I've pissed off several contributors and readers in the past week. Several of you have written in about my Big Brother butt post and yesterday's Big Brother porn entry. No one, however, wrote in about Abigail's "Lindsay Lohan Naked Photo Shoot" post. Others wrote in and thanked me for "sexing it up a bit."
When we re-launched as the Bilerico Project we chose the name purposefully. Our tagline is: Daily Experiments in LGBTQ. Why? There's a lot we can learn from each other - especially when we step outside of our own boundaries to examine ourselves and others. My posts on Big Brother were an experiment; you were the subjects. Thanks for participating.
Let's look at the results and extrapolate. This one is going to spark one helluva discussion.
The vast majority of e-mailers were women. I had 4 e-mails from men - all contributors - out of 46 messages I received. Forty-four came after yesterday's Big Brother porn post.
Hillary Clinton guest posted the week before my first Big Brother post. She brought a lot of traffic to the site, of course. The Indianapolis Star featured Bilerico Media in a story at the beginning of last week and a couple days later, I posted about BB9's gay contestant. Abigail's post about Lindsay Lohan hit the site a couple days ago and does not have the actual photo shoot pictures or anything even remotely adult to it. Yesterday I posted the BB9 porn post. Originally, I left the pics uncensored after the jump, but about halfway through the day I covered the naughty bits with a big black dot, but allowed readers to click the pic to see the uncensored version.
This is the website traffic graph for the past two months. I've marked the important timelines. (You can click to embiggen.)
Here are the last few keywords for Bilerico and the 7 most popular posts since we re-launched as the Project.
- Big Brother 9 Neil Garcia shows his ass (literally)
- Lindsay Lohan Naked Photo Shoot
- Hannah Montana Dirty Photos!
- A message to LGBT Americans: I want to be your President
- The queer red light district
- The Future of Anal Sex
- Barack Obama: A Call for Full Equality
Notice which posts have been particularly popular on the Project – sexy posts. Posts about anal sex, naked boys and celebrity nudity. Sex sells as you can plainly see from the graphs. I had to stretch the top five to the top seven just to include Barack Obama’s guest post.
Now here are clips from some of the e-mails and comments that I got:
Today, I'm embarrassed today to say that I'm a contributor here.
I am not opposed to nudity on the site and I do think that Bilerico should be sexed up a bit... Sex continues to be a big part of the GLBT movement and by virtue of us being human, our lives.
I dig politics as much as the next person, but I also am interested in pop culture, technology, celebrity gossip, sports, art, sex and pics of hot guys. And, when I think about what I would like to see on Bilerico, I want some of all of that.
This reminds me of the old guy at a Pride Parade that's wearing the pink thong with his balls hanging out. It's not something I'd want my kids to see, or think I was affiliated with. Not because I'm a prude, but because think it's pathetic and beneath Bilerico standards.
The other day, a gay male friend of mine who is very political and into issues called me up. He had started reading Bilerico at my suggestion and initially he was impressed. Now he was saying on the phone, "I can't believe they put that posting up...I've lost a lot of respect for them."
When I signed onto Bilerico, I had no idea that I was signing onto a venture that intended to use gay porn as a hook to get readers. I wonder how the other contributors feel about that. Maybe you should do a poll and find out how all of them feel... ...the Huffington Post isn't using porn to to hook their traffic. So in the long run, I think this policy, and the impression it creates, is going to work against you.
I don't have a problem with sex topics. What I do have an issue with are in IN YOUR FACE COCK PICS. Blacked out or not, it's not something I'd want my Congressman, neighbor, or family member seeing... There's a HUGE difference between talking about sex, and showing it.
all I can say is this... it is a sad sad day when gay news has to resort to dicks and monkey sex to get hits.
What's the disconnect here? Our most popular posts are about sex. Our site is aimed at the LGBT community - a group known for being discriminated against because we can fall in love with and have sex with someone of the same gender or traverse other gender boundaries that are set in place by society to ensure arbitrary sexual compliance. We've been defined - as a community - by our sex.
I don't want anyone to think I'm preaching the values of porn on Bilerico. I'm not. In fact, I was a little leery of putting up the cum shots and erections yesterday, but did it to prove a point... As a whole, we're not as comfortable with sexuality as we'd like to think we are. We're judgmental and we're lustful. We're prudish and yet voyeuristic. We're hypocritical.
I don't have all of the answers - that's the point of the Project. We're here to learn from each other. Communication is key. So let's talk. I have some questions about the whole experience that I'd like to chat about. I don't want to preach - I want to discuss. Let's start with these questions:
- I can watch the traffic on Bilerico in real time. I can see folks who have accounts when they show up at the site and I can see what pages were viewed. Almost everyone who wrote clicked through to see those pictures of cum shots and erections and bare ass. Every. Single. One. Is it okay to look at porn as long as you're outraged by it later? Does curiosity outweigh prudishness? Does gender factor in to this?
- If we put up eye candy posts (no genitalia exposed) and it were of men, women and trans folk, would that be okay? Where's the dividing line between eye candy and porn? Does eye candy drag down the site or add to what a lot of people obviously want? Other sites like Queerty, OMG blog, and Proceed At Your Own Risk all put up eye candy and sexy posts. All three kick our ass in traffic and Queerty and PAYOR are also political. Do our readers consider us different than other queer blogs and websites? If so, what's the difference?
- Thousands upon thousands of people came to see those posts. Not all have stuck around, but quite a few have. Is it worth momentary uncomfortableness by some readers to gain others?
- Most of the visitors to Abigail's post clearly weren't looking for her video as much as the actual photo shoot of Lindsay. They obviously didn't stick around to look at other posts, but they did provide advertising dollars. Does it matter that they showed up and left or is it just my posts that were more explicit? Can we use sexy to bring the traffic but leave the reader with a virtual case of blue balls? Or is what I have to say in the main column more important than comic videos?
- As a community, we fight for sexual freedom. Why are we so afraid of penises? Or vaginas? Gay, lesbian or trans - most of you were pissed off I'd posted those pictures. Do we fear what others (like the religious right) will say about us? Why the double standard of celebrating sexuality while condemning examples of sex?
- More people came to see the sexy posts than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama's guest posts. What does that say about our community's priorities? Or does it say anything? Is there a ranking system where I can't be political and horny - maybe even both at the same time? Are we that binary?
- And finally, what does it say about the place of porn in our society?
So let's have it. Stop e-mailing me and start talking to each other. After all, it's not just my site - it's everyone that participates here too. It's readers and contributors - we're a family.
Let's talk about sex, baby.