Saturday, October 4, 2008

Adults Embracing & Embedding Facebook In Wordpress Blogs

The fabulous & much adored by The Marketing Whore Callie Simms has posted The Best Facebook & Wordpress Plugins for Adult Bloggers; a useful list if you are, indeed, stuck with Wordpress.

Why do I say "stuck" with Wordpress? Well, as seen in Callie's article, nearly everything with WP requires a freakin' plugin.

Yeah, I've defended Blogger & other platforms before against the Wordpress fans who believe the WP stands for "worship" ~ so why bother to do it again? Because I use WP at one of my mainstream gigs and I hate, hate, Hate it.

When it comes to hosting, WP is a hog. It requires SQL & PHP be installed on the server and as it uses a live database, is far more intense, requiring far more effort on the part of the server. This also means more stuff to go wrong. And then there's those plugin requirements for every little thing... :sigh:

So, when Callie says, "More and more adult bloggers & business owners are moving to Wordpress for their blogging platform because of simplicity it provides as a content management system," I have two questions:

1) Says who? Who says more and more adult bloggers & business owners are moving to Wordpress?

B) Who says it is a simpler platform &/or content management system?

If you are using WP, and want to do the Facebook thing, Callie's article is, as I said, useful. But if you aren't using WP you can simply use RSS to create/take dynamic content from virtually any social networking site (or use the tools/widgets most provide), as well as use RSS to place your content from elsewhere into your social network profile/pages; WP has no corner on that market.

Of course, all the general rules regarding being a polite adult content person within mainstream social networks still apply. And I'm still not a fan of the Facebook.

But you can hear more about that when Callie & I face-off on Facebook and other things this Wednesday on Cult of Gracie Radio.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, December 28, 2007

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



Behold David Armano's brilliance:

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

We are the center of our own micro-universe.

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

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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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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Like I've Been Saying...

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

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

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Blog Traffic Tips

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

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The World Continues To Be Unsure Of How To Use Blogs And Pudding Cups

Some of today's readings make that all too clear.

Dosh Dosh writes The Smart Way to Get Traffic and Links: Creating a Prospect List for Bloggers, which is rather sound overall. A decent primer. However, I express caution over the suggest use of reciprocity:

The second reason for maintaining a prospect list is reciprocation. A lot of the cross-promotion you see online is the result of intentional reciprocation; doing something for someone because he or she did something for you.

Reciprocation is a basic aspect of culture and society. It pervades all human relationships and influences it tremendously. We may do something for someone with the hope (conscious or not) that someone may repay the favor in the future.

Cialdini’s rule of reciprocity explains:

This rule requires that one person try to repay what another person has provided. By obligating the recipient to an act of repayment in the future–the rule for reciprocation allows one individual to give something to another with the confidence that it is not being lost.

The decision to comply with someone’s request is frequently based upon the Rule of Reciprocity. Again, a possible and profitable tactic to gain probable compliance would be to give something to someone before asking for a favor in return.

Keeping a prospect list helps you to systematically record and reciprocate favors done for you, which dramatically improves the quality of the relationship you have.

This will help you to gradually turn bloggers into friends and future assets you can leverage for your business/website.

I believe that if you act as if a person 'owes you' or must 'repay' a debt, you'll not only be sorely disappointed, but aggravate others.

First and foremost you ought to be writing to and for your audience, not for a twisted case of I-owe-you ~ or in this case, You Owe Me.

Write with your audience in mind, link with your readership's interests in mind. Don't tell them about things which are unrelated to their needs and wants because you want to make the cool list or be invited to sit at the cool kids' table. Boing Boing is cool, but this blog isn't on their watch list ~ and why should it be? So no matter how often or in what context I link to them, contact them, The Marketing Whore is not going to get a post or a sidebar link.

Writing a post to get their attention (which I am not doing ~ look ma, no link!) is a waste of my time. Sending my readers, readers who are interested in marketing, is literally a time waster (a cool way to waste time, but wasting time nonetheless).

And just like those kids who bring extra pudding cups to school to try to get 'in' with the cool kids, no one falls for your clever pandering. They'll just take your pudding-cup-of-a-link and (at best) ignore you.

As a general rule we don't eat the pudding cups proffered by strangers. Take them, maybe; but eat them? No. Once we know a person, we'll take and eat their pudding cup ~ and thank them for it too. After awhile, we'll share our own pudding cups with them or even buy their other pudding products. But first we have to know them. It's no different here on the Internet. Links are like pudding cups. But consider them gifts to your readers who like you already ~ and want your pudding cups. First you must be known.

You can introduce yourself with a pudding cup (a link), an email, a comment post etc. But just as with any real world introduction, audition, job interview, etc., this doesn't mean they will like you or be willing to share their own pudding cups.

If you'd like to give a link introduction, you should read Ethical Theories of Social Networking ~ which isn't about MySpace so much as it is about proper participation in the blogging community.

Revellian's tips for how to properly link (especially with regards to key words etc.) is another good primer for giving good pudding cup. He gives the basics of keyword linking, including the 'how to' and 'why' which provides the foundation for best practices which are appreciated by other bloggers. (Which is like sharing pudding cups with your real friends, not giving them away to buy a friendship.)

Should you, dear reader, already be aware of such things I ask you to read it anyway ~ for two reasons.

One, key word linking works for both parties (the poster has those words on his/her blog as well as offers such key word weight to the blog they are sending readers too).

And two, thinking in terms of key words helps you evaluate if your linking is honestly relative to your readers &/or mission.

Consider your link text. If you find those key words irrelevant to your readership (target market), then perhaps this is not the right post for you. You could be wasting your efforts and your pudding cups.

Give your readers the pudding cups they want.

