Friday, December 28, 2007

Oogle vs. Google

I don't think Google is horrible, but I do chafe over it's increasingly anti-adult stance. No AdSense for adult bloggers or advertisers seems silly for a tech giant which surely could arrange an algorithm to screen & match smutty product with smutty publisher. And now, as part of this 'kinder, gentler' Google, they've even blocked lingerie ads as being too racy. :sigh:

You sighing too? I thought so. Then y'all might enjoy this bit: Before Larry and Sergey named Google after a typo, Larry Page called his Stanford project BackRub.

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The Modern Social Networking Version Of "It's All About Me"



Behold David Armano's brilliance:

When we think about social networks—we tend to focus on the connecting nodes. The links that bind us and what makes a network, a network. But the less frequently told story is the one where we spend countless hours building and maintaining our own little "social solar systems". In these "social systems" we have multiple planetary ecosystems revolving around us.

We are the center of our own micro-universe.

The trick is to get others to agree that your micro-universe is cool enough to visit & connect with, which is pretty hard to do when everyone is the center of their own, however micro, universe.

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Help, I'm Following, But I Can't Comment!

In Why Are They Bloggering Everything Up?, Nicholas discusses the problems with comment posting.

Blogging platforms obviously want us to join their platform, even if only to post comments, because that means we are officially part of their community. LiveJournal, WordPress, Blogger, and of course the McNasty MySpace which won't even allow modification for sidebar links in their free blog (with tons of ads you help them sell), all want to count you as one of their minions millions of users. The registered user is a number, a number which they can leverage into monetary gain, and while that's just business, it's short-sighted. But that short-sightedness is sadly the current business & political view, where long-term and the future are things we need not worry about. :snort:

I fear a long rant a-comin'. I'll side step that for today (not so much for your sake, but due to time limits ~ but you're welcome to thank me anyway *wink*).

Anyway, back to Nicholas' post.

In it he mainly points out the flaws in this member-only-posting-privilege which grants the ease of including a URL/link, especially as it was recently orchestrated by Blogger. That little blurp was fixed, and now the 'other' which replaces 'anonymous' does allow for a URL. However, should you run into this problem with LiveJournal etc., there is one easy way around it all.

No, you need not join each community (unless it is McNasty MySpace or other places where you're forced to be a user to comment at all); all you need to do is include your URL in your comment itself.

When posting a comment at a blog which does not provide a place for your URL, paste it in as part of your comments. Many blogging platforms will convert it to html, thus making it a link, but if not, just make your own link. Or, if you think that's too darn pushy (and it may be if your link isn't relevant to the actual post/conversation), paste the URL at the end of your post, like a good-old-fashioned signature line.

Of course, all of this is assuming that you have something to add to the conversation in the first place. So don't 'make an ass of u and me' by spamming and then saying The Marketing Whore said to do so.

As for communities such as McNasty MySpace which force you to be member, you'll have to decide if the conversations there are worth your time in the first place. It's not just the extra login, the emails & messages, but the quality of the conversations, the potential of actually reaching your target market &/or consumers. Time is a resource, invest wisely.

However, as always, if there is a conversation you read but cannot participate in by leaving a comment, you can make your own blog post linking to that original conversation.

Most good (and powerful) bloggers not only check their own stats and so will see referrals , but they will search for news on their topics (and themselves too). This is so they can follow the continuing conversations, like yours.

The matter of referrals is made more difficult at McNasty sites like MySpace as they don't make it easy for the average user to get stats with refers; but let's just hope they know other tricks to find who is linking to them.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Changing Signs Of The Times Charm & Disarm



I didn't just post this because we had such a giggle spotting it on the road that we turned the car around to snap the pic, but rather to illustrate that there is something very charming and in fact disarming when we see the people in business.

I've noticed this in my business too. When sites are too corporate, too serious ~laced-up & polished to the point that personality and humanity are absent ~ the interest wanes. I do believe that in the age of the Internet, with its user driven content and blogging, that credibility suffers too.

