Considering all the forms of advertising that exist and have ever existed for sex work and related industries, the most powerful is, and always has been, without a doubt Twitter. I’ve been creating and marketing websites for sex workers since 2000. My first clients came to me because the era of the tart card was drawing to an end. The Tart Cards were like postcards and were mostly placed in London’s famous red phone boxes. They were adverts depicting the ladies and their sexual services along with contact details. The design work ranged from classy and cool to nasty and lewd and often the photos or artwork were clip art or had been cut out of magazines. The residents of London’s boroughs – typically Paddington, Kensington and Baker St – eventually won their way when they were banned in 2001 ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tart_card
Around this time there were rumblings of a new form of advertising via the WWW and websites were becoming a must-have marketing tool. At this point, although Google did not yet exist, there were various search engines – who remembers Ask Geeves?. Search engines were “the next big thing”: the clever girls knew it, and it was also the very beginning of the first online directories dedicated to promoting sex workers. I’m thinking of you Max Fisch and Dickie Virgin.
SEO principles back then were quite simple, and you really only needed a basic website. In order to hit the front page of the search engines, you could simply stuff your homepage with a huge list of service related keywords and locations – anything you thought your clients might type into the search engines… This practice is now frowned upon and Google may even penalise “Black Hat SEO” Times have changed!
Social Media and Censorship
As an adult industry based webmistress and marketer I have tried out all the Social Media platforms. Facebook has kicked me off more times than I can remember; blocking my access to well-crafted and nurtured fetish/femdom related Fan Pages that I’d been running for clients. The most aggravating case might have been when working with highly respected, BAFTA award-winning director, Stuart Urban. After the success of our first crowdfunded campaign to restore and remaster the original film of Preaching To The Perverted , Stuart’s hope to create a sequel of sorts was diminished by FB’s narrow minded politics. PTTP’s audience was prevalent on FB as a balance between mainstream and fetish scene fans. We were using FB ads to increase our reach by promoting the crowdfunding Kickstarter (who had accepted us, and whom we’d successfully used in the past campaign for PTTP). When the Tortured in the Orchard’s page and ads to raise capital were shut down at a crucial point in the funding campaign it meant we were unable to meet our target and dreams of producing a fun sequel crashed. The most frustrating part was not receiving an explanation or any reason why… except that it was adult content. Which it really was not, because BAFTA?
Facebook, now the proud owners of Instagram have never wavered on its no-female-nudity stance and now both platforms are wiped clean quickly via their magic algorithms that use image-metrics and can detect a female nipple. Even the mere mention of the word ‘boudoir’ my have you shadow banned. They’ve even gone as far as banning the use of emojis that possibly indicate sexual activity.
When Twitter popped up in 2006, it was initially a baffling concept for me. Self-hosted online forums were still quite popular with plenty of space for debate and depending on the website – the owners and moderators – a fairly relaxed policy towards adult imagery and discussion. At this point, Facebook was only 2 years old and Instagram non-existent. So with a mere 140 characters to make a point on Twitter… how did we manage…?
Twitter and Censorship
Despite Twitter’s quite tight terms and conditions, it’s the largest free mainstream platform that is still quite open to sexual content. It seems that if you are diligent in indicating that your content may contain sensitive media ( you can do this under your Account > Settings and Privacy > Privacy and safety > Mark media you Tweet as containing material that may be sensitive) they willingly allow us to share and promote adult imagery and services within our profiles (though your header and profile image may not contain sensitive media).
Instances of possible censorship include having accounts deactivated (Madame Caramel claims to be on her 18th account) and shadow banning. However… I believe it might just be down to misbehaviour. A colleague has elaborated further on shadow banning and broken down Twitter’s T&Cs into relevant snippets on his website here eyemblacksheep.com
Twitter as a referral system
Twitter has opened up many business opportunities, which would not be possible otherwise. Social influence is not just restricted to mainstream celebrities: Twitter is the ultimate virtual word-of-mouth referral based system and between many of my femdom, sex work, BDSM and fetish clients the notion of the community over competition, is strong.