And don't forget to read When Does a Social Network Become a "Publicity Network"? for a great reminder on what social networks are (and are not).

A social networking tool becomes a publicity tool when "I speak, you speak, I reply, you reply" becomes "I speak, you listen".

Are these new publicity networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) the new press release? Think about it for a second, a press release is sent out to x journalists, news providers, etc. These new publicity networks do the same thing except in a quicker, more efficient way. In fact, Marshall over at RWW says these publicity networks are paying his rent. Naturally I am not suggesting that everyone uses these networks in a publicity-oriented manner, but it seems many of the smart marketers are doing so. As long as the people attached to your account (personal or business) understand that's the use, then it's a perfect marketing opportunity. In fact, these publicity networks may just overtake RSS in the long-term. And if you are working with a social media consultant who isn't leveraging these new publicity networks where appropriate, you need to find a new consultant.
While Allen Stern seems to contradict himself a bit in this post, if you read careful (and tread even more carefully) you'll learn a thing or two. Especially when added to the thoughts above. That community exists for them, and it may seem natural to scream, "Come take my pudding cups!" ~ but as discussed, it isn't appropriate. Or effective.

Or everyone would give away free pudding cups with purchase.

Keep your audience, your target market, in mind. Your mission is not really to sell 10,000 copies, memberships etc; it is to serve 10,000 people. How can you reach them to do this is marketing.

Always keep the concerns and needs of your audience forefront in your mind and you'll make less of an ass of yourself. And save a few pudding cups for yourself.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thoughts On A Conference Not Attended

I've been waiting for Libby to write up her experiences at the BlogHer Conference in Chicago (she only attended the "Off The Record" session, at the invitation of Susie Bright ~ part of that story is here in this entertaining-not-educational post), but I don't want to forget a few comments that I have...

First of all, I didn't attend the conference ~ this is important to note. Not only since my comments on the conference are all based on what others told me, but because the reasons why I didn't attend are, I think, equally important to what did happen there.

Primarily I didn't attend because there seemed little there to warrant my attention as a "sex blogger." There were just two sessions on the topic, one of which was the aforementioned "Off The Record" session. (And it's being designated as "off record" created great confusion, both in terms of assessing its value in the "should I attend" way as well as from Libby's "should I cover it" question. Should such a session be held again, great care should be taken to outline what "off record" means and doesn't mean.) The bottom line is that out of a two-day conference, there were only two sessions specifically for "sex bloggers."

While I'm the first to admit that "sex bloggers" are neither "all about the sex and only the sex" (most of us hate being called "sex bloggers" and chafe at the idea that we are limited to "just sex"), I am also the first to recognize that we are called "sex bloggers" (and other names) in order for the "mainstream blogging world" to differentiate "us" from "them". This isn't just a matter of censorship (though I will admit it plays its part), but a matter of categorization. No one, including "sex bloggers," wants kids or others who would be offended to stumble on in, so we rather collectively, if a bit reluctantly, agree to use the "sex blogger" moniker.

However, I'm also the first to admit, the moniker is more than a warning for visitors ~ it can be rather like a scarlet letter or a yellow star.

Now I'm not saying BlogHer was preventing "us" from attending the conference, but I've been to enough of these things to know what happens when you attend a "mainstream" session: Either you have to shut up about what you do or be prepared to face the consequences.

If you do the former, why go? You can't really network and you can't really ask questions because they must be phrased so generically that you get equally generic responses (and look like a simpleton).

If you do the latter, you risk being ostracized. At best, others will avoid sitting by you for fear you'll taint them (grown-up conferences often can resemble high school cafeterias). At worst, you become the poster-child for porn and are expected to answer all sort of questions and address issues past your scope just because you're a "sex blogger" (this is rather like being the only black person in a room full of white people).

And then there's the matter of the conference organizers themselves.

Once word gets out that "sex bloggers" have attended, they'll have to deal with complaints. While I find BlogHer.org is more tolerant than most mainstream groups (they even have a category for sex and relationship blogging), it's not difficult to imagine they would be forced to respond negatively to sex blogging simply because of a majority vocalizing outrage. This outrage, as we well know, would not only be directed at BlogHer but at sponsors and supporters. With few "sex bloggers" in attendance, we certainly would be the minority.

Again, "sex bloggers" could, like "food bloggers", attend more general sessions ~ but we sex bloggers wouldn't be as free to participate simply because "sex" freaks so many people out whereas other topics do not.

Given all of this, I opted not to bother to trek to Chicago for the event.

However, I did hear positive comments on the conference. When Libby told me some of the issues they discussed (she did not give me names or specifics but told me what they discussed, such as privacy, how blogging about sex and relationships had negatively impacted people's lives, etc) I wished I had been there. I think my years of experience would have been helpful, yes; but I also would have liked to meet and network with the small group who had attended.

What I gathered from Libby's comments was that this was a worthwhile experience and that more of this is needed. It made me wish that BlogHer would include we "sex bloggers" in their plans more.

Would it be fair to have 20 "sex blogger" sessions when no other blogging theme has so many? On one hand, the "sex" category clearly has far more specific matters to address than any other area. Name another category which has such issues with hosting, censorship, and legal issues. Sure, all bloggers should be addressing matters of ethics, responsibility, marketing, etc. But add "sex" and there's an added dimension or twist to all these things. And like I always say, mainstream sure can learn a lot from the adult industry. (Even privacy isn't a matter of safety only for those of us who post about sex and relationships.)

If an increase in the number of sessions aimed at "sex bloggers" isn't seen as the appropriate way to go, what about making it clear ~ to all ~ that "sex bloggers" are welcome and will be attending. Take the shock factor out by eliminating the element of surprise. Let folks believe that at any given moment they could be sitting next to a "sex blogger" as well as a travel, food or mommy blogger (and perhaps that lady is all four?) and that she might just raise her hand to ask a question or two.

