The senior member of the Adult Blog Squad is Gene Ross, a former AVN editor who has been writing about the adult industry for 20 years. Ross has been posting his site, AdultFYI.com ("Your source for news, gossip, reviews and more!"), since September 2003.
In putting together his mix of original stories, wire reports and video reviews, Ross remains one of the hardest- working men in the adult business, logging 15-hour days that begin at 5 a.m. Unlike many of his colleagues, Ross doesn't read other industry blogs.
"I like to feel that I'm presenting my own voice, and I don't want to feel unduly influenced by other people's ideas," he told XBIZ.
Ross said he posts items that interest him and that he assumes will interest other people, and apparently they do. A fellow blogger said that AdultFYI.com gets more traffic than most other adult industry blogs.
"Gene matters... he moves the industry," the colleague said, calling Ross "the dean of porn journalism" and citing his propensity for breaking stories. "He's very important at what he does."
Prominent on most industry "must-read" lists is LukeIsBack.com — writer Luke Ford's return to the porn scene.
"I routinely read LukeIsBack.com and AdultFYI.com because they have often provided source material for what I'll comment on," industry veteran Jimmy D. told XBIZ.
A mainstream journalist as well as an adult industry reporter, the Australian-born Ford sold his previous site, LukeFord.com, in 2001 but started up his current blog three years later because, well, porn is where the money is. The all-business LukeIsBack.com shoves aside naughty pictures and explicit writing about sex to concentrate on informative stories and interviews that concentrate on people and issues, not body parts, which nets Luke Ford the respect of fellow practitioners.
"Luke is the father of us all and still is a mile ahead of most," said a fellow blogger.
If LukeIsBack.com is the Wall Street Journal of porn blogs, the new incarnation of Ford's former site is more like a high school slam book. LukeFord.com, home base for porn star Taylor Rain, is full of gossip, links to MySpace.com pages, commentary on sex-related news stories, references to weed smoking, naughty pictures and digs at Rain's partner-in-blog, Scott Fayner.
Part "Wayne's World," part "News of the Weird," part teen fanzine, LukeFord.com is more or less journalism-free, but it's fun to read — sort of like eavesdropping on the lunch table where the cheerleaders sit. But these popular kids never tell you to get lost.
Jimmy D. gets personal on his blog, too. When you log onto SimplyJimmyD.com, you're as likely to find a story about a friend's dog falling through an acoustic-tile ceiling as you are a promo for a new video.
"I might make political or social commentary one day and talk about absurd things like flying snakes or having sex with dolphins the next," Jimmy told XBIZ.
A busy director of adult videos, Jimmy has put up his blog for more than four years.
"I had a fair amount of porn angst, and I needed a vehicle to vent and rant," he said. While Jimmy provides information about new productions and lots of links to other blogs, he isn't in the PR business.
"When I do post a press release, or a part of one, it's usually to lampoon it," he said. "Yet just about every PR person in this business continues to send me every bit of PR they write, and many of them have told me they love it when I tear apart the obvious bullshit in their press releases."
Unlike most of his colleagues, SimplyJimmyD.com doesn't carry advertising.
"I make my money with cameras in my hands, not with a pen," said Jimmy, who once called Larry Flynt's empire the porn version of the Borg.
"I mostly write to say what I have to say, and if someone doesn't like it, too freakin' bad. Besides, it's a great way to discover who has a sense of humor and who doesn't, no?"
Gram Ponante's website is backed with maps of the center of his universe: the San Fernando Valley.
Ponante, who claims two degrees in journalism and has been a staffer at both AVN and XBIZ, loves the world in which he's been immersed since 2002.
"I like the humorous aspect of porn. I think it is a fun industry," he said in an interview posted on LukeIsBack.com in February, shortly after Ponante premiered his own blog, GramPonante.com: Porn Valley Observed. "Porn reminds me of a microcosm of Hollywood in the 1920s, when people really felt they were pioneers."
The site mixes reportage, service features (such as tax tips for sex workers) and reviews. "I started my site to comment on the machinations and personalities of the adult industry and how it often gets in its own way," Ponante told XBIZ.
"I write for an educated consumer who doesn't let a little marketing bullshit get in the way of enjoying porn," Ponante continued, calling himself an "impartial observer" when it comes to porn personalities. "I have not yet written anything that wouldn't be of interest to me as a reader."
While Ponante focuses on Porn Valley, Tod Hunter is a citizen of the world and a curator of cultural history. His Tod-Hunter.net, subtitled "Porn. Politics. Mainstream," contains references to 1950s film icons and attacks on Republicans, side-by-side with event promotion, squibs on new videos and pictures of porn stars.
"It's organic. I didn't plan it," Hunter said of the mix, which he's been posting since January 2004. "I was a daily news columnist at AVN and then had a weekly column in AVN Insider, and I always added non-porn items like movies of interest and obits of people I found interesting, along with the obligatory new release and Suzie-BigBoobs-signs-with-Vivid bits."
Finally, far removed from Porn Valley, the Pittsburgh-based Mike South holds forth on MikeSouth.com. Subtitling his blog, "The Institute for the Advanced Study of Insensitivity and Pornography," South brings a blunt but ultimately humanistic sensibility to his musings about the adult world. (He'll make fun of strippers but pledge undying gratitude to the porn star who agreed to be arm candy at his high school reunion.)