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on being hamstrung May 26, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, Technology Trouble, The Two-Year-Old.
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One of the things our CorporateSpeak office does is run a feed service that pulls in articles and sends them out to our clients who want news feeds on their sites. One of my jobs is to cherry-pick from our various branches and include the articles in client feeds.

A model in a fashion show. (Photo by Ben Yeoh)

A model in a fashion show. (Photo by Ben Yeoh)

I found an interesting article on Friday posted by one of our clients on their company blog about a fashion contest they held. At the contest, one of the entrants chose not to wear underwear and was photographed without it. A photo with her nether regions showing appeared on another website. Anyway, long story short, the client said “you signed the indemnity agreement, so it’s entirely your fault. Tough it out.” The woman, however, is in a position of some visibility at her office and is concerned about her image.

Given that web traffic often increases when stories about animals, children, and attractive women are posted (and this woman was attractive), I thought the story would be good to put on our own site’s feed — we maintain a small news feed as part of our promotional material.

The story was up for about six hours; the moment the Two-Year-Old saw it in our top pages of the day report, she decreed it to be completely removed from all feeds. Which was done.

Today I checked our traffic reports; the story was the second-most-viewed thing on any of our sites, and on the website where it originated, they received 300,000 page views (we got about 4,000). It was also the most-viewed video of the day on our video CMS, and the fourth-most-viewed video of the week. Pretty good for only being on the site for six hours.

I put the story up to drive traffic to our site. It did that. People saw our ads — video pre-rolls and banners. They may have clicked them. Money may have been made because of that story; I know our client made some. But because the Two-Year-Old happens to have two nieces the same age as the young woman in the story, she was particularly affected by it and ordered it eliminated. I imagine if the story had come from one of our other branches, instead of a client site, she would’ve been on the phone to her peer over there and had it taken down (the Two-Year-Old is a very powerful person in our company, and can order almost anyone around, including — I think — my Big Boss).

I just don’t understand it: companies want to grow their web business, but managers refuse to comprehend that you have to be edgy on the web sometimes — and if the option to be edgy without it being your “fault” falls into your lap, you have to take it. I mean, the most popular post ever on CorporateSpeak is The Facebook Babe — maybe because there’s a picture of two women in bikini tops? I don’t know.

Boobs sell. Cute kids sell. Puppies and kittens sell. Wardrobe malfunctions definitely sell. Just, apparently, not around here. Because we really don’t want to grow our web business; we just want upper management to think we do.

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This post marks the addition of a new category, “The Two-Year-Old”, because it seems like an awful lot of my posts are about things she does that make no sense.

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Comments»

1. casaeva - May 28, 2009

It sounds like you’re saying that whether or not it has any relevance to the content and purpose of the site, people should stick pics of half-naked women and baby animals on their site just to increase traffic. I agreed with your rant about marketing people but this “theory” is about 100 times worse than any brainchild to ever come out of a marketers head.


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