We promise not to shock, or monopolize; but to elevate conversation. After all, our issues in specific pertain to a large part of the blogosphere; in general we are interested in all blogging issues.

By being more inclusive, not only do we all stand a greater chance of learning from one another, but we break down stereotypes. Perhaps meeting a fellow "sex blogger" will remove the silly fears that "we" are a perverted, disease-ridden lot ~ along with the fear of the unknown.

If you've thought about attending a BlogHer Conference but were put-off by all of this ~ or even if you hadn't before, but are thinking about it all now ~ BlogHer has a survey. You can take this even if you did not attend, so please take it and voice your opinions. Maybe I'll see you there next year?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Your Thursday To-Do List

1) Participate in The Blushing Ladies meme. (Which means make your post, then make your rounds!)

2) Submit your best post of the week (from last Friday through today) to the Sugasm (NWS).

3) Vote for The Marketing Whore:
My site was nominated for Best Marketing Blog!
3-a) While you're there, make someone's day. Think of someone to nominate ~ there's not a specific adult or sex category, but they do allow for such blogs (be sure to flag them properly!)
4) Find (at least) one new meme, gadget, directory, linkswap, resource to share with the others here. (Just post 'em in the comments section, kids.)

5) Step away from the Internet for 10 minutes. Take a quick walk, eat a piece of pie, whatever. Just step away for a break.

6) Come back to see what others have posted as a tips and resources.
6-a) Pick 3 of them to act on now.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Link Swaps Are Doorways

I've got a few basics on link swaps at Whoring Your Site With Links (and a bit more in Gently Scratching Your Niche), but a number of readers have asked for more information on them. So here we go...

Link swaps or exchanges (where Site A links to Site B, then Site B links back to Site A) have been around a long time. (Like those swinging doors, there are two ways for people to pass through.)

They are standard practice, but this does not mean you should be route about handling them.

Do not accept, nor feel pressured into accepting, each request. Remember, each link is a doorway. Not only are you inviting people to leave, and therefore want to limit the number of exits, but each link is rather like an endorsement. The dual nature of these doorways allows for the perfect means to evaluate them. When you receive a request, do visit the site and evaluate if it's worthy of sending your visitors to.
Evaluate where you're sending folks:

Does the site have good, original content (writing, products, services, photos etc.)?

Is it something you think your visitors or members would be interested in seeing?

Do they have enough content to indicate they'll be around and active in the future?

Is the site broken, links which do not work, missing graphics or have other signs of neglect or problems?

All of these things will reflect on you, for offering the doorway. (For more on this, also read here.)

The other side of the link swap is your point of view on traffic.

From your own point of view, does it look like their site will have readers which will find your site interesting?

Also, do you like where they would be linking to you? Some sites and even blogs have separate areas, even pages, for links. If you feel that your link would be buried, or otherwise virtually unseen in some hidden area, only accept the request on your terms ~ with a better placement of the link to your site.
The reason I mention this first is so that you understand how your link request will be viewed: Is your site worthy of them sending their readers to, and would your link be beneficial to them?

So no matter how wonderfully worded your link swap request is, you may be rejected. If you are lucky, they will take the time to let you know why your site isn't making the grade. Use this information to your advantage in two ways: 1) It's a free review of sorts, so perhaps there are changes you ought to make, and 2) if so, contact them again after you've made the changes.

I know there are going to be some of you who dislike link swaps, because you'll have read/heard that a certain number of out-bound links are bad for search engine ranking, or page rank (or whatever.) It certainly is one school of thought. As are only swapping with sites with specific page ranks (or higher), and other guidelines. These philosophies are other reasons your link swap request may be rejected, and they may be unknown to you at the time you make your request. All you can do is respect their decision and move along. (However, if they disclose their reasoning &/or guidelines, do as above.)

OK, so now you know how link swaps are evaluated and you're ready to prepare for, head-off, and deal with rejection. Now it's time to move onto how to ask for them.

Here are the steps:

1) Put as much effort into exploring a site as you would in evaluating it if they had requested the link swap themselves. Don't see one post and send your request, but rather look around and see as much of the site as you can. If you are still of the opinion that you'd like to create that swinging doorway, then proceed.

2) Look on their site for rules on link swaps or exchanges, or other policies which may tell you their guidelines and how to request an exchange. If you do qualify, then proceed. And if they have a specific method for requesting a swap, then use it.

3) If you'll need to send an email request, here's what to keep in mind.
A) You need not feel smarmy, gross or inappropriate requesting a link swap. It's part of business, and we all know that. If you've done your homework (evaluation) you're offering something of value for something of value. So don't apologize for such a request, you are flattering them. (Conversely, don't act so cocky either. You aren't doing them a favor, but simply arranging a win-win.)

B) Don't use a generic form letter to request a swap. It's not personal and it doesn't show the blogger or webmaster that you have found their site worthy of such a request. Don't even use a standard file you cut and paste from to make your request. I mean it! The time you think you save with cut & paste is really effort lost when you make a formulaic request, and, in this doorway metaphor, have a doorway closed to you. (Even worse, when you blunder and mistakenly paste some other webmaster's name or information in it!) Why be so boring, so lazy, when you should be excited to find a cool site you want to share with your readers? Tell them why you want to swap ~ even gush about their site, if that's your personality. Whatever your tone or personality, write each email individually. You'll be glad you did.

C) Don't tell them that link swaps are vital, that this helps their search engine ranking or page rank or whatever. Such things are either insulting (as if they didn't know!) or boring (a bunch of gibberish to those who don't know). And to those of us who get many requests a day, they read like the same old crap and we gather your site is full of it too. (I'll admit, those emails very rarely get read all the way through before I hit delete; so it would take a miracle for me to even visit their site to evaluate it.)

