Tag Archives: Internet marketing

When Publishers Don’t Have Enough Chocolate

I am ill, so this mock Twitter battle cheered me up. It’s between publicists at small Brooklyn press Melville House and giant Penguin Random House. Pretty sure these two people probably know each other — book publishing is a small industry. Click and enjoy:

Clash of the Twitters

Leave a comment

Filed under book publishing, Humor

Interesting Articles for a New House

Instead of just dusting cobwebs out of me old blog, how about some cobweb art from artist Emil “Rocky” Fiore, who takes actual spider webs and funkily preserves them:

I’m happy to say that my new house seems to be mostly spiderweb free, not that I mind them in the garden. Instead, it is filled with boxes. Really far more boxes than one should have. And all apparently have to be unpacked.  So for the moment, here are some interesting thoughts by others about book publishing and fiction publishing:

Laura Miller uses the saga of Harry Potter in “The Making of a Blockbuster” to give one of the most accurate portrayals of how fiction publishing works that has maybe been done in media. No Hollywood bombast, no books are just like fill in the blank failed metaphors. Instead, it talks about the realities of fiction readers and how that translated to a small children’s book purchase becoming the behemoth of fiction.

Richard Parks muses on different ways that people categorize the fiction they love in “Time for Some Name Calling.”

My online pal, author N. E. White, looks at some of the realities fiction authors are grappling with these days in “What It Means to be an Author in the Internet Age.”

We’ve been talking about how one of the things that publishers would eventually start doing with the development of the e-book market is bundling — putting print and electronic material together for sale. Angry Robot Books outlines how they are now doing a bundling program and doing it in partnership specifically with independent booksellers. This and the increasing removal of DRM from e-books marks the beginning of the e-book market headed out of the Wild West of childhood into a solid adolescence and the next stage of development.

Author Charles Stross looks at differences between how e-books and print books operate from different focuses in the market (no, not the price and cost thing,) in “Why E-Books Are Not Like Paper.”




Filed under book publishing, SFFH, Technology

Stick Aliens in Pretty Dresses Persist

I haven’t had to do an aliens in pretty dresses post in awhile, for which I’ve been very glad. But I guess spring is likely to bring the stick aliens out in full force as clothing advertisers continue to use a skeletal starvation victim approach in selling their wares. The latest controversy occurred in Britain, when the Prada division Miu Miu did a handbag ad with model Kasia Struss, a 5′ 10″ very slim, pale model seen sitting in a mirror:

Complaints were made about the model’s diseased appearance, and the British Advertising Standards Authority reviewed the ad re the new rules there about anorexic models. The Authority ruled that lighting, the dress and make-up made the model look overly skinny and so the ad was okay.  If you think okay is using a model who resembles a concentration camp victim with elongated limbs to sell a handbag. It does make you look at the ad, but does it really make you want to get the handbag? Or worry that she will not be able to lift it? I’m hoping that they are right and it is just airbrusing, photoshopping, special effects and 1980’s lipstick that give the model her stick alien appearance. But lighting, clothes and make-up did not give her that collarbone and shoulders that scream anorexia, so I’ve really got my fingers crossed for photoshop.

This new controversy seems to have brought up again an infamous older stick alien controversy from two years ago, involving Ralph Lauren and model Countess Filippa Hamilton. A regular model for Ralph Lauren ads, Hamilton looked like this:

At 5′ 11″ and a Size 4 U.S., there’s not a lot of meat on her, but she’s purty and clearly human. In a Ralph Lauren ad that was over photoshopped, however, she looked like this:

(Yes, her pelvis is smaller than her head.) The stick alien ad appeared, mistakenly, in advertising for a Japanese department store carrying Lauren’s line of clothing before being pulled. Apparently, the Japanese didn’t notice anything was wrong with it.  But of course in the age of the Net, the photo spread round the globe, causing Ralph Lauren to throw a brief and useless legal tantrum, and to announce that no one was supposed to see the messed up photo. Towards the end of that year, however, Ralph Lauren dumped Hamilton as one of their models. Hamilton claims this is because Ralph Lauren saw her as too fat for their clothes.

What’s disturbing about this on top of the usual disturbing  is that Ralph Lauren, two years ago, at least understood that their stick alien picture went too far and was unattractive — even if they decided that somewhere between stick alien Hamilton and human Hamilton was where they wanted to be — whereas Miu Miu thinks their ad of a model who looks as if she needs to be hospitalized is a-okay, so much so that they are willing to defend it to British regulatory agencies.  This seems to indicate that the stick alien approach is becoming more prevalent, not less as hoped.

