Sunday, August 03, 2008

wrestling with vapor

We all get them - the spam-like friends requests on MySpace and Facebook from folks who want nothing more than to make a few bucks... I got one of those requests the other day, and instead of doing my standard "report as spam and delete", I decided to reply.

This one came from a profile created by a group who apparently do websites for entertainers (I'm not going to bother saying who this was or giving them any free advertising here). They were advertising a $99 website. I looked at their profile (which is broken, by the way) and then at their website, which is nothing but an unreadable one-pager with links that don't work, banners that don't link anywhere and use of typography that could only be described as ridiculous. Not to mention that there was no personal identifiable information on anyone who worked for this company, their history or experience as web professionals or the like.

So, I replied:
"It's people like you who are wrecking the name of true web marketing professionals."

I was amused (and surprised) when I got a reply...
"and what makes you think that we are not true web marketing professionals? tell me, better yet call me, and tell what you know about our company or what we do. we are a legitimate company helping up and coming artist and we are doing it right. sorry that we tried to extend our services to you. we were just trying to help you. We guarantee you if we were to help you, you would have an increase in booking and a bigger fan base. were not the ones you should be mad at, for what ever reason you are angry I don't know. we are working comedians, actors and musicians who know exactly what we are doing and we use our skill and connects to help promote and book talent to build a bigger better scene for up and coming entertainers. what are doing to help the scene?"

Besdies the aforementioned issues with their work - which was, in fact, limited to their own masturbatory creations, they don't have a portfolio, don't list the websites they have created or anything that is fairly standard in the web development community (freelance or otherwise).

Not one to back down from a fight, I went ahead and again replied:
"$99 websites? Please.

To begin with, I use correct punctuation and grammar. I'd never, ever, hire a company or "professional" who could not even communicate in a way that is reflective of business pursuits.

Furthermore, your "guarantee" is, frankly, baloney. You can't guarantee that a $99 website will increase bookings or a fan base any more than you can guarantee that using the word "professional" makes you one.

I'm not angry at all, I just find it very suspect and extremely questionable that *ANYONE* claiming to be "professional" would advertise a $99 website and then claim to guarantee results with no measurable data to back up such a claim.

As for what I'm doing to help the scene, I have spent years helping folks understand web marketing and how it can help them build their brand. And I spent countless hours with clients who have been taken by claims like yours. $99 is a lot to an emerging artist - and should be spent towards a long-term marketing and branding plan, not a one-shot pony company who will take the money and offer little value in return. And any company that charges $99 is just that.

I wish you the best of luck, truly - it just makes me sad, more than anything else, that people will fall for your cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach that I later have to fix. I have to fix not only their perception of the web marketing industry, but also have to help them with the harsh reality that you get what you pay for.

Best wishes and best of luck to you -"

I think I did a pretty good job staying on-topic, eh? I mean I didn't get insulting of their persons, or their mothers, or their unadequate penis size. I simply pointed out the defects in what they were offering and how they were offering it.

For those of you still reading... a bit of a background on me. I'm originally a musician - was a music major in college, but realized it wasn't much of a career path. Not because I'm not good (I am good), but it was either performing or teaching, and I wasn't interested in teaching. Not to mention performing was a tight industry and I wanted to do things and have things and acquire masses of stuff I will never possibly be able to use. So, I continued doing music semi-professionally for a number of years, but not as my career choice.

About that same time, the internet was just taking off. I spent countless hours learning about HTML and web servers and code and "design" and got to be adept at coding and ok at design. I've never claimed to be a designer, but I'm a pretty damn good all-around web professional. Over the years I've done sites for clients that range from the mom-and-pop next door to projects you have seen and heard of - the US Air Force, Burger King, Mountain Dew, Pizza Hut, American Airlines, to name a few. And right now I work full time in the industry as a web project manager - managing projects for big clients. And in my spare time, I have a few freelance clients and help out individuals with simple sites.

My aversion and subsequent griping about a $99 website is because in all of my years in this industry, I have never seen a $100 website that was worth the money put into it. You see, a site is more than just a page with some unreadable text... you need hosting (where your site lives) - which, for a reputable server, will run you about $100 a year, and a domain name which is running about $10 a year. Right there, you're over the $99 tag. I think saying you get a website for $99 is misleading and doesn't give an accurate representation of the cost of actually having a website and keeping it online - not even to mention the design or development that goes into making something useful that works (for my clients and their users).