D) Do clearly provide your information (URL, site title and where you'd place their link etc.). I know this is noted here, but based on the number of requests I receive in which this info is missing, I guess it bears repeating.

E) Put something simple and direct in the subject line so they know what the email is. I typically create my subject line last, as my enthusiasm makes me want to talk (write the email) right away *wink* Then I can be more practical when writing the subject line. If you know the contact's name, use it. Examples: Link Swap With The Whore, I'd Like To Exchange Links With Your Marketing Whore Blog, Link Swap For Gracie, etc.
One last thing... Don't forget to check your links periodically.

Ask yourself: Is this site still worthy of you inviting your guests to leave your site for? Act accordingly.

Sometimes folks nail their side of the door shut or put so much stuff in the front of it that no one can realistically pass through to your side. Sites may have deleted links, moved them to a different area or page (which you can easily view as a break in agreement if this move is detrimental to you) and sites may be down all together. (If the latter, please check several times over a few days, with a clear cache, just to be sure that you didn't stumble in during a server hissy fit.)

Should you find your link swap partner has shut the doorway to your site, I recommend you send an email about it. You need not be rude or defensive as mistakes do happen. Just inquire as to why your link seems to be missing. Most of the time you get a reply saying "Oops!" and a correction. If that's not the case, you can safely delete your reciprocating link.

Conversely, if you find yourself wishing to sever a partnership, it's best if you contact them to let them know. Be polite and remind yourself that, as nasty as this feels, it is better they hear it from you (and the reasons why) than to discover that you deleted them. (And you'll avoid building a negative reputation as a webmaster or blogger who doesn't keep promises.)

Now go forth, and open some doors.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Empower Women Now Offers

Empower Women Now has quite a bit of information (as well as honestly stated pitches for their publications etc.), so if you are male or we adult bloggers cannot participate in the networking, link swaps etc., the site is still worth some time to visit and read. Here are a few noteworthy tidbits:

Empowered Women Now has made a deal with PRWeb for a free release distribution valued at $200.

They currently have a contest with prizes. (Currently their contest entry method is a simple link to them ~ so I guess this means I might be entered. *wink*)

I found all of this out via one trip to this one post of theirs: LinkBait Experiment: Calling all women entrepreneurs and mom bloggers. I would have just posted that as a quick link, but honestly, I was really confused at first with what they were asking folks to do with their "linkbait request" and mentions of a contest. (Sure, all the info was in the post, or linked too, but it wasn't as clear as I would have liked.)

Again, I have no idea how welcoming Empower Women Now (officially, or member-wise) will be to 'our lot.' So proceed with caution when posting comments and networking.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Marketing In Communities: To Join or Not To Join

I dislike the term "Web 2.0" because it's a really cold term covering what technology does rather than what people want. For example, people don't want "Web 2.0" they want conversations; they do not want "social networking" as a industry folks call it, but a means to connect to people. (If escorting taught me anything, it's that the human desire for connection is very strong.)

So if you've been following my rants, my blither and my blather, by now we should be clear on what I think Web 2.0 is ~ better tools for communities. And communities are nothing new, nor new to the web; and the tools aren't revolutionary, just a bit evolutionary.

Don't get me wrong; I agree that communities are powerful and those dubbed social networks are a very important part of individual lives. In fact, this is my point! Communities are made of members who are there for their own reasons ~ which probably don't include being sold a bunch of stuff.

If you want to reach these community members you're going to have to join them in their communities.

You don't really make friends by adding one to your profile, and you don't make sales simply by having an account or profile. You're really going to have to join the community and become a participating member.

Like joining the church, you're going to have to play by their rules, go to all their functions, pay your dues and yes, actually convert. In fact, while in some faiths you may confess your sins and be forgiven, there's really no equivalent in social networking. Sure, you can make another account, take on another ID, but when all is said and done your previous damage is real (leaving you with one hell of a PR problem) and anything that remotely smells of your old self and your company/product is likely to have a very difficult time of it.

If you're going to join, you'll need to play all their reindeer games. This means you're going to have to read what other members post, participate in conversations that (at least sales wise) will seem to go nowhere, and in general know and care about who is there and what's going on there. I don't mean to sound like a jaded cynical bitch; but joining a community online isn't any different than joining one offline. Heaven help you if you join and are discovered to be a shill.

Sincerity, interest and integrity cannot be faked, so the only real way to survive this all is to join communities you'll enjoy participating in. This is easy if you really like your market and your product.

The double-bind comes in when you evaluate your potential communities in terms of your target market.

Spending your time in places you like, with people you like is fun; but if your goal is to market (yourself, your product or company) then you'd better be spending all those hours in places which matter. (And fun or not, this is going to be a huge investment of your time.)

To identify if a community is good for you, I always recommend lurking first. And not just one day. And even if it means registering to do so. Lurking lets you learn the unspoken rules and get a feel for the place. Better to lurk and leave than really step in it.

While lurking you are looking to see if:

The community seems worthy of your time. Is your target market really there?

As mentioned before, the hot spots for erotica authors aren't always where the (potential) book buyers are. In fact, one of the largest mistakes I see in marketing via communities are when folks gravitate towards groups which are very interesting, but do not contain their target market.

One of the best examples of these are entrepreneurial sites.

These and WHAM (Work At Home Moms) groups can be some of the most active communities, but think about it... Here's a group of people all trying to 'make it big,' trying to sell to one another. Most of the time, each member has less money than the next. Aside from the "I'll buy from you, you buy from me," at holiday time, what chance of sales do you have? Unless you're selling B2B, are offering a legit business opportunity, or want link swaps, I wouldn't bother. (Not to mention anyone with 'adult' products is likely not going to get a warm welcome.) Even adult webmaster boards fall into this category. (Sure, go, and learn; but be careful how much time you spend there and don't bother whoring yourself to the other whores.)

