sparked the writing of this suggestion.]

5 comments

  1. […] Most email addresses map 1:1 with the people who own them […]; this is probably less true with URLs, although I can’t point you to anything that would prove this assertion in either direction.

    Slashdot. Metafilter. BoingBoing. And one of my own: The Temple of Gunters.

    Just about any multi-author community blog breaks the URI->individual mapping. And there are people who don’t have personal blogs and consider sites like that to be their “home” site (as evidenced by my friend Kenn, AKA KMFPL on gunters.org).

    Still, one could imagine possibly having a “fallback” to the URI in the absence of an email address, and allowing some sort of “site avatar”, perhaps?

  2. Yeah, I thought a little about “site avatars”, Dougal.

    The other thing that occurred to me is proof of ownership of URL: you’d have to do something like what BlogShares does in its claiming process to prove that you own that URL, because otherwise, you’ve created a manual process to go alongside the automated challenge-response process Gravatar has in place for their email mapping, which I doubt they’d go for.

Comments are closed.