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I have created a Gravatar for my email address for my business website through the Gravatar Website (gravatar.com).

I have done some reading and understand that this gravatar should appear in peoples inbox next to email subject.

I was wondering if there was anything I had to do to activate this? As currently it does not show.

I have seen a lot of documentation around Gmail and setting up that way, however, I understand this only works with Gmail inbox?

Supposedly Gravatar works with Gmail, Bing, Blue mail and essentially all email clients which show a logo.

Could anyone shed some light on this and hopefully advise where I am going wrong? Do I need to add meta-data to my HTML email?

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I think I should clarify an erroneous misconception you may have about Gravatar. Gravatar isn't for displaying an avatar next to your email address, rather it is for associating an avatar with your email address. This is an important distinction as where Gravatar avatars are displayed depends on the webmaster of those sites adding Gravatar to their site for display purposes.

If a webmaster wants to display a Gravatar avatar for a user on their website it is done by displaying an image on the site with the Gravatar server as the source URL and providing a hashed version of the email address in question along with other values such as size of the image, default image if no Gravatar profile can be found etc. If the email address used matches on in the Gravatar database then the avatar from that profile is displayed, if one isn't found a default one such as an icon or geometric pattern is displayed instead. However it is important to note here that Gravatar avatars are not automatically displayed on every email client and on every site, instead they are only displayed on email clients and sites where the webmaster or developer has chosen to add the necessary code to show the Gravatar avatar in an image.

I use Gravatar extensively on all sites I work on as a pleasant add-in for end users, and I myself have a Gravatar account for sites I use where Gravatar is supported (such as Github) however my Gravatar avatar does not show on any email clients except for ones where Gravatar it already supported.

  • Thanks Chris. I also use it on my website for customer reviews etc but was under the impression (all be it wrongly) that it could be used for inbox avatars. Have you any ideas where to look to find info in setting up an email avatar that isnt restricted to gmail. There's plenty of info on gmail but next to nothing on all other clients. Surely it shouldn't be this hard lol – Paulmcf1987 Mar 15 at 10:00
  • Unfortunately all email clients use their own processes for displaying avatars. I believe Google uses Google+ avatars and avatars uploaded directly into gmail by other gmail users. Some other email clients use the initials of the senders name as the avatar until you upload their avatar manually into your own email client. As time goes on I believe we may start seeing more email clients using Gravatar as it becomes the more common avatar server but again this depends on individual development companies. – Chris Rutherfurd Mar 15 at 10:03
  • How will that work going forward with google+ being removed? Also large firms seem to have an avatar for all inbox types, including clients such as thunderbird. Bluemail etc. Im not aware you can register an about directly with these clients to set up your avatar. They must pull the avatars from somewhere. Its surprising how little documentation there is on this subject online – Paulmcf1987 Mar 16 at 12:40
  • Ignore thunderbird. That is a gravatar extension I have added provides that but bluemail on android offers avartars – Paulmcf1987 Mar 16 at 12:49
  • For Gmail the only way to show an avatar is to create a Google account for each email you will be sending from and for each of these accounts set the profile pic. Even with Google+ going away profile pics will still be maintained. This will allow your avatar to be shown in Gmail. As for other webmail clients Gravatar would be your best bet. It's by no means a guarantee in fact the only guarantee I can give you is that there will be mail clients that don't show your avatar either way but this will give you the best coverage possible for now. Will add more as I find more. – Chris Rutherfurd Mar 16 at 13:50

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