Rule 5 and all that

“Rule 5” was one of, well, five rules formulated by Robert Stacy McCain in a piece called “How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog in Less Than a Year”. I can testify from personal experience that the first million are the hardest; then again, I am still about 18 percent short of completing the second million.

Anyway, Rule 5, somewhat (but not much) oversimplified, is what you might call “babeblogging”: put up a shot of an attractive woman, let Smitty (McCain’s “porch manqué”) include you in the weekly roundup, and behold, the SiteMeter doth spin, for, as Little Miss Attila so sentiently observed, “There is a marked tendency for heterosexual men to be interested in women.”

I admit to having tossed up Rule 5 bait more than once, though it’s not a high priority around here; in fact, it in some ways conflicts with the mission of this site, which is basically “to write whatever I damn well please.” What damn well pleases me, generally, is to come up with something that may have been seen elsewhere and add my own marginally-inimitable spin on it. Seldom do I have anything to say about our contemporary sex symbols that hasn’t been said better elsewhere, which may explain how I drifted into occasional fashionblogging: it shifts the focus away from the Zeitgeist and into the overanalysis of detail, something I do fairly well.

It also explains why up to now I haven’t spent any time on the Erin Andrews controversy. (Short version: As a person who has been known to occasionally [1] stay in hotels and [2] not get dressed, I would object most strenuously to someone trying to photograph me through a peephole, though I have the offsetting advantages of being mostly unknown and not especially attractive, reducing the chances of such an occurrence to somewhere in the “infinitesimal” range. That said, call me if you get photos of Chris McKendry. Nothing too revealing, please.)

Meanwhile, Dr. Donald Douglas of American Power, who has spent considerable time on the Erin Andrews controversy, has announced he will no longer court Rule 5 visitors:

I’M RETIRING FROM “RULE 5” BLOGGING. In fact, I’m making a number of changes around here. I’m going to continue to stay honest to WHO I AM, as a husband, a father, a professor, a blogger, and an activist. I’m especially going to stay true to myself as A HETEROSEXUAL MALE, and readers will see that I’ve added a new feature at the top of the sidebar: “Hot Women Love American Power!”

Dr. Douglas, I note, has about ten times my traffic, though my best day ever beats his best day ever by a few hundred. I’m not sure what his motivations are for withdrawing from the fray, unless he’s just weary of backlash from readers and/or other bloggers; I am not quite cynical enough to believe that it’s a ploy.

I do believe, however, that if you live by the meter, you die by the meter: if I get to the point where I post stuff solely motivated by the possibility of garnering hits, you can safely assume that I’ve jumped the shark.


  1. Jeffro »

    26 July 2009 · 8:51 pm

    If I were to try to get the traffic you pull in, I’d actually have to work, or something.

    I’ve got the Chickipedia “Random Chick” gadget on my sidebar – that’s apparently as much “Rule 5” as I’m willing to go. It’s automatic, and I don’t have to work.

    Seems to be a common thread there, huh.

  2. fillyjonk »

    26 July 2009 · 9:15 pm

    The whole Erin Andrews thing is just another addition to the long list of things that make me uncomfortable about traveling. I rank it as a worry perhaps just below bedbugs.

    I don’t care if she presents herself as a sex symbol or whatever. Hell, I don’t care if she appears unclad on television. No one deserves to have their privacy violated by being videotaped without their knowledge and consent in that way.

    (Apparently it was not actually the peephole, but a hole drilled somewhere else, apparently made for the express purpose of spying. Skeevy! Just the thought of that makes my skin crawl.)

  3. repsac3 »

    27 July 2009 · 11:47 am

    “if I get to the point where I post stuff solely motivated by the possibility of garnering hits, you can safely assume that I’ve jumped the shark.”

    That’s been my objection to the whole “Rule 5” thing all along. It’s not that one can’t or shouldn’t post pictures of good looking bodies (or much of anything else that’s legal and in line with one’s morality and personal philosophy), but that it’s cheesy to do so just to get blog hits, especially when it’s so nakedly obvious. In the realm of political news & opinion (which is the realm most of these “Rule Five” bloggers claim to be playing in), it’d be like the Sunday shows (pick your favorite, or pick ’em all) bringing in a hot pole dancer for one segment a week, just to boost the ratings.

    Of course, I never considered the idea that any “Rule Fiverer” would, in the name of blog hits, snap & post candid shots of a neighbor shaving her legs, have a “Jailbait Swimsuit” edition, or post a link to an illegally shot & distributed peephole video of a pretty sports reporter. (If you didn’t already, follow the link to American Power: Erin Andrews Internet Traffic Report, where Dr. Douglas talks about (& links to) each of these acts.) Hits are hits, until they are the result of acts that are at the very least immoral, & may well be somewhere just the other side of criminal, too. Behavior like that is a whole other kettle of rotting fish. “Rule 5” if you must (though I’m with Chaz on this one, & hope folks will at least try to make the buff body fit in with the general theme of the blog, somehow), but please stick to the models who consent to having pix & videos of themselves shot & distributed.

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