Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Marketing Whore Q & A

I invited Marketing Whore newsletter subscribers to ask me questions (with caveats, guidelines and restrictions, of course), and this is some of what I received that was worthy of response...

You've seemed anti-Digg, so what gives with all the Digg talk? Why follow it if you don't like it?

I'm not anti-Digg; it's just not a huge part of my life ~ professionally or personally. However, it has to be recognized as a 'player' and even a 'shaper' of the game, especially when there are lessons to be learned as a site like Digg grapples with what it is, what it will be... To that end, David Binkowski's got a Digg update.

Why do you use/recommend Blogger and not WordPress etc.?


Honestly, now it's familiarity; I've been using it so long, why switch? And while I have used a few other blogging platforms, there are X reasons why I likely won't switch.

The number one reason is images. Images are a huge part of adult blogging, and, because images make any blog more interesting, I even try to find images for this blog from time to time. I've used Wordpress and what a nightmare images are! You have to size images for conformity; if you want a decent sized image in your post yet have it 'clickable' to a larger image, you have to upload more than one image and monkey greatly with code ~ oh, and don't get me started on how unfortunate Wordpress is with even paragraph formating! :Blech: Anyway, my point is that Blogger makes decent sized images for posts and automatically gives links to the larger images.

Plus, and let's not underestimate the value of this, Blogger doesn't require additional plugins for things like video.

There are also additional small things which could be all in my head... But if Google owns it, won't it be spidered well? And that Blogger bar at the top is used for surfing, random blogs etc, so it offers at least the potential for more visitors.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Things I Was Reminded Of, Or Learned, When Setting Up A New Blog At Blogger/Blogspot

Setting up the High-Five Fridays blog at Blogger/Blogspot (remember to participate on Friday, will ya?), I thought I should share a few thoughts...

* Feed Settings We had a previous discussion on the problem with splogs and scrapers and I was going to try a trick at this blog, but honestly, I'm of the opinion that just using the appropriate setting removes much of this problem.

In Blogger 'settings', under 'site feed' I use the 'Short' setting. 'Short' only syndicates the first paragraph, or approximately 255 characters, whichever is shorter; and therefore only gives away part of your content. While in theory any 'good' scrapper may follow the feed and cut & paste your whole article, it will remove a pretty hefty percentage of such use as most scrapers are too lazy to that. (If they weren't lazy, they wouldn't be scrapers.)

* Blogger now asks you if your blog has adult content. This is new and I admire blogger for doing it rather than forbidding such content. So be the ethical, responsible, adult bloggers I know you are, and go into your Blogger blog settings and admit the truth.

* While setting up the new blog, I naturally wanted to 'claim' the blog at Technorati. There I discovered a new way to 'claim' ~ via OpenId. It has some bumps ~ for example, you'll want to proceed from Technorati to your blog via a new browser tab or window as it won't return you to Technorati. (And you want to be logged into your blog first, for the best results.) But the option is nice and prompted me to look for more regarding OpenId and Blogger.

While some are not heralding that Blogger now works with OpenId, it really is only in the capacity of making it easier for non-Blogger folks to post comments on Blogger blogs. That, and the magical marriage with Technorati for claims. I say 'magical' because despite being able to awkwardly perform my claim, I was unable to find in any other way shape or form mention of OpenId from the Blogger dashboard & it's settings. And believe me, I looked.

Ionut Alex Chitu offers tips for how to use a Blogger blog as an OpenID identity and says/shows that you need to check "Enable OpenID for blogs" in your Blogger profile:



It's a good thing Chitu (parenthetically) adds:
(the feature is still experimental, so it's not added in the public release yet)
Otherwise I would have gone mad trying to find such a thing. It doesn't exist, no matter how crisp, clean and pretty the instructions were.

If you use any of the following services listed here (and you'll see that Blogger is not), you already have your own OpenID. Otherwise, along with that list of services you'll find a list of places/ways to get an OpenId.

Related:

In discussing StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking widgets I opted to use a third party service rather than monkey with more code ~ not just because the images & links were piddling-about, but because I couldn't get the proper code to work properly with this blog (being hosted off Blogger means there is a code difference).

My price for laziness is that I'm routing users/readers to an additional site/stop and possibly loosing them along the way. Is it a large price to pay? I'm not certain; most users of Stumbleupon etc. use the toolbars and widgets offered by their favorite social bookmarking site anyway. But as it can result in annoying or losing a reader, I don't recommend being lazy ~ unless, like I, you just can't make it work on your own. So I do recommend piddling-about.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

High-Five Fridays #2


#1 High-Fives for The Sexies for The Sex-Positive Journalism Awards, which recognizes writers "who stick to high journalistic standards in a climate of repression and misinformation around human sexuality." Found via Libido Films' blog (NWS), which is run by one of the judges, and friend, Jack Hafferkamp.

And in an Oh The Irony way, #2 Jezebel nabs "Edgy" New New York Press Sex Columnist Stole Incest Question From Dan Savage. Don't worry, the columnist's resignation was accepted, leaving an opportunity for a sex columnist.