The formality that once translated to 'good business sense' and trust has shifted to a transparency that not only lets consumers see inside, but like Michael Keaton in Gung Ho, lets consumers know it's fun too. We want to have some sense that the culture is less rigid and more able to deal with and reflect our own cultural 'Casual Friday' changes.

A sign like this reminds us that there are folks employed there, just doing their job, and maybe even having some fun while they do it too. And that means more to folks driving down the street than some ad in the Yellow Pages, or even a slick skyscraper ad at the big boy websites. And what do they see or sense when they do arrive there?

What sort of things can you do to charm and disarm, to let folks know that there are real people working to create/sell/deliver your product &/or services?

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Year End Advertising Info

The International Herald Tribune announces Ad money begins to trickle in for bloggers:
It is no longer unusual for blogs with just a couple thousand daily readers to earn nearly as many dollars a month. Helping fill the pockets of such bloggers are programs like Google's AdSense and many others that let individuals - not just major publications - tap into the rapidly growing pot of advertising dollars with a click of the mouse.
Here we all frown that we adult folks are blocked from using AdSense. But I didn't just post this to bitch... Here's some useful info:
In 2006, advertisers spent $16.9 billion online, up steadily each year from $6 billion in 2002, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. In the first half of 2007, online advertising reached nearly $10 billion, a nearly 27 percent increase over the first half of 2006.
And more:
According to a 2006 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 39 percent of Internet users, or about 57 million American adults, said they read blogs, up from 27 percent in 2004, or 32 million.

That does not mean bloggers are suddenly flush with money. For every blogger earning a decent side income like Brooks, countless others will never earn a cent.

But with the right mix of compelling content and exposure, a blog can draw a dedicated following, increasing advertising prospects.

"This is really a continuation of how the Web in general has enabled smaller businesses and individuals to compete if not at a level playing field, at least a more equitable level," said David Hallerman, a senior analyst with the research group eMarketer.
Here's some info on BlogAds (which I use ~ both to generate ad income and for placing ads ~ and openly state is a great platform):
About a third of BlogAds's 1,500 sites earn between $200 and $2,000 a month, Copeland said. Those sites get anywhere from 3,000 to 50,000 daily impressions.
Overall, the wrap-up is:
Malone Scott at Google said access to advertising online was more democratic, since an ad click from a tiny site is just as valuable as a click from a site with a million readers.

Some advertisers have even found better response from smaller sites with more passionate, engaged audiences.
And here's another reminder about the power of niches:
Getting paid might even help validate what may otherwise seem like a silly or obscure obsession.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Someone Has To Say It...

Working At Home Mom posted 13 Ideas For Creating Finding Your Niche; it wouldn't be a bad list if she knew what a niche was, or at least knew a niche from a USP. This is clearly a list of USPs.

I'm sorry to sound rude about it, but I hate it when people spout about yet don't know what they are talking about ~ worse yet when they are 'educating' others. :snort:

But perhaps Working At Home Mom has unwittingly provided the real answer to the question, "Why do so many home businesses fail?"

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Today's Spam: Divert 1000's Of New Visitors

How would You like to divert 1000s of fresh new visitors daily?

Diverting visitors? Forget for a moment that as a piece of spam, I'm skeptical, at best, that you can deliver on anything... Forget that 'diverting visitors' sounds like dirty pool, like I'm a rancher stealing water from another rancher... Forget for a moment that some of the visitors I divert may scream bloody murder at being diverted to an adult site... But I won't forget that thousands, even millions, of "fresh new visitors daily" is meaningless if it's not targeted traffic.

Why would I want to divert a bunch of visitors who don't want to find me, my site, my product or service?

Playing a numbers game is one way to go about your business ~ I know of many 'successful' people (I've never seen their bank books) who claim they've used that model, and I've seen plenty of folks who clearly use that model ~ but for me it's not just lame, it's bad business.

