Monday, October 20, 2008

When Content Isn't King

Last week on Cult of Gracie, Callie & I were joined by Pearly Writes and Rebecca Deos for a long conversation about SEO and content.

For the most part, we all agree: content is the best organic SEO. You'll have to listen to the show for where we split hairs regarding SEO and social network sites, etc., but worthy of noting here today was our discussion regarding use of content.

Callie and I began the conversation by stating that before you blog (or your business, really) you have to know your mission. How else are you going to measure your success? Part of this business of your mission relates to content, how to use it, and the matter of "should you give it away for free?"

While we all agreed there are times to withhold content for money, deciding 'when' is the tricky part. Callie, who does consulting & writes conceptual articles & "how to" posts, discussed how some of her most thoughtful "free stuff" was often either not understood & therefore misapplied, or read too quickly (a kind way of saying that folks didn't really get it) and the information was not used correctly. She's decided that she won't be giving such things away, but rather saving most of her "goodies" for clients ~ not just to be paid, but to ensure that the advice or concept is applied as intended. Rebecca, an escort, uses her blog to write about things that interest her purely as a way for prospective clients to know more about her. And certainly an author has to decide what stories/columns should be sold versus what can be given away for free, as 'exposure.'

In any case, this "to be paid or not to be paid" is a rather subjective decision ~ one which can only effectively be decided once you know your goals/mission.

But this lead to a conversation about the worth of writing ~ again, partially based upon all the recent loss of so many "sex columnists". (It's a conversation I appreciate being kept alive by grande folks such as Amber, Dacia, & Callie.)

My thoughts wandered to the matter of value ~ value beyond paid or not, or how much per word, etc., but the matter of the value of adult writing on human sexuality.

We know that sex is deemed a less legitimate conversation than say politics, finance, or technology. Everyone knows I find that both a stupid ideology (everybody literally has a reason to both know about & explore sexuality) and a dumb argument in light of the fact that sex does in fact sell ~ and I'm talking actually selling sex, be it porn, toys, or sex worker services ~ to the tune of millions, billions of dollars annually. But the value of sex writing, fiction and non-fiction, cannot be discussed only in terms of its relation to non sexual writing ~ if only for the fact that we're missing the definition of the value of writing in general. Time for some conceptual algebra.

What value does writing have? And perhaps, more pointedly, just what is of value on the Internet?

Lately I'm more and more struck by the freakish facts which point to the fact that technology & its tools (the code, widgets, etc. known as Web 2.0) garner more money, attention and credit than content.

Name a site, strip it of its content and what do you have? Just a bunch of code. Yet people are buying code and concepts of code & tools rather than putting money into what it is that people really come to, return to, and love sites for: content.

All websites are publications/productions, so this monetary focus on the tools of the publication/production is akin to gushing over the pencil, the typewriter, the lush yet blank pages of a magazine. I'm focusing on writing here (and perhaps it's warranted because words are still the way things are found on the Internet), but this applies to images too. For example, Flickr without photos and images is nothing but a a potentially cool tool that's not being used; it only becomes popular when the tool is used to deliver content.

But the money seems to be going to the folks who create the tools, while content creators, adult or otherwise, are slighted. It's too lopsided.

So perhaps the question we should all be asking isn't, "Should I give it away for free?" or even "When should I give it away for free?" but rather "When are the big sites with budgets going to realize how damn important content is?"

For the flip-side of this argument, please read Rebecca's thoughts from after the radio show.

And then, please do tell us all what you think about the use of content and the value of writing.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Both Callie Simms & The Marketing Whore?

Yup, both Callie & I will be on Cult of Gracie Radio tonight, from 9-10 PM (Central), discussing mainstream & mature marketing ~ and whatever else pops into our heads & comes out of our mouths.

You can join the conversation, maybe even dictate the course of it by asking questions ~ call 646.200.3136

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Clash Of The Sex Writers: Should We Stay Or Should We Go Now?

A further, even lengthier, response to Audacia Ray's The End of the Sex Writer?

Like myself, Audacia says she sees herself as an activist, an advocate; and that writing is the medium for her message. In that sense we have to accept that there will not be paid writing gigs ~ in fact, there really are no paid activist positions.

No, not because getting paid is becoming "a sell-out to da man," but because no one pays a person directly for their activism. (Unless you count lobbyists; but so far, I've found no one willing to back sex as an issue. Let me know if you have any leads and I'll give you my packet.)

You could start a non-profit; but in order to become paid you'll need to be the executive director (at the beginning, you'll be lucky if you can afford to pay for even that position). But then, because staff members are usually not allowed to be on the organization's board, you will lose ability to control the organization. (After several years in the nonprofit sector, I've seen how the, "Oh, but I've selected the board to maintain my vision," works out. That varies between "poorly" and "horrific," by the way.)

I've written before about having to decide if you're in business or an activist, so I'll refer you to that post.

Now, if you've opted for "business" (with or without a dose of "activism" or "cultural mission" to your branding) and refuse to monetize your own site(s), looking elsewhere for a paycheck, let's look at what's happening in the business of sex writing.

Sex is still a taboo. Those of us who work with/in/under/behind/through any issues of sexuality, legal or not, face discrimination (and I mean real discrimination, not the made up kind). There are less options in general and they come with higher fees we must pay, further scrutiny for services, and even bigger prices in terms of employment and social relationships. Audaica (who I swear I am not picking on!) has been running into these issues head-on recently, as noted by Chris in The Shrinking Public Square.

I don't mean to sound bitchy or condescending here and I'm certainly not trying to alienate myself from anyone, let alone anyone in the business of taking sex out of the closet and having it be a recognized & respected part of the human experience; but I've been talking about all of this stuff here, and here, and here, and ~ hell, pick a site, a post, as you'd like. It's been a decade of writing online, folks.

It's not that I'm whining that no one's listening to me (although, who doesn't like to be noticed?), but it seems that there's a huge gap in understanding. Maybe it's due to age & experience (I'm likely at least a decade older than most of these folks). Or maybe it's a failure to understand how publishing works ~ especially when it comes to mainstream publications and sex.

The fact is that these publications which were paying sex columnists were not in the business of sex education nor with a mission of sex positivity.

Be honest, dear readers, if you weren't following the authors involved here because you knew them, would you ever turn to Valleywag or Wired for your sex info?

Does anyone read Fleshbot? It's no literary journal; it's a smorgasbord of tits & ass for 20-somethings who don't know better (and for older folks who should know better). This is due, in no small part, to cranking out way-too-much content ~ as Audacia mentioned. That's not only a shame, but a failure on the part of the writer &/or activist who expects to be read at a site that pushes more pink bits than the eraser factories do.

Naked City ~ that blog was so clunky I heard things fall off when the page loaded. And don't even get me started on what's wrong with the Village Voice.

