Archive for the ‘Free Publicity’ Category
Michael Z Williamson has licensed Skippy’s List and is selling t-shirts on his retail site, Cloak & Dagger. So if you’ve ever wanted a piece of clothing that earns you instant respect with all members of the military, protects against weasel attacks, and effectively triples your sexual charisma simply by touching it*, then you need to go to his site right now and buy one. If you buy five, Michael will make a character based off of you in his next novel.** If you buy ten, he’ll give your character a sex scene.***
*Claims expressed here as to the about the t-shirt’s powers have not ever been successfully tested. Especially the sexual charisma part.
**Note: I did not run this idea past Mike in any way shape or form. He might, in fact, be really mad at me for this.
*** Ditto. It should be noted that you should probably not do this sort of thing to a writer who also has a knife and gun accessory store unless you are a professional smart ass and happen to live really far away from him.
Set your Tivos and other lesser DVRs now. Seriously. Right fucking now. Cancel all of your other plans on Halloween. Watch this. make sure all of your your friends are watching it too. Do not let this show get taken out like Firefly did.
Well a whole bunch of you clicked on the link for me. Six hundred and fifteen of you at the time of this posting. So thanks for hooking me up.
Thanks to your efforts, I now not only get to take my wife out to eat for free, but I get extra advertising off of the Heart Attack Grill site. (Number 12 position, Woo!)
Of course there were 2,700 unique visitors to my site the day I put the link up. So you other 2,085 bastards can just go piss off. What is it you hate more: birthdays, hamburgers, or sexy nurse outfits? It’s positively un-American to hate those things. I hope you are ashamed of yourself.
One of those things that just kind of happens when you put something online is that when someone else likes it, they will usually not think anything of taking it, and then putting it on their own site. Or in their message boards. Or all over Live Journal. Or in their (shudder) fanfic.
Now I prefer that people come here to look at my material, for a few reasons. First, it avoids problems like the one I had with the journalist last year, who didn’t believe that I really wrote it. Also because I have advertising on here and I sell things. By putting more eyes on the site, I help bring in the small bucks that I do, which in turn help me keep the site up. And so, every once in a while I have to send out an email asking that people not copy my stuff on their site.
I try not to be an ass over it and people are generally pretty decent about abiding by my wishes. With the possible exception of some charter member of the tin-foil yarmulke club who said, “I guess Skippy has become a real asshole ever since the Army clipped his wings”. So last week it got brought to my attention that someone had a similar list of things that they couldn’t do. This young lady, Katie, had a similar list up on her site.
And when I say, similar, I mean some of it looked cut and pasted from mine. She then went on to say how she and her friends wrote her list while she was in basic, and if any items on her list are similar to hers, well they originated with her list.
Needless to say, I enter “not amused” mode. But before getting into too much of a fuss over it, I decided to write her to check to see if there was some sort of misunderstanding. And it turns out that there was.
It turns out that Katie went to basic a few months after I got out. And at that time she had never heard of my website. While she was in boot she and her friends started their own list. And some of her friends quoted my material. Katie believed that they had made it up. Years later, she came across my list. She had assumed that at some point I had met the people she went to basic with and incorporated their material into my list. When I pointed out that around half of the list took place while she was in high school, she immediately apologized, and updated her blog so that there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding. She then went on to ask if I was going to keep reading her blog. She said she hopes so, because then two celebrities will be reading it. Skippy, and Wil Weaton.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
See, many people do read my website. And I have made jokes about being a c-list Internet celebrity. But this comparison? It’s either really awesome for me, or really, really sad for Wil.
Probably a little of both.
I was discussing this with David Rodriguez the other day. He pointed out that if people were comparing us, maybe that means that my site is getting a serious increase in circulation and now people are starting to know me. I pointed out that Wil used to actually be on television, and actually gets paid to go to conventions. Hell, he probably gets Trek groupies flinging themselves at him all the time. (“Take me Ensign Crusher! Warp engines to sexy! Engage!”) Dave pointed out that I occasionally get hit on by female fans, via email. To which I responded, “Sure I may get bitches, but I don’t get Wil Wheaton bitches.”
So, anesthetist a few days ago I was on the radio. If anyone was wondering how being interviewed on the radio goes I will now break it down for you. First, online a producer gets a hold of you and sets up an appointment. In this case, no rx it involves me getting up really early. No problem, I’ll get up early for something like this.
First, I spent the night before, freaking out. I am not used to being on the air or in front of people, and I am not entirely comfortable with it. I more or less spent the previous evening going, “Omigod I’m gonna be on a nationally syndicated radio program! What was I thinking? What if I say something he disagrees with and we get into an argument? I have to get up in four hours to do this, why can’t I fall asleep? AAAAAUUUUUUGGHHH!”
