Sex, Drugs, Rock `n` Roll and Your Web Site

The recent request for bailout funds by pornographers Larry Flynt and Joe Francis–seemingly tongue in cheek, certain to be ignored by Washington–is a reminder that sex is serious business in the online age. It’s not just a bad economy that afflicts the smut merchants, it’s competition from online porn.

Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were the unholy trinity of a certain moment in American culture. That moment seems to be very much alive on the Internet.

The recent changes in the pricing structure and rights management at iTunes, along with the related decline of the disc-driven music industry, highlight the fact that people follow their music to the best format they can find, which is now digital. And you can’t open your e-mail without finding an offer for medication.

Yes, this is relevant to your business. The sad fact is that your company’s blogs and social networks probably aren’t very good: That’s because they don’t feel organic and plugged into the way people actually communicate with each other.

The point is that people bring their real lives online with them. Companies that communicate with their customers in something similar to the vernacular have a better chance of building relationships with those customers than companies that stick to impersonal corporate-speak.

So laugh at Francis and Flynt, and keep your blogs and social nets safe for work. But remember that “consumer” and “customer” are synonyms for “human being” and try to conduct your business accordingly.

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