Furthermore, the idea that potential clients can interact with the Mistress in their sights, and to an extent get to know them from a distance, is priceless marketing that costs nothing except the time needed to nurture an interesting, well-crafted Twitter profile.
Get to the point, Miss May
It’s too easy to grow comfortable and rely on just one system for our promotion. We all know that “putting our eggs in one basket” is never a good idea, right?. And even since I have started to write this (end of 2019), the idea of Twitter – as we know it – is on shaky grounds…. SOSTA/FESTA was voted in the USA forcing Backpage to close down along with many other websites that were unsure of their position in the law. The word on the virtual-street was that Twitter would be the next to send their sex work profiles packing. I am pleased to say that so far, this has not been the case. In fact, I have stopped worrying about new censorship laws since the UK has forever been trying to force regulations that never quite make it through… different story. I won’t go there now.
Where do we go to in a world without Twitter??
After all the followers we’ve gained, and relationships nurtured, what happens if one day we are ALL booted off Twitter?
What’s your backup plan?
Twitter does provide a backup system of sorts. But it’s only an archive of your posts, media and interactions. I just downloaded mine and it looked like this:
So I can see all of my tweets, likes and direct messages but I do not get a back up of accounts that follow me and vice versa.
Go to your Account: > More (it’s the circle with three dots) > Setting and Privacy > Your Account > Download an archive of your data
Your Website is your business’s online home
If you are in business and on Twitter, I’d like to assume that you at least have a reasonably well thought out website and online business plan. You don’t have your own website? Read on.
Your website is the one thing you can count on if all things fail. Find yourself a web person you can trust. But definitely don’t make that person your current slave. No matter how much you trust them. In my two decades as a web designer, I have seen so many websites breaking down along with messy breakups. In the long run, it’s 100% worth paying a neutral party to deal with your professional affairs.
Please, make sure that your domain name is registered to YOU. Not to your webmaster, nor your best friend, and again, certainly not your current slave in service. This topic is a whole other post in itself but simply put YOU must be the registered owner of your own URL i.e domain name.
Make sure you have regular backups of your website being archived somewhere that YOU can access. My hosting company backs up all of my websites once a month. I also recommend a weekly (or more often) backup with a plugin like Updraft Plus(if you’re using WordPress).
Mailing List – Email Marketing
Who doesn’t love receiving a juicy email packed full of the latest news and photos of your favourite online person?
Your website and mailing list should be your major point of contact and therefore you should, at the very least, be maintaining it regularly via promotion and backing up. Promote it to increase your regular audience, back it up to secure that audience. Back up your mailing list regularly; ensure you will be able to regain contact with them in the event you lose access to it.
Of course, the repression and censorship of Sex Workers often work against us, so I am sorry to say it but MailChimp is not your friend and I have had clients lose their accounts in the past. There are however always other options! I have successfully set up clients on YMLP.com and someone else I know is using ConstantContact and has been for years. I am not going to recommend them with 100% confidence because, you already know it, adult sex work probably goes against their T&Cs. It is up to you to take the risk and always do that backup! Make it a weekly or monthly admin task. If you use WordPress there are lead generator and newsletter plugin options that I am currently investigating however, the setup may be arduous. Have a look at https://www.thenewsletterplugin.com/
So, to sum up the whole point of this rather drawn out article: In a world without Twitter to market ourselves on, the two basic tools you should be bulletproofing are your WEBSITE and your Mailing List! Do this now, and secure your present and future as a successful and smart business owner.
When Madame Li Ying contacted me for SEO and web design help for her new dominatrix website, I was like “who me?” I was fan-girling, I admit it, because back in the day, when I first found the London fetish scene in 2000, Madame Li Ying was prolific, then known as Empress Victoria, and I thought she was SUPER cool.
Anyway, we met for coffee in London and I instantly felt a connection. This lady is NICE. Dommes, in my experience, are rarely bitchy and haughty like you might imagine them to be. The opposite, in fact, most of them are grounded, intelligent and creative women. I don’t think we even started talking about her dominatrix business until after we’d had a good chat about everything from living in London town through to distance healing. It’s always a good day when your client becomes a friend.