What also seems to come out of this in my puzzlement over the logic of advertising is that it shows it’s not the advertising companies driving it and conning the companies into it or the magazines, but the companies themselves. Clearly companies like Ralph Lauren and Miu Miu think that this look is a stylish lure for their clothing ads. They presumably have demographic research on this, which would be interesting to see, as my anecdotal reaction to such images is “oh wow, that’s totally gross.” I might not mind quite as much if they didn’t have the stick alien arms all the time. Those give me the willies.

In any case, please join me in sending good wishes for Ms. Struss to survive into middle age. Isabell Caro, the model who developed anorexia and became a prominent activist about this issue in the fashion world, did not. She died this last December at the age of 28.

Even if the laws she worked for are passed in countries to prevent companies from exploiting anorexic models and exacerbating their condition, there will still be the issue of this desire to photoshop alter models and actresses into stick aliens for ads. Which is why I didn’t put a Warning: disturbing image before Ms. Caro’s picture. Because according to companies like Miu Miu/Prada, Caro’s image isn’t disturbing at all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life, Technology

Puzzlements and Poetry in Spam Advertising

More fun spam comments:

For a Aliens in Pretty Dresses post in which Victoria’s Secret is mentioned re pictures of extraordinarily skinny models, etc., Victoria’s Secret Coupon Codes had this to say:

Greetings : )
You are shopping on-line or in-store? which would you go for? really wondering lol.. i love in-store just because i hate expecting it to come!

Kind of missing the point there, Mia.

For the post about beer drinking beer workers in Europe, this comment from a German site:

Appeal Roof,support rise circle enterprise source sexual sell meal aim station accompany share railway session summer fill sum below entry will paper interested age suppose figure somebody like generate deny role item yes concept fail leading notice assembly listen acquire charge arrangement push neck ring deal theatre observe yeah whole department pain myself strange sell husband couple test alone water develop either suggestion above particularly communication incident previous large apart fund come video join less sample on student ticket excellent species goal due discover name withdraw scheme like contribution provision generally his leadership

Okay, this is some kind of German spy code, isn’t it? Anyone who can figure out the secret message, let me know.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor, Technology

Quotes and Jokes in the Continued Lack of Substance While Still Providing Deep Social Insights

What? It could happen.


“It is always to be taken for granted, that those who oppose an equality of rights never mean the exclusion should take place on themselves.” — Thomas Paine


College Humor explains How UPS Deliveries Actually Work:


“Some of the loudest, most proudly ignorant guessing in the world is going on in Washington today. Our leaders are sick of all the solid information that has been dumped on humanity by research and scholarship and investigative reporting. They think that the whole country is sick of it, and they could be right. It isn’t the gold standard that they want to put us back on. They want us on something even more basic. They want to put us back on the snake-oil standard.” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


College Humor also shows what would happen If Movie Characters Had the Internet:


“The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you’re not good enough. On occasion, some may be correct. But do not do their work for them. Seek any job; ask anyone out; pursue any goal. Don’t take it personally when they say ‘no’ – they may not be smart enough to say ‘yes’.” – Keith Olbermann


Isaiah Mustafa returns to remind us that both himself and Old Spice are awesome in I’m Back:


“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” — John Cage


But seriously, hey, we came up with it all on our own, right off the bat:

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor

Puzzlements of Spam Advertising, Since it is Snowing Here

Yet another in my small series of I don’t really understand how this does anything on the Web advertising, specifically fake comments on my blog attempts, which is obviously what I get a lot of these days. But I’m finding a kind of poetry in them, in both the illogic and the wording.

1) This comment was attached to a blog entry where I provided links to various articles around the Web, in other words, no real essays or info from me despite the “comment” commenting on the excellent info and writing I was doing. It is also worded in a way that clearly indicates that the composer is not a native English speaker (but that’s what makes it poetic.) And also funky because the address connection as it turns out is for the West Corvina Orthodontists. Apparently, a foreign sounding comment praising an essay I didn’t write is supposed to send people to be customers of California orthodontists? I’m sure that this doesn’t cost this professional group that much to do it, but why? Still, it is very pretty:

“This is laid out quite quite and you may see from the top quality, that it has been researched and thought out incredibly very. I have bookmarked it and am going to forward it to others that i know will be really interested within the info. My father is in this business, he’ll love the way you laid out the information, I’ve sent him your hyperlink. I’ve alos posted a permanent hyperlink on my web page for other to find this. It’s difficult for anybody to disagree with this, the information is fantastically put together.”

Of course I’m dying to know what business his imaginary father is supposed to be in. Orthodontia?

