Friday, September 12, 2008

About Those New Seinfeld & Gates Ads

My boyfriend, CR/LF (NWS), and I are having a running feud about the new Microsoft commercials. He, like many techies, insists they are stupid; I adore them. Every geek has her weird weaknesses & right now you could say that the Microsoft ads are among mine.

Our debate often swirls around the Mac vs. PC commercials. In those commercials, PC is likable ~ but Mac reigns as the uber cool kid. The Mac ads make me feel like I should be pitied like the campaign's PC character. Sure, that Mac guy's nice. We'll be lab partners in science class or maybe share a table at lunch; but I'll never be invited to parties at his house. CR/LF agrees with me on this, but he still doesn't see what I favor in the new Microsoft commercials.

The new commercials with Jerry Seinfeld & Bill Gates amuse me ~ and it's not because some people think the ads are kinky either. I think they are hysterical. I love seeing them in the cheap shoe store ~ and the family in the window is awe-struck not by their celeb status, but by the shoes! (That just kills me!)

It's not just that they are funny ~ it's the way they are funny.

In the Mac ads, Mac is like those bratty rich kids in high school & the posse of posers who did whatever they did to be cool. Then as now I know that no matter how cool I am, no matter how stellar my works are, I'll never be seen by them as their equal in cool. Then it was because my platform's were the knock-off designer shoes; today it's because my platform isn't the designer Mac. And I've never been one to pay more to appear cool or to please others.

As a PC user (on Linux, yet) I might want a Mac... But even if I could afford a Mac, I don't think I could justify the excess price tag to my practical-nerd-self. Who does that sound like? Gates, Seinfeld & that family of window shoppers! We're all bonding! (Branding, that is.)

Unlike the Mac ads, Microsoft celebrates the real geeks, weirdness and all.

Does this ad campaign overcome every Microsoft issue? No. But Microsoft has likability issues. Most people's awareness of Microsoft as 'evil' or 'less than cool' is effectively addressed by these commercials. I'm no longer the uncool person who has a PC by default ~ I have one because I want one. I've decided with my purshase(s). And I am as happy with my PC-self as I am with all my other choices which may seem "less than" to those hipsters.

As a more 'average' user/buyer of computers and software am more likely to be Microsoft's target audience (which means CR/LF's opinion should be of little consequence to Microsoft's campaign) and me and my posse of weird brainiacs am moving closer to the brand because of them.

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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 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 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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Monday, December 3, 2007

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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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Website Marketing Tips, Anyone?

Kelly at Extreme Restraints has an excellent post in her blog: Tips on a good site and it doesn't have to be an adult site.

Her number one is my number one, and most of it is sage advice. However, I do, as usual, take issue with a few points...
3. Copyright Statements

Everything you create and write on your web site warrants copyright declarations. So include it on every page AND keep it up to date.
Copyright is granted with everything you write or create, so copyright statements aren't necessary. And, stated or not, the rights only have teeth if and when you police and seek protection under the law.
9. Typos and Grammer Mistakes

Typographic mistakes will be noticed immediately. Typos are considered either due to a very novice or uncaring website owner. Typos are not made by professionals in business trying to make a living. Thus when you have typos and grammer errors on your website, visitors won’t think you take your site seriously, and they won’t either. They’ll think you’ll make all kinds of other mistakes too. Like shipping to an incorrect or mistyped address… not shipping at all, or… maybe you don’t even look at your website so …

Geez.. use a spell checker.. don’t rely on it… but use it and reread things before you post them on your site. Have someone else verify anything you put out there for the world to see.
Ironically, Kelly spelled "grammar" and 'jeez' wrong (along with a few other spelling errors in her post), and yet I'm not only still reading, but I'm posting the link and recommending it be read. If that's not taking her seriously, then what is?

But seriously, in a perfect world we'd like to be error-free ~ both in terms of creating and using/reading ~ but none of us lives in a perfect world. I can grab a book by Random House and find typos; so I'm not shocked when I find one in a website or blog.

So what I'm trying to say is, do try to avoid as many mistakes as you can; but don't sweat them too badly either. Sloppy shows, but so do the best intentions. To most people. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

6. Long Pages

There are so many example around you. Look at a new paper.. most articles are very short. Look at ads.. they’re short. Look at the most sucessful websites out there… they’re short. Most pages should be one screen with no scrolling down. I’ve done surveys and statistical analysis and read books on web usability that prove … drum roll … Of all the people who visit your web page.. only 20% of them will bother to scroll down to see the next screen full of information. Of that 20% only about 5% will scroll down for another chuck of screen. That means if you’ve got a page that is 3 screens long… then only 1 out of 100 visitors will ever see that. You are better off having a couple of pages that link together. Most successful stores do this. You’ll see an overview of a product that is 1 screen in length and a more details link (that goes to a long page of DUH! more details). Most site visitors don’t bother. But a buyer may want those more details.

So don’t waste your precious time and effort on carefully crafting really long pages. Keep it short and simple. Get your message out fast. Entice them to do something fas

Let me K.I.S.S. you… put your buy buttons at the top instead of only at the bottom.
First, I'd like to see where Kelly got those stats. Second, what were these stats for? The actions of whom do they supposedly depict? What of the stats which conclude that getting people to make the second click for more details is an aggravation, a sales turn-off? The problem with any such stats is the number of variables involved. Are these stats based on news sites? Commerce sites? What's the sampling? Demographics of the sampling? How did these people find 'you' to read 'you'? Do any of these things relate to your business? The fact is, the number of people reading 'you' is a matter of many things, such as SEO, site ranking, consumer faith, how well you've targeted your ads etc., etc., etc.

But I'm not going to refute them with stats of my own or anyone else's ~ and not because I'm lazy. It's because such stats are damn near irrelevant in my book.

Who is or isn't reading is based on many things, most important of which is why they are there reading.

In the case of Extreme Restraints, you hope it is because they are looking to purchase a bondage item. No one else really matters.

Turn it around, putting this in your control, who are you are writing for?

You are not writing for everyone, but specific someones ~ individual people, one by one. Essentially, you are writing for one person, but publishing it publicly so that they, or another like them, can read it over and over again when needed. That's your target market. Your page, your text, must meet each of their needs. Who is this person? What do they need? Are those stats about them or 'anyone'?

Going again with Extreme Restraints, the writing must fit the needs of each person shopping for bondage gear. Whether they know what they need or are researching for a future purchase; whether they have the money now or are bookmarking the item for when they do have the money; the text needs to answer all of their questions and concerns.

And if that means a 'long page', so be it.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WAHM Adult Marketing

Back when I started on the Internet pitching adult work to WAHMs and/or other stay-at-home-mom sites was verboten. Now it seems de riguer.

How to Become a Sex Industry Professional Whether You're a Woman or a Man: A New Option for Today's WAHM

Get extra income
from your Mobile Phone, 24/7!

Even the moms themselves are more accepting ~ and this is from 2004. Note the few 'Christians' who place judgment even while saying that's for God. :snort: Their minds will never change, but it's nice to see so many accepting the validity of the choice to enter into the field, be it PSO work or home lingerie party plans.