Playing the numbers game is like the old saying, "Throw it at the wall and see what sticks," only this time the 'it' you are throwing isn't a business idea or product, but potential customers. I don't think I'll find prosperity throwing potential customers against a wall. Do you? You must if you think a numbers game is good business.

Those are people you're tossing about as if they don't matter. Diverting visitors, blasting folks with pop-ups & spam, this is annoying people and treating them as if they & their time just doesn't matter. Is that your message ~ that you just don't care about people, as long as they stick to your wall?

If you're not invested enough to cultivate the relationships, or the business itself, then don't go into business; just stay home and toss underwear against the wall.

I'm sure you'll find some that stick (and I wouldn't be surprised if it were at the same percentage too). But without any target, all you've got is some panties stuck against the walls.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

The Girl In The Know To Know Is Chloe Jo

My pal Chloe Jo is in this month's issue of Glamour Magazine (January, 2008, with Carrie Underwood on the cover). She says she's on page 27, "behiving it up Amy Winehouse style!"

I don't mention this because I adore Chloe Jo (which I do!), or to get a little of her cool-factor for myself by mentioning I know her (but, hey, it wouldn't hurt!); I mention this because Chloe Jo is an excellent resource to know.

She has a weekly newsletter, Girlie Girl Army, which is full of all sorts of glamorous goodies (and non-glam stuff, such as animal welfare) and I honestly open it up & read it every week. Check out a copy here and see what I mean.

GirlieGirl Army As I mentioned before, Chloe Jo & her Girlie Girl Army cover adult products, sites and stories, so it only makes sense that you need to know Chloe ~ and get her to know you. *wink*

Find out more about Chloe Jo & her newsletters by reading one of my interviews with her and then sign up for her newsletters here.

When you are ready to spread the word about your product or service to her Girlie Girl Army, contact Chloe Jo at her website, Chloejo.com.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Stumbling About WIth Social Bookmarking Tools For Bloggers

Silent Porn Star (NWS) sent an email saying she had been getting a lot of recent traffic from StumbleUpon so she decided to add the group's bookmarking widget to her post.

However, StumbleUpon's info wasn't up to date for the new blogger format. She did some searching and found this post at Internet Mastery Center which was clear enough for her to follow, so she added not only StumbleUpon but several other social bookmarking tools & icons too.

Since this blog is not hosted by Blogger, I tried to modify the code to work here but it took lots of monkeying (plus you have to host each site's icon which can be a pain too). So I did some searching and found the free TheBookmarketer tool.

Not only free, but easy to install ~ at least for me. All I did was go into the template's html and post it after <$BlogItemBodyNot only free, but easy to install ~ at least for me. All I did was go into the template's html and post it after <$BlogItemBody$>.

I'm guessing that in new blogger, you would need to check "Expand Widget Templates" box in the html and post it after this paragraph of code:

I have no experience with WordPress admin areas & plugins (the latter being why I've never set up a WP blog), but I'm hoping that the previously mentioned info at Internet Mastery Center would be useful.

Related:

Problogger's post, Building Your Blog With StumbleUpon.

Social Networking Articles post, List of Social Bookmarking Buttons & Widgets for Your Web Sites & Blogs.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Misogyny King

Have you seen the latest Burger King commercial?



Note the two 'real people' at the end... I paraphrase, "If they don't have the Whopper, Burger King might as well be Burger Queen."

Yeah, nice misogynistic ad, BK.

'Cuz the worst way to denigrate someone is to call them a woman.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It

Over at Waking Vixen, Audacia posted Seeing straight ahead: the porn industry’s sexuality blinders, a discussion of the reluctance in the porn industry to make real bisexual flicks. Reading it, and all the comments, especially those of Tony Comstock, I am again reminded of the fine lines between types of missions.

While activism certainly employs marketing (or at least good, effective activism does), and business certainly has a mission, mixing activism and business can be tricky.