#3 You must adore Michele Capots' Buzz Bin post, New Fashionable Condom: Must-Have for Fashion Week. I do.

#4 A general high-five goes to Brian Solis. Quite possibly the only regular blogger I read who honestly has longer posts than I (and who doesn't like a guy with stamina?), Solis ponders & pontificates, mulls & masticates interesting ideas. Even if he's wrong sometimes. *wink*

#5 Seth Godin's Layering is a really simple and concise post on a big idea. (Maybe Solis and I should consider such tactics? *wink*)

Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).



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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Real Power Of Word Of Mouth

A firm’s most valuable customers are not those who buy the most; customers who refer new business are worth as much as the big spenders, or more. We've all been told that, but a new study, "How Valuable Is Word of Mouth?" (by Dr. Robert P. Leone of the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University and Dr. V. Kumar and J. Andrew Petersen, of the University of Connecticut) reveals the truth of it.

"Most companies with statistical models for customer valuation focus only on customer spending and don't factor in a customer's word-of-mouth value," says Dr. Leone. "We demonstrated that when companies try to ascertain how valuable individual customers are, it's not just about how much the customer spends but whether that individual can bring in new business."

Knowing which customers can potentially add the most to the bottom line is vital to the firm, he says. Broad-based marketing is expensive and inefficient. But detailed customer data can guide the content and timing of marketing pieces to segments of the customer base and achieve the greatest return on investment.

"But if a company creates a priority list of customers based solely on how much those customers spend, they risk focusing on the wrong individuals," says Dr. Leone. This is because high-volume spenders and good referrers are not generally the same people. And the value of the best referrers can far exceed that of the good spenders.

A year-long marketing campaign was directed at the affluents, advocates, and misers, offering incentives tailored to each of those three groups (but not to the champions). The goal was to encourage affluents to increase their referrals and thus become champions, advocates to increase spending to likewise become champions, and misers to become affluents, advocates, or champions by increasing spending or referrals or both.

The results were dramatic. Hundreds of affluents and advocates became champions, and throngs of misers upgraded into affluents, advocates, or champions.

The real return on investment, however, is even higher because the researchers did not include indirect referrals, which occur when referred new customers make referrals of their own.

If similar targeted marketing campaigns were to be directed at the telecommunication firm's 40 million other customers and the financial firm's 15 million customers, the profit potential could be staggering.

And, says Dr. Leone, future returns on marketing investments may be able to be improved even more.

"A new study we are conducting involves profiling customers who make a lot of referrals. We're looking for distinguishing characteristics such as demographics, profession, geographic area, and large social networks. Then we'll select other customers with similar profiles for targeted marketing with referral incentives," he says.

Dr. Leone concludes that companies with marketing efforts designed toward eliciting referrals should see much greater returns from their advertising expenditures than do companies relying on mass marketing.

"Mass marketing is very costly and inefficient, with low rates of response. But referrals from existing customers are personalized, so the odds of response are much greater," he explains. "The more targeted a company's marketing is, the more efficiently they can spend their marketing dollars."

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Uh-oh, The Villagers Have Pitchforks & They Want Digg's Secret Editor List

OK, so maybe that title's a bit 'too much' in terms of link bait ~ becoming more like flame bait. But it seems to match the mood of Internet villagers upon hearing that Digg employs invisible editors.

I concede that nameless, icon-less, user-name-free persons (who are empowered to do more than dump the spam and protect kiddies from porn, but who can also edit submitted links/stories) could should be less invisible; folks should not only that someone has the access to edit, but know who it is, even if it's Monster814, so that users can take the issue up with them in the event they feel some censorship was at work. That would be 'transparency' vs. 'invisibility'. But is anyone honestly surprised by this?

Anyone who has ever moderated a forum, or their own blog comments, knows there must be some human involvement here. And if folks don't know by now that humans are biased creatures, with their own points of view, if not out-right agendas, well, that person doesn't understand how communities work, and, fundamentally, how Digg works. I'm not just talking about Internet communities, but real communities of actual lifeforms.

However, it seems to me the real danger or upset here is not that Digg uses editors, nor even that users cannot see/communicate with them, but that Digg doesn't seem to even understand it's own purported purpose.

If Digg is to be a democracy, where The Public of users, or members of the Digg nation if you will, determine the success and failure of Digg's gross national product, why don't the citizens have any control in the elections or evaluations of the public officers who over-see such things? Shouldn't the citizens have the right to know, address, challenge, or at least report on those who are in charge of citizen security (protecting them from public enemies #1 & #2, porn and spam, respectively), and who, due to access, shape public policies (editing for outcomes to suit own beliefs)? Where's the public accountability in the democracy that is Digg?

Some of you will likely counter with facts declaring that Digg is not a nation, but a business; &/or pick at some flaw in my (very brief & greatly simplified) civics comparison. But spare us all; the former because Digg compares itself to a great democracy, the latter because I've not been hired as your Civics 101 instructor.