Here's another forum with leads (though you'll have to get the domain names from the email addresses listed ~ I don't know why they just didn't link to them).

What this means is that the place for marketing has widened some. I don't recommend blasting your name/product all over such communities, but a graceful toe in the door can be accepted. And that's just a step away from getting inside ~ and heaven knows what wonders you can work there.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Giving Away The Store, Part One

Giving away the store isn't all bad; in fact, it's even a lucrative business model ~ if you don't get in your own way.

At Infomercantile, Derek (who, in the interest of full-disclosure, is a 'boss') writes about one of our local free newspapers and their idiotic 'upgrade':
In early September 2007, the FM Extra further obfuscated access to their newspaper by wrapping the already difficult-to-parse PDF file inside a Macromedia-format "Flashpaper" Flash viewer. While Google and other search engines do have the ability to provide some searchability within PDFs, enclosing the PDF within a Flash viewer completely eliminates the world's ability to find the FM Extra without already knowing it exists. It is as though the FM Extra put all of their hard-copy newprint papers in an unmarked cardboard box, shoved it under a parked car somewhere in Hawley, MN, and only gave directions to people who explicitly asked where the papers went. One would think that a newspaper that places its print-copies in as many publicly-available places as possible would easily translate the same concept to the internet, but it seems to have slipped their and their webdesigners' grasps.
Not only did they put all of the papers in the box, under a parked car, only giving directions to people who ask, but access also requires a secret password or knock of some sort. This new flash viewer requires the latest version of Macromedia Flash and has officially no viewer for those of us who are Linux based (I should note here that I can view it, but it also freezes my entire Firefox experience and is thus noted as to be avoided at all costs), making all of their free papers unavailable to us.

Unavailable is contrary to their business model where the newspapers are paid for by the advertisers, advertisers who have paid the rates for the large circulation, so why remove online circulation? The purpose of FM Extra is to literally give away their product, and so their decision not to do so on the web is bad marketing (if not just good old fashioned crazy).

Unavailable isn't the only problem. Being found is also a problem. I've mentioned this before, so I'll let Derek at Infomercantile say it:
Newspapers and web-designers alike fail to realize that a large portion of website traffic comes from people who never knew the website existed before and arrive by searching for a term. Those searchers, in theory, are highly-retainable readers if their search results succeed in finding what they're looking for. The FM Extra, by hiring a web designer, spent what appears to be a significant amount of money to reduce their potential audience even further. The FM Extra might be exactly what an online visitor is looking for, but a huge amount of effort has been devoted to making sure those readers never find the FM Extra online.
Using flash means you are non-existent for many.

It's pretty hard to give away the store when you can't even be found.

FM Extra assumes, in the way that makes an ass out of themselves, that folks are going to type in FM Extra ~ and goes further up their behinds to believe that the all the people that do arrive at their site are able to view the free goods via this new gift of the technology gods, Flashpaper.

Given that their target market is the senior shopper who looks for quaint local (happy) news and deals, it seems absurd to imagine they have any interest in downloading the latest version of flash. FM Extra also publishes Memories, and their pitch to advertisers is, "nobody does a better job at reaching those 40 and over than Memories Magazine." We're not exactly talking the gaming or tech-gadget crowd here, especially as these folks are, by their own admission, looking to the past, not the technological future: "Memories readers are extremely loyal, and they love to read about a past they can connect with."

Removing the ability for 100% of their content to be Googled (also seemingly incompatible with other search engine spidering etc.) is dumb enough. But to further aggravate their core audience means the advertisers aren't being served either. The advertisers have paid for placement in publications which are free and available for all, and here they go and remove these possibilities on the web. (If I had paid for any ads, I'd be livid.)

If your product is meant to be read/seen or otherwise given away for free ~ and this includes blogs and websites which exist to promote products which are paid for ~ do not put in place methods and technologies which remove the possibility.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Race: It's Not Just Something You Win

My post on Minority and Media Marketing made The 16th Erase Racism Carnival.

Should you be looking for more, check out this post on race and marketing at BlogHer too.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Minority Media & Marketing

Found in an unlikely spot (Silent Porn Star's post on risque Nipsey Russell recordings), I found this great bit on media and minorities:
The cover states it was the Negro National Network, but it was (should you care to continue searching) in reality the National Negro Network, started in 1953 by Leonard Evans. W. Leonard Evans, Jr. died in June of this year (2007); he left a wonderful legacy of African-American media. Here's a wonderful 1963 interview with Evans titled "Why Do We Need a Negro Sunday Supplement?" Should that site remove the recording, or you'd prefer to download it for listening to later (it is quite long), I've uploaded a copy here.
While hearing the word 'negro' sure is shocking, the 58 minute interview is worth downloading and listening to. Have we come a long way? How many of the questions and issues raised by Evans are worth asking today?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pay In Pornos

Mithras Invicti, at Gloria Brame's blog, writes of the wage issue in porn:
Which means that female wages have to be higher in order to attract the steady stream of new actresses to the business. The downside for a female performer is that the odds are not high she will have a long career, as consumers no longer find her 300th appearance entertaining. The male performer, on the other hand, being the "anonymous meat puppet", can work so long as he can get it up and come when told to. Also, since the male actor isn't concerned about overexposure, he can work in a greater number of videos per year and end up making the same amount overall as the female performers.
I'm inclined to agree ~ with one caveat: That we remember the growing areas of gay porn and porn for hetero women. In these cases, men are the stars. And in the case of porn for (hetero) couples, men are co-stars. So as these markets increase, the pay for men should increase.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Carnival of the Capitalists: July 16, 2007

I'm hosting Carnival of The Capitalists this week. Of the 34 submissions, these were my selections.


John Ingrisano asks Will An HSA Solve your Health Insurance Problem? And gives his thoughts on his experience. A must read for anyone without health insurance or investigating options.

Thank you for calling Playmobil, please set your clock back 20 years is one experience we can all relate to in some way or another. Do more than pray you don't do this to your customers ~ plan to avoid this mess.

Today's Women In Business reminds us that you can in fact use blog comments can build your personal brand. However, in Despite the PR pundits, there's not much to learn from the Whole Foods fiasco, Steven Silvers reminds us that you can in fact damage your personal brand with posts as well:
The entire business world is shaking its head about Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who was exposed for an eight-year run of posting anonymous comments to Internet investing bulletin boards touting his company's stock and flaming his competition.
Because We All Should Know More:

Ecobrowser: Are your inflation expectations well-anchored?

Atlantic Canada's Small Business Blog: How would you get back from Mars?

Sox First: Six organizational pathologies

Charles H. Green: Leadership and Folk Wisdom

Basic Accounting Blog: Decide Your Success With Bookkeeping Outsourcing

Interviews and Book Reviews:

Wayne Hurlbert reviews Instant Income by Janet Switzer.

Jim Stroup reviews The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb.

Scott Allen interviews John Assaraf and Murray Smith.