So, times get tough, advertising shrinks, and these publications decide to axe writers. It happens; in print, on the web, everywhere. It's tough for smart writers who know they had done nothing wrong, had nothing to do with the decision (nor any of the decisions prior on how to run their business), but that's the way it goes.

For all the "newness" of these Internets, business still has the same old model to follow: make profit. (And more than a few of them are missing the boat by applying the same practices that they mock print for; but that's for another time.)

Do I think sex writers were likely viewed as the first to go in these economic cuts? You bet I do. In fact, if I were sitting there, making the decisions, I'd likely have done the same thing. A) Sex is not representational of the companies' core missions, and 2) having sex on pages can will deter advertisers.

If these companies had committed more to the issue sexuality as a right and therefore an integral part of their publications, rather than posing as sex positive hipsters exploiting sex columnists & titillating titular to garner some eyeballs and a wink-wink-nudge-nudge mentality, then my call ~ and likely the publishers' ~ would have been different.

On one hand I am frustrated by a world which refuses to have sexuality be a part of legitimate conversation; I'd love to see sex included as an important, fundamental human issue for grown-ups period.

On the other hand, these places were only using sex as a loss-leader and they could no longer absorb the loss.

That was their bottom line talking.

And they had no sex positive mission to adhere to, remember?

Now, when it comes to "sex writers," we all have our choices to make. Not just, "stay or go?" but if we stay, how? Are we in business? Are we activists? Both? And if both, how will we blend the two?

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Read, You Will

Links from my Delicious Bookmarks:

Oversharing, Blogging, And Transparency: Notes—And Quotes—From A Talk
Susan Mernit reports on a talk she gave at Arse Electronika, the conference about sex and technology and culture, on blogging, transparency, authenticity, and identity.

Mediabistro Panel topics?
What kinds of panel topics would you like to see mediabistro.com produce in 2009?

A Slip of a Girl: I Read, I Rant; It's As Simple As That
Who told you to make a 'cutsie website in flash'? Whoever it was, they ought to be shot. The person/persons behind the push of flash are idiots because...

High-Five Fridays, The Banned Book Week Edition - Sex~Kitten.net (NWS)
Celebrating Banned Books Week the Sex Kitten way.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

This Week's Links

This week's marketing links from my Delicious Bookmarks:

MarketingProfs Knowledge Exchange : Ethics of blogging

My company just started a blog, and I found some issues to write about that I think are important to the industry. However, when I visited my competitor's websites to find more ideas I noticed some of their blogs aren't really what I think a blog would be. They are more like FAQ's pasted onto a blog. This got me thinking are there really any ethics or guidelines to blogging?

Hey Blogger, Are You Ready for the Lawsuit? | Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog

When a journalist takes on a company, brand, individual or other entity -- they are protected by the big media companies that employ them. Bloggers, not so much

Feature Focus: The New Face of Amateur Porn - XBIZ.com

While some folks might find this increased level of public acceptance of adult material to be a good thing, it planted the seeds for what this observer sees as potentially being the worst thing to hit adult entertainment since the Meese Commission.

Catalina Loves » Blog Archive » Catalina loves Her Daughter - Buy a Raffle Ticket to Win one of Many Great Prizes!

I’ve never discussed this on my blog before, but recent developments have prompted me to discuss the reason why I’m no longer a teacher. Being Catalina isn’t always a good thing. I separated early this year with my school as a peaceful way to avoid a public scandal that would ultimately affect my teenage daughter, who attended said school.

Writing sex and parenting - dangerous but essential | Sex In The Public Square

There are few places where our public and private lives become blended into such ugly displays as they do in custody and divorce proceedings. The current controversy surrounding Jefferson's appeal for support because of a custody challenge that is, at least partly, based on his blogging about his sex life demonstrates that better than almost anything could.

Who Made Publishers the Morality Police? | BlogHer

"Let the books speak for themselves. If you don't want your kid to read a book because of the author's post-publication actions then don't buy it, but you should get to decide what is suitable for your child, not the publisher."

XXBN: The Monolith Of Alternative Media: Thoughts On Blogs & Blogging

Blog definitions; something I find both interesting and irrelevant.

Techno @ VirtualCrux: How to enable del.icio.us daily blog posting to Blogger using FeedBurner

del.icio.us daily blog posting is not compatible with Blogger. Here's a solution to this problem using FeedBurner.

A Slip of a Girl: Claims Of Big Britches Make Me Post Big Bitches

recent Violet Blue "blog-troversy" in which BoingBoing removed/unpublished/deleted posts of Ms Blue's

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Amanda Brooks On Marketing On XXBN

Amanda Brooks, a retired escort and author of The Internet Escort's Handbook series, will be on Cult of Gracie radio at 9 pm (central). Since Amanda's second book, Advertising and Marketing: Successfully Creating and Selling Your Image Online, is due out in June, this is an excellent time for you Marketing Whore readers to listen ~ and call in.

If it's anything like her first book (NWS), it will be brilliant ~ and useful for more than escorts and PSOs etc. So don't miss it.

For more on Amanda, see the show details.

As most (?) of you know by now, I work with Amanda Brooks at SWOP-East. But before you go thinking that's why Amanda's book got such a rave review, you should know it's quite the opposite: Amanda's brilliance convinced Gracie that she'd like to work with the brilliant Amanda Brooks and SWOP-East.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Adult Marketer, Can You Use Blog Talk Radio?

I was recently interviewed on XBN (NWS), a radio program run by SWOP East, which is powered by Blog Talk Radio. Not only was it fun, prompting me to schedule another interview (perhaps even host a show), but the experience resurrected talk of Sex-Kitten.Net radio.

For a few years we've been discussing starting a radio show, but along with the investment costs (equipment, time and additional marketing efforts), we were skeptical of the feasibility of such a project. While we know that discussion of sexuality is both needed and desired, we worried if the uphill battle of selling the program would result in a watered-down, wet-blanket version of the show & programming we envisioned. The other option, of course, was to run our own Internet radio station ~ which led back to the additional costs of equipment and bandwidth on top of all the other issues. The bottom line was if we had less tech and marketing efforts, it would be worth the old college try; but without that support, it was a bit too much to bite-off. So the the project was shelved, occasionally resurrected when something, like the XBN interview, reignited the spark of passion.

Back in the early days of discussion, our research included the newborn baby BlogTalkRadio.com. And we've investigated, as they've popped up, other options. But none seemed as simple as easy, with the most options, as Blog Talk Radio. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and a phone. And yes, kids, Blog Talk Radio is free.

It's free for listeners, and even free for callers if they use VoIP.

The past few years have shown not only Blog Talk Radio's stability in the reliable sense, but a real growth in terms of listener audience and increased options.

Along with the opportunity to increase your connection with readers via audio (listening to live shows, downloading podcasts, and offering additional real-time conversations with your blog &/or website readers), you have the opportunity to recruit new fans via regular users of BlogTalkRadio.

