Jesus. I was swamped yesterday and hadn’t heard about this. Apparently, Ampersand has sold the domain name for Alas, A Blog to a pornographer, with the idea that Alas’s traffic would drive up hits to the porn site:
I stopped reading Alas months ago because the anti-feminist quotient there was just too high. So I’m just now discovering what some of you may already know: Barry sold his domain to a pornographer, so now his blog is hosted alongside hard-core porn reviews. The deal is that the huge traffic to Alas — feminist traffic, generated by people who have built up that readership over years — drives up the search engine rankings for the pornographer. (Heart has a fuller explanation of the deal.)
Barry didn’t bother to tell any of his readers about this until someone discovered the links and asked him what the fuck was going on. Even now I’m not sure most of his readers are aware of it, since Barry’s explanatory post didn’t allow comments and so rapidly sank to the bottom of the list.
I think this is absolutely vile.
Violet Socks responds to a commenter who asks why it matters:
There is a large contingent of feminists who oppose pornography on explicitly feminist grounds, so it’s definitely a feminist issue. It’s not like Barry’s just linking to stock-car racing sites or something that is of no concern to his feminist readers. That’s why it was dishonest of him, I think, not to be upfront about this. The pro-porn feminists who are fine with XXX BangBros can continue to patronize Alas, but the feminists who don’t want to support that kind of thing deserve to be aware of what the site is linking to.
Some may think this is small beans, but in a community where sexual politics are so very personal, as well as political, this is an enormous business gaffe of exceeding irony. Of all the things one can do to save a buck, making money off the backs (and mouths and pussies) of women is not one that I encourage for a feminist man.
Not to mention the always necessary addition of “ethnic” porn for the discerning crowd.
If there is no shame, Barry, don’t bother lying about it.
Hugo has some additional thoughts, from the perspective of a pro-feminist man. He also has a NSFW link to the index of reviews, which, yes, contains that “ethnic” subcategory, as well as “lesbians,” “mature,” “teen,” and “ass.” MILFs appear to be a particular specialty.
Regardless of your feelings on porn, pro or con, the way that Amp handled this — not telling anyone of the arrangement until long after the sale, not allowing for comments when he had to reveal the arrangement — does not speak well of him or of his commitment to feminism.
UPDATE: Funniekins has a very sharp post about this.