Sure the business papers like to play up Anita Roddick and Ben & Jerry's as models of business models with activism mentalities, but the truth is both companies are more models for ethics than activism. Both made tough value-centered choices, and both spoke out for other companies to do the same, but neither went up in arms or published tirades against the people and organizations which they needed to use to peddle their wares.

Activism isn't (typically) about being quiet; it's about making some noise. And while that can be good for your business, when you attack (or are seen as attacking) de rigeur, 'the man' with the hand that feeds you, you can burn some bridges which then cut-off your main avenue to move product.

AVN's publications are considered (by many) to be porn industry bibles; the organization itself rather like a god. They are The Powers That Be. And The Powers That Be are, despite the 'great equalizer, the Internet, control your service or product by refusing to cover (or panning) your product or service (or refusing to finance/invest in it).

Sometimes, these powers mull over your ideas & claim them as their own, using their power and clout to broadcast, sell and profit from them. In the case of true activism, this is change and it is good; in the case of business, this cuts you out of the profits & may be the end of your business.

I know because I've been in situations like these.

This doesn't mean your business can't or shouldn't be trying to activate change; quite often there is good money there. But you'll either need very deep pockets to ride out the cold shoulder of the establishment, of you'll need to speak softly and hope your fans are the ones to carry the big stick (and yell loudly).

Your marketing, done right, can do that. And if you don't believe me, look at non-profits.

However, today's environment is more hostile towards sex activists. We in adult businesses know that even though our market share or customer base isn't shrinking (shifting about, certainly; but not shrinking), our avenues of distribution and sales are. It's simply a reflection of the non-profits and organizations which (marketing fear) have placed their mission squarely on the shoulders of their fans (followers) who have happily grabbed clubs and are willing to speak loudly.

Here again are lessons for us.

You remember how Momma used to say, "You have to pick you battles"? Well, sometimes you have to pick a side or a method of battle: Business or Activism. And if you choose business, then be prepared to either play ball with The Powers That Be, accept the consequences when you don't, or be careful in the construction & actions of your mission.

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All Things Equal? I Wonder...

The Internet has been touted as being the great equalizer; allowing the average man and small businesses to more readily (cheaply) access others. It was said that these smaller voices could carry as much weight as the big guys because the Internet (being 'virtually free') had leveled the playing ground.

But in the past few years, we've seen many sites gobbled up buy by the large corporations which would be their true competition in the first place, and buy by big media outlets which are already in bed with the corporate competition.

I ask you, how level is it now?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Like I've Been Saying...

In The Art and Science of Social Media and Community Relations Brian Solis says:
"It feels like I just went into a single's bar and shouted, 'will somebody be my friend!'"

..."Who is listening and are we talking in an echo chamber? The answer has been a little mixed. Yes, I have met new people, and am having new conversations. Is it as much as I was expecting or hoping for? No. But the lesson I am taking away from this is that if you do want to build new contacts that can help you, and that you can help, it takes time. Social networks are not a magic formula...Like in the outside world, it takes time to get to know people and develop relationships that can lead to meaningful action.
Sounds much like what I've been saying, right? Maybe They need to get me on one of these panels...

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Get In Bed With Fashion Bloggers

Found at Independent Fashion Bloggers was this fascinating post ( Injustice! (Again!)) on the major blogging awards neglecting the fashion blog community:
This time it is the Weblog Awards who have disrespected us.

This is ridiculous. As this year alone dozens of articles, in such publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, have been written about the growing power and influence of the fashion blogosphere. The point of most of these articles is that the fashion blogs are having the significant impact on the wider culture. And they all note how fashion blogs have changed the relationship between the clothing designers, the clothing retailers and manufacturers, and the consuming public. Where before there were one-sided announcements, now there is conversation.

The Manolo would also point to one other indication of the importance and impact of the fashion blogs: money.
Well, fashionista honeys, if money really talked, if it had the power to leverage itself into legitimacy, sex blogs would be recognized. Hell, for that matter, the entire adult industry would be. But it's not. Fashion is typically more legit than sex, appearing in more directories and awards categories.