2) This next one was attached to a movie trailer blog post of mine. I’m not entirely sure what it’s selling — real estate? Home design? Sex toys? But it’s very Zen:

“Unquestionably the biggest day-dream of most people is to energetic in their own homes. It is realizable instead of every one due not all can have the means such an portion, do not worry at hand designing the lineage and the stairs that you at one’s desire go and aid and not lose anything.”

I think that if we could figure this out, we might know the meaning of life. I particularly would like to know how to energetic in my own home.

3) This last one also was attached to a blog post that offered videos, so again no written essays or information:

“Paul has shown incredible passion while expressing views. Thanks for the great information, I have it bookmarked

Paul? Who the hey is Paul? What is he doing on my blog? Maybe they just got the wrong blog? Oh, wait, no, they’re selling some sort of ceramic wear or something.

If you blog and you get comments like this in your spam filter, a really good or poetic one, I think I’ve started collecting them (the text only, not the spam links.) They are just too fascinating. And I still don’t see the point of doing them as ads that will never see the page and wouldn’t sell anything even if they did. Or maybe that’s the point. Maybe something is trying to contact us and get us to talk to the West Corvina orthodontists and save the world!


Filed under Humor, Technology

A Present of Hockey Players

Ireland may have been swindled by its bankers and lost their economic miracle, but the hockey players are still going to celebrate, by tooting! The Belfast Giants do a shout out to their fans to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You with some of the worst dancing ever. But I am now a firm Belfast Giants fan:


Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Life

The Results

Well it didn’t work, but it was still interesting.

In my previous entry, I explained how my stats had shot up thanks to the Victoria’s Secrets fashion show aired on t.v.  (see I Should Be Offended By This below,) and so I put up another photo of a VS model to see what would happen. I wanted to see if I could turn my 5 fold increase into an 8 fold increase. This did not occur. Instead the view stats dropped down to only 2 fold, double, of my usual viewing average. That’s still an increase of course, and most of those views were indeed due to Victoria’s Secrets photo searches, according to Word Press’ thingamabobbies that count things. But it shows you that these things are clearly time sensitive and that if you want to increase your view count by putting up pictures of scantily clad women (I should point out that this was not my original intent the first time I used a photo of a Victoria’s Secret model,) you have to tie it to particular events and then only get a short term effect of mostly advertising spambots. Which can be fun in its own way. This may also help my friend, author and artist Cynthia Radthorne. (Go check out her blog and art at the link on the side.)

Just me doing my lack of knowledge Internet games. I think it’s more fun than Farmville.




Filed under Humor, Life, Technology

I Should Probably Be Offended By This

But mostly I’m amused. I haven’t been able to do much with my blog for the last few months because of life stuff. Consequently, view counts of my blog have varied depending on the day, if I’ve posted other places on the Net, etc. (Spambots do not find your blog unless you post new entries, you see.) 🙂 But they’ve still been in the average range for my little fledgling blog. Today, however, I discovered that the number of views of my blog had increased 5 times over. Why?

Well, awhile back, talking about the disturbing trend of having photos of women in fashion advertising appearing like stick aliens, including bizarre photoshopping airbrushing,  mostly in terms of puzzling about what exactly is the advertising philosophy behind it, I put up, among other things, a photo of a Victoria’s Secrets model (as an example of the type of modelling today that is still not stick alienish yet.) And Victoria’s Secrets had a “fashion show” infomercial special on U.S. network t.v. last night. And apparently, in the wake of that, there are a lot of people searching for photos of Victoria’s Secret models. And so my blog came up in searches (I can’t imagine it’s very high on the search lists,) and some of the searches — probably mostly spambots programmed for the term Victoria’s Secret — came to my blog. And the ironic thing is that the particular, one Victoria’s Secret model photograph I had put up has been removed from the upload or virused and doesn’t even open on my blog anymore. You can’t actually see it if you come to my blog. It will not successfully gather for Google or whatever it is that is being done. (I did, however, get it originally from Google, so you can just go to Google and get some.)

But it is a very popular search term, apparently. So just for kicks, I’m going to try a little experiment. Here is a Victoria’s Secret model photograph from the 2010 fashion show:


I like this one because I like peacock feathers. Also, she has actual thighs. Let’s see if I can get 8 times more views than my usual average! I’ll keep you posted.



1 Comment

Filed under Humor, Life, Technology

More Video — Michael Caine Style

Apparently British actors/commedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are doing some weird comedy restaurant review show for the BBC in Britain called The Trip, and the clip below involves them arguing about how to properly do an imitation of icon Michael Caine. While Caine, a favorite actor of mine, is relatively easy for imitators, these are two corkers from two very smart entertainers. Who like food apparently.


Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Movies/TV