Thursday, July 21, 2005

Shame-based self promotion

I’ve mentioned a few times before how beneficial a Myspace profile is in bringing website visitors. It begs repeating, because it truly has been a powerhouse, both in traffic and networking.

I don’t spend hours and hours at Myspace. Generally I’ll drop by once in the morning and once in the evening to check messages, bulletins and blogs. What I’ve found is in addition to the networking and traffic aspects, most of the people there are truly nice. Artists who I think would not have the time send me very thoughtful notes, with comments in them that prove they actually read my site, and not just skimmed the surface. I’ve been amazed at what’s there. True, it behooves any artist to actually connect with their fan base, but superficial phoniness is easily detected. If someone is mentioning one line I wrote way deep down in my website, you know they were actually there.

Other websites have noted the power of MySpace in website promotion as well.
Bob Baker’s blog references a good tip on the spinme blog advising bands to register a URL pointing to their MySpace profile, and a comment on this post brings some important Myspace etiquette as well.

This thread over at SitePoint Forums starts a discussion on it. Again what’s important is that any type of site using MySpace for promotion needs to have content relevant to the user base there. The original poster runs a website offering notes and study guides, which would have a receptive audience at MySpace. It will be interesting to follow up on this thread to see what he reported.

An article at
Transworld Business reports on two companies using MySpace to promote their ventures, and also mentions IceLounge which is appearing as the new MySpace for skaters. The CSMonitor writes about the heroes of my youth R.E.M. using MySpace to connect with fans, as well as reporting on a new site named iFanz. I tried to sign up for a free test account at iFanz, however they require a credit card in case your list grows beyond the free membership level. I just wasn’t comfortable with that.

Now… how all this will play out with with Fox’s consumption err purchase of MySpace remains to be seen in months to come. With that announcement came the inevitable fake profile of Rupert Murdoch, which is a riot.

Fake and spoof profiles are everywhere. Those are fun because their owners will leave in-character comments on your profile, and you can leave “in-character” comments on theirs in return. Some of my favorites are
Agent Smith, Willie Wonka, Napoleon Dynamite, Al Swearengen from Deadwood (whom I am afraid to add as a friend for fear of his hilariously foul language), Charles Darwin and of course, George Bush.

You have to be careful with the fake profiles though – sometimes what you think is a spoof is a misguided attempt at adoration. Recently I saw a profile for an organization that was so over the top, so Conservatives for American Values-esque I thought it was a spoof profile and left my own in-character comment. Much to my dismay I realized afterwards that this person actually admired this organization so much they made a profile as a sort of shrine to it! Oooopppsss. My bad! Thankfully they were graceful enough to just delete my comment. And no, I won't link to it. They were classy enough to just quietly remove what I wrote, so I'm not having you rotten kids visit their profile and annoy them. I know you too well!

There are shares of horribly designed profiles there. Light pink text on pale orange backgrounds has been spotted on more than one occasion. God-awful animated gifs abound, as well as cursor trails, flashing and scrolling text, and every other geocities-website induced atrocities you can think of. And I’m not even going to touch on the hoards of young women there who feel the need to post rather scandalous pictures of themselves. I guess it’s to be expected, but c’mon ladies! Have you no self-esteem? Or perhaps it’s a matter of too much self esteem.

But getting back to the original gist of this post, the MySpace is for nothing if not self promotion. Blogs, groups and bulletins are full of people promoting their latest album, blog, website – you name it, people are promoting it. MySpace has become the ultimate DIY self promotion machine.

I’ve started it as well, however I just don’t feel comfortable to do it as much as some. That word “spam” always creeps up, and I’m so afraid of ever being considered a spammer. I will send out a bulletin once a month asking for link requests, and I’ll give a pitch here and there on groups for my site if I feel the thread warrants it.

I’m a rather shame-based individual though, so I can’t go too overboard with it. I’d probably wind up with three times as many visitors and inbound links if I’d step it up a bit, but I’m still afraid of that dreaded spammer-label.

So in the interim, I’ll just scout around for more fake profiles to add as friends. That’s still my favorite part of MySpace.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, you can get a free test account password (demo, abc123) at iFanz WITHIUT credit card....Ijust did it)

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