Think you see your target market there? Really? If so, you should be able to identify specific members who are part of your target market.

If you can't, then you need to do more research.

If you can, then you've likely identified influencers ~ those community members who are not only part of your target audience, but those who have the most authority and influence over others too.

The community (or your target market population within it) is large enough to warrant your time. Do the active member numbers support your investment in time?

The community is interesting enough, possibly enjoyable even, for you to honestly join and participate. In all the posts you're reading, have you found any which you would be willing/able to comment on?

I do not mean one or two, but several ~ and for heaven's sake, don't post until you're evaluation period is over ~ one-post-wonders are considered spammers.

The participation level is within your time constraints. How much time would being an active member require? And do you have it?

Slower or quieter communities may not be a bad thing. Depending upon your available time, it may be the only way you can really be an active member, or it may mean you can sneak one more community into your schedule.

If all your lurking research is favorable, then proceed slowly and according to the group rules (as stated and as witnessed).

If any answer is, "No," that doesn't mean your time is wasted. For one, you've saved yourself some future time on participating in a community which is not for you. And you've also likely spared yourself a PR problem. But you've also learned a few things ~ maybe even who the influencers are? If you have, perhaps you're best off contacting them to see if they'll post a review for you?

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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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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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Monday, January 29, 2007

Social Networking on MySpace, Part Two

Continuing from Part One...

How consistent are you with managing your MySpace account? I myself intended to make weekly blog updates, but I sometimes feel lucky if I get in for messages etc. Do you think being consistent if not very active is important in social networking?

Carrie: I have to admit to not being that consistent with updating the blog on MySpace, probably because it's not my main writing blog. That is here. I also have a few other writing blogs dotted around the place that also get very few postings published to. I no longer have a personal blog to write on due to too many nasty comments and reactions. I log in at least once a day to pick up blog subscription messages, friend requests and messages. I think it's extremely important to do that because I want to keep the account updated and fresh for promotional purposes.

Jolie: My MySpace page is updated once a week. It's very important to update at MySpace on a consistent basis.

Autumn: I login at least once a day. I blog - well, I try to blog twice a week but I'm happy if I've added something interesting once a week.

Is it important? Definitely. People won't come back to your blog or your space if you don't have anything interesting to read/view/listen to. And if people write you messages and you don't get back to them for a week at a time they think you don't care. Once again, it all goes back to people feeling that they have a relationship with you. And actually developing relationships with people - not just putting in an appearance once in awhile.

What do you use MySpace for? (Here are some ideas, feel free to add your own ~ and if more than one purpose, please guesstimate percentages.)

Marketing/selling to clients/customers.

Networking with other professionals in your field.

To establish connections with press, writers, publications you hope will help promote you.

The free blog service.

Ability to start a group/community devoted to yourself or your works.

Socializing/staying connected with friends & family.

Really, it's just for the free link(s) to your sites &/or projects; you put little thought into its larger purpose.

Autumn: As I've already mentioned, developing relationships with potential readers/clients is important so that's the biggest thing for me. Not just potential buyers, but the ones who like to read for free as well. They are just as important as the buyers. (I'd say 50% is for this purpose!)

Meeting other people in the industry is important as well. There is so much to learn for someone who is so relatively new, like myself. IBA is almost a year old but I started out knowing virtually nothing. A lot that I've learned has come from people I've met ... (About 20% for this purpose.)

The bulletins are a great way to make people aware of new things you have to offer. For instance, my Members Area just opened in January, so bulletins are good for making people aware. I put on a pre-sale special in a bulletin (as well as the blog) so that people here would have a chance to purchase memberships at a drastically reduced price. (10% for bulletins)

Carrie: I use MySpace for Networking with other professionals in my field. I've received a few review requests via MySpace and establishing connections with press, writers and publications. I don't expect anybody to promote me though I've had one or two posts written about me and about my work. I would say it was about 50/50 on the percentages. I don't use MySpace for forming close friendships offline or for keeping in touch with family.

Jolie: I use MySpace for promotion.

Do you have specific goals with MySpace? (Say, hitting a number of friends, targeting specific audiences, recruiting etc.) Or do you just participate and see what comes of it all?

Carrie: I tend to just participate and see what comes out of it all. I'm quite lazy in that respect but really, it's more to do with the lack of time more than anything else. If I'd used it that way when I first started out on the Internet it would have worked out better but I didn't know about it right at the start so I missed out on that opportunity.

Autumn: Sara had some very definite goals. One was to hit 1000 friends by Christmas and I was very impressed that she did that. Another was to visit and comment on every friends page, which she also did. I, myself, not so much. My main goal is to update a couple times a week at least.

Jolie: I'd like to hit a goal of 1,000 friends, but it's not planned. I don't send out friend request. They come to me!

When it comes down to it, MySpace is just another way of networking ~ only instead of a professional organization, it's a much bigger pool with more 'public' to reach. This is good in the sense that you can reach more people, but also each profile or member is a single piece of straw in an immense pile... How do you stand out? What do you do to be found?

Jolie: I have over 800 friends, but I try to keep in contact with about 100 of them. A lot of people have me on their top 24 because of the contact.

Carrie: To increase my exposure I link to my profile from my main writing website, post comments on other friend's profiles on MySpace and I make sure my profile is attractive to look at. Most of the friend's requests I've received are from authors who I've worked with and reviewed their books/websites who have then gone looking for me on MySpace.

If you have a website or blog independent of MySpace, is there any difference between marketing/promoting it as opposed to your MySpace page?

