Wednesday, January 14, 2009

RB: Julia, Jan 14, 1:44am

This business stuff is hard work, says Our Lady of Introspection. The Trio of Banality cannot just "lifecast" all the time--there is important Business Development to be done! Here's our question: Nonsociety's Alexa rank is 55,525. That's it. See for yourself at http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details/nonsociety.com

So tell us more about those ad sales packages, huh?

Still, to be fair, here is what Our Lady has to say about it all:


Please keep in mind
I’ll tell you, one of the hardest things about what we’re doing here at NonSociety is balancing the back end work (design, web development, production meetings, editing, ad sales, biz dev) with the front end content, which you read here.

Ideally, we could just work on our lifecasts - but we’re a small business, and when we don’t publish, it isn’t that we’re not doing anything - it’s that we’re doing what it takes to keep this site running.

So if I post a lot of photos, many times it’s because I find it a hell of a lot easier to post a photo than a detailed explanation of the ad-sales package we just pitched, or production meeting we’re having, or two hour web development conference call we just finished. Plus, there are certain things we just can’t say on here, no matter how much we’d like to! Many of our deals are confidential, and the hours we spend negotiating them can’t ever be shared. I’m sorry.

We’ve been working on NonSociety version 1.5 for the past six months, sending designs back and forth with our designer Shane (we went through about 15 iterations, no joke), weekly meetings with our incredible web team, testing the site in dev, making changes, and generally trying to come up with solutions for the myriad problems one runs into with any sort of undertaking (the things that you think should be easy are hard & expensive, the things that you think should be hard & expensive are hard & expensive).

We’ve been working on our ad-sales and sponsors for the past four months - everything from putting together the demographics of who reads this site, to going through ten - yes, TEN - different permutations of our ad-sales deck and corresponding presentation to taking dozens of meetings with marketing executives to putting together packages for our sponsors. Magazines with circulations less than ours (if you could call our numbers - over 700,000 unique views/month and almost a million pageviews/month - “circulation”) have entire ad-sales teams doing what we do as their FULL TIME job.

Not to mention that every TMIweekly show we do has to be produced - and we’re not only the hosts, but also the producers. Ask any tv producer for any show how long it takes them to conceptualize, produce, shoot & edit a three minute segment! You’d be shocked (and maybe even appalled) at the time investment. One of my goals for the next few months is put together a “Day in the Life of” video so you can see what the producers I’ve worked with for years at CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Vh1 have to do - you’ll never watch television the same way again. It’s not a surprise that many look frazzled/overworked/exhausted constantly. They work their asses off and get very little credit for what they do. Not to mention, the better the production, the better the on-air talent looks - not the producers! Great. With TMIweekly, we work in conjunction with Next New Networks, but co-production entails a lot of time: we’re responsible for everything from the content to the wardrobe to watching the raw footage and sending in notes to working with our sponsors there (like Degree in December). All this on a budget the size of FoxNews’ weekly hairspray allowance.

Add that on to writing my Time Out column (which requires meetings with my editor, interviews, plus usually a photoshoot, which I produce - and btw, if you don’t think producing photoshoots is any work, please talk with any photographer or art director), the speaking engagements I do, the PR and interviews, the tv segments (I still film them, about twice a week. I have one tomorrow, actually), and the extraneous writing (I’m contracted to write an introduction for a book that was due a week ago, I do various mag pieces, like the Cosmo article last month, which required at least three edits), plus covering at least one major event a month (like CES, or Fashion Week, which I cover for Time Out New York, and which we’ve been planning since last November), and, yes, responding to my 5,312 (that’s the EXACT number in my inbox at this current moment) reader emails … well. It’s a miracle I EVER post on this lifecast.

I don’t know how much you know about the internal workings of magazines, but most publications our size (with the number of readers we have, that is) have staffs of 40-50 or more. Seriously. I knew little of marketing until a year ago. I knew nothing about ad-sales until six months ago. I didn’t know about decks or demographics or sponsorship packages. Like most writers, I was happily ignorant of the whole “how does my publication actually MAKE MONEY off this crap I type late at night” part.