What matters here is that in Digg's growth the mission has been somewhat lost, and as such it stands on shaky gound. It's not that it cannot adjust; it certainly could...

But while they are busy defending their need for invisible editors, the public sees shadowy figures in the dark. That's a PR problem. Domestic and foreign. When your GNP is based on user created content, you'd better be taking the matter of public perception to heart; those villagers with pitchfolks matter.

Meanwhile, as Digg founders are busy rationalizing, others are ready to exploit. If secret editors were intended to keep the country safe, the borders are now in danger.


I found this story at Scott's blog, along with the above image, and that's what I'll leave you with today.

You may now sort our your feelings, & write a response.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

High-Five Fridays: The Virgin Issue


Today's Five High-Fives go to...

#1 Scott Baradell of Idea Grove, for starting Spin Thicket ~ and keeping it alive. I don't get there as often as I like; but I'm glad it's there when I am looking for (and forward to) it.

#2 To Sara Winters for keeping the adult marketer's street cred alive at Spin Thicket. *wink*

#3 Courtney Tuttle's post on the realities of link exchanges.

#4 Blogger Jobs for posting both jobs and blogger's resume blurbs ~ including for those who don't only write mainstream topics.

#5 Barney Davey's post commenting on the David Byrne interview in Wired ~ Barney's post is about art, but I think many of us, including book peddlers, can learn a trick or two.

***

Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).



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High-Five Friday: The Introduction

I typically try to set aside at least one day a week in which I try to get around to everyone I know's blog or website. I don't always leave comments because
some of the best posts are those which get me thinking and that often requires a bit of time (and may end up being a post of it's own

I find myself unable to post a comment easily

I find myself thinking "cool" but don't want to just post that and possibly look like a spammer

I bookmark/save the page/post, intending to come back but then, as time passes, I feel my comments are too little too late
At Sex-Kitten I occasionally do a review called "Gracie's Been Sleeping In Your Blog" (NWS) to point these gems out to others, but with all the sites I read and all the hats I wear, sites do not always fit at SK.

So here I am, pondering this problem today, wondering what I can do to sort of give everyone I read & admire a high-five which benefits them and doesn't take a whole lot of extra (distracting) work on my part... And then it hits me: Make a regular feature which links to these great sites and/or posts, carrying my admiration along with some Google juice.

This feature will be called High-Five Fridays and it's rather open theme means I can replicate the feature at any blog, but each with relevant high-fives.

Since it's easy to replicate, it lends itself to being a meme. And memes can be fun ~ I'd sure like to know who or what you've been reading this week which you think deserves a high-five. So if you care to join me, get on over to the new, official home of High-Five Fridays.

Note: I know I'm starting this late in the day, but anyone who plays today will get a free link at High-Five Fridays as a thank you for being an early (but late-hour) adopter. *wink*

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

PageRank & User Data

SEO by the Sea writes that Yahoo Replaces PageRank Assumptions with User Data. I find the post interesting, mainly because I, like most of those who commented, was under the assumption that Google was already doing something like this already.

If Yahoo gets the patent (they've only just applied for it), this would mean that it is somehow different from what Google is using (or, very unlikely, that Google 'forgot' to patent it themselves). But in any case, the conversation at SEO by the Sea is quite interesting; if only to further prove that quantifying human behavior and constructing an equation to take in all the factors discussed is more math than I want to do.

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Of Splogs and Scrapers

The definitions of 'splog' and 'scraper' are not really important here ~ we all know them when we see them. Here ShoeMoney writes of scrapers:
How annoying is it when you make a post and 5 other posts rank above yours in the search engines all that have your content wrapped around huge Adsense units. When you goto the site not only is it copied word for word but there is zero attribution to the source.
And can't we all relate to that one?

I quite often find these blogs have little Technorati Authority due to few links in, but these blogs do work some SEO trickery and get themselves high in search placement.

As a writer, I'm quite aware of copyright and normally take the blogger to task (and if I can't find contact info, I go straight to the blog/site host). But policing your content takes time and at the end of a Monday I am already wishing for the extra eighth day of the week. So, as ShoeMoney asks, what can you do?

Well, ShoeMoney answers his own question ~ and more:
I came up with this idea a while back to put a link back to my site in my blog feed. This works because if search engines think a blog is worthy enough to outrank yours then it should pass you juice as the authority of the article. If the site doesnt rank (lets face it 100% of the traffic to these scrapers is search engine generated) then its a wash because the search engine has already identified and the site never had any link juice (page rank) to pass in the first place.

I talked to Joost De Valk about the idea and he has made a plugin for it.

The 'and more' comes in as ShoeMoney asks for thoughts on this solution in terms of affecting your site's rank in bad way and gets a response:

UPDATE:

Matt Cutts - Googles lead spam engineer has responded in the comments:

Comment by Matt Cutts
2008-01-10 14:41:09

Don’t cloak the link or make the anchortext spammy, but otherwise: sure. See the interview I did with Stephan here: http://www.stephanspencer.com/search-engines/matt-cutts-interview where I said that syndicating articles with a link to the original article was smart:

As a writer, I'm not saying this should replace the policing & protecting of your copyrighted works; but it is a little bit of insurance.