Starting Out:

Don't Buy A Franchise with your Ego:
Some people chose a franchise because of their ego, and what The Joness will think. They buy a franchise because it sounds exciting or cool. They buy a franchise hoping to impress their neighbors or friends. Because of this, they look up franchises on the Internet and either include or reject them based on the cool factor. As a result, many overlook excellent opportunities of sold money-making opportunities, sometimes with a much better return on investment than famous brands.
Ditto on job titles, job descriptions, and daily activities. So many of us are seduced by what others think of what we do.

Related to this post is Is Freelancing Foolish? Perhaps it seems more glamorous, but is it more profitable? Are you suited for it? Remember...
Going to a freelance career is no different that starting your own business.
Personal Favorites:

I get asked about starting online stores a lot, so The Beef Jerky Blog's How to Start an Online Store is one of my favorite selections. Most notable is point 4:
Most people will do a search for "wholesaleing" or "Dropshipping," this is the 100% wrong way to search for your product of choice. In most cases you will come across a ton of MFA sites, competitors, Paid list company sites, and a ton of just random site that will waste your time.
Queer talk about corporate money discusses the success of the 2006 Gay Games. Corporate funds may be disliked, but to many their buy-in gives the stamp of legitimacy. While reaction to corporate sponsorship and commercialism may be mixed within the community, the sponsorship clearly marks further acceptance of a "queer market" by corporate America.

Jack Yoest's Management Training Tip #1, Office Politics won me for this bit:
The manager cannot simply demand or bark out an order for the support.

The manager must sell.
Honorary Mention:

Blog Carnivals: An Inexpensive Way to Promote Your Business Website gets a nod because it reminds you all to participate and to sign up to host a future edition of CoTC. *wink*

Next week's host is Small Business Essentials.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

The Definitive Piece On Censorship

Yes, I'm still on my WKRP kick ~ but with such excellence, why not be?

This clip is from the "Clean Up Radio Everywhere" episode, in which the gang discusses media censorship when they face pressure of a "moral" group.

Everything is still true. :sigh:

Funny and sad, but Les sums things up the way many folks (I think) still likely feel:
In a situation like this, I always ask myself, what would my hero Edward R. Murrow think? And I think that Ed would think that this was censorship. Then I think about what my other hero, General George Patton, would think, and I think George would think that radio and television ought to be cleaned up, and if he were alive today, he'd take two armoured cavalry divisions into Hollywood and knock all those liberal pinheads into the Pacific! So as you can see, I'm a very confused man. And when I get confused, I watch TV. Television is never confusing. It's all so simple somehow.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

True OR False: Ads Don't Work On The Internet

Continuing my thoughts on marketing in a digital world...

To understand the situation, one needs to begin with a look backwards at the brief evolution of the Net in terms of Internet marketing.

Remember when banner ads were all the rage? Touted at the way to promote and advertise, they were compared to billboards, ads and other branding methods. At first, the click-thru rates were high, and investments in the standard 60 x 468 were considered de riguer for any decent webmaster.

When those lost their punch, one needed flashing and/or animated gifs. 'Movement' was deemed the best way to engage surfers. When those links pages became a swirling sea of flashing and animated banners, we quickly moved to skyscraper ads and ads placed within content rather than relegated to links pages. Their very size and prominence indicated power and deep pockets, their performance numbers were high ~ but quickly, surfers lost their interest in these too.

We were then told to forget about banners and branding and directed to buy keywords and start affiliate programs. Without really saying so, at least not directly admitting 'why' this was so, we were told banners didn't work. Pay per click and pay for performance models were better than spots based on time limits or impressions.

Next it was SEO. Text links (or 'hard links'), we were told, were far better because this was more powerful in feeding search engines. We were also told that surfers wanted or at least reacted to text links.

Along the way we've been told and coached that low click-thru rates are the norm. To make the most of the numbers game, to make that low percent a high number of clicks, we now are told to covet social networking linkage. No matter what the context, get linked there ~ it's where the cool kids are! So what if the rate is low, the percent of clicks nominal and conversions an even smaller percentage, we should settle for them because that's just the way it is.

But that's not 'just the way it is.' Or at least few are examining why it is that way.

When you look at the past, patters emerge. All these web promotions began with great results and then were dumped in favor of the next new thing. This isn't so surprising. Early adopters have better (the best) success rates. Innovators usually do. But their are other assumptions being made here which should be looked at.

The belief that once the numbers are low, the whole thing should be scrapped is a bit foolish. It's like throwing the baby out with the bath water, for Pete's sake. I'm not saying we should settle for low numbers and poor performances, but while we need to keep our companies and marketing campaigns out of the red, we cannot view things as simplistically as black or white. There are shades of grey (such as branding) and perhaps more importantly, one should look at why these campaigns failed.

There are many possible reasons for this: poorly created ads, poorly targeted ads, poor products/companies, companies with such large PR problems that ads are rendered useless, companies with such big profiles (saturation points) that ads are not relevant (at least in terms of triggering a click response), are just a few.

A popular assumption is that Internet advertising has failed (or has very low performance numbers) because Internet users bore easily and tire quickly of the ads. There's some merit to this, but I don't just think it's short attention spans.

Another popular assumption is that no one has either found the right way to implement ads (from a mechanism or technological point of view) or discovered a way to appeal to Internet users, as if we are some different species of human. To some extent Internet users are different than non-Internet users. But only in the same ways that TV viewers differ from radio folks, book readers differ from movie goers ~ as a target market. (And as you know, many target markets overlap ~ the key is in knowing the essentials of your business.) We are not a whole other species.

The bottom line is that most of us, Internet users or not, are tired and unresponsive to ads in general.

With cultural shifts towards skepticism and unethical business practices only adding to this mindset, this new medium and the citizens which virtually live in it aren't going to fall for the same old tricks. It's not just the novelty of 'new' which they/we tire of, it's the whole advertising system.

People today are bombarded by ads; and we are, by and large, OK with that. Call us practical, call us jaded, we understand the economics of companies selling things. We don't mind it. We don't mind it so much we tune it out most of the time.

The few things we do remember about ads is how they talk down to us, how they think we are incapable of thinking and researching for ourselves, and perhaps most of all, how companies, despite having copious amounts of information about us, do not know us at all.

We aren't so much offended by advertising as we are by how companies talk to us and about us.

Where the proverbial shit hits the fan with regards to the Internet is not that we are a new species, but that we are more vocal. This comes from a combination of factors. One, our youth, which generally brings with it more of an outspoken nature. Two, the fact that (duh) this new medium doesn't just 'allow' for interaction but is built upon it. So Internet users will speak out and loudly about idiot campaigns ~ and the companies which use them.

This is good news.

A smart marketer will spend time listening to what people are saying, especially to those groups they feel best represent their customers and potential customers, and put that information into use.

Does that mean ads don't work? No... Not entirely.

The real changes here are the new medium which presents new challenges in presentation and monetization, and the cultural shift to skepticism which is admittedly both affected by the Internet ~ as well as using the Internet to further drive and voice the shift. The good news is that we can not only use the Internet to see what works, what doesn't, and what's going on in our target market, but that we can find this all out rather quickly. If we are willing to listen and collect information, examine what we see and hear, and put it into use.

