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Pre-2008 Posts

The Revolution Will Be Commodified? — Alternatives to Selling Feminist Websites and Blogs to the Man

I am completely fired up over Amp having sold his website, Amptoons, long identified as a feminist website, for cash.  The ultimate purchaser of the site has now created a page  featuring links to reviews of hardcore misogynist, racist, and teen pornography, including photos.

Here is Amp’s explanation, posted on September 13 on Alas, and my response.  He allowed no comments and no pings (trackbacks).

Announcement: I’m not the owner of “” anymore. I sold it a couple of months ago.

Five months ago, I was facing two problems. First of all, I was in real financial trouble – we were paying all our bills, but by a slimmer margin each month, and if things had kept on going that way it was only a matter of time before we’d come up short. Plus, one person in the house hadn’t been able to pay his rent in a long time, while another seemed on the verge of being unemployed (although as it turned out, that was a false alarm).

You know, I can think of a million better ways to solve the above problem than selling a feminist website out from under feminists to people who don’t give a rip about women or feminism.   I will get to some of my thoughts about that in a moment.   I admit to  having little sympathy.  Between 1996 and 1998, having been put out of business by the Religious Right (I published a paper magazine), I was destitute and the sole support of seven children.   I could have sold my pristine, clean, up-to-date, never-once-sold mailing list of 30,000 names.  I could have sold my magazine.  I desperately needed the money because although I had no income, I had a job– running what remained of the magazine, which is a long story for another day.  I did not sell the magazine or the mailing list, because I was not in a position then to discuss a potential sale, or other options, with my subscribers, and I felt it would be wrong to sell the magazine or the mailing list without first discussing it with them.  Although the magazine was my idea, I created it, published it, edited it, wrote for it, did all the paste-up, everything, still, it wasn’t mine alone.  It belonged in my mind, again, to everyone who had had a part in making it the success that it was.  So I didn’t sell it, desperately as I needed the money.  I found other ways to get by.

Second of all, I kept on having to beg my host not to shut down “Alas” for using too much server time – and in fact, “Alas” was briefly shut down more than once, and I was forced to remove a lot of functionality in order to reduce server load. My host kept on telling me that I needed a dedicated server, but the cost of that is well beyond anything I could consider.

I’ve been operating websites and boards since 1996.  Long, long ago, and over years and years, I have egregiously exceeded my allotted bandwidth.   At the moment, my websites are on a dedicated server– my ISP bought a new server and moved all but my websites onto the new server.  I have never paid an extra penny for this.  At the moment I pay $90 a month for DSL service and three websites.   The only time I am given flack by my ISP is when I get demanding for some reason, like when my boards got hacked a few years ago, and it took days and weeks to fix them, and I was constantly calling to find out when we’d be back up, when we’d be fixed, why are we down again, whatever.  It may be true that the ISPs Amp has used have demanded more and more money.  But if he’d opened the subject for discussion, hell, I’d have suggested he move his site to the ISP I use!  I am pretty certain others would have made similar suggestions.  A techie woman on my boards once described, complete with relevant links, creating websites she was able to run for less than $50 per year using various cut-rate ISPs and domain name services.   She not only got the domain name for less than $10 per year (through, she got webhosting and other services, including e-mail addresses, for less than $40 per year.   But since none of us was asked, we couldn’t offer our suggestions.

Or, Amp could have closed down the blog part of his site, saving it for the sake of archives, and then started a regular WordPress or Blogger blog for free and just continued on with Alas.  Or he could have limited comments.  For just a few ideas.

Then a buyer approached me offering to purchase, so he could use it to improve search engine rankings for his clients (how that all works isn’t something I have any knowledge of). He offered a substantial sum of money – not enough to erase my money worries, but enough to ease the pressure for a while. Plus he offered to provide a free dedicated server for “Alas.”

Just what we, as feminists, can get behind:  improving search engine ratings for porn sites!