BlogTalkRadio isn't just a technology platform, allowing you to create shows and store them; it's a social network where members can find and hook-up with & befriend other members ~ which includes show hosts as well as other listeners. They also offer a number of widgets, which allows fans to literally help you broadcast your shows by posting your show on their blogs and in their profiles at other social networking sites.

In January of this year, Blog Talk Radio also started a RevShare Program. When you opt in, show hosts can receive 35% of ad sales/sponsors for their shows ~ and if you find a show sponsor who is not currently using Blog Talk Radio, you'll get a 50% share of the ads they place on your shows. (All paid show sponsorship & advertising must be run-through Blog Talk Radio.)

This also means that if you have an adult product, your ad money is welcome at Blog Talk Radio. Starting at $100, you can buy ad space at targeted radio shows where the listening audience is your market audience, willing and ready to buy. You can see more information and find the full rate info here.

There have been a lot of changes at BlogTalkRadio, and with renewed interest I began to investigate if now was the time...

I found the FAQs (both the public list and the additional FA available for registered users) a bit confusing, and being one of those polite marketers, I wanted to see just how welcome adult content would be. So I got in touch with John Sweet, Director of Customer Relations for BlogTalkRadio.com.

Are we adult folks welcome at Blog Talk Radio?

Yes. And you'll see when you fill out the information for hosting a show that there are several options ~ there's both a "Mature" and an "Adults Only".

What are the standards?

It's self-regulating; but basically "Mature" would be an "R" or "NC-17" and "Adults Only" would be for more risque talk ~ but again, we're still not talking X-rated or pornographic talk. The rule of thumb here is the entertainment aspect: discussion about sex is OK, but reading an erotic story is not. In other words, you can move the listeners to actions such as "buy this book", "attend this conference", or "show up at the rally"; but if you're trying to move them into ah, well, lifting their hand for some other self-entertainment purpose, then that's a no-no.

John was clear to also tell me what would happen if someone were to complain or contact BlogTalkRadio regarding a show's content. You won't get the boot instantly. He'll review the show and if there's a concern, he'll contact the show's host to discuss what can be done to make corrections to avoid potential problems in the future. So you have some breathing room; self-regulation is not a trick question, setting you up to fail.

One thing you must know about adult shows is that they will not be visible to the average visitor to BlogTalkRadio.com. This does not mean your show is buried. Registered users may opt to see & search for listings in the mature & adult only shows simply by correctly setting permissions in their profile. Just toggle "Disabled" in the safe search setting, located in the "My Options" section of your "Settings" page.



And, registered user or not, any links directly to your show's page will be seen and heard. So, like any good marketer would do, when you link to your show from your website &/or blog (or fans do), folks will properly arrive there; no fancy settings or permissions needed.

Other info you may want clarified:

Show Length:

Show length is listed as up to 60 minutes, but it is now up to 120 minutes ~ plus you can have up to one additional hour in which the show is being taped for the archives, but is not streaming live. So if your guest has created quite a crowd of questioners, you, the guest and callers may still continue the show. New listeners arriving at the page will not hear it, but anyone playing back the archived show will hear it all, up to 180 minutes.

Remember, you need not have a show or shows that long; you may select show length to be as little as 15 minutes. But once the stated length of the show ends, you have up to 60 additional minutes of recording time. Which brings up the matter of what happens post show, if/when you and your guest are doing wrap-up chatter. It is being recorded and you should let the guest know that it is still being taped &/or edit this out of the recording so it is not included in the show's archive.

Newbie Restrictions

When you are a new host of a show on Blog Talk Radio, you are limited to three shows per month, and you may not have a show during prime time hours (without special permission ~ more on that in a bit).

It doesn't sound like a lot to an eager new radio personality, but John assures me it's not such a problem. As your show increases in popularity (number of live listeners and number of downloaded archived shows), a magical algorithm calculates your worthiness of more shows. In other words, by the time you've got a few under your belt, you'll be ready for more. (And if not, well, then increase your marketing efforts.)

Radio, is a lot like blogging. It takes time to build your blog, your audience and pacing is a huge part of it. (How many times have we seen a new blogger post like crazy, with dozens of posts a day or a week, only to find they've abandoned the blog a few weeks later... Having a low start limit prevents enthusiastic burnout rates.)

Prime Time Slots

Prime time slots, as defined by Blog Talk Radio, are 7:00 PM EST to 12:00 AM EST, Monday through Friday.

The issue of limiting prime time show spots is obviously based on the desirability of such time slots. As these are the most popular hours for listening, BlogTalk Radio naturally wants to play fair with them, and overall limits them to one prime time slot per week. Newbies have to pay their dues, build an audience, to earn that time. Again, John says that it's not too difficult to get in. And in fact, we adult folks may have an inside track...

It only makes sense that adult programming would be more popular in the evening, as adults can't listen to such shows at work or while the kiddies are awake and about. So if you have an "Adults Only" or "Mature" show, contact John (johnsweet+at+blogtalkradio.com) and ask him to help give you the clearance to schedule during prime time.

Fine Print

Registering at BlogTalkRadio.com requires a user agreement. This user agreement indicates that you do not own the copyright to your show.

This means that you may not sell rights to your show, but Blog Talk Radio may.

It's a scary thing for a content creator to contemplate... I asked John about that, and it's pretty simple. They have the right to sell your shows or excerpts of your shows. You don't get paid, but you should get your name out there.

So, for a hypothetical example, if NPR wants seven minutes of an interview on your show, they need to negotiate that with Blog Talk Radio. You don't get a cut; but you will be mentioned. John agrees that not mentioning the specific show and host would be a disservice to both the host/creator and the listener. (Plus, John said Blog Talk Radio would want to talk that up themselves as well.) But if you want to retain rights and control of your radio show or podcast, then this isn't an option for you.

Other Blot Talk Radio Options

As I mentioned, Blog Talk Radio has grown quite a bit in the past few years. They are continually increasing options and features. One of the most intriguing to me was BlogTalkRadio stations.

Station are a means by which you can broadcast multiple shows & further brand yourself. Prior to stations, if you wanted multiple shows, you had to create multiple user ids. While that allows you the option of more than one show, it doesn't allow for them all to be under the same umbrella. The rates for stations are a tidy sum, starting at $5,000 a month. I'm not one of those marketers who says you can't put a price on branding (Because if you can't, well, what's the point? It's a business after all.), but I wouldn't readily dismiss such a fee.

Along with tech assistance, show producers (help with calls etc.), you have to consider the practical matter of Internet hosting. There's both the software to run the shows, streaming of live shows (including chat & callers), and the storing of archived shows. That's a lot of data, a lot of bandwidth. Also, to off-set the cost of a station, you are able to keep 100% of ad & sponsorship payments you gather. And, as a station owner, you do own the copyright to your shows.

John mentioned a few other new features that Blog Talk Radio will be launching soon ~ but I've agreed to be mum until he gives me permission to mention them. So keep an eye out here ~ or I'll poke your eye out there. :p

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just The Marketing Whore Whoring Herself...

