Something that really bothers me in today’s media is the apparent lack of concern for the impact advertising and marketing has on the people who see it. Sex, violence, drugs, cheating and an unhealthy obsessions with money and status. Its nothing new but it is everywhere. And as you delve deeper in to the world of blogging you realize that a lot of those big online marketers are just the same; they’ll do anything for a buck

In this post I am going to talk about how you can market your blog or online business without selling out and resorting to the cheap “SEX!” tactics that we see everywhere else.

What you will find is that in the end these techniques are even more powerful.

What’s my problem?

I know some of my readers are going to have a problem with this post and say that there is nothing wrong with sex in marketing. People from America, in particular, are hugely loyal to the idea of free speech and as such any kind of censorship doesn’t sit well. And while I will never agree with a Government-based censorship I do strongly believe in self-censorship. Just so you are clear from the start, as far as marketing, advertising and business in general goes:

  • I think the sexualization of young people sucks
    The number of TV shows, commercials and film clips that portray young people (girls in particular) in an extremely sexual way is out of control. Kids have enough trouble as it is without putting extremely tricky and adult concerns in their head.
  • I wouldn’t do it unless I could tell my Mom about it
    When I was younger my Dad told me that a good rule of thumb for how to behave in business is whether or not I’d be proud to tell my Mom about it afterwards. If I would feel any shame or embarrassment then it isn’t the right thing for me to do.
  • It has to be always helping
    If I look at a business deal, marketing campaign or partnership and think that for any reason it will hurt or really upset someone out there then I don’t do it. I have worked really hard to make sure all my business activities help people in some small way. For example, last year I turned down a lucrative marketing job for a chicken company because I didn’t want to have anything to do with increasing the number of animals that get killed for food.

Now I haven’t shown you my face yet (I will sometime this year) but I have always been honest with you. I am sorry if this stuff disagrees with your own opinions and points of view but that is how things are around here at Blog Tyrant. I am not saying you have to agree with me on any of this, but I am saying this is not the style of marketing or business that you will learn here.

I should also add the disclaimer that I am no angel. I’ve made as many mistakes as everyone else out there in my personal life but when it comes to marketing to thousands of people I think you have to be much more diligent in how you behave.

How to market your blog without selling out

What I want to do now is go through a few techniques that are important if you want to market your blog without getting involved in some of the more dubious marketing methods. If anyone has any others they would like to add please drop a comment.

1. Avoid bad relationships and foster good ones
After college I went to the Himalayas because I was really interested in Tibetan Buddhism. While I was there I spent a lot of time hanging out with Buddhists and taking teachings from the great meditation masters. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was that the company you keep plays a massive role in the type of person you become. One teacher said:

“If you put a rose in a sack of fish then soon the rose will start to stink too. Be careful of the company you keep.”

When it comes to online marketing you will find that this particular statement is extremely accurate. The more time you spend with people the more you start to emulate their qualities and actions. If they are talking about how much money they made by selling some dodgey affiliate using a sexed up marketing campaign then, over time, you will become interested in the idea.

They say that in your life you will become the average of the five people closest to you. That is a very interesting idea. Take a look at the five people closest to you and see whether they are the type of people that you admire, respect and appreciate. Would you like to turn out like them?

Why are good relationships part of marketing?
You might be wondering how good relationships form part of an ethical marketing strategy other than the fact that they act as a positive influence. Well there are a few very important reasons:

  • They connect you
    Good mentors, friends and acquaintances will connect you with the right people, ideas and resources in your industry. By examining their conduct you can get a fair gauge on how well they will treat you. Darren Rowse, for example, is a guy you can always trust to do the right thing. Some others I am not so sure.
  • They advise you
    In the same way that you need to be connected to the right people and resources, you also, from time to time, need a good bit of advice. For example, if you are looking to buy a new website or need help with a product launch you have to know whether or not the person is going to tell you what is in your best interest or theirs. This is very important.

If you take away one piece of blogging advice from Blog Tyrant I hope it is that you need to connect with good, generous and successful people who will be happy to help you out from time to time. Absolutely every success I have in my life has been due to the kindness of these types of people.

2. Use your brain, create value and push it
If I asked you to tell me which adverts or products had really grabbed your attention in the last five years I bet every single person would say Apple. It might be the iPod, iPad or iPhone but every one of us would have seen and been affected by one of their commercials. Are they sexed up? No. Are the shocking? No. They are quite literally just selling their amazing products. Take a look at their latest iPad commercial.

Okay, sure, they use some catchy music and resort to some emotional marketing with the “memories” section but by and large this is a very wholesome, simple and well rounded advert. It is all about the product and it is extremely effective. The damn thing was one of the highest grossing products of all time. See any sex there? Nope.