Jolie: I update my website but it doesn't have the people interaction like MySpace does.

Autumn: Blogging, bulletins, and comments. And of course, responding to messages!

Carrie: I do have a website and blog independent of MySpace and I consider these more important for promotional purposes. My main website has been around for 6 years at various domains and I've worked hard to get it where it is today. It still requires more work, though, from me to get it higher up in the search engines. My daily traffic is really low compared to my partner's website! I consider my main website as more important than MySpace as it looks and reads more professional. It holds so much more information than my MySpace profile. I don't like to overload my profile at MySpace because it can then look cluttered and amateurish. There are no ads or pop-ups on my site.

Do you feel you reach more professionals in your area (for ex. authors meeting other authors or publishers) or more consumers (continuing the example, authors meeting book buyers or book reviewers)?

Autumn: So far I would say more professionals.

Carrie: I feel I've reached more professionals via MySpace. Mind you, I can't tell if any of the hits to my book on Lulu.com has come from MySpace or elsewhere! Few people go from MySpace to Hentracks or Sexography, though.

Jolie: Actually, both!

I find that I've had more interaction with and concrete results with professionals at MySpace ~ for example, this whole interview or conversation happened there ;) But when it comes to readers or consumers, not so much. To be fair, it's not always possible to 'see' transactions that occur at other sites. (Hits to my sites, but sales not so much.) Can you definitively state that you have made sales because of MySpace, and if so, pls. describe. If not a direct sale, what other deals or connections have made MySpace worth the time?

Autumn: Definite sales, no. Page views, yes.

Jolie: I don't have a way to tell about the print anthologies, but I have sold ebooks through my MySpace contacts. I've also received book reviews from MySpace friends.

Carrie: I can't say for definite I've received any sales or downloads from MySpace. I've got no way of tracking the hits or download stats of my freebies so I just keep them up there any way! I have had many contacts with authors though which enable me to reach them when I have review offers taking place. This is a good way of networking and it's given me an idea of changing the way I request review submissions. Hopefully, I can increase the amount of requests even further by adding the ability to accept them on MySpace.

I have made linking partners though, which is another important part of increasing your presence on the web.

So, there's a lot of effort which goes into social networking. Overall, do you consider MySpace a worthwhile endeavor?

Autumn: Absolutely. The more effort you put into it, the more you reap the rewards!

Jolie: YES!

Carrie: I would say that it is, definitely. I have had more chance of getting to know people in the same field and genre as me and it has connected me to some excellent erotic magazines thereby increasing my chances of publication. If you don't mind the ads I would recommend it to anyone for networking and promotion.

The Participants:

Autumn Seave: Webmistress of Inky Blue Allusions which features erotic serials (with personal bi-weekly email option or membership option), short stories, and audioerotica. Autumn & company have officially been on MySpace for about a year ~ "But we only really got serious about it around 4 months ago."

Jolie du Pre: Author of lesbian erotica and erotic romance. She also runs GLBT Promo and Ebooks by Jolie at MySpace. Her website is www.joliedupre.com. Jolie's been on MySpace since 2004, but says, "I didn't become active until May of 2006."

Carrie White: An Erotic Writer & Book/Website Reviewer. She also writes sex toy buy guides for a well known sex toy shop on the Internet. Her websites are Hentracks and Sexography. Carrie's been on MySpace for about 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Social Networking on MySpace, Part One

You've likely all heard the hype about MySpace and other social networking sites. Praised as a huge boon for marketing, sites like MySpace sure do have potential and there's no shortage of articles on using social networking sites. Even Rachel Kramer Bussel's chimed in on the subject.

Once upon a time, any professional who didn't have their own URL was considered less than credible. Now enter MySpace and other social sites and suddenly you're told you're missing out if you don't register and begin blogging, posting bulletins and be-friending as fast as you can. If your own domain name and official website were necessary to branding, it now seems that you must be a part of another site in order to be cool ~ or at least accessible to the cool.

A presence at MySpace, FaceBook, Oomph or the like is not only a 'must do' to reach customers, but the number of contacts or friends has even been used like magazine circulation numbers to add to sales dollars. If public comments become testimonials about you & your products become the pull, the number of friends you have becomes business leverage.

Purported to be an easy tool for the marketer who believes in buzz Vs. ad dollars, is social networking the real thing?

I decided to have a few of my MySpace friends chime in with me on the subject. Meet the participants:

Autumn Seave: Webmistress of Inky Blue Allusions which features erotic serials (with personal bi-weekly email option or membership option), short stories, and audioerotica. Autumn & company have officially been on MySpace for about a year ~ "But we only really got serious about it around 4 months ago."

Jolie du Pre: Author of lesbian erotica and erotic romance. She also runs GLBT Promo and Ebooks by Jolie at MySpace. Her website is www.joliedupre.com. Jolie's been on MySpace since 2004, but says, "I didn't become active until May of 2006."

Carrie White: An Erotic Writer & Book/Website Reviewer. She also writes sex toy buy guides for a well known sex toy shop on the Internet. Her websites are Hentracks and Sexography. Carrie's been on MySpace for about 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

I began using MySpace, and any and all social networking sites that I belong to, for the same reasons: I got tired of all my associates and friends telling me to join ~ and that things would be so much easier if I would message them there. I eventually gave in. What brought you to MySpace? Was it a friend, or other social reason, or was it for business reasons?

Autumn: One of my writers suggested it as a means of reaching potential readers. But now that I'm here it is for business but also very social. I love talking to people and getting to know what makes them tick!

I know that part of building a business is having a presence on the Internet and MySpace is one of the biggest places to build a presence.

Jolie: Business reasons - promotion. I started to take MySpace seriously because other authors took it seriously.