I love Madame Li Ying’s professional domination business ethos as it very much complements her personal philosophy. You will therefore be guaranteed an authentic experience if you should have the chance to become acquainted with her.
Pro Domme Photographs
For me, one of the most important elements when creating a new website, is to make sure your photographs are not only beautiful quality but are also cohesive and work together to tell a story. It might also work in your favour if they are brand new, never seen before and released exclusively for your new website launch! Madame Li Ying and I spent an afternoon shooting together at the fab Nth London dungeon Peacock Parlour. Here are some of my faves.
Presenting London Dominatrix, Madame Li Ying’s new website
Very happy to share the results of Madame Li Ying’s website, the colours and photography are visually delightful and her extensive writing on her favourite domination niches means you can be sure of what to expect when contacting her for a professional domination session. She also blogs extensively on her specialist area of Medical Domination.
It’s been some years since Madame Nicole of Upper Westchester County, New York contacted me to design her a professional dominatrix website. Since then we have worked together on increasing her visibility on Google through SEO. We have also increased her mailing list through a subscription form on her website, and use that to send regular newsletter to her clients. Email marketing works, if you don’t have this set up on your website, you should!
When Madame Nicole asked me to work with her again on her new project, it was a non-brainer, of course I wanted to help her out and the new project was something quite unusual and unique too. Madame Nicole had ordered herself a “milking table” a massage table with something unique and extra to offer her clients. Can you imagine what that might be? This massage table has a hole cut out in the area where the man’s crown jewels are situated, meaning she has access to them when she is ready to give them special attention.
The website MilkingTableMama.com showcases Madame Nicole’s sexy and sophisticated personal style and hints at her decadent and private surroundings. The wording is carefully crafted in a way that connects with her ideal client in order to tempt them into experiencing this unique and erotic service.
The SEO for Milking Table Mama will again be an ongoing effort. We have defined a series of blog posts that will aim at attracting traffic for several different key phrases surrounding the erotic massage concept. There will also be an ongoing ‘backlinks’ campaign. Both of which will increase Milking Table Mama’s global brand and authoritative voice on the WWW.
I am sorry to say it, but Google really is a judgmental bitch. You want your website listed on page 1 of Google but what makes you think, that what you have to say, makes you important enough to even rate?
You may not know this, but Google will only rank you in its top results if it deems you popular enough by its algorithm. And how do you convince the algorithm that you are popular enough? By making sure that EVERYONE is talking about you. So part of ranking way up there in Google’s results is based on how popular you AND your website are, throughout the online community.
You might have the most beautiful website; it’s well constructed with easy navigation and plenty of juicy content, but if no one else is talking about you, either mentioning you in some capacity, or linking to your website content to help spread that information to the rest of the WWW, then Google might not quite believe you are as good as you actually are.
Google is judging you.
Your personal global brand is as important as your website
Why is the girl with half your followers, who posts much less than you on Twitter and who hardly pays any attention to her website ranking higher than you?
There is a good chance that she might just be doing the work in other arenas.
Do you know how many other websites she contributes to? Perhaps she writes a column for a well known online magazine, or perhaps she’s hit the headlines for some publicity stunt that went viral…. Maybe she’s low key on the socials but has actually been around for eons hosting events, or leading workshops in a bricks and mortars store that sits on the edge of the mainstream…
The other important thing with this girl is that she makes sure her personal branding is consistent and regulated in every single place.
Example: I am referred to as Miss May in some places but I am also Fetish Webmistress in others. I have therefore diluted my brand. If I could go back I would either consistently use the Fetish Webmistress brand or the Miss May brand. I have also over the years released many images without insisting that I am credited by either of those names.
This is a major loss on behalf of my own global personal brand.
So here is the truth that I have discovered through personal observation and which is also in fact backed up by other SEO experts: unless Google deems YOU and your website an authority on your chosen topic, then you may not ever rank page 1 for the precious key phrases you covet.
My advice to you introverts and extroverts alike : get out there and get well known. Whether that is by attending industry networking events, by collaborating with other movers and shakers, filming with well known fetish producers, by creating crazy publicity stunts – or legit publicity acts – that will get your name in front of the public and in turn get them talking about you online….