I'm not saying that the fashion crowd doesn't have a valid complaint, nor that their gripe falls on The Marketing Whore's deaf ears ~ I do feel your pain. Hence I point this out to all & applaud their call to action:
And so the Manolo now calls upon the Weblog Awards to acknowledge what the rest of the world already knows, that the fashion blogs are important and worthy of recognition.

If you, the reader of this post, would like to help, go to their site and leave the polite comment asking that they reconsider their decision, or email them the polite but firm note expressing your objections.
(Tho, I should note that the link they provide isn't currently the best means of taking action ~ it may have been at the time of the post; but it no longer is. Now you should take your stance to the Weblog Award Forum.)

That fashion blogs/bloggers have trouble being invited to sit at the cool kids table (i.e. recognized by the mainstream award crowd) is a bit surprising. And not a little disgusting as the 2007 Weblog Awards folks not only have an entire category for the gossip mongering (isn't "Best Celebrity Blog" an oxymoron?), but consider "Best Celebrity Blogger" a part of the "General Categories" as if this bad habit is somehow nice due to rampant (inappropriate) popularity.

But aside from loving the company of another group's misery, I point this out to those of you who belong in the non-existent 'adult' or 'sex' blogging category because. as you likely guessed, we aren't invited to the awards party either. At least not officially.

There's a "Best LGBT Blog", which while not necessarily 'about sex' is about 'sexual orientation' (and therefore the fabulous Susie Bright's Journal was not only accepted, but made it as a finalist). So you'd think with such recognition we'd be seen as worthy of a category of our own. But no.

Like the Independent Fashion Bloggers, I urge all you adult entertainment, human sexuality, and just plain smutty folks with blogs to take action. Visit the Weblog Award Forum, register and make some noise. I've even started a thread.

(And while you're there, note the other category suggestions, such as Best Feminist Blog, and if/when you find the Best Fashion Blog thread, help them too.)

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Blog Traffic Tips

Buck Naked Politics offers 13 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic. Despite the name, this isn't an 'adult site' so feel free to visit at work (or when the kiddies are about). But also note that you may not be able to use all the ideas, specifically Thursday Thirteen which is rather a homey PG-13 meme. However, you'll see how using similar adult memes & groups benefit blogs & bloggers.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Ron Jeremy & His Special Tool



I love that Jeremy & Channel Four get it & have a sense of humor.

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On The Phone Sex Thing

In The Land of MILF and mOnEy PSO Angela St. Lawrence discusses how to become a great PSO ~ and dishes on the finer points of customer service.

A must read for anyone considering being a phone sex operator or entering any area of adult performance. It wouldn't hurt anyone, at any level, in the sex biz either.

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Sexy Performing Arts, Anyone?

The Nonprofit Finance Fund has announced a grant of more than $15 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to launch a national initiative called Leading for the Future: Innovative Support for Artistic Excellence.

The initiative will support up to ten leading dance, jazz, theater, and presenting organizations with grants of $800,000 to $1.8 million, plus technical and advisory assistance, in support of new programmatic, financial, and operational approaches designed to enhance their effectiveness, adapt to complex trends affecting the performing arts, and demonstrate what works to the broader performing arts field.

The largest performing arts grant in DDCF history is part of the foundation's new strategy in arts programming. While the foundation will maintain its commitment to contemporary dance, jazz, and presenting, as well as its national scope and strategy of awarding large, multiyear grants, it hopes to increase the flexibility of how its funds are used and will focus on bold new strategies and a holistic approach to how arts organizations operate.

"We hope that the approach of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will inspire others in the field," said NFF president Clara Miller. "Since the focus here is on innovation and experimentation at the 'enterprise level' of the arts, we hope we'll learn — and demonstrate — something valuable to all. DDCF's flexible use of funds, its approach of partnering with organizations pursuing new financial and operating approaches, and its focus on the role of transformational capital makes this initiative a truly important breakthrough."

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