Remember Gravatar? That service Automattic acquired back on October 18th, 2007. It’s nearing two years since the acquisition and I don’t know about you but, I don’t feel as though Gravatar has gone mainstream. Just as a refresher course, the idea behind Gravatar is to host a globally-recognized avatar that is tied to an email address. This means that using your Gravatar is as simple as using the same email address to sign up to supported services/software that you used on Gravatar.com.
Doing a bit of history, Gravatar has been around since at least 2004. At least that is as far back as the Web Archive has records of it which makes it all the more surprising that more services and software do not support it out of the box. For example, Twitter, Facebook, phpBB, all have their own way of handling avatars. No support what so ever for the Gravatar service, even though there are numerous examples of how to implement it.
Could it be that we are really better off with each system managing avatars in their own way? Or is it the fact that most end users of various software and or services have not spoken loudly enough to have Gravatar support built in? My request is for software developers not to ditch their own avatar management solution, but to build Gravatar support in addition to. At least in this fashion, you could gauge how popular the use of Gravatar is to manage avatars on your software/service compared to your home grown solution opting to use one, the other, or both.
Gravatar is now hosted under the guide of Automattic, a company that has proven with WordPress.com that they know what they’re doing when it comes to scalability and server infrastructure. Users of bbPress, WordPress.com, and the self installed version of WordPress are spoiled to have Gravatar support built right into the software. To this day, I don’t think the Gravatar idea has come to fruition which is why I’m asking you to contact the developers of your favorite software or services which has its own version of avatar management and let them know you want Gravatar support to be built in. At the very least, a mod or plugin to add the functionality to the software should suffice.
If you participate in this event, be sure to let me know the response you receive in the comments below. Also feel free to link to plugins or mods that add Gravatar support to their respective pieces of software as it would be nice to have all of that information in one place.