This Business Of Art Fix #20: Those Early Days Were Terrifying

Hello! When last we spoke, it was the day before Christmas Eve, which means a lot of you missed my last Business of Art Fix, and if you did miss it, you should check it out, because it was a pretty good one.

This Business of Online Media

+ This is a cool interview with Tyler Bleszinski, the founder of SB Nation, which eventually prompted the invention of Vox Media. I think in this case, The L Word is to Autostraddle as The Oakland A’s are to Vox Media: “I thought that as an A’s fan, there was nobody out there covering the A’s the way I wanted them covered. So my solution was that I was just going to make this myself.”

+ Gawker Media started using affiliate marketing this year and they made a cool $10 million doing so. I’m actually surprised more sites don’t do this. It’s something I learned about when I was a personal blogger, and for the past two years affiliate marketing has been a better income stream for us than regular advertising. If we’re gonna recommend clothes and books and sex toys anyhow, why not get kickbacks when you follow the link, you know?

+ This sounds amazing, and also will include product placement from Mailchimp:

Entitled Fruit, the drama is set to be a scripted first-person narrative drama about X, an African-American professional football player who is gay. The project is created by Issa Rae, of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl YouTube series fame. Rae is also developing a new show for HBO, Insecure, which the network has picked up for a series order, according to Deadline.

+ This guy Daniel Voshart is writing a book about Vice Media, and what he has to say about its smoke and mirrors and outright lies is pretty interesting and makes a hell of a lot of sense. (I’m a fan of Broadly, though, just not the rest of it.)

+ Page views and click throughs are a supremely idiotic way of measuring website engagement or the success of your advertising and everybody knows it but it just won’t die. It’s stupid because it’s easy to game. It’s stupid that in 2014, we had more pageviews than 2015, despite 2015 being a much better year revenue-wise and engagement-wise — not because we had more truly engaged readers paying attention to ads or even our content, but because we had three posts that went wildly viral, attracting hoards of one-time visitors who will never look at our ads or give us money, and one post that won the Lesbian Sex SEO Lottery for a few months and attracted hundreds of thousands of two-second visitors. As we’ve discussed, publishers with the $$ can even BUY pageviews, further gaming an already-gamed system. All that being said, I’m obsessed with keeping our pageviews high.

+ Pinterest has hired a Head of Diversity, Candice Morgan, who is a black woman. This announcement will likely go over better than Twitter’s, as they hired a gay white man to be their Head of Diversity.

+ The New York Timesmost-commentened on articles of 2015.

+ Speaking of being attractive to women, the gentlemen of Gentlemen’s Quarterly would like you to turn off your ad-blocker or give them 25 cents. YOU PICK!

+ I put together 215 of the years best longreads by women. Yup. Two hundred and fifteen!

+ ESPN’s new site about sports and race is actually becoming a thing.

+ The Verge would like to make itself more attractive to women.

Three media business trends to watch for in 2016, like “the digital ad system is having an existential crisis

+Twitter is considering a 10,000 character limit. I CAN’T WAIT. I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO SAY

+ “I’m not one of those people who desires to retire early because I like what I do, but also because thinking about having all that free time gives me anxiety.”

+ Reddit is self-publishing a book of AMAs.

+ If you’re an A+ member and a Business of Art fan, you will be a fan of this post I made.

Ladies Doin’ It For Themselves

+ Erin Benzakein on Being the Face Of Your Business: “I overhauled all of Floret’s marketing materials and reworked the website. Not long after, I replaced the dark, poor-quality flower photos with beautiful, professional, family-centered images, and everything changed. Overnight people started coming up to me in public and introducing themselves. They had seen our website, forwarded from a friend, and it struck a cord.”

+ Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media is chock full of women. For example, Kimberly Foster, the 26-year-0ld founder of For Harriet, Notorious RBG co-author Shana Knizhnik and Slant co-founder Amanda Gutterman.

+ Introducing The Internet of Women.

+ The science and tech behind period underwear.

+ The plight and delight of being a young working mom!

On Quitting.

The End Times

+ “No one outside Facebook knows for sure how it does this, and no one inside the company will tell you. And yet the results of this automated ranking process shape the social lives and reading habits of more than 1 billion daily active users—one-fifth of the world’s adult population. “

+ Amazon has added over 500k items to its Prime program by allowing third-party merchants to do their own insanely rapid shipping.