Subscribe to The Marketing Whore Newsletter and you'll get my ideas on ads and marketing campaigns that do work.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Women, Men And The Porn Industry

Remember that event I told you about, the Women and the Porn Industry event in Chicago?

Well, now you can read a review of the documentary, including a clip, and find out about the discussion afterwards.

(In case you're wondering, all these links are NWS!)

One of my favorite quotes from that discussion is from Jack Hafferkamp, of Libido films:
I think that part of the problem is that most porn is really kind of stupid, sexist, and demeaning. I mean, we know that. So is the solution to shut it down or do better stuff? I think clearly the answer is to do better stuff. Where do American males get their sex education? It's there, so why not make it material that actually provides useful information? It seems to me to be the way to go rather than say don't do it at all.
Easy to see why I'm such a fan, huh? *wink*

One of the most surprising things from this discussion was when one of the male participants spoke:
I'm a heterosexual man and what I want is definitely what you're doing. I saw "Trial Run" and it was the first time I'd actually seen a man in a pornographic movie that didn't scare the shit out of me. (laughs) The guy-his name escapes me-he's having sex, and it's sexy, and he looks normal and human shaped and he's...pudgy. Wow, it's so comforting and the sex was hot. I'm also a librarian and the most frequently stolen book at the library where I worked was "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" by Jenna Jameson, which was really strange. How do you as filmmakers educate a younger generation about sex without giving them strange ideas?
I'm rather surprised men at this gathering spoke at all, really; let alone be so honest. (What man could both be brave enough to speak at a female centric event ~ and keep his wits about himself, at least enough to speak? lol)

I really wish I could have been there...

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Thinking Of Pinking?

In case you've been thinking of just splashing pink about your product or website to appeal to women, take a look at how it's been done historically.

Ask yourself if those ideas were good ones.

Then ask yourself if that's how you want to be viewed. *wink*

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Carnival of the Capitalists

The Marketing Whore welcomes you to the Carnival of the Capitalists.

The good news: All posts which are safe for work reading. (So click and link away!)

The bad news: This post was delayed due to our server being down (still celebrating Memorial Day we guess). Sorry about that.

The next carnival, June 4, will be hosted at Spooky Action.

Now, onto the carnival.

Marketing: smacks of rebellion (with a hint of lunacy) with The Failure of Marketing:
Historically, marketing is plagued by one fundamental, strategical failure. It fails to communicate the notion of "don't buy this shit".
Nope, that's not a typo. And don't let my hype fool ya, there's genius in this post. (Genius always has a hint of insanity.)

At Sox First the Six rules to avoid PR disasters are mandatory reading. I don't care if PR interests you or not; this is vital.

The Buzz Bin had a great post on Pitching Bloggers:
What's wrong is treating bloggers like traditional media outlets. New media content creators do not have any obligation to "report" or field inquiries. They don't have to write up a kind review of your product (even if you comp them something), and a great majority distrust traditional public relations tactics.
(This post is a follow-up to this post, Thinking Bloggers and Pitching Blogs, which I think he intended to be his first link in that post... In any case, I also recommend reading it.)

In Queercents says, God Made Me Buy It: The Virtue of Consumption. This line should make you go read it:
consumerism is consumerism... no matter what virtue or non-virtue is pushing you to buy something.
Gender & Culture:

The Epicurean Dealmaker poses some interesting gender matters regarding i-banking in Fingernails that Shine Like Justice. Also a delight ~ no, make that a riot to read.
I have witnessed and participated firsthand in sustained and determined efforts to increase the number of women recruited into investment banks, and it is true that the number entering each year in first-year analyst and associate classes has increased markedly from my youth. However, what is also true is that very few of these women stay. The ones I know who do genuinely seem to enjoy their work, and they can cut the balls off a charging rhinocerous (or CEO) with an indenture with the best of them, all the while making their doltish male colleagues think impure thoughts about their pantyhose. In other words, I am of the opinion that smart, aggressive women have a distinct advantage over men in investment banking. Why, therefore, aren't there more of them?
Phil for Humanity writes about The Size of Money. Those who cannot see and those who are new to the US have to deal with our funny money and it's time we started making more cents sense with our money.

Econbrowser writes on something we all are thinking about, fuel prices, with the current status of Arizona Clean Fuels' effort to build a new refinery, Who should pay this bill?

General Business:

Atlantic Canada's Small Business Blog compares Business life lesson - Business is a team sport. But don't mistake this for just the typical "No 'I' in "Team" talk; this is worth reading.

InsureBlog ponders health care in Margarita's & Medicine. As a self-employed person who knows many others in this same boat, I know we wonder what's worth paying for. Here's a perspective I recommend you read.
You can cough up the $40,000 or so to have your joint replaced (if you do not have insurance).

Or, you can jet to an exotic isle where the procedure is more like $6000.
hell's handmaiden discusses Supply, demand, behavior, profit ... and such like. With 8 points, she had me intrigued at the first one:
The law of supply and demand is not based on human behavior. It is assumed.
Small Biz Survival asks, What is an entrepreneur? I found the ideas for spotting and supporting them to be most interesting.

Wayne Hurlbert at Blog Business World has a book review of Run With The Bulls by Tim Irwin. Does Wayne give it a thumbs up or down? Go read and see.

Charles H. Green of Trusted Advisor says Far too many people are calling themselves "Trusted Advisors", and he's got some advice for you if you're considering joining them:
The two most trust-destroying words you can say are, "trust me." Never say you're someone's trusted advisor, much less say you want to be, much less build an ad campaign around it. It is inherently non-credible and insincere. (I try on my own website-- which of course uses the term -- to say "helping people become trusted advisors" -- and not to claim that I are one).
Businesspundit wrote What Tiger Woods Can Teach You About Running a Business. Even the non-golfers can follow the lessons. And we need them.
In business, I think we often know the things we should do, but instead we try to do the things we want to do. We like the random fun things. We want to plan, brainstorm, hold meetings, all the stuff that doesn't require any discipline or focus.
Can I get an, "Amen," from you all? *wink* Entrepreneur's Guide discusses Borrowing to Build Your Business. I know a few of you may be tempted to by-pass this post, but read this line and see if you shouldn't change your mind:
why would you want to borrow instead of getting investors? Simply put, borrowed money is cheaper than invested money.
Also, a few posts with neat resources:

The Alexander Report has a list of Apparel and Textile Associations and Organizations.

Prosperity Achiever has a CSS Tools Collection.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

See How Dirty We Are?

An Internet pal, MissFussyPants, gave me some interesting news.

She had posted the link to the $10,000 copy writing contest over at Sensible Erection (a community which posts links and comments on them, like Fark or Spin Thicket) and was surprised by the response. So surprised she sent me the link and cut and pasted the comments in her email to me, in case the post went so many pages 'deep' in the site that you'd have to be a registered member to see it.