The plugin or tool Joost De Valk created works for WordPress, so those using other blogging software will need to play if they want to go this route. And, as also discussed having the info in the feed footer may make it easy for the cut & pasting scraper to ignore it.

I'm no techie, but I have an idea and I'm going to see if I can play with the code here to see if it works. (Keep your fingers crossed ~ I'll be needing all of mine. *wink*)

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SEO Case Study

You know I'm Believer in content rather than SEO, but I do like to consider &/or avoid potential problems as I can and to that extent I offer like-minded folks Understanding Search Engine Penalties for such consideration. In it David Peralty gives tips via looking at a particular site (for you visual types).

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scratch My Back?

ScratchBack is an online "tipping" system, which can be seen (as well as used Heh Heh!) in my sidebar, and it promises a more fun, conversational way to accept donations than Amazon or PayPal standard donation systems as it allows those who tip to get a link to their own site as they pass on public praise.

It's a neat idea not just for the link, should you have a blog (if you don't, I guess you could just put a link into the very site you're donating to?); but it also allows public praise with a donation. Very few people make a donation and then post a comment saying, "I just made a donation because I love you!" so this is a neat idea. Plus, it allows such praise to act as testimonials and be very visible on the site.

And yes, you have the right to reject/refuse comments which are not so nice (see the FAQ).

The program links do not increase page rank, Technorati authority, or otherwise upset or offend Google with paid linkage as all links use the "nofollow" command:
Do My Links Pass Page Rank?

They do not. Every single link, including the link back to Scratchback, in the TopSpot widget has a "nofollow" hard encoded in them. The code is delivered in Javascript format as well. That means that Google and other search engine spiders "won't follow" the link. It doesn't mean your link isn't clickable, it is.

You cannot remove that code, nor should you attempt to as per the user agreement every publisher and advertiser agree to upon registration. Google has made it perfectly clear that "selling page rank" is not something they believe in. We don't believe in it either. This system is built for fun. There are plenty of other solutions out there you can use if you want to "pass Google juice", just not this one. Did you hear that Google? :)
I'm not certain ScratchBack is very adult friendly, and their directory offerings seem to be quite limited too; but the Marketing Whore is willing to give it a try. (If she can't pass, likely most of you won't either; and should she pass, it may only mean those who step to the line will have a chance.) But the concept is worthy of noting and giving a whirl. (I can be quite the whirly girl!) And I do recommend that those of you who are interested and aren't too explicit in your sites give it a try.

Of course, it could simply turn into a "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" situation in which no one actually makes any money too... Which isn't the worst thing ~ unless some expect that and those who don't end up offending others... Which of course the sort of thing you can run into with placing a simple link on your site... All of this just means that unless you and another actually agree to scratch each other's backs, don't expect it; you'll only get your feelings hurt.

I would imagine this type of tip jar is worthy of replication in the adult community. Naturally I wish these things would be inclusive, but the Internet is so fractured it makes sense it would be replicated and a version sent to the red-light side of the web.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thoughts On The DMOZ

A former editor talks about the DMOZ: "Dmoz began as a good idea but it grew faster and farther than the available volunteers."

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Linux Geeks & Non-Geeks Like Me, Who Prefer Linux

For those of you, like myself, who prefer and use the Linux platform, check out Linux & Lip Gloss for neat tips & tools (and some girly fun too). I'll be adding it to the sidebar, just so I don't lose it.

Speaking of Linux, I know quite a number of you who read here use it... It it because you do everything I do? (I know, I know, sit down already, I'm making a fool of myself.) But seriously, the percentage of persons I know using Linux is much higher than the purported percentage of Internet users... What's up with that?

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thirteen Tips For Better Marketing



Thirteen Tips For Better Marketing


Do:


1 Find one community you enjoy, one where your target market is, and participate in it. Natural enthusiasm and interest go much further than anything else. And if you can't find a community which provides both your audience and interest for you, then why bother anyway? (Or, perhaps consider the need for such a community ~ if there truly is a need, perhaps you and your company should be providing it.)

Community defined as: Social Network (i.e. myspace, tribe, facebook), forum/message board, newslists (i.e. Yahoo groups, Google alt lists), social bookmarking (i.e. stubmleupon, reddit, etc.)

2 Get & read one marketing book or publication a month.

Do not avoid books which seem to be written 'not for you,' If you're a 'company of one' don't dismiss books which seem to be 'too corporate giant' in scheme and projection; you may have to twist what they are saying to suit your budget and other constraints, but hell, that's part of the point in critical reading.

Yes, I mean print. Reading from paper allows you to do the following:
a) unplug from sound-byte mentality and short attention span problems

b) research & study, make notes & resource lists (You aren't only reading to learn and agree; read critically and even you disagree, you'll at least have learned how to better take your stand.)

c) change in physical position and space creates changes in mental space signals 'this is new, pay attention!'
3 Get & read one industry publication per month. (Ditto details of #2.)