And although I had programmed my own website (in HTML, don’t get overexcited) when I was a freshman in college, this entire year has been a huge crash course in the realities of web development. I remember having absolutely no tolerance for any problems with websites I visited. In fact, when Jakob and I started dating, he would ask me for feedback on Vimeo, and I used to draw up long lists of detailed fixes and then get pissed when they weren’t implemented immediately. Oh, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA (ironic laughter). I was sweetly, but idiotically naive. I could write an entire essay on how my eyes have been opened, but I’ll sum it up like this: designing a navigable website isn’t always as quick ‘n easy as you would like/hope/expect. That’s just the way things are! Nothing to cry about, but you stop being a perfectionist REAL fast. Not to mention, magazines (and other websites) also have huge design teams whose entire job is to think about how the site looks and feels and reads and functions. We just have us.

That, of course, is what startups are all about. The whole, “if you want it done, you gotta do it yourself” mentality isn’t a bad one to adopt, especially if you want to learn, and learn fast. Startups are all about learning on the job, and that’s what Meghan, Mary, Megan and I have done in the last year. Whenever we think back to our very first brainstorming sessions, back in March of last year, we can’t stop laughing, because we clearly had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. Of course! How could we?? Every entrepreneur says that - but they also say what I’m about to say next: I’ve never been more proud of any year of my life, ever. We’ve worked our asses off, and learned a LOT.

And I’m sorry that much of that hasn’t been recorded on this lifecast. Mostly that’s just due to sheer time constraints - I only have so much of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt totally and utterly overwhelmed in the last year and thought, “WHY CAN’T I JUST SIT HERE AND JUST WRITE, DAMNIT?!?!” But that, alas, is not how one runs a business.

We’re going to try to include more of this part of our lives in the future. Maybe not today, and maybe not next week, but we’ll figure it out.

Until then, thanks for learning alongside of us, and understanding that we’re trying to balance a lot right now. We are incredibly blessed to have you as readers, and don’t think we don’t know it.

20 comments:

  1. to quote:
    I don’t know how much you know about the internal workings of magazines, but most publications our size (with the number of readers we have, that is) have staffs of 40-50 or more. Seriously. I knew little of marketing until a year ago. I knew nothing about ad-sales until six months ago. I didn’t know about decks or demographics or sponsorship packages. Like most writers, I was happily ignorant of the whole “how does my publication actually MAKE MONEY off this crap I type late at night” part.

    This is BULLSHIT - welcome to the real world. She thinks that because she gets the page views that puts her up there with magazines. Let me ask you: would you buy "nonsociety" if it was subscription based.

    UM NO. NEVER.

    Wake up bunnie. Clearly you have no idea about anything. This post just shows how ignorant you are.

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  2. There are so many problems with the bullshit she is feeding about the "publications our size," I don't know where to begin. And I work for national consumer magazine/web site with, let's just say, a significantly larger circulation and number of *individual* page views. Le sigh.

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  3. Many of our deals are confidential, and the hours we spend negotiating them can’t ever be shared. I’m sorry

    umm...bunny....are you sitting down? ok, when you put a company's ad on your front page, talk about them on your 'show', and show commercials for them. it's not very confidential.

    i really doubt any company would have the time to spend hours negotiating over wheather or not they want mary to take a picture of herself holding their product and her other hand up her dogs ass.

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  4. a. All of this has been embellished beyond belief, not surprising from the Queen of Online Dishonesty. If she was doing half this much, she'd be blogging that shit like there was no tomorrow. Also -- 700,000 UNIQUE page views? Wrong, bunny. And I am someone in the "know" on this front. And to compare page views to a circulation -- oh my God, what a dumb ass.

    b. As long as she remains the focal point of this nebulous venture, it is bound to failure. As the Bravo execs discovered, this girl is unreliable, uninteresting, has an outrageous sense of entitlement, is greedy beyond imagination, is mentally unhinged and extremely unlikeable.

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  5. "So if I post a lot of photos, many times it’s because I find it a hell of a lot easier to post a photo than a detailed explanation of the ad-sales package we just pitched, or production meeting we’re having, or two hour web development conference call we just finished."

    SO, you're saying you're lazy, and unoriginal. That's what I figured. Ok then.