I'm going to be on XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network, on Saturday, April 5th at 9 p.m. (central).

XBN is a SWOP East Media Project, and I'm really proud to be asked.

I'd love it if any of you called in...

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

High-Five Fridays #11

High-Five Fridays
1) My dear friend, Libby, has started Red Light District Chicago, "Sex workers making media so the media doesn't make us." (In case you don't understand the need for this, here's some background: The Importance Of Sex Worker Made Media.) (NWS)

2) Dee Stewart has tips on How to Breathe Life Back into Your Blog.

3) Amber Rhea quit writing at Download Squad; can't say I blame her one bit. I high-five the self-awareness to realize what your limits are, and the self-respect it takes to stay on that side of the line.

4) In Oh, The Irony, Slip of a Girl mocks misuse of the word in hipster fashion advertising.

5) Thoman B. Edsall's Huffington Post piece, Interview With Walter Pincus On The State Of The Press.

I found myself saying a big amen to lots of things; particularly this:
EDSALL: But are you saying in this new generation of reporters, there is much more a sense of the need for personal comfort and less interest in expressing outrage or whatever --

[Less interest in what is now called "crusading"?]

PINCUS: Well, there's more interest in expressing outrage on personal matters, you know -- Clinton's activities with Monica, Spitzer and call girls. Everybody's against that [kind of behavior.] That's easy. But those aren't policy issues. And I think it's just not the Post, I think it's everybody. I also think -- I mean, the Post and the Times to give them credit, do some good work. That's why I go back to Walter Reed. Nobody else did it.
Want to give your own high-fives? 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, March 26, 2008

"You give a group of romance writers a couple of drinks and they'll admit it is pornography"

Roxanne Rhoads tells us how Erotica was insulted in Writer's Digest (NWS):
Mr. Vaughn interviewed a romance agent for information about the romance genre, a Steven Axelrod who supposedly has been a romance agent for over 30 years. (Obviously not a very good one if he knows nothing of the hot, hot, hot market of erotica). Axelrod is quoted as saying "You give a group of romance writers a couple of drinks and they'll admit it is pornography," he says. "It's hard to see it as true romance, and it has a very limited audience- they can't seem to grow it. Very few good storytellers seem to be staking their careers there."

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Paid Writers, Or Paid Posts For SEO?

This post from CNN Money, Firms that actually pay bloggers (a bit) focuses mainly on Associated Content, one of Google's babies.
One of the more intriguing approaches to this model is Associated Content, a site backed by Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) North American advertising chief Tim Armstrong and hatched by his former college roommate, Luke Beatty. What sets three-year-old Associated apart is that in addition to promising to share revenues with its contributor community, it gives writers an up-front payment based on a nifty Google-like algorithm to assess the potential popularity of submission.

Once an article is run through Associated's "yield management system," the company then sends the writer a one-time up-front fee that typically ranges from $4 to $20.00 (although most of the payments are closer to the low end). Additionally, Associated pays contributors $1.50 for every 1,000 page views their article, which usually run in the 600-word-count range, generates.
To many this will seem less than the amounts garnered via advertising revenues, donations, affiliate sales, &/or direct product sales; but at least they are paying ~ even if the math is as complicated as Google's own algorithm.
Indeed, among the attributes Associated's software analyzes are popular key words that entice search engines, and whether the author already has a track record within the system. If the system deems an article unsuitable for print, a content editor will send it back with some thought on how it can be made ready for distribution. This happens with about 30% of submissions, Reiss said, noting that nothing is "spiked" in the traditional media sense, but rather held until the system says it is ready.
If this sounds like articles are edited, that's not exactly true... It's more about SEO than the craft of writing:
In a sense, Associated automates the front-end story-generation process in publishing the same way that Google, Yahoo and other online giants have attempted to automate the back-end process of advertising online. Traditionally, publications spend a lot of effort vetting potential contributions and setting editorial budgets to attract the appropriate level of talent to write for them.

Reiss is quick to caution, however, that Associated's business is geared toward giving casual bloggers or first-time writers a way to get paid and have their work more widely read - but it's not (yet) seen as a replacement for mainstream media. Being a big-name writer already gets you no points, nor does Associated's computer give marks for good writing.
I also found this intriguing...
One of Associated's rivals told me that the rub against them is that they are filling the Internet with sub-par material that is geared toward gaming search engines - a claim that Reiss rejects.
Who was that unnamed rival, anyway? Inquiring minds want to know...

As a Google baby, it should be no surprise to read the following:
As far as [Ashley] Sinatra is concerned, Associated's system does have its quirks and perks. She has written on everything from the benefits of raw pet food to makeup tips and advice for aspiring writers, all for "basically minimum wage". But, she says, her most widely-read article was one she submitted last May -about celebrities baring their breasts in public. Apparently Associated did not offer her an advance payment for that piece, but it was her most lucrative work to date, yielding around $30. "They usually don't pay up front for celebrity things but those get the most page views," Sinatra, 18, told me over the phone. "It's weird, their system: You can write an article about something really boring but somebody will want it."
Once again, even though Google knows sex sells, they won't properly acknowledge it up front.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bad Pimp, Diane Sawyer, Bad Pimp

I don't often rant enough about sex work in the media. Here or anywhere. But Friday night's 20/20 two-hour nightmare, Prostitution in America: Working Girls Speak, has me foaming at the mouth.

(That link is NWS; but this one is, should you need a safer site to read at.)

I urge you to read it ~ and not just because I wrote it. Even if you do not consider yourself a sex-worker, you should abso-freakin'-lutely care about horrid journalism. Honestly, what Diane Sawyer et all did with this is completely unethical and exploitative.

I also urge you to contact ABC about the program & to see Bound Not Gagged's call to action.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

High-Five Fridays #3 (Givin' Props Where I Can)

High-Five Fridays
Props to my girl Pop Tart (aka DeeDee at SK ~ and endless others) for two things:

#1 Creating a cool award. The Get Out! Kitschy Kitschy Coo Award isn't just another random "I like you" blogging award; this one is for excellence amusement in comments. What a great way to increase participation at your blog! (May Will have to 'borrow' this idea.)

#2 For said award, Pop Tart used PikiStrips to make the award image or badge. I know lots of you can use PhotoShop (and excel at it); but I'm not like you. I'm also on Linux which can greatly limit the number of other online image editing sites (due to flash) & downloads (Windows or Apple only) ~ but PikiStrips I can use! (Yeah, look forward to lots of my works to appear here ~ I've got some free time this weekend lol)

#3 Slip of a Girl has a great post on the changing size of the fashion market and how smart manufacturers can profit from it.

#4 Greg dishes on the new era in media ~ which poses some chewy questions I'll likely masticate at length later.

#5 Mister Linky That's the widget you see at the bottom of these (and other) meme posts. I love that it allows participants to add their linkage to the post (rather than me having to do it, or having them only seen by those who read the comments).

