I get asked a lot of questions (both by email and in my comments) and some of them are Frequently Asked Questions. So, for ease of future reference, here’s a FAQ. Comments are welcome.
Erosblog FAQ Table of Contents:
Linking Questions: How do I get an ErosBlog link?
Moderation Questions: What happened to my comment?
Attribution Questions: What’s the source of this?
Advertising Questions: Can I buy a link or banner?
Press Queries: Can I interview you?
Question: Would you like to exchange links?
Answer: Sorry, but almost certainly not. I don’t “trade” links. No, really, I almost never do. I link to sites I think my readers might like, and I encourage you to do the same. As Guy Kawasaki puts it:
I don’t get this “exchanging links” thing. IMHO, you should link to a blog if you believe it’s good for your readership. The other blogger should link to back your blog if she believes it’s good for her readership. In a perfect world, linking is about quality, not reciprocation.
A link trade offer translates to: “I don’t really like your site enough to link to it. If I did, I’d already have your link up. But, even though your site isn’t worth linking to, I’ll do it anyway… if you’ll link back.”
Sorry, but if that’s how you feel, I’m not interested.
Question: So, if you don’t do link exchanges, how do I get my new blog listed on ErosBlog?
Answer: So sorry, but you probably don’t. So many new blogs start strong and promising, but they fade after a few posts, or after a few weeks, or after a few months. Most of the “new” blogs I add to my blogroll have been going strong for a year or more. Otherwise, the link maintenance chore of deleting moribund blogs gets completely out of hand.
An exception to this is if I catch myself doing multiple posts about a newer blog. If I like your blogging enough to link it a few times, your blog will probably wind up on my blogroll. No linkback required, although it never hurts — nobody’s immune to flattery.
Question: OK, but I’ve been blogging for awhile. If you don’t trade links, what do I have to do to get a link on ErosBlog?
Answer: The honest answer is that you have to tickle my fancy with your blog. But I can’t define how to do that. I can, however, offer some “Do” and “Don’t” tips. This is not some dictatorial manifesto, these are not hard and fast “rules” I pulled out of my ass, these are just advice, heavily colored by my idiosyncratic blogging tastes:
- DO send me an email linking to a recent blog post you made that you think I might like, with a sentence about what it’s about. I probably won’t answer your mail, but I frequently do look at these, when I have time. It’s the best way to get me to look at your blog, much better than just sending a link and saying “Please have a look.”
- DO link to me. I know that sounds hypocritical, when I don’t do link exchanges, but it’s really not. A link is a compliment, whereas a link trade offer is a veiled insult. Compliments work, and flattery will get you everywhere. Plus, I do read my logs with great curiosity, so having traffic coming from your blog is guaranteed to get me looking at it.
- DO participate in the ErosBlog comments. Write substantive comments, ones with multiple sentences or even paragraphs, to distinguish yourself from the drive-by “Hot pic!” link droppers. If your comments are valuable, they will be noticed, and I’ll be clicking your link to see what else you have to say.
DO make sure your site looks like a blog. Too much advertising (as in, I can’t find your blog posts for all the flashing banners, or the first post appears “below the fold” because of your “above the fold” advertising) discourages linking. So does not having a blogroll. As the adult blogging tips at Spanking Blog put it: “I get tons of link requests from ‘bloggers’ who don’t link to anybody. They use blog software, and they write something every day, but they don’t participate in the blogging community. They don’t link to anyone and they don’t have a blog roll. I don’t understand this mentality. I mean, why would you ask other people to link to you, if you can’t be bothered to link to anyone else?”
- DON’T (oh, please don’t) “ask permission” to link to my blog. Everyone in the world should already know that the fundamental root reason for putting something on the internet is to invite people to link to it. If I didn’t want links, you couldn’t link to me. If you can see me, you already have permission to link to me. And so, after the first thirty or so, these “May I link to you?” requests begin to look and feel like a sneaky passive-aggressive way of saying “please look at my blog.” If that’s what you want, you’re way better off just saying so.
- DON’T hope for a link if your ‘blog’ is a spammy porn blog with no content. I don’t have anything against porn, but most porn blogs are boring. If all you’ve got is generic porn thumbnails, tired porn marketing text (“look at this hot bitch fingering her slut mom”), and links to pay sites, don’t bother. Of course, if you’ve got entertaining commentary about the porn, that’s a whole different ball game. Blogs featuring high-quality carefully-selected porn in an intelligent way also have a shot, if the advertising is kept to a reasonable dull roar.
- DON’T ask for a free link if you know you should really be inquiring about advertising rates. Do you have a marketing program and/or an advertising budget? Is your site or blog principally for the purpose of selling something or drawing attention to your products? Are advertisements or marketing materials the most prominent thing on your site? If so, you should be asking me about ad rates.
- DON’T be a drive-by link-dropper. Link droppings are not attractive, and we try not to step in them. By link dropping, I mean leaving comments like “Hot!” or “Nice pic!” or “Cool!” — stuff that’s shorter than the URL you so carefully typed into the box provided. Lots of new bloggers do this; it’s the lazy spam version of the “Do participate in the comments” advice above. Trouble is, once you are in my head as a spamming link dropper, the odds of me ever visiting your site (much less linking to it) decline toward zero. Good comments usually take the form of short paragraphs, not sentence fragments.
Question: Why did you delete/moderate my comment?
Answer: Most likely because you weren’t nice. I ask ErosBlog commenters to be civil, friendly, polite, nice. And I enforce that. We don’t welcome flaming, aggressive debating style, snark, or even strong sarcasm. Yes, I do break these rules myself, sometimes. But I live here.