While it's probably accurate to say this isn't a professional site, it's equally likely that this membership is a general enough slice of consumers (and given the number of porn links, likely a large part of adult consumers) so their comments are interesting.

Like MissFussyPants, I'm posting them here in case the link is now members' only (and for perpetuity).


plexer said @ 7:30pm on 15th May [Score:2 Underrated] - moderate/reply
How has this not been modded down yet?
Its $10, 000 of fucking ADVERTISING for creatively spamming people.
Its like an invitation to produce more viral adds to annoy the hell out of everyone else on the internet.

fuzzo said @ 10:46pm on 15th May [Score:1 Informative] - moderate/reply
jeez, such opinions ! it's called marketing you guys.
donnie said @ 10:53pm on 15th May [Score:1 Insightful] - moderate/reply
Marketing is just another word for spam. Good products don't need to be marketed - their usefulness is self-evident. It's the crap that nobody needs or wants which people need to be convinced of needing or wanting, generally accomplished by means of persistent annoyance and aggravation.
Sgt Harry 'Snapper' Organs.. said @ 11:17pm on 15th May [Score:1 Funny] - moderate/reply
But without a relentless barrage of marketing how will I make informed decisions about what sort of carbonated sugar-water/over-engineered foam-rubber footware/stylishly overpriced and functionally neutered digital audio player/ho-hum action game starring a gung ho marine it is that defines ME?
follywaggle said @ 12:37am on 16th May - moderate/reply
donnie said @ 4:55pm on 15th May - moderate/reply
training the spammers of tomorrow...fucking lovely
Garibaldi Biscuit said @ 5:23pm on 15th May - moderate/reply
I thought it said 'irresistable officers' and was envisaging some ultra-camp police parade.
Todomanna said @ 5:29pm on 15th May - moderate/reply
I thought it said 'Irresistable Cheesecake baking monkeys' but I've gone off my meds, so it's understandable.
bruceski said @ 6:02pm on 15th May - moderate/reply
can the "offer" be a virus that auto-loads and takes over the computer? Who needs Diplomacy when you have Dominate Person?
Garr123 said @ 6:39pm on 15th May - moderate/reply
or a vorpal great sword.

Sgt Harry 'Snapper' Organs.. said @ 8:13pm on 15th May - moderate/reply
Mmmm... Snickers snacks.
Excited Corpse said @ 9:55pm on 15th May - moderate/reply
Can these people enlarge my penis?

Still think we don't have an image problem?

I can't decide what's more troublesome:

donnie's definition of marketing, "Marketing is just another word for spam. Good products don't need to be marketed - their usefulness is self-evident. It's the crap that nobody needs or wants which people need to be convinced of needing or wanting, generally accomplished by means of persistent annoyance and aggravation."

Or that when fuzzo posts, "jeez, such opinions ! it's called marketing you guys." only one person agreed (gave him a point).

But this is what most folks think of us. And like it or not, we're going to have to deal with it one way or another.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Web Poo Point Doh (Part Deux)

Why join MySpace or Friendster or Ryze or Bebo or Tribe or Facebook? If these fish are all in one barrel, but they aren't there for you to shoot at them, why are they there?

Well, the theory is to find people you know and find others like you. This 'like you' point may be work related, like any other professional networking group; or it may be more social, where your family and friends congregate to share news etc.; or it could even be a mix of the two, say a burlesque community where fans and performers meet.

In the case of Flickr and YouTube, folks join for the free hosting and then connect to others via common interests; you meet me because we are both uploading sexploitation film clips, for example.

Now, blogs and Flickr have much in common. Even if you are not participating in the whole befriending and posting bulletins to your friends, you have the opportunity to use your account to broadcast your content (writings and photos). If your goal (or dream) is to make a living with your content (be a professional writer or photographer), you can achieve this by using your account or space as a portfolio. However...

Simply publishing your content doesn't mean it will be seen. Remember the early days of the Internet? Just because you build it, doesn't mean they will come. This was said about every website to point out that having a site didn't mean you were automatically going to be found. The same is true of your blog, Flickr account, MySpace page, etc. You have to market in order to make sure you are found.

Where Web Poo Point Doh makes things 'easier' is that there are far more tools built into these accounts. Where once a website had to worry about banner advertising, link swaps, using text and meta tags to feed spiders and jousting with algorithms, social networking gives you tools. Tools which allow for more immediate connections within the community, such as befriending, and tools which allow for connections outside the community, such as tags.

The ease of connection is nice; but remember, now you are competing with all the other fish in these ponds.

Of the millions who join, participation falls into three categories: Big adopters, low adopters, and quitters.

Big adopters usually make these sites more than daily logins. But more importantly than how often they are there is the matter of what they do there. They are active not only in posting in blogs, commenting, sending messages etc., but in be-friending. They seek out more friends ~ ones they know, one's they'd like to know and even those they don't care to know but who add to their self-image buy increasing the number on their lists.

This is not just done by teenagers, companies (or corporate shills), but by adults who want to feel popular. It's all about them, and they are here to be seen. Big friend counts are the 'it' factor, and their befriending of you is to add to their experience, their total; not yours.

But a funny thing happens on the way to big numbers ~ participation declines. It has to. One cannot make daily comments on the pages of others when your total is 2,500. (And if they do, they use a tool to spam such 'comments' or their other activities such as blog postings diminish. There are only so many hours in a day.)

Along with this decrease in active 'social connection,' there is a decrease in active reading. In other words they don't have time to read what everyone else is posting, even if they were so inclined as to make this not about themselves. So whether they have 10 friends or 1,000, they really only read the same number of posts. (This means the same number of pages ~ and advertisements. Maybe even less ads because now they are either immune to them or quickly moving past them to try to squeeze in one more blog post before bed.)

Low adopters are people who use the site but really only to keep up with people they really know (in real life or very good online buddies). These folks tend to be more 'sincere' in their use of the site as they don't go for some friend number (score) but focus on real relationships, i.e., they read as much as they post. They are invested in the connections they have and are not interested in friendship number counts. This means that these people not only don't seek 'friendships' but are less likely to accept 'befriending.' They are a close-knit group and their mistrust of interlopers as "selling something" is very high.

Then there are quitters (I admit, I've been one at a few sites). Dissatisfied with the hype, bored with the business of befriending, annoyed by spamming and legit advertising, feeling that since none of their friends are active there anymore it's just not worth the time, or some combination thereof, they just stop participating.

What it really comes down to is this: The big adopters are too busy to pay attention to you, the low adopters are interested in staying connected to those they know and aren't interested in meeting you, many members are inactive, and you are simply one of them, trying to be heard/seen.

To Be Continued...

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Business Bigots

Tom Paine wrote:
Reducing people to categories is useful, so that's why we do it. A woman is gay, straight or bisexual, and once in that pigeon hole, is no longer something we have to think about.
Which is true. Really it is. The ability to categorize and separate into groups is one of the reasons for human survival.
Thought is predicated on an ability to categorize input -- to recognize similarities and differences -- and action involves alteration of one's relationship to the environment. These are fundamental survival skills, and science and technology are their most important prostheses.
(Neil Greenberg (Professor of Zoology) "Science and Technology as Human Endeavors" as published in Liberal Education, 1986.)