Today, however, their server had a issue and it caused any site with Mister Linky code to be unloadable ~ it was a short time (though a sneeze seems eternal in length while waiting), but those of us scrambling to find contact were thwarted by the use of contactprivacy.com (used to cloak WhoIs etc.). Since the bugs I note tend to get beaucoup search results, I will list a contact addy here for those who need to find/note it: super dot linky at gmail dot com. (And note the gmail addy ~ that means even if the site servers itch again, the email can still be received!)

Mister Linky still gets a high-five because when I thought of what I'd have to do without it, I about puked :p Oh, and pay for the Gold membership. At $10 a year, you can use it across multiple sites with just a few tweaks.

Want to give your own high-fives? 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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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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Friday, January 4, 2008

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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Friday, December 21, 2007

The Girl In The Know To Know Is Chloe Jo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

All Things Equal? I Wonder...

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

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

I ask you, how level is it now?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Get In Bed With Fashion Bloggers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Adult Industry Quote Of The Day

"Porn, that most graphic of genres, is nevertheless responsible for the wholesale obfuscation of several terms, especially what it means to be a MILF in this country. Let's say one is an expectant father and wants to know what sex will be like after the post-partum depression wears off. He buys a MILF movie from online porn merchant Gamelink only to discover that the "MILF" is not a mom at all -- she's merely 29."

~ Gram Ponante ~ (NWS)

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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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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shoe Fetish?

Naughty Surrealism Used to Sell Shoes - Fashion Mag Gets Controversial (GALLERY)

(TrendHunter.com) V Magazine used a controversial fashion editorial to showcase this season's must-have shoes. Combining images of the female form and stylist Brian Mollov's foot-wear picks for the fall, the magazine spread is tastefully done, yet is still facing a lot of scrutiny by more conservative types.

The ph… [More]

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Want Fries To Go With That Shake?

James Hibberd says Porn Descriptions Challenge Copywriters:
Somewhere there is a copywriter who had to create a description for "Brazilian Butt Fetish" in 10 words or less without offending anybody. This unique occupational challenge stems from two relatively new events: Cable and satellite providers quietly adding harder-edged porn channels to their lineups, and the advent of detailed on-screen interactive program listing guides.
Fleshbot picks up the baton and asks, "What Would Fleshbot Readers Do?" (NWS link) and presents a challenge:
Given the title and premise, can you describe a XXX film in ten words or less without profanity? We'll even make it easy for you and choose our one of favorite porn epics of last year ever: "Dirt Pipe Milkshakes 2." We know the title sells itself, but think of the late night fapper who needs a little more convincing. Best entry wins the respect and adoration of tens of your fellow commenters.
Go on, give it a go *wink*

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

House panel approves legal shield for bloggers

ZDNet reports:

A congressional panel on Wednesday voted, against the Bush administration's wishes, to shield journalists including advertising-supported bloggers from having to reveal their confidential sources in many situations.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Today's Word: Evolve

I love the Evolve campaign by Trojan. Love, love, LOVE it.

In the commerical, male pigs hit on women, striking out until one decides to be prepared for safe sex, getting a Trojan, and then becomes human.



I love it because it's relateable. I love it because, as a woman, it's grand to see the message that women aren't assumed to be the party responsible for safe sex &/or birth control. (It's so annoying to live in a world where men are allowed to be sexually aggressive but leave the consequences to the women.) The Evolve ad depicts men who aren't prepared for safe sex to as pigs and juxtaposes that image with condoms, the responsible behavior.

All this means I love it as a marketer.

Interestingly, Trojan, isn't spoken and even the logo appears only briefly on the bathroom's vending machine and at the end. Jim Daniels, vp of marketing, said the company was focusing less on growing market share than growing the market. I think the commerical serves the intent and the brand well, very well, indeed.

However, both CBS and FOX rejected Evolve ads by Trojan. In its rejection CBS wrote, "while we understand and appreciate the humor of this creative, we do not find it appropriate for our network even with late-night-only restrictions."

"It's so hypocritical for any network in this culture to go all puritanical on the subject of condom use when their programming is so salacious," said Mark Crispin Miller, a media critic who teaches at New York University. "I mean, let's get real here. Fox and CBS and all of them are in the business of nonstop soft porn, but God forbid we should use a condom in the pursuit of sexual pleasure."

Amen.

This points to the current problem those of us in adult marketing face every day.

"We always find it funny that you can use sex to sell jewelry and cars, but you can't use sex to sell condoms," said Carol Carrozza, vice president of marketing for Ansell Healthcare, which makes LifeStyles condoms. "When you're marketing condoms, something even remotely suggestive gets an overly analytical eye when it's going before networks' review boards."

Why is it unacceptable to be so damn honest? Honest about your product; honest about human needs. It's stupefying. Why doesn't business evolve and get their heads out of their behinds?

It's like we're the women and the folks who make decisions like CBS and FOX are the pigs.


The good news is that the commercial will run on ABC, NBC and nine cable networks, and print ads will appear in 11 magazines as well as on on seven Web sites. (Feel free to write emails and letters of support to these folks, letting them know you approve!) All will highlight a Web site, trojanevolve.com.

Daniels also said that the company was spending more on the Evolve campaign than any previous campaign, though declined to say how much.

(Hey Daniels, I'll run your ads! And I can get you a free list of more who will do the same. *wink*)

Source, New York Times.

Trojan is owned by Church & Dwight Co., Inc.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No Payola

One sure sign this pay per posting crap is way out of hand is that now we have "organizations" like DisclosurePolicy.Org which try to make this all sound ethical. As if this should sound ethical. :snort:

According to that 'organization':
By disclosing the purpose of a blog, bloggers are letting readers know more about the information they'll be reviewing. Bloggers retain the freedom to write original content, as well as select which advertisers they will represent in exchange for gifts or money. Any ethical concerns will remain where they've always been - on the individual level. Because it is a blogger's freedom to select which topics will bring them payment, he/she remains responsible for his/her own reputation.
I say those of who not only believe in transparency but in authority as well ~ those of us with ethics ~ band together and tell everyone that we don't, we won't, accept paid posts.

Post a button or banner at your blog or website to let others know that you just won't take part in payola.

I recommend that you link the button to your own policy or ethics page/post, and include a link here so that others may join us too. If you do post a link to Marketing Whore, post a link in the comments to show me (and to help others who may be unsure what to say about their policies). Or email me with the link. Either way, I will add your blog to the blogroll.

Please do not hotlink (steal bandwidth); if you need help with images, go here.

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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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Friday, May 25, 2007

Talking Heads

Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who must hail from Uranus, says that TV is going to hell and that those darn women-folk are to blame:
"The trouble is the BBC now is run by women and it shows soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays. You wouldn't have had that in the golden days."