If you have created a useful product that helps people and solves their wants and needs then you won’t need to resort to dirty marketing. This is not to say your marketing will take care of itself because it won’t. But in a world where people talk by email, Twitter, Facebook and a million other instant avenues you will find that a high quality product with a genuine benefit to people’s lives will spread like wildfire.

Once you have done this you will find that your marketing is mostly about either helping people remember you are still around or helping them spread the word.

3. Align your brand with yourself
One of the most important things you can do as a blogger is associate yourself with your brand. This has been said a thousand and one times but it is extremely important. People need to connect with a person because it is a person that they will become loyal to, not a brand.

The best place to look at this is sport. Good guys like Roger Federer get a lot of sponsorship because the brands want to get in on his cleanness. These big brands want to be associated with his skill, power and success but they would immediately move away if he became less humble, honest and cheated on his wife. Guys like Tiger Woods lose their sponsorship when they lose their good-guy image because the brands behind him don’t want the flow on effect. The same is true of blogging.

All of the successful blogs (bar one or two) have faces on them. You know the blog because you know the face and you trust it. This is vital for online marketing because it:

  • helps you sell products without customer hesitation
  • helps you create networks of fans
  • helps you meet industry leaders and innovators and gain their trust
  • helps you overcome any obstacles by relying on reputation

When you blog you should do so with the idea that you are that blog. It is not separate from you. Don’t invent a voice or a personality but speak straight from the heart the same way you would to a friend. By doing so you will remove a lot of the walls that other corporations face when they start their marketing campaigns. One bank in Australia is running a marketing campaign right now with the line, “We live in your world.

Sure you do guys. Sure you do. Don’t tell us you do, show us you do.

What do you think?

I’m sorry that this article failed to give you any simplistic and direct marketing methods but I really wanted to state how important good relationships, value-adding and individuality are to a marketing campaign. Without these foundations you will find that even the sexiest blog marketing campaign will fall short. The biggest guys are growing communities.

What are your thoughts on all this? Do you think marketing and advertising is a bit out of hand? Would you run a sex or hype based campaign? Please leave a comment.


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  1. I don’t remember where I heard this…and other than adding on to one’s moral obligations…you’re only as trusted as your least trusted online relationship.

    Therefore, it follows that I only link my work, my online relationships, my guest postings, etc to those who I highly trust. Visitors research, visitors know where you and I post. They aren’t going to buy from you or I if the last place they saw our name or gravatar was on the site “how to swindle your customers dot com.”

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 24, 2011

      Great saying Chris. I really like that.

  2. I understand what you mean. The amount of emails that flood my inbox telling me I can earn “$135,976.43 a month!!!!!!!” and you know it’s BS. It plays on people’s hopes and dreams and most disturbingly their fears.

    I’ve actually unsubscribed from a lot of marketing lists because of this. I really can’t be bothered with the bullshit anymore. Like you said if you wouldn’t tell your family about it why would you do it? I don’t know how some of these people sleep at night (probably very comfortably in their giant mansions if truth be told!!!)

    Back to work on my work in progress blog. But hey, at least I can look myself in the mirror πŸ™‚

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 24, 2011

      Totally agree Kev. Although, I kind of like those emails if they are for real.


  3. Kim at Work At Home Mafia on January 24, 2011

    I certainly agree that you are known by the company you keep. If you are resorting to back alley tactics to gain traffic and readers I totally agree it will backfire.

    You certainly want to be viewed with respect and trust, not with snickers and disdain so it goes with it that you want to align yourself with trusted and respected sites and mentors not with the fringe elements.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 24, 2011


  4. Radu Tyrsina on January 24, 2011


    SEX! πŸ˜€ That was a good one!

  5. Personally it comes down to, am I adding positivity to the world or not?

    While the Tyrant as a long term renter, has had some questions about my target market the landlord πŸ™‚ Most landlords here in Canada are just people who have scraped together their coins to buy an investment property. They need help to develop best business practices that will keep them out of trouble.

    I have never been the type of person who withholds information to try to get clients. I do an awful lot of free help around here. As for sex and marketing I certainly agree that it’s cheesy.

    What I’ve never been able to figure out about Americans is their complete nosiness. Tiger Woods for example plays golf…does his personal life have anything to do with how far he can drive a golf ball? There’s this complete fixation on their celebrities sex lives. Then they want to keep gay people from being gay and teenagers from having sex. Meanwhile 90% of their movies involve gorily blowing people’s head’s off and beating people up. Personally as a mom of a three year old I’m thinking that the violence portrayed is much more of a problem than him seeing a boob on TV. After all pretty much everybody has sex of some kind and (thankfully) very few people go around beating people up.

    I think the media in general would benefit from using the Too Much Information screen. What people’s sex lives have to do with their skill as politicians or ability to drive a golf ball is beyond me…I must admit that I did enjoy the Taiwanese Tiger animations. As a whole I’m not sure why this was news, rich young guy on top of the world has multiple mistresses behind his wife’s back. Not really news IMHO. Of course here in Canada we’re inundated with American news. Don’t they have any real issues to cover?