What are the trends? What's your competition up to? Any news in legal?

4 Get & read one non-industry publication per month. (Ditto details of #2.)

Example One: If you're an author or a product manufacturer, consider books on retailing so you can understand their point of view; you can really sell them on carrying your book/product when you know their concerns.

Example Two: What issues are other industries facing, and how might that affect you? How are are they addressing the issues?

5 Blog damnit. Blogging is a publishing format which converses (you talk, others may easily reply); don't resist it.

If your blog is separate from your main website (hosted on blogger, wordpress, etc.), make sure that your blog is part of your website's main navigation so folks can find your latest info as quickly and easily as possible.

6 Pay attention to the presidential candidates, and vote when it's time. Don't kid yourself that it doesn't matter; who ever is elected will affect you and your business.

7 When tired, take a nap. Not only does a 90 minute nap help speed up the process of long term memory consolidation, but when sleepy, productivity suffers. Not to mention you're more likely to be a grump ~ and that's poor customer service.

8 Get interviewed &/or get your product reviewed.

9 Check your stats (refer logs, Technorati Authority, PageRank etc.) daily. Not only do you need to see if marketing efforts are effective, but find out what others are saying about you -- and join the conversation.

10 Go one new place, eat one new food, drive a different way home, do one new thing. It not only is fun, but it keeps your mind alert ~ and who knows, maybe you'll stumble upon something or someone useful.

Don't:

11 Don't join a bunch of communities that do not fit, or which you cannot keep up with.

12 Do not waste time by checking stats or email more often than necessary.

13 Do not replicate your website/blog in 100's of places, it dilutes your brand by making 'home' less special.

Have tips of your own, be sure to post them!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I'd Like To Thank The Academy... Sugasm #113

The best of this week’s blogs by the bloggers who blog them. Highlighting the top 3 posts as chosen by Sugasm participants ~ and look who made it! Thanks!


Yes, Virginia, all the links are NWS.


Want in Sugasm #114? Submit a link to your best post of the week using this form. Participants, repost the link list within a week and you’re all set.

This Week’s Picks
A Different Kind Of Authority For Sex Bloggers
“As we sex workers, sex bloggers, and adult business folks swim in our ponds or spin in our micro universes & connect with others, we continue to build authority.”

Of sex and strippers
“At one point she was straddling Girlfriend’s right leg, grinding her thigh against Girlfriend’s clit through her jeans.”

Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge
Her comments were something to the effect of, “No one wanted to see me twirl with tassels ~ on fire or not ~ when some girl was going to sit on stage and insert things into herself.”

Mr. Sugasm Himself
Kofola

Editor’s Choice
Interview with Paul Festa about circumcision

More Sugasm
Join the Sugasm

See also: Fleshbot’s Sex Blog Roundup each Tuesday and Friday.

Erotic Writing and Experiences
Aurel Sex. - The Husband
Cock Whore
Decibels
Dreams are funny things
The Erotic Review
I Love A Rainy Night
The night I was initiated on Frat Row
Opera Glasses
Score
Skin, breath, desire, rhythm
Uninvited
Yesterday’s Sweet Blowjob

Sex Work
Catalina loves Giving Spankings

NSFW Pics & Videos
Mizuki Horii
Andie Valentino (Twistys)
Half-Nekkid Thursday: View from MY Back Row
Mindy Main Sexy and Topless
A Very Shibari New Year From Marky D. Sade

Sex Advice
13 Ways To Use What You Have To Build Intimacy
Celebrate 2008: The Year of the Pussy!
Just Seeing My Girlfriend Turns Me On! Is This Normal?!
Resolve to Improve Your Sex Life in 2008

Thoughts on Sex and Relationships
2007 Wanking Totals
Discovering the Art of Masturbation
Hair-B-Gone
I fucked this guy once …without dirty talk!?!
Taking One For the Team

Sex News, Reviews & Interviews
The Hello Kitty Vibrator - Battery-Powered Evil!!!
Panties Second Only To Auto Industry
Real Doll Rentals
Working Sex: Sex Workers Write About a Changing Industry

BDSM & Fetish
All Tied Up and No Where To Go
Am I A Masochist?
Daddy Play
The Descent Begins
More piss slut practice
Rough Fuck
A Seven Orgasm Day
Two-thirds
Who knew Uncle Sam was kinky?

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Heated Rants & Cool Kids: Social Bookmarking

In this most recent episode of, "Waaa, it's hard to be an adult webmaster or blogger..."

Sara alerted me to Fleshbot's Why Does Digg Hate Porn (which, by the way, finally made me get off my figurative ass and audition for ability to post comments at Fleshbot), and so the saga continues.

Actually, there are two sagas here; one is the dealio with adult sites and the old censorship condom, and the other is the matter of social networking. Heck, there's a few more, but I'll start with these two and, driving my former English profs to rend their clothing and pull their hair, I'll not include them in the opening summary but just get to the others when I do.