So, back to the point - I didn't get personally nasty at any time, but this group of "professionals" replied and spewed a bunch of nonsensical venom that I will post below. Of course, instead of this being about websites, it had to become about how I am a hack (and as an upcoming comic who works very hard to write her own material, even though she's surrounded by phonies), of course, is a ridiculous claim. Also, this company felt it necessary to lump me into the all-too-huge group of female comics who aren't funny. Well I know better. I am funny. I'm fucking hilarious. In fact, I'm sitting here right now and stroking my very own funny bone until I get a laugh ejaculation. Oh yes, that's how I roll.

So here's the nasty/nonsensical reply I received for your reading enjoyment:

"First off, we hate grammar. that's between us, and grammar and that beef started long before you sister! second off, "taken" what the hell? You REALLY dont know what youre talking about. and FIFTH, EVERYTHING we do is originally designed for these artist. You are really talking out your ass on this one. Allow me to educate you in a few areas.

We charge 99 bucks because people like YOU feel the reason to charge up the arse for something that really shouldnt cost that much. we are WORKING entertainers who know whats its like to struggle. we would NEVER do any of the things you are accusing us of.

I know you might think were new but we have running this game for years without any complaints from our actual clients. some of who you would recognize on MTV or Comedy Central, a place you will only ever hear of and never experience Im sure.

As far as cookie cutter, You must be referring to your act. Im grateful though, its women like you who have the whole world thinking that there are no funny female comedians. Its ok, just makes us work twice as hard. Its okay though, really.

I have been cleaning up after unfunny woman like you for years. I am now rolling in it! as a matter of fact I'm such a rare gem that I was able start this company and afford to help out a community I understand. Not only that ALL of our volunteers are pretty big, eating up the top ten spots in plenty of the comedy genres here. which is why we like to keep anonymous. I'm sure one day you wont understand.

You're someone I would encourage to, "quit while you're ahead" Here is a guarantee for you, I guarantee you if you EVER get anywhere outside of your hole in this business I will be on the other side of the table. The comedy community is a small one in lala land and the genuinely funny rule it. Like my partners and myself. You see, when were not designing websites, or writing, were sitting in the front row of the Hollywood Improv on Melrose booking theater shows across the country. see me ruling it. taking away your business. why dont you go work on a joke you read from your email this morning. Im sure youre a hack, you stink of it. Youre obviously projecting right now.

Sorry if our low prices unveil "designers" like you to be what you really are, thieves. You're blocked until you get better jokes. we couldn't help you anyways. we don't supply writers. that would be cheating.


You're so great at both comedy and web design that your page is as hot as your act. Grow up, get a life, and write some jokes. even if we aren't here tomorrow we will be back and wont stop pumping out original shit for our clients. Funny anyone who has gone through us has nothing to complain about. Its always the pissed off web masters who realize the days of charging five hundred dollars for templates are dying. Guess you'll have to get a real job."

Wow. Heh. At first I wanted to write a lengthy reply defending myself, but then I thought, why the fuck do I care (oh and *I* am blocked, from *them*)? This is a nameless-faceless group of spamming fuckers who have convinced themselves that they are everything to web marketing and to entertainment. And so, they sit on their throne of idiocy and machismo and watch over this wonderful country, ummm, "ruling it" and "pumping out original shit". God. Damn. That is poetry.

You see, I never claimed to be great at comedy or web design. I never claimed to be anything other than someone who was offended by the audacity of an offer and guarantee that would only lead to struggling artists forking over a hard earned $99 to a group of spammers who aren't even willing to say who they are or show what they do.

So, my friends - and consumers, just a friendly "Buyer Beware." It's an old adage, but you get what you pay for. $99 is a small investment, yes, but it's better spent working with someone who is going to help you establish your entire web marketing plan and how it fits into marketing who you are and what makes you unique. And no, I'm not saying that you need to spend $500 or $5000 on a web project, but I am saying that there is never, ever a one-size-fits-all package that you should be put into. Your brand should be important enough to you to make it unique and different... whether that's your business cards, your head shots or your website.

And a real professional will work with you, no matter your limitations or your abundances.

But hey, THEY are "ruling it." What the fuck do I know? After all, I'm not in "lala land." It is obvious they are, in more ways than one.

Well, back to my Sunday! I enjoy my weekends off from my nearly six-digit paying day job that I've worked very hard to get and am great at. And I have a pile of emails with jokes in them I need to get to. Such a busy life.
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1 comment:

Dr. Zoom said...

Good dam those basterts who touch your hands for no good reason. i hate them i hate them i HATE them more than anything else in this whole WORLLLLLDDDDDDDD!!!!