Continuing in a series of posts about Aural Salvation (I’ll be doing one more post tomorrow, then getting into other stories before I return to these), in October 2005 I had found out about an upcoming little alt-porn site called GodsGirls.com that was getting flack from the Suicide Girls website. I found this out because, in the MySpace days, you’d see hot chicks promoting all kinds of weird shit on their pages — and some hot chick (whose name, and face, escapes me) that really wanted to be a part of this whole GodsGirls thing (and, to my memory, never ended up actually being a part of the whole GG thing). At the time, and for a few years afterwards, there was a legal battle brewing about some former SG models modeling for GG.
It all seemed like an open-and-shut case. SG was not an employer since their models were just independent contractors. To that end, you don’t get to tell an independent contractor who they’re allowed to work for. They had a “contract” that girls signed which — apparently — stipulated that they couldn’t go off and model for other sites for, I think, 2 years. Naturally, a non-compete clause like that would never hold up in court, but they never needed it to. They just scared models into thinking it would and, since SG paid their models a paltry fee 1for example, given that they only accepted maybe 4-5 sets per model per year, the yearly salary for an exclusive official SuicideGirl would be under ...continue, those models would never have the time or money to challenge it. Frankly, it wouldn’t matter, because it’s not like SG kept tabs on anyone. Until, suddenly, there was a new game in town. Actually, 3 new games in town. GodsGirls, RazorDolls, and (to some degree) HeadsickPinups. SG only cared about GG, however, because GG had actual investors and money behind it. Eventually, I’d end up making friends with all 3 aforementioned sites (and a few more), but for now let’s focus on GG.
As the day for what would be the first of many interviews approached, the girls did quite a lot of PR in advance. This was the MySpace days, so being suddenly inundated with messages and friend requests from total strangers was a little weird, but flattering. I felt good, though, cause my budding little show had finally struck a nerve that was getting a lot of attention. I was even told that one of the hosts of another show on our network — who was a SuicideGirl — tried to raise a stink about them being allowed on our network (I assume at the behest of SG headquarters), under the guise of “a conflict of interest”. I pled my case well enough that they basically told her “meh. fuck it”, as they should.
About 2 days before the interview, we were getting Instant Messages to the control room in the back to a degree that we hadn’t previously seen. People were really excited about it, and had a lot of questions, thinking they’d missed the interview, or unsure of when it was. Thankfully, the control room folks explained the details pretty well. However, some viewers were intrigued by my weird little show and stuck around, asking more questions. During a break, I said “that monitor that sits next to my seat — can you just mirror this screen onto that one? just show the IMs?”. They thought I was crazy. “People are gonna say all kinds of weird shit… and your logo won’t be visible”. I told them I didn’t give a fuck about my logo being on a screen next to me — what I wanted was realtime interaction with the viewers.
That tiny decision changed everything. Suddenly, my show was this interactive experience, where I was performing for an “in studio” audience all over the world, and I could see at a glance — in real time — how they reacted to everything. For the next 2 years, I always had a screen open for realtime IM interactions, and most of the shows on the network followed suit — hell, that’s basically what Periscope is today.
When representatives of GodsGirls.com : Annaliese — the founder — and a few of the first models for the site, showed up for an interview, I finally had help with interviewing. I had viewers shooting out questions and comments as it happened, and everything was much more lively. They loved it, and they hammed it up for the audience — like “tell us if you want to see our butts”, or responding directly to questions that were asked. Since the audience watching couldn’t very well see what the IMs said, we were free to ignore anything shitty, and just focus on whichever ones piqued our interest.
One of the girls, Kelly, decided to sit on my lap towards the end of the interview. Since we were an internet-based station, we didn’t have any “rules” or “laws” about nudity, so she just sat there topless, kissing the side of my face. People loved it. They were excited to finally be able to watch a talk show that had no censorship whatsoever, and one that they could interact with. Kelly was trying to get me to go on a date with her, but I was still on my bout of celibacy, so I had to turn her down. She would later leave the GG empire and — I’m told — run off to some convent to find God or something.
Near the end of the interview, fans were asking about the makeup artist for GG — a man named Jeffree Star. The girls said “ohhh you should have him on here. he’s a lot of fun”. With that, the IMs blew up, and people were chanting for it. I decided, despite having no idea who this person was, that maybe it was worth a shot.
By the time the show ended, I’d broken every record for viewers the network ever had. More IMs in a single minute than they’d get in an entire day. More viewers in that hour than all the shows combined for the week. I made the decision to do a weekly check-up interview with GodsGirls (aka “GodsGirls Monday”, I think it was), and they could bring new girls to the show and promote the site.
The actual GodsGirls website didn’t launch until early 2006, but they invited me to beta test for them. I gave so many notes, and in such detail, that I ended up being asked to make some design/code contributions. Within a year, I took over as their main admin, helping to run the site. Within 2 years, I was the lead designer. Now, almost 10 years later, I’m the admin, the lead (err.. sole) designer, programmer, and half of the tech support team.
That’s to say nothing of the new friends I made within, and around, the GG universe. With new models and members joining GG all the time, that’s an ongoing perk.
It’s funny to think about now, but it all started cause I just wanted to see some random hot chick on MySpace naked. Ohh the tangled web I weave.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↩||for example, given that they only accepted maybe 4-5 sets per model per year, the yearly salary for an exclusive official SuicideGirl would be under $2,000 a year|