    1. I think I would have to disagree with some of what you said and say that how people conduct their “personal” (e.g. sex, money, etc.) lives has an effect on their “public” (e.g. what they do) life. If a politician is okay with cheating on his wife, I would be concerned about his judgment to make laws that are good, true, and just. If a CEO is found out for having taken money off the top, I would not want to do business with that company or organization. In that way, I do care about how people deal in their personal life, and I think we should to a reasonable level. I do agree with you though that we can be really obsessed with the wrong things in popular media.

      With the topic at hand, I think our personal life including our motivations and desires, whether they are right or wrong, will definitely inform and come through in the way we conduct our blogs, businesses, and marketing campaigns. I think those who maintain good integrity and character in their dealings will increase their sustainability and long-term as a business or organization. As mentioned in the post above, an obvious example that comes to my mind is Darren Rowse from Problogger.

      1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 24, 2011

        I agree with Brett.

      2. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

        I think it’s perfectly fine to know the basics of how public figures really conduct themselves, but we get an inordinate amount of information whenever a corruption story breaks. If a politician cheats on his wife while preaching about family values, that’s important for his base to know. On the other hand, it’s not important for anyone to know about his mistress’s favorite sexual position and every lurid act they engaged in. We need filters and we don’t have them anymore.

        Agree wholeheartedly with the second paragraph…

    2. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

      Speaking as an American…I don’t get it either. The personal life of Tiger Woods=not news. 99% of the celebrity garbage they report=not news. Actually, half the “celebrities” shouldn’t even be celebs as they’re famous for nothing.

      Unfortunately, we *do* have many very real issues to cover – creating jobs and stimulating the economy, finding better ways to deal with violent criminals, the broken education system that allows us to grow dumber each year…I could go on and on. Basically, the rational among us are *desperate* for honest reporting on real subjects that matter, yet the media refuses to do more than report on celebrity BS or political topics that they’ve thrown their own spin on. It’s disgusting, but they seem to be catering to the lowest common element in society and that element wants everything to resemble an episode of Jerry Springer – which I personally don’t understand the appeal to either. *shakes heads*

      Then again, I suppose I’m a little different. I’m one of the people who thinks it’s appalling that more people vote in American Idol each week than turn out for Congressional or Presidential elections. (Don’t get the mass appeal of that show either.)

  6. Interesting post. There is a lot of value in being yourself, and being honest. It reminds me of some of the blogs I used to read. At first they would have reviews that felt honest, and it didn’t feel forced. The blog would have one or two really good giveaways a week. But then they started posting multiple times a day with giveaways. I only read them to enter to win, soon it became tiring. They started giving away things that really weren’t even worth two minutes of my time. I lost my respect for them, and moved on. It only took about a week of that to make me leave a blog I had closely followed for almost two years.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Very true Vanessa. I have seen a lot of bloggers go down that path too.

  7. Justin P Lambert on January 24, 2011

    I couldn’t agree more. As one of those Americans you mentioned, I think free speech has its place. But the use of sex and violence to sell has gotten to the point of ridiculous. And, to look at it strictly from a copywriting and marketing standpoint, I have to imagine the bulk of our target audiences are so desensitized to it by now, it’s not nearly as effective as it probably was back in the early 20th century when it first started popping up in the mainstream.
    Bottom line, you have to have your principles. I’ve actually weaved my principles into my blog on Mondays because I consider a strong moral foundation as a vital basis for understanding everything else I create. But whether you want to share your personal boundaries with others or not, if you don’t have any, you’re not going to be adding anything of value to this mixed up world.
    Thanks for a great post and some awesome food for thought.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      The desensitization is what really worries me. The things that people think are “normal” now are quite shocking.

      1. I share your worry, BT. I am young and open-minded but I still think people should censor themselves very often.
        Freedom doesn’t mean you can do absolutely anything you want. And definitely not everything to sell your product.

        I’m glad to say I share the values of this blog. Otherwise, I wouldn’t read it.

  8. Monette Satterfield on January 24, 2011

    I agree with your points wholeheartedly. The idea of personal integrity is important to me in both my personal and business life. Over the years of building a traditional consulting and accounting practice, I would never have insulted or belittled my clients with that type of marketing and I’m not about to start now just because I’m doing it online.

    Besides, in my profession, we sign an oath of integrity to receive a license and I’m pretty sure sex based ads are frowned on πŸ™‚

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Good to hear!

  9. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 24, 2011

    Worst Show EVER: Toddlers and Tiaras

    That show makes me sicker then sick and I truly wish the whole world would STOP watching it so it would be thrown off the air.

    I’ve never used sex to try and brand my business. It wouldn’t make the least bit of sense. If I did, I would likely push away 90% of my readers. It’s also not me at all, I’m a good ol’ Texas family girl through and through.

    My issue though is that I don’t feel like I am branding myself all that well. I’m not sure I’m memorable. I don’t have the money to pay a big shot designer to brand me better either, so I’m just hoping that my writing style and personality shines through and makes an impact. Probably not the smartest marketing tactic, but until I have the money to invest in “branding” myself…it will have to do.

    In terms of aligning myself with the right people…I’m trying. On the advice of a fellow BT “community” member, I started a facebook group for a few people in my niche. It’s going well, but only time will tell if I’m aligning myself with the right people. So far so good though.

    I don’t have a product to offer. I only have me. My knowledge. How do you brand that? I feel like I’m providing something very unique. How do I make others feel the same? This is my biggest struggle. Seriously it keeps me up at nights!

    Honestly I’d like to learn more about branding. Specifically when you don’t have the cash to throw at it.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      What the hell is Toddlers and Tiaras? It sounds horrific.

      1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

        Heather I’m going to do more on branding soon.

        1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 25, 2011

          Thanks for the info on branding, I’ll definitely be looking forward to it. If you have links of reputable and affordable designers, definitely include those.

          1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 25, 2011

            Fellow Soup watchers. Okay I’ve found my friends now, LOL.Joel McHale is the only reason I have any clue just how bad TV can actually be.

      2. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 25, 2011

        You don’t want to know. 3 year old girls in bustiers that get their eyebrows waxed and spray tans. I only know about it because of The Soup (a parody type show making fun of other shows).

        1. I saw it on the Soup too! Joel McHale watches those shows so we don’t have to πŸ™‚

          1. Monette Satterfield on January 25, 2011

            The Soup is the only way I ever hear about this junk and I don’t even watch it – only catch the occasional clip if I’m passing through. I’ve never watched any of those shows and really don’t want too πŸ™‚

            I saw my first clip of “Jersey Shore” on the Soup last week and was amazed and appalled. I mean, really, who watches this stuff?

          2. We really should stop watching The Soup…it isn’t ethical to make people watch those shows so they can get those hilarious clips.

            LMAO at the soap opera women fights

            BTW Soup lovers may also enjoy Tosh.0 a similar show but with a collection of idiotic stuff found on the web. Last week starred Antoine Dobson

  10. How incredibly refreshing πŸ™‚

    I’ve only discovered your blog in the last few days and not yet had time to read through all of your posts, but this one means I will.

    The world of television/film/advertising has become so violent and sexual that people just accept it as nothing unusual. For a long time I have been perturbed by the way young children are encouraged to be like adults and are exposed to images that are certain to distort their view of what is normal. I’m in the UK (but have seen the same in Australia and no doubt the USA is the same) where parents seem to think it is fine to have their very young daughter wearing make-up, short skirts and heels, when they go shopping.

    Now that I have a 2 year old son, I find myself noticing images even more and considering their impact on our young. This is why I find so much public advertising abhorrent, because there is little choice about whether you see it or not. Hopefully without sounding too puritanical (I’m not), our son does not watch TV, I have seen children of just one year old put down in front of TV to watch whatever inane rubbish is being broadcast. What exactly is this doing to develop their inherent creativity and beauty … the answer is, of course, that it serves only to destroy it.

    It is often argued that violence and sex in movies doesn’t matter, or that they don’t have any effect, which is spurious nonsense. Try explaining to the corporations spending billions on advertising that the images they use actually have no effect at all!

    The world changes to reflect what we as humanity are like and we each have a chance to make our mark. We really need to understand that what we β€˜are’ ripples out way beyond our immediate friends, even if they are only online.

    So, in answer to your final paragraph question …
    There is so much junk being touted on the internet now, encouraging people to think they can become inordinately wealthy within days, without having to offer any value, or indeed anything, that it is β€˜out of hand’. However, the encouraging thing is that it is being exposed for what it is more frequently. So much so, that those guilty of this product hyping, now routinely write copy to distance themselves from all the other snake oil salesmen!

    Thanks again for a magnificent post.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Thanks Patrick.

      Glad you liked it.

      As someone said above, I think the violence and anger is more of a problem than the sex. Either way though, its all moving far too fast for kids nowadays.

  11. Janis Meredith on January 24, 2011

    Thanks for clarifying the importance of connecting me as a person with my brand. I always heard of it as either/or, not a connection. A connections definitely makes more sense!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Absolutely! Think Roger Federer.

  12. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

    For some reason, this made me think of the Victoria’s Secret commercials – a bunch of models prancing around in their underwear while doing their best porn star faces at the camera. If they really want me to buy their underwear or pajamas, or fragrances, they’d come up with something that told me a little more about the product and less how to be a soft-core porn star…just my opinion though.

    Anyway. I can see the use – and overuse – of sexual marketing all around (American here), but I can’t honestly say I’d even know how to apply it to my blog marketing. Since (under a pseudonym) I write romance/erotic suspense as one of my sub-genres, it’s pretty much a given that semi-nude people will eventually get on the cover.

    But for positive living? Paranormal? Money management? Event planning? Sex itself might come up as a topic when it applies to the subject matter – and I can only think of how it applies to two of those – but I simply do not see a viable way to work it into the marketing of said sites. All the other cheesy tactics? Again, I can’t figure out how I’d even make them apply to my sites…unless I follow hubby’s genius idea of selling “ghosts.” (unlikely)

    1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 24, 2011

      I started to write this in my comment earlier but had to delete it so I didn’t write another book of a comment on BT.
      When we were waiting in line for Santa last month, we were stuck in front of an enormous chunk of wall plastered with 2 story sized Victoria’s Secret models seductively posing in their underwear.
      Honestly it cheapened the experience a bit. I get that you need to see the underwear to know if you want it. I also understand that you don’t want ugly people modeling your product. I also think that there is a place for the kind of advertising that Victoria’s Secret does, and it’s not plastered on a wall in the middle of the mall. They could have put up one of their tamer Pink advertisements right there.Trust me…our Victoria’s Secret has 3 different entrances right next to each other (and takes up 4 stores worth of space)…even without 6 larger then life sexy models…you’ll be able to find the store.

      My son (age 3) asked “Mommy why are they wearing their underwear for the pictures? Why don’t they wear clothes? They look cold” LOL

      1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

        Seriously. It’s obvious their advertising is catered towards men, but with the exceptions of holidays where they buy lingerie, how often do men *really* shop at VS for us? 1. It would an exercise in frustration if I let hubby try to buy a bra for me, but more importantly 2. He won’t even go in the store unless he has to because he says it makes him feel like a pervert.

        It’s sad when Fredrick’s of Hollywood seems like the tamer choice. New ad campaign for them. Show me an ad with one of the models cleaning and organizing the house. If the underwear doesn’t find a way to strangle her while in motion, I’m sold. πŸ˜‰

        1. Ha Ha Jen,

          You reminded me of something, my husband does the majority of shopping for us and one day there was a sale on for underwear at a major store close to us. As these things happen he had to search through the pile to find my size. Finally he looks up and there’s a bunch of women staring at him pawing through the display of women’s undergarments. When he realized he turned beet red and kind of ran out of there. Poor guy.

          1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 24, 2011

            I hate that! Victoria’s Secret ALWAYS does that. Everything is mixed together so you have to hunt for your size. Honestly it looks so trashy. A bunch of women (and men sometimes!) throwing around stringy bikini and thong panties right in front of a display window. Sheesh!

        2. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 24, 2011

          And yet…as a woman, when you speak out against this kind of advertising, you are automatically labeled. Jealous, Prude, Over sensitive etc.

          Label me all you want, and then you sit down and explain to my son why there are naked people on the wall next to Build a Bear.


          1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

            There are guys that feel the same way about – my hubby, for instance – yet they don’t speak out much. Maybe because they’re “supposed” to enjoy sexy ads. I don’t know.

            I’ll take all the labels…never cared what people thought about me anyway. From the commercials, all I know is that the underwear holds up well if I prance around in heels and use my arms to smush my boobs together. As someone who isn’t a 00 model, I don’t *have* to use my arms and seven inches of padding to create cleavage – I already have it. Yet I’m labeled as the jealous one because I don’t have to buy bras to create an illusion. THAT is the hilarious part of it all. πŸ™‚

          2. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

            The thing is, those garments sell extremely well. So why would they change what they are doing? Capitalism at its best.

    2. Those Victoria’s secret ads remind of John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”

      “A man’s presence suggests what he is capable of doing to you or for you. By contrast, a woman’s presence . . . defines what can and cannot be done to her.”
      β€” John Berger

      yucky πŸ™

      Double yucky πŸ™ πŸ™ when my 3 year old asks for a hot pink bra.

      1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

        Okay…yuk, but…If that’s what people really think about my presence – good for them. That just means I’ll get to shock the hell out of ’em at some point. πŸ˜‰

        3? Wow. I don’t have kids, but I do remember my sister wanted to be Scary Spice for Halloween when she was 4 or 5, I think, so she could wear a sports bra as her costume…She didn’t get to.

  13. Selling with sex works – but it’s also a lazy tactic. Other things might work better!

    An example: I was a low-rung marketing person for a video game company that made a precursor to the Wii. We were at a trade show, and they hired a bunch of “cute” girls from an agency to demo the product, wearing short skirts, etc. Pretty status quo stuff for a tech trade show.