Get a beverage and settle in; this is going to be a long post.

It's easy to take it personally when content is not accepted by sites like Digg; our sites/companies are like our babies and we don't like the other kids rejecting them. But let's look at things from their point of view: Somebody is gonna scream bloody hell and they don't want the trouble.
Case Study: Fark once had categories called "Boobies" and "Weeners" which was, as you imagine, links to softcore naked boobs and dicks (respectively, if not respectfully) and adult conversations or links. But advertisers would complain, prompting Fark to make changes.

First they went with the sneaky approach. When they got a new advertiser, they stopped publishing "Boobies" & "Weeners" for a few weeks, then figuring the advertisers had tired of watching their ad on Fark, they resumed the "Boobies" & "Weeners" postings. But eventually, either they tired of such monitoring or continued to get flack at Fark HQ, and they stopped.

Both "Boobies" and "Weeners" have been moved to Foobies.com, leaving Fark more acceptable to advertisers. (Interestingly, "Boobies" always out-number "Weeners" ~ and I'm not talking 2-1 as anatomy suggests. Is this proof that porn pics are still more a man-thing than some media would tell you? I'll get to those myths later; remind me.)

Fark went where the money was. Can you blame other social sites for doing the same?
Now, before you start yelping how other sites ~ sites even 'worse' than yours ~ get to sit at the cool kids' table, let me remind you that these are social sites and, as noted in the Fleshbot comments, you're in if one of the cool kids lets you in. Which all goes back to doing your research to discover who the quarterbacks and prom queens are (the marketing term for these people are 'influencers').

Remember, the Internet isn't much different than the real world; you just can't invite yourself to the cool kids' table, you must be asked.

Now, many folks will tell you that you just need to become a member and submit your link yourself. You join the social network, you post the link, and let others bump it up and help you drive the traffic. That's part of the 'poo' in Web Poo Point Doh.

Members know if you are really a member or if you're a user, a poser, a plant, a shill ~ a fake. To be a member, you have to be a member. You have to have actual, real conversations & make friends. In social networks this means leaving comments, ranking other links, messaging and using all the frills that said network provides to members. Over time, you'll learn what all the cool kids are into, what the lingo is, what the insider jokes and nicknames are, and assimilate in a myriad of ways. But even then, you may not get your link liked.

Why?

Because it's just like the real world, kiddos. You can join the new school, go to all the football games, but that won't make you prom king or queen.

So maybe you are really likable. Maybe you do fit in at this new school. But this is going to cost you a huge investment in time ~ so I hope you really like this place because you're going to have to show up at a lot of parties.

***

Recently (just hours before I made this post) my site, Sex-kitten.Net, had a link listed at Reddit ~ actually, at NSFW Reddit (which means it's Not Safe For Work). Nice, yes; but not just for me. This proves that some social bookmarking sites are open to adult linkage, but you may have to hunt for where they are allowed.

In some sort of twisted fate, the link the Reddit user put in was not the correct link and so it was taking people not to Shame, Shame, Shame; Shame of Fools (NWS) but to The Doctor (NWS). I have no idea how that happened and as tech was sleeping, I did a quick dirty fix by posting a note at the top of The Doctor, telling Reddit folks where to find the correct article. I mention this so you know that being slightly obsessive about your stats and refers can in fact be time well-spent.

Also in this Reddit experience was a reaffirmation that your link traffic may not benefit your site as you might think.

While (at the time of this post) no one has slammed or mocked the piece at Sex Kitten (which believe-you-me does happen), the increase in numbers is a quick thing. As soon as that little link of mine moves down the page, the light will cease to shine on my site.

In fact, that little light doesn't shine as brightly as you may imagine.

Instead of all those new readers scampering like kittens all over Sex Kitten, they came, read and left. As I write this there are no new comments (and don't say it's about registering there, I've seen this across platforms), and very few visit any additional pages on the site. Well, in this case, they may be seeing two pages; the bad link to The Doctor and then move on to the Shame piece as intended. But in general, you are darn lucky if 10% look at any other page of your site or post on your blog.

And the numbers are even less for any links off site.

This I know, 'cuz my refer logs tell me so.

(In this example, I also asked Secondhand Rose, who wrote Shame, to give me the numbers of refers coming to her blog from that piece; less than 2% at the time I wrote this.)

So why do so many people pray for such linkage? How do 'they' say that getting picked up by sites like Fleshbot, Reddit, Digg, Boing Boing etc., is the holy grail?

Well, links at such popular sites are good things. But moving from a one-hit-wonder to a popular site in your own right is rather like potato chips... Just one isn't enough.

Like traditional advertising, getting links at popular sites is a matter of awareness. See one ad for a movie and even if you were intrigued by it, you may forget about it and not go to see it; but see a number of them, and while you may not drop everything to line-up outside the theater, you're more likely to make plans to see it. That's how being featured at other sites is; the more often you are featured, the more links you get, the more people remember you and decide to adopt you somehow... buying your product or buying into your site (brand).