I was told the interview would take 10 to 15 minutes. I had assumed that this meant that I would be speaking to Mancow for fifteen minutes. Not so, evidently. Real, actual celebrities get 10-15 minutes on the air.
I am not a real, actual celebrity. I am a C-List internet celebrity. It’s kind of like being famous, but without the recognition, respect, money or groupies.
So the 10-15 minutes actually turned out to be mostly being on hold. Eventually I was introduced and Mancow suggested that I needed a more hardcore sounding Army nickname. Like “Thug Nuts”.
“Well as soon as I become a 14-year-old Insane Clown Posse fanboy, and coincidentally start accepting nickname advice from a dude called “Mancow”, I’ll get right on that”, is what I thought but did not say. (Since leaving the Army, I have acquired the “Don’t say every thought that comes into your head” skill.)
Seriously….Mancow? It sounds like a pudgy “jail –girlfriend” in a prison movie. The kind that gets traded for half a menthol instead of a whole carton of smokes.
Not that Mancow has any pressing reason to take nickname advice from a dude called “Skippy”. I’m just saying…
What I actually said was, “(Fake laugh) I’ll try but I don’t think people will start calling me that.”
And then we went to commercial.
After the commercial break he asked me about my list. I told him what it was, and told him number 84. (Don’t use military vehicles to squish things.) I explained the story quickly. He mentioned that his favorite was number 29 (The Irish MP’s one). And I got to tell a very quick version of that story. (I did not get to do it justice).
He seemed to think that the Army doesn’t like my site and wanted it shut down. I told him that 99% of the email and comments I get are positive. He pretty much lost interest in me at this point, total time on air: maybe two minutes.
I have no idea if that’s considered a good amount of time, or practically nothing, as far as radio interviews go.
On an interesting note a few days before the interview when it was being set up, his producer mentioned that the military was trying to use my name for recruitment.
She went on to say that if someone mistyped the name of my site, they’d get a recruitment site. Well I tried it out. Turns out it’s just a domain squatter.
This actually excited me more than the radio show did. Someone out there thinks my site is significant enough to try to siphon money off of it.
In the C-List Internet Celebrity world, domain squatters are the equivalent of paparazzi. Which would makes me the internet comedy equivalent of Paris Hilton. This is where this analogy goes horribly wrong and must be stopped. Preferably before you get a mental picture of me stepping out of a limo without underwear.
Too late, and I’m very sorry for that.
Several fans of my website saw this article.
Tom Ricks’s Inbox June 17 2007
Many of them took the time to write to Mr. Ricks to attempt to correct him. He was directed to my site, where it mentions the misconception that I am a woman. Mr. Ricks typically responded to people by saying that “Just because I make a web-site and claim I’m Santa Claus doesn’t mean people should believe it.” And at one point he told somone that the person who forwarded my list to him had stated that I was a woman.
So at this stage we have, incorrect information about me, my copyrighted material being reproduced without my persmision, and a member of the fourth estate publically challenging my copyright. All of this based on the airtight “Some guy on the internet told me” defense. Naturally I was annoyed at his arrogance and at his stubborn resistance to correction.
Now to be perfectly fair, I’m sure he didn’t intend any harm, and it’s even arguable whether or not any serious harm was done. His column wasn’t intended to be investigative journalism, it was just a lighthearted fluff piece. I was a tad concerned that at some point in the future I would hear “Well the Washington Post said a woman wrote it, so you’re a liar!”. Now from his point of view, I’m guessing that it is an official *BIG DEAL* to admit that you printed incorrect information. And to be fair, nearly anyone in the world could have emailed him claiming to be me. So I can understand his skepticism.
So I contacted Mr. Ricks myself, and explained why this relatively small piece of mis-information could cause me some issues down the road, and how reproducing copyrighted information without permission can be bad. I asked that he print a correction in a future column. His brief response was to demand proof that I actually wrote it.
I wrote him again, demonstrating evidence that I did in fact own the material, and that I was the only Specialist Schwarz enlisted during the correct time period, and that I even had witnesses to some of the events on the list transpiring. While I was writing this he responded. He told me my story checked out. This conjured to my mind an image of him using his military correspondent powers to track down Army personel I have served with and grilling them about me until he had enough details to know I was telling the truth. But in reality, he probably just made an underling look up my copyright in the Library of Congress database.
Since “My story checked out” he offered to run a correction in the very next column he wrote. Perfect. Win for the good guys, I get exactly what I asked for. (Granted he could have, I dunno, apologized or something but hey, who am I to correct his manners.)
Well he was true to his word as we can see here:
And furthermore he wrote me back to say (Quoted directly from the email)
Now I can understand not wanting to admit when you are wrong but this kind of silly semantics argument is really unbecoming on anyone who isn’t either a five year old or a politician. But hey, free publicity is free publicty.