    But what really brought people over to our booth was a VERY enthusiastic big bald guy. He went nuts over the games and crowds came to watch & try them. If I had suggested hiring a big bald guy to play these games at the show people would have looked at me like I was nuts. But it worked far better than the “pretty girl” tactic everyone falls back on.

    1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

      I used to work promotions like that, so I still get the recruiting emails occasionally. The one I saw when the Kinect was being demo’s asked for “attractive” women, but said nothing of a knowledge of video gaming. Some of the promo girls will bother to learn about the product or company so they can talk knowledgeably, but my experience has been that most just rely on the “pretty factor” during events.

      But yeah…I’m with you. I’ll take the person who knows something about the products and is friendly enough to discuss them over the empty eye candy any day.

      1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

        The video game industry is a really interesting one. I’m an avid gamer but often have discussions about the obscene violence in them.

        I don’t know if you know but my state (South Australia) is one of the only in the world (outside China and Cuba) to censor video games for violence. Its an interesting debate.

        1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 25, 2011

          I’m rarely disturbed by the violence in video games – primarily because the chances of me getting into a sword fight with mercenaries or hobbes or dragons is highly unlikely. Total fantasy stress relief. Would I ever come unhinged and decide acting like my RPG character does in real life is acceptable? Again, highly unlikely…

          I was a little disturbed by the sex in Fable 3 though. I mean, they cut to black screen, so you only hear what’s going on, but…still. There are orgy achievements in the game. Same with Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood…they seem to put too much emphasis on the cutaway scenes where dude is getting laid. Hubby and I don’t play ACB to see toon porn, we’re playing to unravel the mystery, work some puzzles and kill some bad guys.

          Oh…and in Texas, they censor nothing when it comes to video games.

          1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

            That fantasy violence is nothing compared to shooting a prostitute in GTA or stabbing someone in the head in Battlefield Vietnam.

          2. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 25, 2011

            Probably the reason why I don’t play those types of games. I’ll stick to my fantasy RPGs…

        2. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality on January 25, 2011

          Have you seen this promo:

          My husband is a huge gamer and even he admits this is stupid (it’s hard to get him to admit anything related to gaming is stupid). The game is rated M so it’s not even supposed to be marketed to the target audience of those ads. Who over the age of 17 really buys video games just because it will piss their mom off?

          Obviously they are going after a demographic that technically shouldn’t even be playing their games which is crummy.

        3. Thing is Tyrant, I’m not in favor of censorship, however there comes a point where it adds nothing at all to the game. We have games where there’s no way we can even play in the room with our son, it’s that graphic. Just because we have the capability to render these games with the same amount of detail as a movie now doesn’t mean we should.

          It’s the same with free speech, there’s a difference between free speech and hate speech. A while back a noted speaker from the US was going to speak at a university here and chose not to because she was warned that her usual manner of speaking would be considered hate speech here. Hate speech means that it singles out and encourages hatred of a protected group. You can’t as a public figure go around saying racist, bigoted garbage in the public arena without any kind of responsibility for what effect that will have on vulnerable individuals. You because you can say or do something doesn’t mean you should. We are all responsible for making this world a better place. Everyday we have a choice, it’s up to each individual to decide what we will do with that choice. Good, bad or ugly…

          1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

            I agree totally. But I will never agree with our Govt. doing the censorship. That is the job of parents. How long before they censor news and movies that they don’t like?

            It actually happened here last year during the State election. The Attorney General in power made it so that you had to leave your name and address if you wanted to comment on politics on the web during the election. One step too far.

  14. If people knew what sex really is they wouldn’t have the need to sell out.

    Very good article. Thank you.

  15. Well, with LeastLikely2Breed I was guilty of playing the sex card but as it related directly to the products I was selling I felt it was fair and not “cheap.” After having a baby, many mom’s feel not so sexy (shocking, I know!) — I use humor to poke fun of the unreasonable standards of sex appeal, sexual demands that women feel obligated to address one way or another.

    I think it comes down to this: Are you exploiting a vulnerability and perpetuating harmful tropes?

    Yes, Then don’t do it.

    Are you trying to change the way people look at sex and violence? Then take the risk and do it — and do it well. If you miss the mark – open up about your failure and explain what you were trying to achieve.

    Also, for those interested, Sociological Images at is a great, active online blog which posts extensively on the cultural influence of images. Lots of interesting pics and discussion.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Great comment Leigh. Thanks for the link.

  16. Sylvia Hubbard on January 24, 2011

    I think I’m becoming addicted to this blog.

    This was just mind boggling and a must read.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Wow. Thanks!

  17. Seriously, if you put SEX! in front of every headline, you’ve bound to get attention. Possibly the police as well.

    It’s amazing what counts as a ‘hook’, anything from the idea of sex, to a catchy beat, to a certain colour used in a certain way (Facebook blue anyone?)