The contract took months to wrangle,

And over all of those months,  you said absolutely nothing to those who read and commented to your blog.  You asked for no input, no feedback, no suggestions.  As though your blog is what it is because of you and you alone, or because you paid for server space.  Your blog was what it was because of all the people who commented to it, read it, guest blogged there.  They made it what it was, too.  Their words, on your site, are what caused it to be widely read– not just your words.  And their words are their words– not yours.  Their reputations are their reputations, too.  That being so, I believe you owed it to all of the people who supported your site by commenting to it and guest blogging to ask for their thoughts and views before you irreversibly tied their words, comments, guest blog posts to a page which links to misogynist, racist internet  pornography.   You could have gone ahead and done what you were going to do anyway, nobody could have stopped you, but at the very least, we’d have had a heads up, and we could have stopped posting before  the porn links page was created, and hence we would not have unwittingly helped to boost the search engine ratings for porn sites with our feminist, woman-centered postings!  This is especially true for those of us who oppose pornography, for whom this is central to our feminist politics.  You know who we are.  You owed us *at least this*.  But you allowed us to keep posting, and boosting the internet ratings of racist, misogynist pornography websites,  for months.  You didn’t let us know until people had discovered for themselves that these porn reviews were part of Amptoons.   And even when you finally let us know, because the porn links were found on your site, you didn’t allow for commentary or feedback or even trackbacks.  Why?  Because you’d cut a deal at our expense, and you didn’t want to hear about it?  Because you didn’t want search engine ratings to go down, possibly compromising the deal you cut behind our backs? 

but here’s the bottom line: The new owner has absolutely no control over the content of “Alas.” However, “Alas” plus my cartoonist pages are the only parts of I have any access to or control over. The buyer also has the right to put in one or two inconspicuous links on “Alas,” positioned in a way that would make it unlikely that anyone but search engine robots would follow the link.

Evidently, more than search engine robots followed the link, eh?  Did it even occur to you that someone like MyzTee might follow the link and let your anti-pornography, anti-racism, anti-sexism constituents know that in posting to your website they would be boosting the search engine rankings of websites they lay awake nights scheming to close down?

I was assured by the buyer that he would never host porn sites on “” And I wrote into the contract that his link on “Alas” could never be a direct link to a porn site. But beyond that, I have no ability to control what the buyer does with his pages – the deal is that he has absolutely no say in what’s on “Alas,” but we also agreed that I have no say over what he does with his own property. And – as a couple of “Alas” readers have noticed – some pages I don’t own include links to porn.

I’m essentially in the same position as someone with a blog on “” – I don’t own the domain, and although I control what’s on my own blog, I don’t have any say over what’s posted on the domain other than my little piece of it.

I disagree that you are in the same position as someone with a blog on   You have sold your name — Amptoons — a name which is connected in the minds of many on the internet with feminism, anti-racism, anti-sexism work, to individuals or an organization which has no concern for women, feminism, racism, or anything but lining its own pockets.  In this, you have betrayed everyone who commented on your blog, guest blogged there, or just plain trusted you to do right by women and progressive people.  It would be like me selling my domain names to a conservative Christian organization, so that if people clicked on a link on my page, however inconcpicuous, they would be directed to a page with links along the  lines of, “Women-who-have-abortions-are-murderers/,” or “women-submit-to-your-husbands/,” or “patriarchy-is-god’s-plan/”   I might have a right to do  this, but I would feel an obligation to my readers, commenters, and guest-posters, if I had some, to at least discuss it with them before they learned that by their clicks, they were supporting organizations they were dead set against.   This would be the very least I could do.

I realize that some “Alas” readers will feel that I’ve sold out, or that this puts me beyond the pale. I’m genuinely sorry for that. For the record, I don’t feel I’ve been victimized (as one person suggested in email), nor do I feel like I’m a total sell-out. What I feel is this: I’ve made a compromise, one that I probably wouldn’t have made in a perfect world.

That’s all. And now, back to your regularly scheduled political rants.

(Comments are closed on this thread. If you want to talk to me about this, please drop me an email.)