By the way, even just a mention of your brand is a bird in the hand but a hard link back to your website will not only get you direct traffic but will also give you BONUS ranking points.
Which brings me to —> BACKLINKS!
So, aside from “going viral” and flexing our personal brand, how else can we make Google happy?
Wtf is a backlink?
Basically any other web source that links directly to your website is a backlink. Only super legit websites or resources relevant to your industry count, and so using a dodgy SEO company that promises you 100s of backlinks is not going to help you in the long run.
Which is why online mistress directories are still super relevant even if a lot of Dommes don’t bother anymore. I’m not just saying this because I actually co-own Mistress Directory London one of the UK’s best online dominatrix directories. I am saying this because they truly are excellent legitimate resources and the perfect first port of call when searching for backlinks to your website. Just ask Google if you need help finding them. Tip: Type in your profession plus your location eg professional dominatrix London
You can start working on this right now! Get those links back to your website, because each one is a vote for you in this so called popularity contest.
Prove your worth and Google will reward you.
So in conclusion, yes, Google is your Daddy. Make him happy by doing the work, improve your authority and online presence, and you will get your just rewards. Probably not a new dolly or good hard smack but most certainly a much higher ranking in the search results.
I look forward to hearing some of your success stories! And if you don’t want to do the hard work, contact me and we can chat to see which areas of your SEO I might be able to help out with. I have some of my services listed on my SEO Services page
“Let’s do a latex photoshoot on the London Underground,” she said. “It will be FUN,” she said…
“and I shall wear my Libidex catsuit in smoky grey TRANSPARENT latex!”
And before I truly understood what I had actually agreed to do, I was following Mistress Evilyne’s latex clad body, down the suburban streets of West London to the closest Underground station.
“Ummm, don’t you want to take a coat?”, I called after her : “uhhh, no, it’ll just be more for you to carry”, she kindly replied…
Latex in the public eye
It’s a fact, the fetish connotations are strong, however latex has its own place in mainstream fashion and is regularly seen on the catwalks, usually incorporated as a mere interesting “texture” by The World’s Greatest Designers.
Soon to follow in high street stores. Top Shop even had its own range at one point. It’s confusing for fetishists, and that’s just not fair.
But if anything weird is going on in the Underground, of course Londoners are way too polite to acknowledge, consequently, Mistress Evilyne was free to pose her way through Baker St and the Circle line all the way to Convent Garden…
What is it about the Underground anyway? When someone is being controversial or confrontational, what makes us look the other way? In some ways the English are so repressed and stifled in showing emotion… in other ways so creative, reactive and free…
Out on the streets of London people were (ok mostly fellas were) much more open and curious and wanted to understand what Mistress Evilyne was wearing, and why she chose to wear it. How would those same people have behaved if they’d encountered the same, but Underground?
Anyway, Mistress was only too happy to chat and respond to all the curious questions; business cards in hand.
Coffee and ice-cream break accomplished we head off to our last latex photoshoot location in the depths of Covent Garden’s Underground station. I was feeling quite inspired by the wrought iron stairs and grungy walls, however when Mistress moved into her first fancy pose…. rrrrrrrrrip! (It was the sound of her catsuit tearing). Her transparent latex catsuit basically tore without any reason. Her bottom was hanging out – no coat to cover up – what were we to do???
Luckily, the Libidex London shop was just around the corner! Surely they might take some responsibility for the situation! But no, there was nothing they could do. Apparently the catsuit was “…a size too small and next time you should definitely buy a bigger one.”
“Ohhhh you came out without a coat?! Just get a Taxi home”, they suggested “great, thanks for that helpful advice”
And that’s where this story ends, with us traveling home in comfort with the good company of our Uber driver.
Libidex: Honestly it’s not the first story I have heard of their fragile latex breakages: suits splitting upon first wear, holes poked through toes. Special features include a rapid degradation of the shine resulting in lack lustre patches on the butt and knees…
Meh, they might just be the fetish equivalent of fast fashion, contributing to the world’s landfill.
Support small independent business! If you need some names of groovy latex designers here are some of my favourites: