Friday, January 16, 2009

Hit parade. Super ball. And toys in her attic?

I wanted to take a moment to thank all those who visited/commented over the past seven days for contributing to by far the best single week in SHAMblog history, hits-wise. Even without today's numbers, we've already shattered longstanding high-water marks for unique visitors and total page loads for a Saturday-through-Friday (which is how my stat counter organizes its week); the previous benchmarks date all the way back to July 7-13, 2007, a period that came on the heels of my "self-help horror stories," which I then deemed it necessary to suspend due to certain concerns.

One thing that continues to fascinate me is that stats on total blog utilization appear to have no relationship whatever to number of comments or, for that matter, incremental sales of SHAM. There are days/weeks when a relatively small visitor base will generate an extraordinary number of comments. And there are weeks (like this one, in fact) when an extraordinary number of people will just "poke their head in the door" without pausing to engage. One hates to sound like a poor-man's Camus, but I wonder what it all means?

Anyway, thanks to all. Hope I can keep you interested in the days and weeks ahead.


By now you've probably heard the flap about the proposed Super Bowl commercial that the NFL wound up flagging for illegal procedure. (If you don't really follow football, that's my clever, insider's way of saying that the NFL nixed the spot.) The ad is for a company called Ashley Madison, and the best way to describe what Ashley Madison does is...well, it's like a for philanderers who want to be above-board (if you will) about it. Which is to say, it's for people who don't want to have to sign up for a dating service under an assumed identity and/or spend hours before a date using sunless tanner in a determined effort to hide that pesky and incriminating pale area on the ring finger of their left hand.

Ashley's ballsy, unflinching slogan says it all:
With a viewership approaching 100 million, the Super Bowl, of course, has long represented the literal and figurative kick-off for dozens of major advertisers' hot new campaigns for the new year. SB advertising has taken on a life of its own, becoming an event, a happening, in its own right. Clearly the NFL doesn't want to soil its marquee property with the mention of something as squalid and unappealing as casual sex. The league would rather rake in its $186 million in ad revenues*
(in 30-second increments, at around $3 million per) by promoting alcohol (that a lot of its viewers already drink in excess) and snappy cars (that viewers can't really afford to buy, then go out and drive way too fast), and other responsible adult behaviors. The funny part is, the spots for both the alcohol and the cars will entice male viewers (many of whom are married) with the lure of beautiful women offering anonymous sex.

There are a number of things I could say here, editorially, but I think first I'd encourage you to put aside any knee-jerk outrage you may be feeling, read this column by Los Angeles Times writer Meghan Daum, and tell me if she doesn't make some points that, at the very least, are food for thought.

More on all this next week.


Finally, apropos of our gurus and the bona fides we assume them to have, there is this.

* Both figures in this graph, viewership and ad revenues, are for 2008's Super Bowl.


Anonymous said...

hey Steve I hate to say this but, I agree with Roger, you're at your best when you write about stuff like in your last two articles. Congratulations on your blog doing so good. I don't comment much but I'm still a loyal reader! I think that lady going bankrupt and even trying to hide her identity when she's giving finanical advice, that is too much. ok I'm off now to get my Playboy!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Steve. And, oh, you're welcome! ;)

Daum writes this about "Ashley Madison:"

What's that furious clacking sound I hear? Is it the sound of apoplectic readers typing irate e-mails about the subject of this column? Or is it the sound of people signing on to Ashley Madison?

Hm... is all I can add to this. Suffice to say that I'm not getting apoplectic.

Voltaire said...

About your web statistics. About a week and a half ago I started using a RSS reader and I'm wondering if that's been pushing your stats upward. RSS readers periodically check for new content, and since I sometimes have my RSS reader running at home as well as having one running at work. I don't know anything about the innards of how RSS readers work, but I find the coicidence interesting. I'm using Googles RSS reader, so if you're getting a lot of requests from Google it may be just my RSS reader doing it's thing.

By the way, RSS readers are really nice; I recommend them highly for keeping if you want to keep track of new articles on lots of difference websites and blogs.

Dimension Skipper said...

I've been thinking the same as Voltaire for I too use iGoogle as a feed aggregator and I wonder if its display of multiple SHAMblog posts and comments at a time counts as one hit per displayed item on your stats, Steve. And since I have iGoogle set as my browser's home page and general "home base" then every time I go there, does that mean there's another bunch of stat hits headed your way? I have no clue, but if so it could be a very reasonable explanation of the blippage you've noted as more and more folks discover feeds and how they can use'em.

But I won't discount the possibility either that you may just be gaining popularity. After all, I found you back during the election season (by Googling on something completely non-election-related) and then ended up hanging around because I generally liked the atmosphere...

Anonymous said...

Inquiring minds want to know, so I went to Ashley Madison site (what a perverse name, no? Sounds like a children's clothing company; then again, we had Ashley Dupree in the news not that long ago...) to learn more about their, er, business.

They have a special program called Affair Guarantee which will cost you an extra $250.00, and what's even more daunting, will require you to spend 60 minutes (60 minutes!) a month text messaging with your possible future "partners" (one of their "guarantee" requirements). So, I'm thinking, dang it! No, really, there goes that chance for most middle-age adulterers. ;)

Their FAQ section is enlightening and amusing too. It ends with an almost symbolic question, under Trouble Shooting, "Why am I timing out?" Of course they mean computer problems, but one wonders. And AM creators bent over backwards there to justify their mission, resorting to some highfalutin' language, including the ideals of freedom and democracy.*

More seriously, I understand why people stray -- looking for affection, sex, and intimacy that every marriage or long-time relationship at some point (sometimes? often?) does not provide -- and I am not one to judge (most of the time). But while Ashley Madison's execs' arguments about "saving marriages" may sound plausible at first, I wonder how many marriages have been really saved this way? "Yeah, honey, I'll be late today again, you know, gotta work on saving our marriage. Don't wait up. And, oh, I'll be late tomorrow too. Ah, stop complaining already; saving our marriage is hard work, yanno, it requires sacrifices." Somehow I don't think AM is keeping statistics to prove its noble results.

*It's a (laughable?) given that when it comes to justifying the inexcusable or downright sick (and I'm not necessarily including Ashley Madison here), these ideals will be always trotted out to shut up any possible opposition.

Anonymous said...

This won't fly at my house, Steve. I enjoy your articles, and sometimes I even agree with you. But Playboy, and other magazines with pictures of naked women and endless articles about sex are just not welcome in my home.

We have children, and standards. The culture gets more crude all the time, but we refuse to participate. Maybe we'll be Amish some day.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon: Point taken. Look, though: Even the Amish have rumspringa. Maybe you could declare a temporary one for the purpose of reading the piece.

(I'm kidding, of course. I understand standards--though I'm not always sure we're enforcing the right ones. We could probably have a nice little discussion about the whole Playboy thing. Maybe some other time.)