I Love Adult, But...

"One day I'm gonna die, and I'm gonna be in this same fucking room, with these same fucking guys, talking about these same fucking scams that never amount to anything, and that's how I'll know I got sent to fucking hell."

That's a line from mob boss Sonny in the film "Donnie Brasco." I reprint it here because, in a lot of ways, it sums up my feelings about the biz right now.

Disclaimer: I love adult. I love inking new deals, making inroads with competitors and colleagues, and I love the energy that keeps us in a constant state of innovation. Now, that said...

What the FUCK!!?? Where do all these wannabes and poseurs come from?

Like so many, I prudently take time every day to size up the competition. I scan the boards. I comb the presses. I take detailed notes. And 99 percent of the time, I find absolutely nothing but a parade of unoriginal hucksters trying to finesse their way out of stating a simple truth: "I have nothing new to offer. I have no original ideas or mousetraps. My friend has a cousin who makes a killing in this business, and I'm at least as sharp as he is, so join my program."

They all believe that FredsSameOldSpreads.com make you oil-mogul rich, OK?

No, Fred, it really doesn't. You're costing me a fortune — not because you're wasting my traffic, but because you're wasting my time.

Fred, you don't convert 1:50 because nobody converts 1:50, and you don't retain for three months because, 1) Your content was new when Clinton was being impeached, and most absurd of all, 2) Your program hasn't even been around for three months.

So why, Fred, why are you even on my radar?

Well, the truth is, you have a really big mouth. You like to open it up and yell "FIRE!" in our crowded theater. And that really sucks for me because I try to keep a keen eye out for everything. So I have to look. You could be that 1 in 100 that deserves every bit of the attention it's clamoring for.

But nah, that ain't you, Fred. And in a snap, you're gone, out of business. If you'd only asked, we could have saved you the trouble.

You made promises you couldn't keep. You thought money could take the place of experience. You issued one bold statement after another on the boards but never worried about trivialities like customer service or accountability. You ignored your customers' and affiliates' emails and tried to pretend your sites weren't down all weekend. And then, finally, when somebody called you on it, you figured the best defense is a good offense and went straight for the jugular. You screamed, "LIARS!" And you did it in every public forum you could find.

But here's the worst part, Fred, and the reason for this melodramatic tirade. You make finding the real innovators, the real doers so much more time consuming. Everywhere I look, I see you, and your numbers never stop growing.

My hope is that one day an awakening will come. Fred, you will realize it takes hard work, dedication and fresh ideas to make it in this business. Until that day dawns, though, I guess I'm stuck with you. So nurse, do me a solid. Pass me that trade journal by my bedside and 10 milligrams of something good.

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