After seeing you a number of times, the big influencers may like you so much that they get your RSS and rush to be the first to post you themselves. (Cross your fingers!)

And if your content has broad enough appeal, enough of factor X for site 1, enough Y for site 2, etc., then your site, either that very same link or another page/post, will likely pass to another site as users troll sites for good stuff to pass onto their buddies. (Just like jokes or party invites travel from the cool kids' table to the locker room to the pompom squad.)

But all of this requires that you have content worthy of that influencer, that community, that site.

So stop reading here and get back to work creating your content. *wink*

Note: The Marketing Whore Newsletter, after a hiatus, will be sent tomorrow. So if you have not yet subscribed, please do so!

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Since We've All Been Discussing Sex Coming Out Of The Closet...

Friend & PSO, Secondhand Rose, has just had her interview published in Radical Vixen's "Sex Worker Solidarity" series. (At the bottom of each post, you'll find links to the other parts which have been published so far.)

I encourage any of you who identify as a sex worker to join the conversation. (It can only help with our 'authority' problem.)

Also, this reminds me of another excellent resource, Sex In The Public Square.

Remember, though, if you do not wish to make activism part of your business mission, consider that when selecting your user name and profile information and when leaving comments at Radical Vixen's blog.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Looking At Technology in 2007 & Beyond

In his year-end technology wrap-up, titled The Rising Tide of Technology, The Tongue discusses why we need to increase our website technology:
Clement of VideosZ.com has long been a proponent of the belief that surfers are no longer the cavemen you see doing Geico commercials. Recently he agreed to assist me with my research for this article by posting a simple, voluntary, nonscientific poll in the member’s area of his website. Members who had each purchased access to VideosZ were asked what kind of connection they were using to access the website so that VideosZ could better serve them. Each member was allowed to reply only once and each was a paying customer who had bought the VideoZ monthly service. Lying would have been counterproductive for any dialup member because it would mean he was advocating "less dialup friendly" content if he falsely claimed to have a broadband connection. The results may surprise you.

With more than 1,500 members responding, only ONE percent stated they were currently using a dialup connection. To put that in perspective, more than 4 percent stated they are already using a FIOS connection and the rest of the replies were fairly evenly split among DSL and cable modem users. Those kinds of statistics cannot be relied upon by themselves but they do support the idea that creating your next members area to be optimized for a surfer using a dialup connection is something worth reconsidering.
While I agree dial-up is, in general, being replaced, and that larger monitors and other tech toys are becoming part of the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality especially here in the US, I again caution against gizmos, gadgets and even website optimization which excludes potential customers.

As a person who uses Linux rather than Windows, and adores it, many of the latest gizmos, such as the latest Flash versions, do not (yet) work well with my browser (the wonderful Firefox) and as such, some 'marvelously modern' sites simply don't do anything for me but show a black screen with a demand that I upload the latest player (which invariably won't work for my pc).

My own platform preferences aside, I remind you to consider your target market when reading such advice to make such tech advances.

Consider, at least, that this information from a survey of members at VideosZ.com and as such is relating to those adult entertainment users who prefer to watch movies online. It makes sense that they would have such connections, and likely larger monitors etc., but for those who are selling DVDs, sex toys, professional services, erotic stories etc., or other adult products which are not to be viewed online, these numbers may be rather meaningless.

However, if you're peddling porn to view online, then this info may be most meaningful.

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Tech & Graphic Tools Info

Karlyn's posted a list of the best free web and graphic design tools.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Show & Tell Adult Meme: End Of The Year Edition

1 What was your very favorite post you made this past year?

2 What post was the most effective post you made this past year? (Based on links to it, comments, emails, sales etc.)

3 What are three of your favorite posts/articles that you've read this past year? (Not your own, but the works of others.) And do tell us all why you selected them.

4 What was the most surprising thing you learned in 2007?

5 What was the most valuable thing or lesson you learned in 2007?

6 Is there anything you wanted to learn this past year that you did not? Why not? And are you going to make this a goal for 2008?

Optional (but worth 100 extra Marketing Whore Bucks lol):
For most of us, guarding our identities means not taking/publishing photos, but I double-dog dare you to take some photo of yourself, crop it to remove what you think is necessary to keep your privacy but still gives something special (and hopefully naughty) of you away ~ and publish it on your blog.



How this works:

1) You post your replies in your blog. (Link back to/credit to this blog, please.)
2) Post your links in the comments section, or in the Mister Linky Widget.
3) Visit here for other bloggers participating; visit them and leave your comments and link to your participating post.
4) Get your blogging buddies to participate too.

If you don't have a blog, feel free to post your replies as a comment.

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A Different Kind Of Authority For Sex Bloggers

Dear friend, Amanda Brooks, has an excellent post at Bound, Not Gagged (NWS). In it she discusses a certain big blogging kahuna...

A couple months ago a very popular “self-improvement” blogger wrote a post that mentioned prostitutes in Vegas. Although he knows it’s illegal in Vegas, he was under the impression (like most people) that the laws weren’t enforced much. He toyed with the idea of interviewing a prostitute and posting the interview on his blog. He was sure it would get a lot of Digg hits. And that’s the important thing.