I used to watch Doctor Who and Star Trek, but they went PC - making women commanders, that kind of thing. I stopped watching

"I would like to see two independent wavelengths - one controlled by women, and one for us, controlled by men."
The ass-tronomer said female newsreaders (talking heads) are "jokey" and called for ~ get this ~ separate channels for the sexes.

Spike and Lifetime may agree, but then they exist in a marketplace as options and I don't think anyone believes that menfolk sit in their parlors with brandy snifters and cigars watching Spike while the womenfolk wash dishes in the kitchen and cry into their dishtowels as they watch Lifetime ~ and then they turn off their television sets to each crawl into their individual twin bed, occasionally pushing them together to procreate (but always with one foot on the floor at all times). Sheesh.

I think this guy's insane. Not just British, but insane. "Sir" Patrick Moore was the giant head on GamesMaster, which either way serves to A) discredit him as a man of media taste or 2) proves that he has a rather large head ~ in which case I still feel vindicated.

Maybe I should just give Max Headroom a call and see what his thoughts are...

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Search Advertising on Social Networks

Study says what The Whore Says about why folks use social networking sites:
A January 2007 Jupiter/iProspect study asked whether people had used the search function on the sites: 77% of MySpace users and 78% of Facebook users had. The most common reason was to search for other people: Nearly half of Facebook users and 35% of MySpace users had done so. Entertainment was the second-most-common search topic among the choices offered, particularly for MySpace users. The percentages of respondents who used the sites to research or purchase a product or service were in the single digits.
I guess if you're pimpin' people, search advertising at Facebook would be grand.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bikini Coverage Isn't PR

From IndieaPRBlog, comes this post: Top 5 steps for bloggers to get written about in newspapers and magazines.
For bloggers who are engaged in blogging as a profession or are aiming to build on a high profile through blogging, getting covered in the traditional media can be the next big achievement after making a presence in the blogosphere and among the bloggers community.

However all these are easier said than done. Generating publicity for individuals is a huge mandate and often requires services of professional PR agencies. Today across the globe, PR professionals are sweating it out round the clock for their clients including writers, critics, speakers, God-men, businessmen, fashion designers, actors, sports persons, etc.
While admittedly anyone associated with the adult industry is going to have a really difficult time at reaching the mainstream media, the same tips apply to working within the adult world ~ including how to work with bloggers.

This post doesn't set the world on fire with anything mind-blowingly easy ~ but that's the point, I'd say. It takes research, effort and organization ~ i.e. work. If you've been skipping steps, then you've been skimpy. And skimpy doesn't get you good coverage, does it?

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Marketing 'Sin' Becomes Scapegoat; Now That IS A Sin

In Sin City image repels corporate relocation, Brian Wargo reports that Las Vegas' sin marketing, "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas," may be good for tourism but it's an "impediment in luring corporate headquarters to Southern Nevada." This according to a white paper released by the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies.

Unfortunately, it's not true.

I myself was intrigued by the idea of marketing gone awry ~ after all, targeting one market (in this case tourism) can negatively impact another, and heaven knows 'sin' and escapism isn't exactly a pull for corporate America. But once I read the article, it's rather clear that the issue isn't Vegas' tourism marketing efforts.

Let's look at what other issues/facts the article (and, presumably, the white paper) reveal:

* cost of living is currently at 110% of the national average

* housing is more expensive than 40 other markets

* "nothing" in the way of cultural amenities (such as theaters, performing arts and a good quality of life)

* "off the chart" crime

* continued increases in out-migration

* wages not keeping pace with the rising cost of living

* lack of decent schools

* transportation problems

* a lack of land for commercial use; land prices

* a lack of quality contractors and the casino industry, which outbids all competitors for contractors

What a list of concrete practical problems. Clearly the Vegas/Sin image isn't the problem here. At least not the only one.

While I am sure companies consider the adult playground image, it isn't as vital as asking employees to take a cut in quality of life and paying a decent wage for good employees. (In the article one executive is quoted as saying, "We have service employees coaching their kids to be valet parkers who can make $100,000 a year." That's got to affect your potential employee pool and the bottom line at hiring time.) Not to mention the problems with finding and building your physical location.

One of the round table members was correct when they said, "This is not an image issue, it is a reality issue. We can't keep talented people in the valley because there are no arts, no alternatives and no transportation." Though they should have added the other major problems to the list, at least they acknowledged that the image problem was not created by tourism marketing.

But I guess blaming sin makes for much better headlines. It sure is popular to point fingers at others, especially at the "haves" when you're the "have nots." And it must be easier to blame a successful marketing campaign than it is to create better schools, deal with your economy issues, your housing market, crime and transportation... But will this solve your problems?

The hysterical cries of sin as the wolf won't save your sheep.

Make no mistake, this article is obviously using the 'sex and sin' slant to sell copy. Look at the image they use ~ the quote reads: Exotic dancers freshen up in the unisex bathroom of Seamless Gentlemen's Club last year.

In doing so, the publication does a disservice to its readers. If a person just reads the headline, or stopped reading after the 4th paragraph ~ as many do because in standard newspaper format, all the info is at the top and the rest is just (supposed to be) details to back it up ~ they'd believe this pile of propaganda.

They'd believe that the marketing campaign to tourists was to blame for Las Vegas' corporate recruitment difficulties.

And that's false.

So here's yet another example of using 'sex to sell' ~ but in a very dirty way. They are not only luring folks with their lurid headlines, but they're intentionally misrepresenting the story, the issue. They are lying.

Along with misrepresenting themselves to readers this poor marketing attempt entirely misses the very readers who would have an interest in ~ ideas regarding ~ the real issues which face Las Vegas.

Talk about a repelling image.

As an adult industry professional, I am truly disgusted by things like this.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

His Three Options Lead To My One Big Question

In March, Jon Carroll at SFGate pondered how newspapers could make money:
Many people have said that newspapers should try to figure out a way to make money off the Internet. Well, hell, everybody is trying to figure out a way to make money off the Internet. It's a national pastime.

There are three popular routes. First, come up with an idea so cool that users flock to your site (TelevisionWithoutPity, YouTube), then sell your site to a large company and let it figure out how to make money off the Internet. Second, act as a middleman for some form of economic transaction (eBay, Craigslist) and take a little taste, as Tony Soprano would say, of every transaction. Third, porn.

Porn is a multibillion-dollar business -- how multi is the subject of much speculation and little evidence, because of underreporting, cash transactions, shell companies and all the other fun parts of underground capitalism. There are even porn news sites, because porn is a business like any other and there are feuds, trends, spectacular success stories and sudden inexplicable failures.

(I have had three idle conversations in recent days with people at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, which is worried about what it's going to be teaching in 10 years because of the aforementioned crisis in information delivery systems. I suggested to one of them that porn reporting might be a good subject. It's clearly a badly covered business sector, and the school could charge a premium for enrollment in that class, and thus make money just as the Internet makes money. But apparently there would be some alumni problems with this approach.)
What's amazing about this to me is that here's a guy who gets it ~ as several others have ~ yet no one wants to 'admit it' when it comes right down to taking action.