You may also have been moderated for substance (or, more usually, lack of it.) If your comment was condemning any sexual practice or kink, suggesting that anybody or anything is “sick”, calling anybody names, saying something rude about someone’s physical appearance, inviting people to visit your own website, or saying anything at all that’s got nothing to do with the post the comment is made under, that would explain why you don’t see it.
Sharing your fanciful sexual intentions (“I’d like to jump her bones, heh heh”) is another good way to get your comment moderated, especially when done crudely. (Explanation) Also, we don’t play the “Is it real or is it Photoshop?” game here, because (a) comments that a photo is not real tend to expressly or implicitly imply that the commenter is smarter and more perceptive than whoever posted the photo, which is rude, and (b) such comments lead to flamewars because everybody has an opinion, but nobody has any data. Even a friendly reservation (“I’m not sure if that’s real, but if it is…”) will often get moderated, because it invites twenty-seven unwelcome comments on the “real or Photoshop” topic.)
Here are some posts I’ve made over the years about my moderation policy:
Don’t Be A Dick
Crapping All Over Beauty
Sure Cure For Spammers
A Note For Our New Spammers (by Aphrodite)
Blogging Without Comments
Cracking Down On Handcrafted Comment Spam
Spam Robot Finally Rolls 00 Versus Turing
Trying Harder At The Turing Test
Civilization, Assholes, and Internet Communities
Question: Where did you find the picture you just posted? Is there a link? What’s the source of this?
Answer: I actually get a little offended by these questions, and they usually don’t make it through moderation. Since October of 2002 I’ve been faithfully posting and linking. If I know the source of something, I post the link. Without fail. Either the link where I got it, or the original source (if I know it) plus a link to where I found it. Every. Damned. Time.
You don’t see a link? It’s because I don’t freakin’ have one.
How is that possible? Well, let’s see. First of all, people mail me stuff and ask not to be credited. Or, there’s the fact that I’ve been downloading dirty pictures from UseNet and the web since about 1994. Right-click-and-save-to-hard-drive has been a reflex for more than a decade. These days, if I think “I’m gonna blog this” I’ll make sure to save source info too, but that doesn’t help with the half million images I accumulated before I started blogging.
If there’s no link provided, it’s because I don’t have one. OK?
Question: Do you know where I can find more pictures like the one you posted?
Answer: No. If I did, there’d probably be a link. Otherwise, Google is your friend.
Question: Will you please email me some porn?
Answer: Hell no. Use Google. Sheesh! (I actually get this one at least once a week.)
Question: Can I buy a link or a banner?
Answer: Sure! Just drop me an email with the site you’d like to advertise, and I’ll send you a rate sheet. Or just check the sidebars for “your ad here” style links — more and more of my advertising space is being sold through brokers these days. The exception is probably text links. For these, please be prepared to buy at least six months of advertising at a time, and to pay in advance at rates that exceed the cost of brokered banner space. If you’re selling sex-negative or dangerous or worthless crap — herbal penis pills, breast enlargement creme, porn for the audience that despises women — please don’t bother. And don’t even ask if you want to buy generic “keyword” anchor text; I don’t blind link my users to random destinations for any price, and “sex toys” or “free cams” doesn’t tell them enough about where they are going. You’ll probably need to put your brand somewhere in the link, so the link looks like the kind of links human beings actually post and use.
Question: Would you like to join my affiliate program and then put up my banner for free?
Answer: Almost certainly not. Most affiliate programs suck, especially the cookie-cutter ones that use “standard” affiliate software. The stats reporting is bad, the percentage paid is bad, the affiliate program software is rude or clueless or tailored for non-adult sites, the terms of service are ridiculous and one-sided or unfit for bloggers, or the product is bad.
On the other hand, there are a handful of adult businesses that have unique products, great customer service, a sex-positive attitude, a strong brand or reputation — if that describes your company, and you have an affiliate-friendly program too, by all means let me know about it. If, however, you’ve already asked and the response you got was a link to this FAQ, it’s because your program is covered by the paragraph above.
Question: Can I buy a blog post talking about my site / product / event / whatever?
Answer: No. Blog posts are not for sale. However, if your event is sex-related and you have a press release, by all means send it along. If it’s of national interest, I might publish or excerpt it.
Question: Would you like to review my product?
Answer: If it’s a virtual / downloadable thing, no. There’s just no time, and it amounts to unpaid work for me.
However, if it’s a physical thing (a sex toy, DVD, book, or whatever) you might have a shot. The Nymph and I enjoy getting free stuff in the mail. Reviews are not guaranteed, but if you do get one, you can count on it taking forever. I’d guess we (eventually) review about twenty percent of the stuff that gets sent for review, so you’re taking a chance. Email for the review item shipping address. [2012 update: We do almost no reviews now. But we still like to play with free sex toys if they are sufficiently unique. And there's always that chance that you'll get a mention if your product is sufficiently impressive. So, sending review stuff is almost certainly a losing game, but if you're an optimist or really confident about your product, it might be worth a try.]
Question: I’d like to interview you for my blog or publication. Is that possible?
Answer: Sure. Email me. But before you contact me, you might want to have a look at the interviews I’ve already given:
9/14/06 – FAQ first published
10/16/06 – added sentence about moderation of feedback on photos
10/24/06 – added sentences about prohibition on “real or Photoshop” game
7/20/07 – added Guy Kawasaki link exchange quote
3/6/12 – numerous updates