There are so, so many other options which you could have explored,  Amp.  You could have just laid everything out to your readers/commenters/guest-bloggers, told us what you’ve told us in this post, asked for our suggestions.  In addition to possibilities I’ve already listed, some might have wanted to take up a collection for a dedicated server for Amptoons.  Feminists, including your guest bloggers, might have wanted to, and been able to,  get together and buy Amptoons under terms and conditions similar to the organization you finally sold it to.  At least it would have remained feminist and progressive.   If you had that many hits, lots of progressive/feminist organizations would have likely been willing to pay to advertise on your site.  That’s how lots of websites make it, by selling appropriate advertising.  As it stands, people who have read, commented, posted in good faith, and who have thus helped to provide you with connections and opportunities you would not have had otherwise,(whether or not those connections and opportunities are lucrative at the moment) find ourselves summarily dissed, betrayed, treated as though what we stand for and believe is unimportant and as though the support we showed for you over the years was meaningless to you.

I will finish with one promise to my own readers and commenters, here and on my sites.  I will never sell any website or blog I own without first discussing it with all of you and exploring every option.  You have my word on that.

Amp, I think what you have done is so wrong.  This is the way the good work of feminists, radicals and progressives, gets eaten up, co-opted, eventually is made invisible.  I hope in this, you are not a trendsetter.




64 thoughts on “The Revolution Will Be Commodified? — Alternatives to Selling Feminist Websites and Blogs to the Man

  1. Here is an interesting comment from a blogger who picked up on Amp’s announcement. He is wondering if the company that bought Amptoons will end up spamming.


    September 15, 2006
    Selling to SEOs

    An interesting way of doing business: Cartoonist Ampersand has sold his domain to a Search Engine Optimiser who lets him continue to run his (excellent) blog and cartoonist pages in exchange for a link on the blog’s front page and the ability to put whatever he wants (presumably link farms, but I haven’t been able to find out yet) on new pages on the website.

    I suppose it’s as legit as any other form of sponsorship, and it sure beats having SEOs spamming their links on other people’s blogs against their will. But one wonders if it wouldn’t have been more effective for the SEO to buy a traditional sponsorship. What’s one link to a blog about, in this case, handbags, on Amptoon’s blog page worth in comparison to a well-placed ad, possibly drawn by Ampersand himself and integrated into the website, pointing directly to the product? Presumably the other stuff the SEO adds is worth more.

    There is a risk involved that could cause Amp trouble for a long time to come. The reason I’m interested in this story at all is that the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Search Engine Optimization is spam. Comment spam and forum spams, the two blights on the Web that have caused me to spend many unpaid hours to clean up Waffle, Talk About Comics and, before Mithandir installed his latest honeypot-based comment spam blocker, the comments to Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. I know that’s not entirely fair; there are forms of Search Engine Optimization that don’t involve spam, and what Amp’s buyer is doing could be one of them. But if the buyer is putting link farms on new pages within the domain, then these will themselves only become valuable if they’re widely linked to, and that means there’s a strong incentive for the new domain owner to spam. Actually, that applies to anything else he might put there – it can only be valuable for SEO purposes if it’s widely linked to.
    You don’t want to be associated with a domain that’s spammed in blog comments or forums. Or associated with spam in any form at all. It got the makers of the blogging software WordPress in quite a bit of trouble and could end up doing the same to Ampersand.

    Posted by womensspace | October 8, 2006, 11:35 pm
  2. Why, if this long explanation is true, is the domain name still registered to Amp and not this mysterious buyer?

    Either way, amp is a huge asshole and no friend to women. I think a lot of us knew that already.

    Posted by Melissa | October 8, 2006, 11:36 pm
  3. Ampersand is the man. He always has been.

    Posted by delphyne | October 8, 2006, 11:39 pm
  4. Actually, it’s registered to this outfit:

    Domain Name: AMPTOONS.COM
    Whois Server:
    Referral URL:
    Status: ACTIVE
    EPP Status: ok
    Updated Date: 17-Jun-2006
    Creation Date: 30-May-2002
    Expiration Date: 30-May-2012


    I didn’t like a lot of what Amp wrote, but there were radical feminists who posted to his site who were holding down that particular fort, and given how widely he was read, I thought there was sometimes value in posting there. Then again, I tend to be trusting and to think the best like that, my bad, usually.


