You probably didn’t notice, but I recently restructured my website. Entries
which used to have unwieldly URLs like http://www.felixsalmon.com/mt-blogfiles/archives/felixsalmon/000067.html
now have nice simple addresses like http://www.felixsalmon.com/000067.php –
a change which has more than simply cosmetic benefits. Now, I can check my referrer
log for who loves me and who doesn’t.
And it turns out that although I do get a few clickthroughs from friendly people
Steele, the majority of referrals come from search engines – often
search engines which seem to have a very weird idea of what’s on my site.
An MSN search
for "flashing co-eds" brings my site up as number 4 on the list, and
a Hungarian Google search
for "grumpy gits" brings felixsalmon.com up in first place, thanks
to my sister’s use of the phrase in her entry
of January 20. (Why Hungarian Google brings me up where US Google doesn’t,
I have no idea.) There’s even a site called mamma.com ("the mother of all
search engines") which considers
my blog the fifth-best result for someone searching on "look for companies
in kuwait and environs".
The problem is, I’m a New York blogger, and I’d much rather have visitors from
New York blogs than from people looking for flashing co-eds or companies in
the Persian Gulf. The New York blogosphere is particularly vibrant at the moment,
especially since the launch of Gawker,
a site I described
on MemeFirst as "an inside-baseball
New York nanopublishing site". (That, in turn, was enough to get MemeFirst
its third listing on Gawker:
the first linked to a
story of mine about Herbert Muschamp, and the second
was about tall buildings. Since I’m one of the three editors of MemeFirst, that
makes me happy: we could use the traffic.)
It’s thanks to Gawker that I rediscovered Supermodels
Are Lonelier Than You Think, a wonderful fashionistablog which is running
a story today about
an "ethical infraction" by W magazine. Now I’ve written
before about the crazy levels to which Americans will go when they get bitten
by the "media ethics" bug, but this is ridiculous. I don’t know how
serious SALTYT is about this, but here’s the relevant bit:
Apparently W got a lot of ads from companies using Gisele because it had
a giant ed with her — or maybe vice-versa. To neophytes in the magazine trade:
asking advertisers to take advantage of their own model’s appearance is sort
of OK; to decide upon a model’s appearance only by the advertisers contributions
is not. It is an ethical infraction.
The whole piece is so crazy on so many levels that one barely knows where to
begin. For one thing, Gisele is the hottest model on the planet: I hardly think
that W needed any prodding from advertisers to put her on the cover of their
bumper March issue. For another thing, part of the reason that Gisele is so
hot is precisely because she’s doing these scorching spreads for Dior
and Dolce & Gabbana. (Although the Dior spread is actually only 6 pages,
not 10 as SALTYT reports.) Advertisers spend insane amounts of money on their
shoots, and it shows: why do you think Gawker illustrated their story with a
picture of the Dior ad, rather than a picture of the W cover? Because the cover,
by Ines van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, is simply not in the same league
as the Dior ad, which I assume is by Nick Knight.
Editorial and Advertising: Which
would you buy the magazine for?
The editorial story with Gisele is perfectly good, and has some pretty sexy
shots (as well as some extremely peculiar ones). But flick on for a few more
pages and you get to the 8-page voyeur-porn Dolce & Gabbana sequence, which
includes one shot of Gisele pointing a video camera straight at her spread-open
crotch while her left breast falls out of her top. There used to be a time when
editorial shoots were more daring than advertising: now it’s the other way around,
and real fashionistas buy magazines much more for the ads than for the edit.
Besides, the whole premise of the SALTYT story is ridiculous. "How came
the Vogue issue with Natalia is full of CK ads, while the W issue with Gisele
is full of Dior, D&G, Balenciaga?" we’re asked. Answer: it ain’t. W’s
D&G and Balenciaga ads (8 pages in total) are buried at the back of the
book, while Calvin Klein has 10 pages right at the front, in prime real estate
before the first contents page.
In any case, there are much more interesting things to worry about right here
on the Lower East Side: namely, That Hotel, as helpfully blogged by Gawker here.
For the past year now, a huge 20-story monster has been rising on Rivington
Street between Essex and Ludlow, and finally the Wall Street Journal has revealed
today what it is to be. The original rumour was that it was going to be a W
(hotel, not magazine – really, can’t you tell the difference between a
hotel and a magazine?) but then people started hearing that actually it was
going to be a Standard, or at least owned or operated by Andre Balazs.
The truth? It’s going to be a Surface. As in Surface magazine. (Evidently, no,
we can’t tell the difference between a hotel and a magazine.) Lockhart Steele
had his own take
on the article up in double-quick time, saying that those $250 rooms will probably
be selling for $79 on Orbitz. I doubt it, myself: we’re in something of a hotel
desert down here, and I think it will do pretty well, both as a trendy high-design
destination and as a useful place for the visiting parents of LES yuppies to
What Lockhart missed was this bit of the WSJ article:
Mr. Stallings wanted to build a hotel with larger rooms and panoramic views.
But late last year, he met Will Candis, a publicist and former manager of
Hotel 17, a one-time welfare hotel in New York that marketed itself as a down-and-out
experience for young artist-types.
In other words, the vision for the hotel has been scaled down significantly.
Those "larger rooms and panoramic views" are gone; in their place
are smallish "studio-style rooms" which are more affordable in the
present economic climate and which will be sold not on the strength of their
luxuriousness but rather as design destinations with possible marketing tie-in
opportunities. Maybe if Hotel (The Mercer)
is the Old New York, then Surface (The Hotel) – as the new place is rather
cheekily naming itself – is the
New New York after all!