In the creation of categories we ensure our survival in simple terms. Things are either "dangerous" or "safe," they are "like me" or "unlike me," they are "edible" or "inedible" etc. Through the use of science, we are able to more clearly identify and therefore categorize.

The American psychologist Eleanor Rosch made a series of studies examining the way in which individuals in many different situations and different cultures grouped objects into categories. During her study Rosch found that individuals not only classify objects as in (or out) of specific categories, but also judge them as 'better' or 'worse' examples of the category.

However, this strength of ours also has weaknesses, which are explained by Russel Kayser in "The Mechanism and Function of Awe: A Cognitive Enhancement Theory":
Our cognitive ability to affirm and negate, to recognize similarity and difference, and to see parts fitting into wholes, enables us to create predictable categories and concepts, and thereby map the world. This domain of categorization is described by Roschian Graded Structure, a conceptual model influential in designing the present study (Rosch, 1975).

The two basic principles of Roschian category theory are that categories provide the most information for the least cognitive effort, and that the world presents itself as a structured entity, not as a collection of arbitrary attributes. Roschian category theory concludes that maximum information is attained with the least cognitive effort when categories map world structure as efficiently as possible (Rosch, 1978).
When we do this with people, creating groups of types of people, we are creating stereotypes. Stereotypes are really just categories allowing us to "pre-judge" something. Prejudice and stereotypes are not necessarily 'bad' unless they are inaccurate, based on ignorance without direct or actual experience. When such inaccurate views are put into action, you have bigotry.

Marketers often make stereotypes and pre-judge people when creating 'targeting markets.' We often have to lump folks into categories in order to create products for them and to reach them. (What do these people need? What do they want? Where do these people live? What do they read?)

This is not a bad thing unless the marketer pays no attention to the real people in those assigned categories. A marketer who doesn't know and study markets, especially his own product's target market, is a lazy marketer. At best he just creates bad campaigns; at worst, he's a bigot.

Since categorization is vital yet requires the "least cognitive effort" this means many humans are lazy with categorization. They have placed an item in a category, a person in a group, and that's that ~ no further effort is required. Our human tendency to generalize also gets us in a lot of trouble. Even if there has been research, study and experience we need to remain flexible with our categorization.

As Kayser wrote:
Once categories are formed, it is important that they remain true to the real world on two levels. Categories must resist degradation, yet remain sensitive to change. Information degradation can erode the validity of a category to the point that it becomes a source of disinformation. But even if informational fidelity is maintained, the world continues to change, and categories must responsively adapt to these changes to remain valid. Rigid categories are nonadaptive. It is important that we keep our categories flexible so that we can map changes around us, but it is also important that the categories remain sufficiently stable to preserve predictability.
So when you consider your target market, what prejudices do you have? Is your definition of the market based on the real world, actual experiences, studies or accurate information? Has that group changed over time? Have you noticed this and changed your marketing to reflect it?

Naturally those of us in the adult industry feel we are put into meaningless stereotypical categories and are treated to business bigotry. Race and gender are still very misunderstood and this shows in the marketing. But what about you? What generalizations have you made which are no longer relevant?

When we speak of adaptation we should not just be talking about what latest tech gadget you use or which media format is 'the best' but rather we should be focusing on adapting our message properly. Then, armed with that message we should consider which medium will deliver that message best to our target audience.

Anything less isn't just bad marketing, unsuccessful marketing, but is business bigotry.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Surprise! Women Undeniable Majority Of Internet Users

According to eMarketer, women outnumber men online, and it's likely to stay that way:
Not only do females make up the majority of Internet users, but more of the female population goes online. This year, an estimated 66.2% of US females ages 3 and older will use the Internet at least once a month, compared with 64.2% of males, according to eMarketer. By 2011, 72.1% of females are expected to go online, vs. 69.3% of males.
According to their report:
Amid all the excitement online video is causing, marketers must keep one fact in mind: Of the estimated 97 million females online in the US, only 66% of them actually watch videos online, compared with 78% of males who do.
One thing they are quick to note is that women are not less savvy than men when it comes to Internet technology. And they believe that Web 2.0 (aka social networking) will only increase female use.

Why this continual surprise that women are using the Internet? Women outnumber men, so we should outnumber men on the Internet, yes?

But then in more in-depth news coverage of the eMarketer report, both in Reuters and in Sydney Morning Herald, eMarketer's senior analyst, Debra Aho Williamson, makes broader gender claims which seem to make this report more 'surprising.'

I was reminded the early days of the Internet, when many feared that women would never adopt it ~ or at least not in the way males had. This was easily a decade ago, and we're still talking about it? Sheesh. We've gone from ugly Geocities pages to ugly MySpace pages, from FrontPage to blogging, and from static html to all sorts of scripts and toys, so maybe we're still slow to understand what's important here.

They were partly right; women do use the Internet differently.

During those days, ecommerce was a large 'threat' to the way of WWW life ~ it was a perversion of what they held sacred. Sort of like the good old boys business club where they greedily yell "mine, Mine, MINE", only instead of old white men, the Internet had really young boys (most of whom were white too) and these kids and twenty-somethings thought it was all theirs and they didn't want to change.

But ecommerce came along and women were strong adopters of online shopping. No mere coincidence in my mind.

While men surfed for consumer reports, reviews and price comparisons, they still purchased locally in person. Women on the other hand, loved the time savings of shopping and purchasing online. They could sit at home in their jammies, after the kids were asleep, and complete so many shopping errands... This of course led to mommies and others to making the Internet a tool for simplification of their lives. Email, ecards, maps and other tools proved the pc was more than just a toy. But of course, more time online meant they would find other joys of the Internet.

While Williamson doesn't say anything which completely contradicts gender roles, there is still this aura of surprise.

Women are huge consumers, including of technology. Women are humans first, so we will be drawn to many of the same activities and uses of the Internet and technology. But our roles are different, so we may be drawn more to somethings more than others.

Women tend to be more social in terms of talking not just 'hanging out' so we likely will participate more in chats, forums, discussions and blogging than men who will just forward a video or a link to a website. Women and men may be interested in many of the same things, but women will want to talk about why they are interested in something whereas men typically think forwarding a clip or link is self-explanatory ~ it's all that needs to be said.

So why this continual surprise over the differences in gender usage? It's not like women stop being human when confronted with new things. Nor do our 'real world' gender differences cease to exist online.

(Those who think women are so different would likely buy this bridge I have for sale... It's in Brooklyn and if you charged a toll you could really rake it in! I also can also put you in touch with a man in Africa who has millions of dollars to deposit in your bank account ~ just email me your bank account and routing information. Since women are so different from men these offers from a woman must be true!)

But then again, the gaming industry long underestimated the number of women ~ including older women (30s-40s) ~ who were active gamers spending lots of cash & entire weekends playing games. Fundamentally, both the teenage boys and the more mature women played games for the same reason: to escape & to compete, but marketers still seem to be struggling to use this knowledge in both the creation of games and the presentation of games.

So why would should I expect pundits to recognize that women are a strong segment of this market, powerful users of this technology?

I guess maybe it will take more 'surprising' numbers in 'surprising' studies to convince them all.

...Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in that bridge, contact me.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Book Review: Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches

Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture by Marvin Harris

In this book, Harris explains deeply held cultural beliefs which seem to confuse.

For example, while Westerners think that Indians would rather starve than eat their cows, Harris points out that what Westerners don't understand is that Indians will starve if they do eat their cows. This Cow Love is based on very pragmatic reasons, for which religion, a cultural construct, was created to support. And so, from Pig Love to Pig Hate, from War & Savage Men, from Messiahs and Witches, Harris looks at each cultural riddle and gives equally pragmatic theories.

Why is this important in marketing?

Well, for one, we must deal with Sacred Cows ~ both in terms of the companies we work for (and with) as well as those held dear by the markets we wish to reach. This could open quite a few eyes which want to see & sell in a global marketplace (as well as offer ways of seeing and surviving corporate cultures).

But it's not just these concepts which are illuminating. Nor is it the ability of the business savvy reader to extrapolate the ideas of the re-distribution of goods (and demands and expectations thereof). Or even for the lessons in Cultural Materialism (Harris' work in which ideas, values, and religious beliefs are the means or products of adaptation to environmental conditions and/or ecological and evolutionary systems). All fascinating, yet Harris offers something more.

Harris takes what we think we know, what we have been taught ~ and still teach years after his work ~ and re-examines it all. No longer must we accept anything we've been told, but are asked to search deeper, to scrutinize and study, and to come up with evidence for what we believe or state. We must also be prepared to change our beliefs and thoughts.

That alone is a lesson worthy of learning.

But there is more ~ and this is why I highly recommend this 'unusual' book to marketers (or anyone who feels they must specialize). In discussing overspecialization Harris wrote this in the Preface:
I respect the work of individual scholars who patiently expand and perfect their knowledge of a single century, tribe, or personality, but I think that such efforts must be made more responsive to issues of general and comparative scope. The manifest inability of our overspecialized scientific establishment to say anything coherent about the causes of lifestyles does not arise from any intrinsic lawlessness of lifestyle phenomena. Rather, I think it is the result of bestowing premium rewards on specialists who never threaten a fact with theory. A proportionate relationship such as has existed fro some time now between the volume of social research and the depth of social confusion can only mean one thing: the aggregate social function of all that research is to prevent people from understanding the causes of their social life.

The pundits of the knowledge establishment insist that this state of confusion is due to a shortage of studies. Soon there will be a seminar in the sky based on ten thousand new field trips. But we shall know less, not more, if these scholars have their way. Without a strategy aimed at bridging the gap between specialties and at organizing existing knowledge along theoretically coherent lines, additional research will not lead to a better understanding of the causes of lifestyles.
Here's an invitation, a challenge, to concentrate more on building bridges between specialties and to create meaningful bodies of work, rather than to compartmentalize and specialize to the degree that we explain & learn nothing.

Marketing is one one of those areas which already touches on, draws from, so many areas that we should be among the first (or more ardent) adopters of this practice of integration for a purpose.

The 'average' marketing person looking for a step-by-step outline of actions to follow, or guiding principals clearly listed, will be disappointed with this book. But for those who enjoy a meaty meal of ideas to slowly digest over time, adding this set of nutrients (views & ideas) to their steady diet of 'how to' books, this is a rich feast. For those above-average marketing pros who are serious about understanding society and culture, this is required reading.

The Whore's Rating: Buy It. And I mean that in general ~ per this review (NWS).

Title: Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture
Author: Marvin Harris
Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (December 17, 1989)
ISBN-10: 0679724680
ISBN-13: 978-0679724681

The Whore's Book Review Rating System:
Buy It: A must have for your shelf.

Buy It Now: Not only a 'must have,' but so good, you should rush order it.

Check Out: Go to your library and read it. (If it means more than that to you, then you can buy it or put it on your wish list.)

Pass: Not worth your time or money.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm Right, As Usual

People who use the Internet to read the news have a greater attention span than print readers, according to a U.S. study that refutes the idea that Web surfers jump around and don't read much.

Proof that what I say is true: the Internet is not the death of reading. Now we simply await a study which proves all my other points (about newspapers ~ and everything else too) is true. *wink*

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Carnival of Capitalists

I made the cut in the recent Carnival of Capitalists, hosted this week by Small Business Trends. While I'm always thrilled to make anyone's lists, I am especially tickled when I make mainstream lists. I know I shouldn't pander, and I certainly don't want to dismiss adult business as less-than, but it's nice to know the mainstream folks are reading too. We all have so much to learn from one another, but rarely do we mix.

I do urge you all to read this week's list, but I had to single out a few of my favorites:

8 Common Mistakes Recruiters Make is must reading for anyone that networks. I know what you're thinking ~ "I not recruiting or hiring anyone; I'm not in HR" ~ but you are networking. (At least I hope you are!) When networking you are representing your company. I don't care if your company or brand is 'just you,' a rag-tag team of volunteers, or a billion employees, if you are networking you are 'it' to those you meet. Not just potential consumers/buyers, but editors, columnists, models, reviewers, etc. When you speak to them, it's rather like a job interview experience. If this list of things could be said about you in one fashion or another, take a moment and think about it. (Memo to self: Work on number eight; those anthology submissions need to be addressed!)

Friday is Quadruple Witching Day is an intriguing list of what big economic indicators, like the Consumer Price Index, will be published this week. I'm not always a numbers gal, but between the numbers interesting stories await you ~ if you read and think. So look at what's coming up and then read and think. *wink*

Here are a few basic things which I suspect many of you will not go read ~ but honestly, are you above the basics? I make it a point every now and then to remind myself of what I am doing and why. So remind yourself about what your competition really is and how trust matters.

My favorite piece this week is Handicapping the Carr-Benkler Wager. It's a rather convoluted title, I'll admit, but this is an excellent look at "Gift Economy" and 'peer production,' i.e. YouTube videos, Digg and other Web 2.0 media.

The article's title comes from the "Carr-Benkler wager": a bet on whether, by 2011, such sites will be driven primarily by volunteers or by professionals." An interesting discussion, but there's more here...

There is a fascinating look at the issues of self-esteem and self-actualization and their effects on specialization ~ with lots of fodder for thinking marketers. When technology makes your head spin, when you think you can't compete because you aren't some software inventor, when you wonder if you can compete without the gizmos, gadgets and advertising that big budgets bring, remember this:
The proponents of the new technology say "We are dealing with new and unprecedented things!", to which Carr's basic reply is "The things may be new, but the people dealing with them have dealt with other new things repeatedly in the past, with very predictable behaviors." Technology changes quickly, but our brains do not. We are running the same 'wetware' as our ancient ancestors. Certain behavior patterns have been noted consistently for thousands of years.
You knew I'd love that bit, right? *wink* But 'tis true, I swear. When faced with uncertainty about technology, just remember that you have the same brains and behaviors as most of your potential clients and customers. You are still able to think like them in most regards.