I’m sure he wouldn’t have offered to pay for her time (What? Pay for anything with a sex worker? Doesn’t that incriminate you?), but would happily pick her brain for as long as it took him to run through his questions (most of which she’s probably tired of answering), just so he could get a lot of Digg hits and bring lots of traffic to his blog. Hopefully some of that traffic would click on his AdSense ads and affiliate links and bring him some money. That’s the really important thing.

...I don’t think we get on Digg much, if at all. I don’t know how many blogs (beyond sex blogs) link in. Or how many non-sex sites link in. I don’t live and die by Digg or Stumbleupon (because I’d already be dead); I feel there is a huge knowledge/awareness gap because we haven’t achieved the Web saturation and “authority” that a single navel-gazing blogger has.

Most adult blogs do not fare well on Digg, and the other social bookmarking tools. While some are clearly focused on technology or other subjects which are not predisposed to our topics, others just feel the need for social safety and apply a censorship condom. There are those which do not, but excluding us is more often by design than not.

But back to Amanda's story...
I e-mailed him privately and he was surprised to learn there are sex work blogs out there. He wasn’t personally aware of any and he attributed that to the lack of blog marketing skills of sex workers. That may be true, or it may be that he has never curiously searched Blogger or WordPress for call girl, escort, courtesan or sex worker. But still, the Internet masses have granted him “authority” on any topic and sex workers apparently lack it – even if blogging about sex work.
Wow. "The lack of blog marketing skills of sex worker"; that would hurt if it weren't so ludicrous.

The point is that this big kahuna is big in his own pond and forgets there are other ponds. I don't mind admitting I don't have the slightest clue who this guy is, and in fact, it illustrates my point. I don't ponder or search for "self-improvement", so I don't know him; he doesn't search for "sex workers", so he doesn't know us. Clearly he mistakes his too-lazy-to-search curiosity for an absence of information, sources or authorities on the subject. In short, he thinks his own micro-universe is The Universe.

But of course it's not.

I exist, Amanda exists, and there many more of us ~ some could argue too many of us. *wink*

Within our community, there are many big kahunas. Each with PageRank, Technorati "authority" and interviews to prove it. But this is not the type of authority Amanda is getting at.
I don’t know if a mass community considers BnG to be an “authority” or a “voice.” Where were the mainstream op-ed pieces from sex workers? (Not to imply that BnG is the only Internet outlet for sex workers, simply that it’s The Huffington Post for sex worker activists.)

Nor do I worship mainstream media. But to change minds, we need access to mainstream media. We need them to listen to us and allow various voices to be heard. What credentials are we lacking to be considered authorities on our own experiences? Once we target our media deficiencies, how can they be overcome?

I don’t have any answers. I’m only beginning to work through the questions. But I think it’s a vital issue because positive change will not happen for sex workers until mainstream America hears us.

Comments on Bound, Not Gagged (NWS) aside (I have no ill feelings for it as I'm obviously reading it; but I don't want to discuss how big it is in terms of ponds or micro universes), I feel the anguish in Amanda's questioning.

It's akin to the matter of your mission. At least part of it is.

Another part, or line of questioning, is about the situation all adult marketers face: We just aren't accepted &/or recognized by mainstream society.

We can't get press releases distributed, our ad purchasing power is limited, and we are thwarted on the Internet too (directory listings, social networks, link swaps, blog awards, etc.) because the censorship condom exists. We can't reach the masses to show we're OK unless they let us in; and they won't let us in because they fear us. I've been at this for a decade now, and believe me I know this chicken v. egg problem. (If only that censorship condom didn't exist ~ then we could fertilize that egg!)

But meanwhile, as we sex workers, sex bloggers, and adult business folks swim in our ponds or spin in our micro universes & connect with others, we continue to build authority.

And it's my hope that eventually our numbers, our issues, will force water to flow towards us, into their ponds, or orbits to be shared ~ whatever it takes for conversations to take place.

Meanwhile, we'll keep on keepin' on.

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Award-Nominated Director/Producer Offers Services

From Chloe Jo comes this announcement:

Attention creators of all that is fabulous. Have you ever considered documenting your work? Need an EPK? A video fashion shoot? Music videos, actor reels, instructional videos - you could even start your Youtube career or just send a video letter to your granny! Joshua Katcher of Perhaps Media, Inc. has been producing television shows, music videos, and environmental/pro-social content for networks like MTV, FUSE, and Al Gore's Current TV for years. He brings to the table, most importantly, an understanding of how to craft stories. With his company Perhaps Media, he has worked with numerous non-profits, schmoozed with glitzy celebs and directed tasteless reality shows alike. His short films have been to more countries than he has, and he wants to share his skills! If you are looking for documentation, storytelling, plain old eye-candy, or even private filmmaking production lessons/instruction, or consultations drop Joshua a line at joshuaperhapsmedia.net

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