Carrie: I don't think I was ever referred to MySpace. I probably came across another author's profile and thought, "Seems like a good idea."

I initially joined for fun I think but then, saw how it could be used for promotion so I started to really push it out. I found places that provided free MySpace layouts and codes and customized my profile to make it look more attractive.

What had you heard about MySpace? Any success stories?

Carrie: Since I joined, I've read numerous articles about the promotional opportunities on the site, and have decided to stick with my account. I've met a number of good writers on here and have been put in touch with many more. So, all in all, I think it’s a good way of networking and finding friends who write in the same genre as you. Another friend of mine, P.G Forte also mentioned how much better her sales of a particular book was after posting details about it upon her profile. So, I've added details of my books to my profile and am just waiting to see how well my sales do!

Autumn: I'd heard good things from others who are musicians and in other forms of the arts and when I realized that the adult industry has it's own presence here I knew I couldn't ignore it.

Is this your first try with a site like MySpace, or have you previously tried other sites like Friendster, Tribe, Ryze etc?

Jolie: This is my first try with a site like MySpace.

Autumn: This is the first time I've been serious. I dabbled in msnspaces (under a different name and for more personal type stuff) and hi5 (I can't even remember my name there!) but only playing around. And I guess I just didn't stay around long enough to really get to know anyone. Oh, and I did spend some time at CherryTap, which is fun, but I prefer MySpace.

Carrie: MySpace was the first site of this kind for me but since then I've joined Xpeeps.com which is an adult version and other community style blogs and groups, though MySpace is the one I'm most active on. I get some pervy contacts from Xpeeps but you kind of expect that to some degree. If you visit, I have to warn you, it's a bit more raunchy on there which includes my profile picture ;)

I think it's really important to get your name out there within your chosen field so I now have profiles all over the place even if I don't update them all the time.

Between blogging, sending/replying to messages, befriending others etc, how many hours do you put into managing your MySpace account?

Autumn: For myself, I'd say a couple hours a week. But my Queen of Marketing and Promotions, Sara Winters (i.e. BlueSW) spent the most time building the profile, editing blogs, promoting, building a friends list, and doing bulletins. At the beginning I bet she spent at least 10 hours a week. She rocks!

Carrie: I put in maybe a couple of hours a week which gives me plenty of time to answer messages, approve or deny friend requests, post on the blog and read comments etc. It's enough time for me to do what I need and keep the profile updated.

Jolie: 1/2 hour a day for all three sites.

As women, how much of your time is spent not only with 'spam' messages, but the unwanted pervy approaches? (Hey, I gotta ask!)

Autumn: I get 3 or 4 spam messages a week and 1 or 2 pervs every week. That is what inspired my latest blog entry "We're People Too!" I mostly ignore them but if they are particularly nasty I send them a message to let them know it is not appropriate. They are usually apologetic and stop.

Carrie: I've been pretty lucky so far and have very few if any spam or pervy comments. My only complaint is despite setting my account not to accept friend requests from bands, some still do trickle through. I've also been notified of a suspect profile on MySpace via my Xpeeps account and have successfully managed to get it closed down. I'm trusting too much some would say and up until now I allowed free rein on my comments. That's all been changed now and my password and email login as been changed too, due to unsuccessful login attempts on my account.

Jolie: Very little of my time. I'm careful about who I approve on my friend spaces.

As you can see, working social network sites requires some dedication and devotion of time. In the next parts we'll get into using the site features & discuss what rewards there may be.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Personal Whoring

The start of a new year brings many awards for 'best of' the last, so this is the episode in which I pander for your votes. (I wouldn't be much of a whore if I didn't!)

You can vote for me, Gracie Passette, as Best Magazine/e-zine Editor (for Sex-Kitten.net) ~ and you can also vote for Ephemera Bound (my publisher) as Best Book Publisher, and Tit-Elation (my erotica site) as Best Fiction Zine.

You may also vote for several of Ephemera Bound's books:

Decomposition, by J Eric Miller as Best Novel (non genre)

and

Michael, by Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, as Best Horror Novel.

There's also another contest for best sex blogs. You can vote for Sex-Kitten.net as Best Overall Sex Blog and Best Group Blog here ('nominations' are the first round of voting, so we need many votes to move onto the final voting!)

Of course, you could also view these as ways to promote yourself... But please don't forget me!

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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Working The Cocktail Party

The World Wide Web is very much like a cocktail party: You aren't sure who you'll meet, & drinking is optional.

In the realm of the Adult Webmaster, this is especially true. For like most parties, there are always the concerns of under-age attendees, party crashers (hackers), and those dreaded conservative neighbors who may call the cops.

Like any good host (or guest), we must be wise about our guest list ~ we should never tease minors or lure them into our festivities. We ought to do our best to not only be on the look out for the uninvited, but have plans in place in the event we do need to toss someone out as well as repair the damage done by such unwelcome guests. And we should do our best to make sure our party doesn't disturb our neighbors, or otherwise incite them into causing us legal problems. And if one angry person does make the call, we should have all our necessary papers at the ready (2257 etc), so that the interruption doesn't last long.

After we have done all that, we can relax, join the party, and work it for all it's worth.

As you slink, strut or slither through the large crowd, seek out those persons you need to talk with ~ both those you know, and those you have yet to meet ~ all with the goal in mind of how you can improve your business.

I'm talking about networking here. The way to play on the boards, newslists, topsites, groups & chats. It's how business is done. But you have to learn not just how to network, but who to spend your time with, which parties to attend. Just like at real world parties, there are many types in the room. Who are you going to spend time with?