Porn aka the adult industry, is Big Business. So why, in a capitalistic society where "let the market dictate" is the mantra, isn't this industry recognized?

I'm not just referring to the recent (hotly contested) snubbing either.

Why isn't the market demand an indicator of public desire ~ and therefore lead to general acceptance?

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What Kind Of Blogger Are You?

Via Spin Thicket:

The 25 Basic Styles of Blogging... And When To Use Each One

This is a nifty slide-show showing the types of blog posts (Event Blogging, Survey Blogging, Brand, Link etc.), how difficult they are, the buzz or linking probability rating, and a suggested maximum number of times a week you can use each type of post. Your mileage may vary, of course, but the definitions and (suggested) limitations sound sane to me.

It's food for thought as your type of posts, in a general way, determine what sort of blogger you are and what sort of blog you have.

Sarah sent me this link to a Yahoo! news story:

Bloggers rail against imposing civility online

The title is very misleading ~ acting as if bloggers are insisting upon being rude, mean and down-right illegal when all the bloggers are saying is, "No," to a "Blogging Code of Conduct."
Bloggers are always free to remove what they see as inappropriate contributions to forums on their websites, said Technorati founder David Sifry. Technorati specializes in tracking and indexing blogs.

People interested in spewing caustic comments can feature them on their own websites and then leave links on those of other bloggers, Sifry said.

"One of the core principles that the Internet is built on is the principle of free speech," Sifry told AFP. "If you really are a jerk, I don't have to read what you say."

Ethical issues in the "blogosphere" mirror those raised by the relentless trend of users providing raw content to websites ranging from video-sharing superstar YouTube to news gathering organization NowPublic.

"I'm not sure a code of conduct is the answer," NowPublic co-founder Mike Tippett told AFP. "It makes about as much sense as me wearing a badge to have a conversation. It won't make a difference."

People don't need to sign pacts of civility to use telephones or send letters, Tippett noted.

"I think the wisdom of the crowds, societal mores, and the expectations of civility will generally solve the problem," Tippett said. "The Internet is just an extension of our everyday lives."
What's rather crazy is that this move to badges and codes of conduct has been brought to the forefront by the Kathy Sierra situation. Threats of death and physical harm are illegal and so we have a code of conduct for that. Asking people to censor themselves more with this media than any other is rather chaffing ~ and impractical. Who is going to be the mean police and define the line? 'Nice' is as relative as 'mean' is. While I certainly don't enjoy, nor do I recommend, rude blogs or talk, we already have police to enforce laws and behaviors which cross lines; I don't want (additional) thought police.

Like Tippett said, "Presumably, we are all bound by the social norms of our communities. Violate them and you are locked up."

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Harsh Realities

In Money Morality and the Internet Emily Veinglory discusses the limited accessibility to purchase erotica.

While I agree with her fundamentally, the facts in the comments section should not be ignored ~ and not just because one of the comments is mine. *wink* Chargebacks and fraud issues are higher in adult than in other areas of credit card commerce. However, the fact remains that if the stigma of adult products and services were to disappear, this would not be an issue.

In America's Next Top Pundit: What does it take to be a talking head? Jeffrey Zaslow examines "the B-List of pundits." Sadly, the B-List seems no better than the the supposed A-List.

However, if the pundits and wanna-be pundits are sad, thoroughly depressing is mainstream media:
In Racine, Wis., Don Crowther runs 101PublicRelations.com, a company that sells audio CD seminars priced from $39.95 to $79.95. Mr. Crowther says tens of thousands of people have bought his pundit-related products, with titles such as "How to Get Booked on 'The View.' "

He advises wannabe pundits to get face time and experience on local newscasts first, and to woo station decision-makers. One tip: "Send three-dozen doughnuts to the newsroom with a card that says, 'Thanks for considering me for your upcoming shows.' " Do such blatant ploys work on jaded news professionals? "They tend to roll their eyes," Mr. Crowther says. "But they eat it and they remember you."

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

No, Not Me

No, I'm not in the Carnival of Capitalists this week (I didn't submit anything), but I'm still going to point it out to you because I typically find good reading there.

This week, I am particularly struck by Sophistpundit's "New Media Economics" which makes some very sound points on the economics of blogging as well as posing the question, "Why blog?"

While I am more inclined to agree with the points he picks apart, Sophistpundit makes some valid points about the other reasons blogs end. Given the high end-rate of blogs, and my own personal experience with blogging and bloggers, I still believe most bloggers quit because they get bored (i.e. not enough readers).

There's no fun in talking to a wall. Remember how momma used to tell you that when dealing with bullies the best thing you can do is ignore them? If you don't react, you've removed their feedback, their fun. (So don't abandon me, dear Marketing Whore readers!)

In a highly populated blogosphere where (according to Naked Conversations) "Someone started a blog once every second today, and about every two seconds someone else abandoned one," it's pretty clear that not all of the quitters did so because they 'got tired of being popular' or had 'a conflict of interest.'

So I'm still going to agree with the sucess of the long-end-of-the-tail and the simple human economics of it all. Like said Mister Snitch said, "Blogging resembles investment in that the blogger invests time and energy in hopes of a return. Bloggers' return on investment is readers."

(You really should read Mister Snitch's post because his categorization of bloggers is decent and perhaps this will help you identify what the heck it is you want to do.)

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Linky-Do (And Linky-Don't)

Some relevant reading, a la The Whore:

From the Taipei Times, US: 'Citizen journalist' Web sites flourish; Bloggers and the Internet become more mainstream in today's media. (A general re-cap of much of the issue, but interesting to read a non-US perspective ~ even if US folks opinions are used.)

In Anyone Seen My Blog Post? we are (again) reminded (nauseated) by copyright violation and general bad practices. (Super bonus points for the actual content under discussion which continues our gender in PR talk. I wonder what they think of me? *wink*)

My post title isn't just clever ~ I wanted to also note something basic but oft overlooked in this whole blogging world...

When you post something to your blog, and you discovered it via some other blogger or website, you are supposed to thank or at least acknowledge them. Really.

Think of this as blogger etiquette with a side-dish of snappy green peas. For not only is it polite, but if your posting is really nothing new (in other words you don't add to the discussion but merely pass it along), perhaps that's all you should be doing rather than paraphrasing what they said (and by-passing the link out of shame).

If you'd be embarrassed to have another look at your post and the other blogger's post because you'd come up short, then perhaps you don't have a real 'post', but a 'point'. If so, just point (link) to the other person's words rather than re-iterate what they already said. In this case, it is polite to point.

As an example, my second link was found via Spin Thicket. See how easy that was?

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Monday, April 2, 2007

Image Problems: "PR Clean Up In Aisle 12"

We have a mess in aisle 12.

