Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You be the judge

Just recently I had an "interaction" with the lesbian web site Afterellen.  It was confusing and seemed extreme in my eyes, but I think I might be too close to the situation.  I will relay the events as they unfolded and you be the judge and let me know if you think I was out of line.  Let me state that I don't think I was, but then I'm not always the best judge.  

In December I became an affiliate for a lesbian webseries called We Have To Stop Now.  As an affiliate I would put a link to my affiliate page in my signature line and people could sign up for We Have To Stop Now from there, if they clicked on the link.  As part of my affiliate campaign I picked Afterellen; first because they are the most visited website for lesbians and second because this huge lesbian site had never mentioned anything about this very prominent lesbian webseries.  So on December 11, 2011 I developed a catchy tag line and placed the link in my signature on AE.  The results were fantastic, I received a ton of hits and even had some people subscribe to the webseries.  Things went along swimmingly until February 11, 2011 when I received the following message.  (please note that this person says they sent me a message on January 19, but I did not receive that message) 

AE: Hi- I sent you a PM on Jan 19th asking that you remove the advertising link in your signature. Again, please remove it. This is site policy against advertising pay sites. Here is what I sent last month: Hi- I'm writing to ask you to please change the link in your signature that is promoting Wehavetostopnow's page that charges readers for access to content, which is something we prohibit on our site. I understand you want to promote the series and that's completely fine, but since the link goes to a page that asks for credit card info we cannot allow it. Do they perhaps have a Facebook page you could link to? That would be fine since it does not directly link to a pay site. Thanks.

My response:   Sorry I did not see your previous message. I will stop sending it in as a link to the pay site and send it to their facebook page. I apologize. 
Since AE did not allow a link to my affiliate page because it asked for credit card info I decided to link directly to the WHTSN website.   This was done on February 11 and on February 24 I received this message from the AE moderator:

AE: Hi again- I had to check with Karman whether or not your link is okay because it doesn't point directly to the credit card info page but your link still points to a site which is asking for money to view content. This isn't our policy but MTV and Logo Networks since the link is basically advertising for free on the site. Can you change it to their facebook page or another fan page? I know a few months back I had to contact someone else asking them to remove the link and I think they replaced it with their facebook link. Sorry for the confusion, I needed clarification myself on it.

Again, I did as they requested and put the facebook page for WHTSN in the signature line.  

Then on April 12 I put a link to The Gloves are Off live video blog into my signature line at AE and changed my avatar to a picture of the stars of the video blog.  TGAO is not something that has to be payed for and the link was not to a pay site but to vockle where the live feed was going to take place.  I thought that these rules only applied if something was asking pay for content.  I received the following message:

AE: I've asked you 4 or 5 times to stop linking a pay site in your posts. I'm not sure what the problem is with you using their facebook page or some other page, but once again please stop. I shouldn't have to be tracking you and editing the link out of your posts. I will revoke your posting privileges if you do not stop. You are not the first person I've asked to not link to pay sites, yet you are the only one who chooses to ignore my multiple polite requests. AfterEllen is owned by Mtv Networks and this is their policy. Neither they, or I, care what site your linking to -- If it's a pay site it is not allowed.

I had been asked 2 times previously about posting a link to two seperate places and had complied with the requests.  My understanding was that they did not allow the links to the pay site, I had not done that.  Also note the extreme defensiveness in the response.  The following is my response.  

Me: I am not linking to a pay site. TGAO is a free program that appears at a free site, that is what I am linking to. They do not have to pay to watch or engage in anyway. So...Next

To which I received the following response.  

AE: Okay, I'll make it more clear then. Do not link to wehavetostopnow.tv. Using the excuse that the video page you linked to was not a pay portion of the site is a moot point -- The site itself requires payment to view all other content. Therefore it is a pay site. Use their facebook page like you were doing before. It's quite simple.

I was extremely confused at this point.  It seemed to me that they kept moving the goal posts and coming up with more and more rules than were originally stated.  I sent this response to the most recent request.

Me: You bet, I won't link to it anymore. By the way, bit defensive much? Wonder why?  

I received this final response. 

AE: Defensive? No. You've been rude throughout the entire time I have been politely requesting you to not post that link. There's no reason why I should have had to ask you so many times. Not to mention you even added an avatar with the link in it. So no, I am annoyed, not defensive. I have enough to do on the site without having to monitor whether or not you're doing as you said you would and not post the link.

You be the judge, was I rude at any time during any of those exchanges?  Does she seem a bit defensive?  Does it not seem as if the position on what could be linked to was changed several times?  Does there seem to be some hidden agenda? Am I totally out of line?  Let me know what you think.  



  1. Nice play-by-play. I think towards the end they do sound defensive, but I don't think they see the changes you made the same way you do. In their minds ( and I'm just guessing) any link to wehavetostopnow.tv, regardless of which page, was a link to the same place, a site that contains pay per view content. Everyone has an agenda and obviously yours and theirs aren't the same..or maybe they are, both want to promote lesbian content, they just have rules and you know the saying..them that's got the toys makes the rules. As for whether they have a "hidden" agenda..we will probably never know.

    It's a little scary to encourage you to say what's on your mind, but I'm always grateful to judge someone..thanks and keep up the good work :)

  2. Don't worry much about this Sarah. The biggest unspoken reason they have this policy in the first place is that it directs people away from THEIR website and their advertisers and their income producing cow. I've had to learn that my sardonic tendencies don't go over well in the two dimensional online world. It's been misread and misunderstood over and over again to the point that I've just decided to be very selective in sharing that side. Otherwise I keep my "wit" to myself. As you said yourself...next.

    BTW. Blog often and blog well. And don't forget to monetize this site and build your affiliate links here. Your writing is good and your voice is an important one to be heard.

  3. Deeg, don't be afraid, my mind isn't that scary and thank you for your honest response.

    Frank, I appreciate the support and advice, I'll try and use it wisely.