Types in the Room:


Posers: Like any party, there are always those folks who try too hard. They over-present themselves (often covering up their best points, which is a pity) with gold chains over hairy chests (or on the web, they may use flash everywhere). They talk too loud, usually about themselves & their business, and act larger than they really are. In fact, some folks will purposefully misrepresent themselves. In this business, it may seem like everyone is a poser, at least at first *wink* But over time, you'll see who they really are.

One-Hit Wonders: Just like the guy who regales you with this high school quarterback fourth-quarter-saving-score-to-win-the-conference, these folks are the one who still manage to parlay one great thing into an invitation to the party. And just like that old QB, he’ll grate on your last nerve, boring you with irrelevant history. Be polite, but disengage them asap, and move on to someone who lives in today, and hopefully is planning for tomorrow.

Mr. He-Has-Potential:
Like a young lady with a romantic heart, a newbie can easily be sucked in to this sort of person. He will seem like he has all the great ideas, all the right passions, & just needs a little help from you to get things going. After all, he's a genius who has suffered from bad luck or a tragic fate (or a sorcerer's spell, maybe?) If you help, surely those ideas will become powerful magic of their own, right? No way, sister. You'd be as naive as a school girl dreaming of some tragic hero if you try to save this one.

I know, I know you'll be tempted to partner-up fast, thinking you can motivate, encourage & help him all the way to greatness (& big bucks). But spare yourself the bad break-up. Just like falling in love with this type, you'll invest all your time & energy in his 'potential,' and never, ever, see a return on it. If these guys had the 'best idea ever' and were worthy of any investment, time or otherwise, they'd already be in there, kneading the flour to make the dough. Don't partner up with this guy. Make ~ and keep ~ all your profits yourself.

The Wallflowers: These folks are definitely the hardest to spot on the Internet (no walls here!), yet I assure you, they are here. In large piles. They are the lurkers. There are two types of wallflowers in attendance at our adult web worker parties: Workers, and Consumers.

The Worker Wallflowers are either new (& learning as they are silent), or the pros who like to keep in the circle, but don't need to ask a lot of questions. At first, it's just best to treat everyone with polite respect, as you learn to differentiate the two. The first will likely be eager to swap links, & cross-promote with you. The latter is who you *need* to get the (positive) attention of. If you behave & act intelligently, run a decent site, the latter will let themselves be know to you... If you're lucky, they will help you too.

As for the Consumer Wallflowers, they are also good to know. After all, they are trolling boards, lists & the like for 'insider information.' If you allow them to trust you as a professional, & make them hot enough, they'll subscribe, buy and pass along your great site to others.

Talkers: These folks usually travel in groups, but love to flit around talking to everyone ~ probably because in a group of talkers, no one is listening. They all act as if they know 'everyone,' and live to drop names. These folks are worth a few minutes of eves dropping. Don't worry, it won't be hard; they always talk very loud. The reason I say to listen is that while they may not know everyone, they will know *of* everyone who is, well 'anyone.' They are always at the parties, right? In other words, you'll find out quickly who the masses think are the 'biggest & the best.' This is an excellent way to find out what parties you need to be attending, as well as who you should be inviting to your own! (They may even help you find Wallflowers!)

The Teases: These folks make plenty of promises. They'll assure you they are gonna put out ~ everything from free content to great volumes of traffic. Best case scenario, they never show up or contact you as promised. Worst case scenario, you enter into an agreement which is rather like a coyote date ~ you'd rather chew off your arm than live with the agreement. Just like those you meet at a bar or party, if it sounds too-good-to-be-true, it probably is.

The Smarmy Folks: Similar to teases, they are everywhere. They will offer anything to get in your pants. This is no euphemism, all they really want to do is get into your pants. While the Teases promise you untold business delights, such as traffic, software, content, the Smarmy only use business talk to get your clothes off. The only 'valid business' they can offer you is screw you & take photos to be content on their sites. Some Smarmy folks are easy to spot. Others are quite clever with their lures.

Remember, if you accept their drink they'll insist on taking you home, so be polite, but decline the offer. It is easier to type a rebuff & ignore them than it is to continue to have them insistently trying to slide their hands down your pants. Being an Internet professional, this is much easier than it is as a 'real' cocktail party.

The Whores: If you're ready to have a good time, skip the Teases & Smarmy Folks, and take home a whore. OK, you need not take her home, but you should partner up with her. Yes, these little darlings won't be giving away the goods for free, but you'll find out their services are worth the price.

Who are these sluts I want you to couple with? Why media whores, of course!

You give them free products, free passes, & the like (free to them, but obviously, there is a cost to you), & in exchange they tell everyone how good you are ~ and boy, do they get around! (There's nothing like having a great whore do all the bragging about you, while you just give them your own goods!)

Just like considering the services of a real sex professional, make sure they are healthy: Make sure their publication, message board, blog or whatever they use to broadcast with, isn't sick or has Scabs*.

The Party Pooper: Every party has a pooper. In the world of adult webmasters, writers, models etc, there are more poopers than in an anal site. Poopers are not just those 'annoying Christian flamers'; no, unfortunately, most poopers are newbies & folks who don't run their sites well.

These are the folks who spam, don't read FAQs, let the minors in, and show no respect for the party host &/or other guests. Don't let yourself become a party pooper. Spend some time at adult webmaster groups as a wallflower yourself, lurking.

Follow the rules of the host, be respectful, and look for the people you want to meet. When you are ready, mingle!

The only difference between a real party & one on the Internet is that you cannot count on your cleavage, batting your lashes, or tight pants to make the other person venture over to buy you a drink. You'll have to make the first move.

An email, message board posting or other form of contact is what you'll have to do, & you'll likely have to be the first to do it. But hey, it's cheaper than buying them a rail drink, and you won't have to take them home either. (Well, at least you normally don’t have to sleep with them, but hey, it's your business, your party!)

* More on Scabs at a later date.

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