    I think its cool; it inspires me that you can market successfully without blowing your budget. Anyone can make it πŸ™‚

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      But would you make it at any cost?

      1. Hm, if you mean at the cost of others, then possibly not. But at the cost of myself, then that’s more likely.

        I guess it depends on each situation, but I know that there are more important things in life than business. It’s best not to let it consume you.

  18. Brandon Yanofsky on January 24, 2011

    I agree completely that online relationships are important. A while back I followed this one blogger religiously. He recommended another blogger in a post. That blogger though was all into hype and scummy marketing. I lost all respect for the original blogger.

    So really do watch who you recommend.

    1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 24, 2011

      In addition to recommendations, I’m careful about who I list as references since people might mistake the reference link as some sort of stamp of approval for the site. Although, I find this is mostly an issue when writing on fringe topics. I’ve yet to find a conspiracy site I’d be comfortable linking to and, with 99% of the conspiracies I touch on, the majority of sites agree…or are at least presenting common knowledge for the conspiracy community.

      Whenever I can only find a single obscure source for what I’m writing, I make it very clear that the link is provided only to provide more background/technical information on the subject, not because I necessarily think the writer is correct in their assumptions.

  19. Excellent post this morning!
    Business is changing in a dramatic way, and people are doing business with ethics, with thought and consideration of the how their practises affect others. Working in ways that are in tune with your own personal beliefs, running a business that way, brings so much credibility and a whole different world of possibilities to the table.
    Thanks for highlighting this concept and encouraging your readers to go with it.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Good point Vienda.

      It actually reminded me of something the Dalai Lama says.

      “If you are going to be selfish at least be smart-selfish. Realize that everything you do has an resulting effect.”

      He gave the example of business stating that if you cheat and steal and are overly competitive it might work in the short term but it always comes back.

  20. Allison @ House of Hepworths on January 25, 2011

    Great post! Thanks. Love your blog!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Thanks Allison!

  21. Allison White on January 25, 2011

    All I want to add is I believe your Dad to be a very wise parent/teacher. A simple statement to make you think about your whole life. Awesome!!!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      He’s alright I guess…

      1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

        Allison there appears to be some big probs with your website at the moment.

        1. Allison White on January 26, 2011

          As in how?

          1. the Blog Tyrant on January 26, 2011

            It doesn’t work. I just get a whole page of HTML code.

          2. Allison White on January 26, 2011

            I replied to this in an e-mail I received because I subscribed to this comment thread. Thanks sooo much!

  22. Lately I’ve seen lots of “Make your copy sexy” advice when all they mean is, “Make your copy interesting.” Sexy and sex were at one time (back in the dark ages before 1969)words one didn’t say very often. Like the F word and the s–t word, they’ve all been thrown around so much they’ve lost their impact. And commercials! Saw one for Viagra during prime time recently. Of course it was during a sporting event. Guess I sound like an old fogey, but I’m laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

    Great blog again, Ty. I definitely will keep my subscription.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Glad to hear your keeping your subscription. Always love your comments Dorothy.

  23. Fran Civile on January 25, 2011

    I’s so glad I suscribed to your blog recently … it was after a guest post of yours on Problogger. I agree with everything you said in your article … I’m sad to see my grandchildren exposed to so many crappy shows on TV.

    What you’re doing here, speaking up against greed and vulgarity is good and needs to be supported … over the centuries the pen has been powerful in moving people and I’m reminded that we who write for publication have a responsibility!

    We can light many little candles, while we curse the darkness (my version of an old saying!)

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Thanks Fran. It means a lot to know that people read this junk I write and get something from it.

      Hope to see more of you around the blog.


    2. Double amen to what Fran said.

  24. Chromatic Dramatic on January 25, 2011

    This is where my issue with many Affiliate marketing programs come in.

    Something that offers Affiliates as much as 50% or more of a sale just doesn’t sit right with me, it just says it is over priced by 50%.

  25. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

    Hi Chromatic.

    Affiliate marketers are often pretty bad in this area. However, I have to politely disagree with you on the 50% thing. Usually why people do that is because they want to offer the best possible incentive for affiliates to promote their products.

    Often times people run campaigns at a loss in order to spread the product or the buzz. For example, I have one reader here who offered a 100% commission so that the eBook would go viral.

    Hope that makes sense.

  26. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper on January 25, 2011

    Couldn’t the same really be said of any product though? From the companies I’ve worked for (or have inside knowledge of), the big elements of a product that factor into its final price seem to be research/development and marketing/advertising.

  27. Dear ‘Tyrant’,
    How refreshing to find this article in my inbox this morning. Your insightful post has done a lot to shine a light on the via alternativa. Now, how can we make it a global trend?

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Your guess is as good as mine Neil.

  28. At last somebody who see all this “stuff” and have an honest opinion or rather the guts to say something about it.

    What you put out in the world is usually a reflection of your soul. Unscrupulous advertising without taking into consideration who is affected by it only reflects the level of greed prevalent in the world and it is getting worse.

    As far as violent games are concerned, you have the problem that it may be you who don’t mind the violence and sex but your child is also affected by it and it was proven that violence in movies and games affect children adversely. Now people complain that their children are overly aggressive and antisocial.

    Over the years that I’ve been studying the internet and internet marketing I have seen many of the erstwhile good guys change their tactics to unscrupulous pushing of their products.

    It is a shame really because in the beginning most of them really added value to their marketing but not anymore.

    Anyway… thanks for a really enlightening piece of writing.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Thanks Jac. Appreciate the words.

  29. You were spot on with the influence thing. Yes I really admire Darren Rowse for his sincerity in helping others, promoting useful products and coming out with really useful webinars.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      He’s a great guy. One of the true good ones.

  30. Tom | Oral Answers on January 25, 2011

    I have to admit that I almost didn’t read your post after seeing the title as I thought you’d sold out too!

    Thanks for your refreshing post! I think you can sum it up as irresponsible marketing. Young girls see all of these adult situations that marketers make to appear exciting, yet they never show the consequences of promiscuity, just the fake positive side.

    I agree that if you really can help people and improve their lives with your “product” then you don’t need to trick people into buying.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 25, 2011

      Me sell out Tom? Never! πŸ˜‰

  31. Ricardo Bueno on January 25, 2011

    “You are the company you keep.” I’ve always believed that and still do. So, I try and associate myself with people who share similar values and goals to me. I don’t have time for negativity, for pessimism, etc. I have an empire to build, heh πŸ™‚

    Solid advice as always Tyrant!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 26, 2011

      Thanks man. Thanks for Tweeting it too.

  32. Do you mean to tell me that people can go find all the comments I’ve left at every blog I’ve ever visited? That’s scary!

    I’ve often wondered about my connection to other blogs because I wasn’t sure if an interaction with them was actually a reflection on me. It’s normal in our niche that somebody hosts an event and the participants go jumping around commenting on all the other participant’s posts.

    I always try to find something positive and supportive to say about their contribution. Now I’m kind of wondering if I should steer clear of the sites that aren’t necessarily in line with my values.

    That said, the idealist in me wants to believe that everyone is worthy of good energy and love. So if I’ve taken the time to comment on somebody’s site who’s a bit questionable themselves, oh well. I guess that’s how I roll.

    If anybody is interested, Brene Brown is a woman who has extensively studied shame in women. She has the most viewed Ted’s Talk ever given. I’m currently reading her book. It’s fascinating. Her blog is here:

    Tyrant, this is a good post. Best wishes from Germany, tj

    1. the Blog Tyrant on January 31, 2011

      What do you mean in your first line TJ? All comments are visible online you know right?

  33. Hi BT,
    For us mere bloggers, it is difficult sometimes to know how far to push our marketing. Do you try to do it quietly, hope no-one will notice. Do we sex it up, create some interest around it. Or do we just do blatant promotion.
    I guess there is somewhere in the middle. It can be hard sometimes to put your FACE to things that you don’t know. This is why I stick to my golden rule. Only promote what you use and benefit from. How you do it will vary from person to person.

  34. What a refreshing point of view! I’m not sure how we got to this stage that people are more attracted by sex than other marketing techniques. However, it is nice to remember that there are companies out there, ie Apple, that aren’t selling out. As for myself, my company is founded on strong moral principles and as a rule we whole heartedly agree with your findings here. Great article!

  35. Yes sex is a good salesman. The proof is that I keep this mail in “reserve”to read later (ie now!).

    But what surprises me most is that this post is about reputation. With the huge marketing mix to make money, it is true that it’s hard not to fall in lackluster marketing techniques!

    Anyway, I really liked this article and I want to read more often, and especially more in depth.

    Thank you for this piece of quality!

    P. S.
    Imagine. I’m French and I just comment your blog … I rarely do that! And as we say in French: “Chapeau!”

  36. Lynn Brown on January 30, 2011

    Thank you Blog Tyrant for being yourself. It is free speech but there is also a fine line that some do cross over due to greed. Isn’t that one reason why the US is so messed up right now? Anyway – I do find it curious though that I cannot find a picture or even a name of who you are. I discuss with my clients all the time to be proud of who you are and if you hide behind a name on line, some people may not take you seriously. But I am sure there is some reason for you – I know you are young and successful, so maybe you are shy? πŸ˜€ I really enjoy your blog and look forward to more great writings from you.

  37. Came across your blog and i like what I see. Great post!

    Building good relationships online are something that I have started to do. It really is so important for your online brand.

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