+ Snapchat is building an ad technology platform.

+ The Wall Street Journal is the first American newspaper to get a spot on Snapchat Discover.

+ “A whopping 37% of HR managers cite tattoos as the third most likely physical attribute to limit career potential.”

Businesswoman’s Special

+ Toronto Life did a series called “Cost of Living” that’s really interesting — looking at how various humans and couples throughout the city live on wildly variant incomes.

+ 50 Actionable Tips to Fast-Track Personal Development in the New Year (everup)

+ Five tips for fact-checking your content (medium)

+ Here are the apps we actually used this year (motherboard)

+ 5 Areas of Your Life That Need De-Cluttering in the New Year (everup)

+ what a sex worker can teach you about working for yourself (the establishment)

+ Technology for your New Year’s Resolutions (autostraddle)

+ 16 elevating resolutions for 2016 inspired by some of humanity’s greatest minds (brain pickings)

+ how waking up an hour earlier can transform everything (entreprenuer)

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3229 articles for us.


  1. I actually read that “Waking up an Hour Earlier” article.
    Glad to have arrived at a point of self realization in my life, where I’m able to read it with a dark chuckle instead of a flash of eager enthusiasm.
    Just the image of myself up at 5 am, after a refreshing morning run, with a cup of steaming hot coffee, a healthy little meal, a scientific article before me and an elated little smile on my face before I skeedaddle off to mingle with all of the other chipper people on their way to work, makes me bark out a hollow and brittle laugh.
    Usually, when the alarmclock strikes, I groan and hiss and grunt before I drag myself painfully out of bed, into my clothes and out of the door, usually in the space of about ten to fifteen minutes due to a patient, yet insistent snooze button.
    In the subway I glare and growl at the other, horrible, horrible people who dare be afoot at such an ungodly hour.
    Somewhere along the way, I try to get my hands on some coffee, which I then hold dear, close to my heart, sniffing at it, reverently, from time to time.
    If it is the weekend, and there is no coffee to be had anywhere…let’s just say I’m very close to the dark side of the Force on those days.
    But if there is coffee, I might just wake up, little, by little, on buses and on trains, as the world passes me by in front of frosted and dirtied and wet windows and then,then I usually dream of a life as a college English Lit professor, who gets to schedule her own hours, none before eleven, and has a fully functional espresso machine in her office.

  2. I bloody love this column.

    I feel like 140 characters is twitter and if it let you write more it would just become a worse version of other feeds like facebook or medium or whatever. It’s probably not taking over the world as much as facebook because it doesn’t have the event feature which makes it so impossible to leave. Like, I have accounts for both and enjoyed them both once but now I hate facebook and feel indifferent towards twitter yet I use facebook all the time and twitter never. Misery.

    Also that tattoo article reminded me of a recent conversation I had where we agreed that job hunting would be so much easier if you could just see what people wear in the office at the job instead of trawling through websites and job descriptions. Suits? no thank you. DMs and big jumpers? yes please

  3. I can’t be the only one who wondered if tattoos are ranked third as a “physical attribute that limits career potential”, what the other two attributes might be. The original link says piercings and bad breath. The more you know!

    (I was curious mostly because I figured the fact that I’m fat is more limiting than the fact I have tattoos.)

  4. My brain is all tingly from the links you’ve provided here! It’s my first time reading this but it won’t be the last.

  5. Quality Fix, thank you!
    The twitter thing sounds like an April Fool’s joke to me — isn’t the 140 character limit the point? And they want to increase it to howwwww many? But you do you, Twitter.

  6. Looking forward to the fix every week – thank you! Slate about Facebook was fascinating and page views are tiring me daily. Still addicted to them though.

  7. I did miss your last Business of Art Fix, but I had a good reason. One of your recommendations for Best Longreads of 2015 (This Woman Gets Students Accused Of Rape Back Into School — For A Price) was a big deal to swallow and I ended up smashing my mouse against the floor.

    But I did came back because thanks Jebus for touch-screen computers and because, after all, a mouse was not a big deal: the last time I got that mad with an article was with a little piece by Emily Yoffe (yes it was her review of The Hunting Ground) and that crap cost me my phone.

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