As I mentioned in my discussion of newspapers, we Americans are demanding new ways. We are using technology to voice these demands and not just as consumers of media, but as citizens of the government, as consumers of products, and as receivers of messages that corporations send.

We don't want slick presentations which gloss over (omit) important (or 'bad') facts. We don't believe everything we read or what we are told (even if a friend told us, for they may not have seen through the BS). We don't fall for slight-of-hand ~ even to the point of claiming to see such tricks when none are being used. We've become a jaded lot, that's for sure. We're pointing to the mess in aisle 12, calling it disgusting, and insisting that it be cleaned up or we're outta here.

In fact, we no longer want to be receivers only; we want conversations. We demand them.

In a capitalistic society corporations take the brunt of these demands for they are not just the makers of products, the 'things' behind media, and the groups behind lobbying and political agendas; they are makers of ideas, philosophies, and attitudes. As such, they are vilified ~ sometimes correctly so, but just being a company now makes you circumspect. People are saying, "business is flat out corrupt."

The mess in aisle 12 has led so many to believe the whole of business is to be condemned.

In our cultural shift from consumers who are at the receiving end of corporate-speak to those involved in conversations we are demanding that we not be 'sold' anything. Not a gizmo, not a political agenda (or war), and most certainly we don't want to be told/sold a way of life. But that doesn't mean we as consumers are saying 'death' to all products, companies or media. We'll say 'no' with a raised eyebrow to those who are slow to take our demands seriously, and speaking with our wallets we will hurt and close more than a few companies along the way. But not all of them.

Those companies and organizations which communicate with us rather than at us ~ and which take the consumers desires and needs to heart, incorporating them into products and operations ~ these are the ones which will thrive.

It is natural in our society where the modus operandi makes PR, marketing and advertising professionals the faces and voices of corporations that these professions will also be vilified. It for this reason as well as our job duties that we be the ones to clean up the aisles and talk about it along the way. It is not only imperative that we in these professions change our ways, attitudes and actions, but that corporations themselves allow us to change; their corporate lives depend upon this. (And if our companies won't change, then we need to move on to ones who welcome the changes too.)

The largest thing which must be changed are the definitions of our work. As I see it, it's not something new we are to do, but return to or reclaim our truest, purest definitions. You'll see some of them scattered about this blog, but here are a few as reminders:

Marketing: finding out what customers want, then setting out to meet their needs, provided it can be done at a profit. Marketing includes market research, deciding on products and prices, advertising promoting distributing and selling.

Public Relations: the acts of communicating what you are to the public.

Advertising: advertising is the paid promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas by an identified sponsor in order to induce the public to buy (a product or idea) or otherwise invest in it.

Notice how none of these definitions includes "swindling, "conning," "lies," or "bull shit" in them.

None of the definitions are ambiguous.

Nor, in our capitalistic society is any one of them inherently evil.

But within our current culture shift, each term has negative connotations. That's not so surprising. Astonishingly, however, is the fact that these are connotations which so many professionals in these fields accept and convey themselves. Where's the pride? Their integrity?

Yes, I use the moniker The Marketing Whore and the tag line, "I'm a dirty, dirty marketer," in a tongue in cheek fashion (especially since I do much of my work in adult areas of commerce); but I honestly don't believe that what I do is dirty or bad. Then again, I don't believe that exchanging money, goods or services for sex is bad either ~ it's the one place where honesty truly prevails: We sell you sex and deliver it.

I have no shame over the industry or the profession of marketing. Why? Because what I do is an honest days work for an honest wage. I have products (books, websites, publications) which fit consumer needs and I do my best to reach those people who have desire &/or need for these products. I offer good product, at fair prices, and I do my best to clearly communicate that to my target market and discuss with them how they feel about it. I don't feel there is anything bad or wrong about that.

But why do so many professionals and those who state they are getting their educations in these fields saying such bad things about the very professions they want to be a part of?

Why do they, as Rob posted, say that "PR" is "propaganda, bullshit, "suck-Satan's-cock jobs" (from Bill Hicks fans), spin, or anything presented under false pretense"?

Why does Rob say PR "requires one to have fewer scruples than in another chosen field"? Well,presumably answers this by saying, "Client interests and monetary incentives often trump the thin skin of business ethics." As if this is just how business is done.

Clearly Rob and those like him are part of the very jaded crowd who see those relating with the public on the behalf of a company (or person) as having to tow a very heavy, dirty company line. But that's only true in companies which are dirty or which have bad business practices. This is not all business.

Yeah, there are some really bad apples, but those aren't the only apples. So not all marketing & PR (departments or persons) are horse-apples; neither are all such efforts or projects the slinging of horse-apples.

If this is really your view of business and the world, then why on earth are you in or entering these professions?

We have a mess in aisle 12. Are you going to clean it up or not? Are you part of the solution or the problem? Standing there stating the obvious is only adding additional clutter and noise.

I don't mean to sound like I am just picking on Rob here ~ he was the one brave enough to post his thoughts and questions here, but he speaks for a huge number of people (unfortunately). Including those in the fields, teaching the professionals.

Things have been deemed so bad, that they are changing the names of careers and duties. No longer "Marketing" and "PR," students enter "Strategic Communications" and apply "risk communication." They study "Public Diplomacy" with hopes to get paid for "reputation management," etc. First of all, none of these names sounds any better ~ they are more Mumbo-Jumbo & Gobbledygook clogging up the very filters we seek/need to employ. They only add to the problem. Second, a whore by any other name fools no one. We need to clean up the aisles and do real honorable work, not change names; this requires action.

Marketing, advertising and public relations are noble professions ~ on two conditions:

A) That you truly keep the consumer in mind when creating product/services/causes and communicate with these consumers at every opportunity throughout the life of your company.

B) That you only work for those companies, persons and projects which embody these philosophies and actions.
That's pretty simple.

How you communicate in a noble fashion is the subject of further postings. But even with checklists, if you don't believe in what you are doing, you are only adding to the image problem. So, I beg of thee, if you don't believe get out and stay out.

And yes, you may need to turn down a 'big wonderful career opportunity,' and the money that goes along with it, for the sake of your values. And I truly hope you have to do this at least once in your life ~ because like dumping the user boyfriend or the bad-news girlfriend, you'll appreciate the feeling and find a happier place.

If you don't turn down these soul-less, dirty companies and jobs then you not only whore your soul but seek to sully others. Ick.

Many of us are filled with integrity and have excitement regarding what we do. Sure, it's a pretty big mess, but look at all the help we have! Consumer complaints are advice; both our agenda (to-do lists) and our inspiration. And technology's cool tools are our methods. What more could we ask for?

Many of us in marketing look forward to this cultural shift enabled by technology in which we can talk with our customers and fill their needs. We are happy to roll-up our sleeves and clean up the mess others have left in aisle 12 because we know what will remain: gleaming walkways to our products and services which consumers will happily walk up, select what's right for them, and tell us what's so wonderful and where we can improve. Now that's exciting.

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