For more on the carnival, and to find past weeks' selections, see the official site: Carnival of Capitalists. (I've also added it to the sidebar.)

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Social Media Marketing Reading

Some required reading regarding social networks ~ keep in mind, if you have an adult site or blog, your content may not be welcome (and you'd likely be missing your target audience anyway).

Of How to Leverage Web 2.0 & Social Media Sites to Market Your Brand & Control Your Message, I have to say their comments about MySpace, Yahoo! 360 & Technorati accurately reflect my experiences and so I'm taking what they have to say about the others to heart.

In How Many Friends Does Your Book Have? there is a more hopeful or promising picture of MySpace ~ for authors anyway. I can't deny the stories told, but my experiences are more in line with what SEOmoz has to say (above).

Over at Spin Thicket (one of my addictions), they have a whole category dedicated to what they call Social Disease Media. Funny, sad-but-true, and just the facts, this section is good reading for those interested in Web 2.0/Social Networking.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Where The Links Lead

If a person took the time to read and to post comments at your blog, they likely are part of your target audience and so conversing with them is a matter of great importance; but what they do tells you even more than what they said in their comment. When it comes to blog comments I read them, of course. But I also follow the information they provide.

(Tip: Always use your Blogger or Wordpress ID or fill in the email and URL information so that folks can find/follow you.)

When you post a comment here I want to know more about you, so I'll follow the link. Looking at your blog or website gives me insight into why you believe as you do. And it often leads to interesting things...

A recent example is Urban Iconoclast's comment. From the ID link, I found 'his' blog and several of his blog pals too (many of which discuss marketing, so I urge you to go and link surf).

One hot topic running about nearly as frantic as any blog meme was the topic of Z-List and Z-List 2.0. Like Sugasm the idea of Z-List is to create link swapping hotlists which employs a blog post to send traffic to other blogs. However, unlike Sugasm the list members are not all on a theme. (For evidence thereof see Servant of Chaos, where the Z-List 2.0 is provided, showing that these blogs are not on a theme.) The problem with this is two-fold: Your neither build page rank or other authority with search engines, nor are you offering your readers more of what they are looking for.

As usual, I am more worried about the latter point ~ where you personally direct readers. If someone enters a Z-List member's blog, lord knows where they are sent, what they will find. Yes, you may get more eyeballs to your site, but it's my opinion that you're sending folks away to 'anywhere' just on the premise that you'll get eyeballs sent to you as an 'anything.' It's not targeted traffic. I'm not sure how much use this is unless you are desperate to get someone, anyone, other than your mom and sister to read your blog.

In defense of Z-List, it seems that they are trying to create a system or list from which you can somewhat pick & choose who you link to. However, the problem with selection from the list this way means you are not guaranteed to be selected (linked) yourself ~ and if this is all a crap shoot, then why bother to be on a list? Why not just hand-pick who you want to link to, swap with, and share readers with.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bloggers V. Journalists

UCSB student Nicki is conducting research regarding blogs and bloggers, with a focus on credibility issues. She's interested in determining if bloggers are deemed as credible as other news media outlets, if bloggers receive or should receive the same rights as journalists do, and other issues of authority.

You are invited to participate via her anonymous online survey.

If you are like The Whore and find you have more to say on the matter, let Nicki interview you. (I think I talked her ear off, poor thing lol) If you'd like to share your opinions and experiences with Nicki, email me and I'll connect you with her.

Out of respect for her research, I won't discuss all my thoughts here ~ but when her paper's completed in March, you know I'll explode with my comments here. Nicki's promised to share some of her results with us too, which ought to be very interesting.

So go take the survey and email me if you'd like to participate in an interview with Nicki. A little good karma goes a long way.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

What Am I, Link Bait?

Linkbaiting or link baiting is a term for getting your blog noticed. It's not a very new term. Hell, it's not even a new idea ~ it's marketing folks.

I just love it when folks feel the need to make up new terms for the same old things. Sex by any other name...

To illustrate my point, I direct you to Wikipedia where it lists the types of link bait:

* Informational Hooks - Provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience through which readers can benefit.
* News Hooks - Provide fresh information and garner citations and links as the news spreads.
* Humor Hooks - Tell a funny story or a joke. A bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons can also prove to be a link bait.
* Evil Hooks - Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger. Provide strong reasons for it.
* Tool Hooks - Create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.

Isn't this just common sense? Write something of interest "so that bloggers and social media users are made aware and can help promote the piece in tandem." It's just plain marketing folks. It's a matter of simply creating quality content, which you know The Whore is in favor of.

But, oh how confusing this is for so many.

Last year BizNicheMedia held a linkbait contest wherein folks were to submit their best link bait ideas. Of the 74 ideas, ranging from serious to mockery with the same run of intelligence, BizNicheMedia selected a winner.

In my opinion the best one was from 'Dictionary' who wrote:

My idea:
Make a product worth linking to.
Contact me for payment details.

Because that kids, is some integrity. Don't focus on gimmicks; do something of quality.

But that was not the winner. They selected the guy in the crowd who sent in this gem:

You can't go wrong with boobs.
To paraphrase Howard Stern: "Boobs = links."

Their very selection makes me mistrust them. They went for an obvious traffic getter of sorts, the kind of 'hook' that Wiki didn't expressly list, but completely miss the point of reaching a target market ~ and a product to sell. (I'm rather certain BizNicheMedia doesn't sell breasts.)

Even while they admit their contest itself was linkbait, the winner was a loser. Credibility took a nosedive. Do I have lots of faith in this site, this company? No, I do not. Would I even consider going to them for whatever it is that they do? Nope. (But then, to be fair, after considerable poking about I have no idea what the hell they are doing there. Truly. I am confused.)

Their attempts at linkbaiting give marketing a bad name. (No, I'm not trying to use the 'Evil Hook' here.)

But on to something positive to learn from.

Internet guru Eric Ward also wrote this piece on linkbaiting from an SEO point of view. When it comes to SEO you know I primarily focus on providing content which gives you not just the keywords you want but the target audience too (or at least you should know this after last week's newsletter). But no matter, this is relevant for a few reasons.

While Eric doesn't reference the same contest, it seems rather clear that his points mirror my thoughts. Hype for hype's sake, linkbaiting or link whoring, no matter how much traffic you think it brings you, well, it just isn't all it's made out to be. Especially if you ignore your audience along the way.

Likely Eric and I started thinking about linkbaiting for different reasons. We have different audiences, keywords, and sometimes seemingly very different philosophies. Funny how we end up in the same place though, huh?

Which brings me to the other reason I mentioned Eric and SEO...

It's never wise to ignore the other camp. (It's also never wise to ignore Eric). Sometimes they can point to a worthy trick or two, othertimes you discover you are talking about the same thing afterall.

Here are a few of the other camp locations to read at:

PageTraffic Blog
Search Engine Land

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