Particle Board Providers

I have a confession to make:  I can be really judgmental of others in my profession.  I don’t try to, and I certainly try to recognize it when it’s inappropriate, but there it is.  My Big, Bad, Secret.  Before you go chiding my arrogance, let me try to explain:

I acknowledge that I have what I’ve seen called “Provider Privilege”.  “Privilege” is exactly what it sounds like; I benefit from something without /doing/ anything for it.  You’ll hear about “white privilege”, “male privilege”.  Well, turns out there is “provider privilege” too (or, if you’re crass, “hooker privilege”).  One of my favorite blogs, Tits and Sass, has written about it a little bit.  I’m privileged in that I have the means, education, time, and tools to work independently, run my business as I see fit, work when/where/how I please, create and maintain an online presence AND keep my own website and blog (hi!!)  When people think of “hookers” and “prostitutes” they don’t think of me.  They think of the street-walking, drug-abusing, pimp-having, trafficked sad souls they see on the news.  But I am digressing!

My rant has nothing to do with that last paragraph.  I’m aiming my confusion, judgement, and incredulity at the ladies in MY neck of the woods.  Independent, obviously making hundreds of dollars an hour, striving for the upscale clientele.

But their websites are all polish and NO substance.

I research.  I’m inquisitive, it’s what I do.  I like to look at what’s in my industry so I can learn what is working, what is new, what looks interesting.  Sure, I stack myself against the “high dollar hotties” but only enough to come back pleased with what I have and who I am.  I see myself as “middle upper-class”, firmly set into a comfortable niche market of back-seamed stockings and bright red lipstick.  I spend about 20 hours a week on advertising alone (yes I include my website and blog there) and I still find fault with some things.  My brand is important to me, and I try to invest as much time as I can into it.

So when I pull up another lady’s website, where the splash page is polished and even with beautiful photos and even decent copy, I get excited.  Here’s a lady who is serious about her business, who’s intelligent and savvy enough to understand how the marketing game is played.

Then I click on a link and I’m taken to Microsoft Paint city.  White background, broken code, a few boxes of colored text.  All of the links are like this, save her main picture page and rate page.  As if she got the most important bits taken care of and quit.  It’s like putting expensive varnish on a particle board book shelf.  Useless, and fake.

I’m not linking to any of these offenders.  Maybe they are a work in progress.  Maybe they gave control up to their web designer who then ditched them as a client.  Maybe they’ve quit the biz and didn’t care to clean up after themselves.  But it’s something I’m noticing more often than I think I should.  Gorgeous pictures with lame, misspelled, stolen text.  Beautiful, expensive splash pages followed by broken links.  An ad claiming articulate and witty companionship, then a website filled with garish flash and poor grammar.  It offends me on a basic level, since I know that it’s not an insurmountable feat to come across neat and competent online!

I shouldn’t judge, I know.  It’s petty, and honestly how does it really effect me?  Other than those poor gentlemen who experience the particle board ladies, then get the notion that ALL “high dollar” girls are like that, it doesn’t effect me at all.  Other than the new girls seeking out adequate mentoring and examples, and then thinking it’s OK to skimp on content if you are hot, it doesn’t effect me at all.  It’s one of those little pesky pet peeves, I guess.

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