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  6. Oh bunnies, there are so many things wrong with that sorry string of excuses, I don't even know where to begin. It looks like they set out thinking that launching a web startup would be all fun and fluff and great material for a reality show (how did that work out?) but are shell shocked to discover that it's actually lots of work and not all that fun all the time (especially when the cameras aren't around). Perhaps they are in no way cut out for or qualified to launch a web business? Just maybe? Starting with the fact that they seem horribly inefficient and waste time and resources like there's no tomorrow. The continuing with the fact that they have no product to offer. And concluding with the fact that no one really wants to do business with them because the page views aren't there (as much as they like to crow that they are) and the ringleader is so off putting.

    But hey Julia: Just keep tripping the light fantastic through Gossip Girl Candyland. It's real fun to watch.

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  7. "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt totally and utterly overwhelmed in the last year and thought, “WHY CAN’T I JUST SIT HERE AND JUST WRITE, DAMNIT?!?!” But that, alas, is not how one runs a business."

    ---> I'm confused. Isn't content the product that this business is supposed to deliver? If it isn't content, then what is it?

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  8. Preston: Gossip Girl Candyland! Me likee.

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  9. And if there were any doubt that the Bunny in Chief was reading her QOD feature, the above post should demonstrate that she is, in her manic/obsessive way, reading it very carefully--probably in the wee small hours of the morning when sleep simply will not come.

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  10. They are latching onto the magazine bullshit and are running with it. "That's it! We can call ourselves a magazine! WORK THAT WORD, LADIES!" Now Mary is all, "Would you write a magazine and complain?" SHE IS A BLOGGER. NOT A MAGAZINE. WHAT THE FUCKING HELL.

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  11. I am in total, dumbstruck awe that JA is now touting her product (such as it mostly isn't) as the equivalent of a magazine with a million circulation. This is grandiosity and delusion of a very high order. Also? Funny math.

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  12. Another anonymous commenter posted this quote:

    "So if I post a lot of photos, many times it’s because I find it a hell of a lot easier to post a photo than a detailed explanation of the ad-sales package we just pitched, or production meeting we’re having, or two hour web development conference call we just finished."

    1) Does she not get that what she's decribing is exactly what the readers would want to read?

    2) And I still do not get what product they are offering that requires so much effort.

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  13. Anon 11:52... the effort is for free stuff. Only.

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  14. I own three print magazines and I can say we certainly get mail when our readers don't like something. A lot of it. Or, as Julia would say, with emphasis: A. Lot. Of. It.

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  15. Bunny in Chief also forgot to factor in the time-intensive task of selecting her headband du jour. You have no idea--none!--how difficult that is.

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  16. Anon said "I'm confused. Isn't content the product that this business is supposed to deliver? If it isn't content, then what is it?"

    That is exactly what's wrong with this site (among other things). The NS women believe the product is an afterthought, or a no-thought, really. The readers actually think the product if you can call it that needs to meet some level of quality or there is no real business to promote and sell to advertisers. If they can't offer anything but excuses for their shoddy "product" they are int he wrong line of work.

    Rather than work to improve the product, they continue to offer excuses while showing pictures of their busy selves going on month long vacations, out to dinners, travel, etc. But, as long as the page views are there (God bless this site), they will NEVER be movtivated to put time or effort or work into their "product." This venture is to make money while being able to travel and socialize, period.

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  17. Love this from Yoanna on QOD (yes, I broke down and went over there).

    "Julia, I was definitely rooting for you, but if you're so busy that all you "can" post is the stuff you are giving us, I feel you may be in the wrong line of work. I believe you when you say you are working hard, but if what you can put forward as the product that people see isn't good, I don't get why you feel entitled to succeed."

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  18. But THEY are the product, duckies. Or so they believe. So photos of the month-long vacations should suffice, along with soo-do "reviews" of the restaurants where they eat in between fasts and cleanses and colonics. That should be enough for you peons with your noses pressed against the glass of their busy, crazy lives.

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  19. Ah, yes, Dyspeptic that is EXACTLY the mentality that makes people disgusted with them. That's why all the feedback in the world isn't going to help. As far as they're concerned they alone are content enough. My God, the delusion.

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  20. BulimicsDoItBetterJanuary 14, 2009 at 4:04 PM

    i'm so glad this reblog exists. thank you.

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