    Posted by womensspace | October 8, 2006, 11:43 pm
  5. Wow…I never liked his blog. I remember the fall out from the ‘civility’ posts a few years back and how he acted. But I never thought he would stoop this low. How many times are ‘feminist’ men going to screw us over before we start getting the idea?

    Posted by anashi | October 8, 2006, 11:49 pm
  6. Thanks for explaining this, I was wondering about it when you pointed it out earlier. But OH MY GOD!!!!!! Even the men that care don’t actually care.

    Posted by marsha | October 9, 2006, 2:15 am
  7. Heart, I guess the whois I looked it up on is outdated, because it still has his name on it. Like I said though, either way…

    Posted by Melissa | October 9, 2006, 4:58 am
  8. And to be clear, I actually have no idea what alas was like recently, who posted there or any of that, because I haven’t read it in a long time. I have no doubt that you, Heart, and the other radical feminists who posted there lent it whatever value it had. If my comment above came off as slamming anyone but amp, I apologize. I know you all have good reasons for what you do, and that’s good enough for me.

    Posted by Melissa | October 9, 2006, 5:21 am
  9. That’s some pretty nasty SEO tactics; seriously disreputable. I would advise anyone who objects to this to log a spam report with Google. I’m pretty sure there’s a good argument for this constituting spam tactics.

    It looks like Google have already blacklisted the links page itself; PageRank 0, so the links will no longer be any use to the porn sites themselves. The main site & blog still has fairly high rank though; 7/10.

    The funny* thing is that Amp has sold out to give the porn merchant a quick boost, and will possibly get his listings trashed as a result, whilst the porn site spammer moves on.

    With the traffic he gets to the site he could have sold out to a paid listings scheme from Google or Yahoo & be raking it in; He could easily have got a few $100 each month from them at any rate. I’m pretty sure if he’d explained the alternatives, his audience would have dealt with 4-5 unobtrusive links per page or on selected pages?

    I understand and can forgive desperation, but equally a whole lot of us have been desperate at some point in our lives, and how you choose to operate under those circumstances speaks volumes.

    *I don’t quite know which kind of funny.

    Posted by Katchen | October 9, 2006, 10:40 am
  10. Actually, on double-checking Amp’s main domain, it appears the site has already been dropped from Google’s listings.

    Posted by Katchen | October 9, 2006, 10:59 am
  11. Someone clue me in, does that article on spamming mean that the email addresses that we put so we can post can be spammed by the new domain owners????

    Posted by saltyC | October 9, 2006, 2:46 pm
  12. Heart, what you had said in your initial post here, there are lots of other ways he could have saved money (by switching hosts) or generated money (by careful ad spots). The only problem I have with the ads is, as I’m anti-porn, the P word comes up often, and is more likely to generate ads for what we are fighting against.

    In your first comment regarding the harvesting for spammers, it kind of crossed my mind before I’d even read it, after all, why target a site like that, I’m sure there are plenty of sites that generate lots of traffic that are non-discussion ones. (but I’m quite a suspicious person these days)

    Katchen said:
    “The funny* thing is that Amp has sold out to give the porn merchant a quick boost, and will possibly get his listings trashed as a result, whilst the porn site spammer moves on.”

    I thought that too. Although, perhaps the funny* is more in a ‘ha-ha cosmic justice’ kinda way 🙂 We can only hope! Oh cosmic justice, where art thou?

    Posted by stormcloud | October 9, 2006, 2:57 pm
  13. I came over here from BB for this post, and not knowing who Amp is, I have to say when I read this, I thought, “Oh! So THIS is what male privilege looks like!”
    Certainly backs up what Twisty says, that men can never be feminists. I hope I don’t sound trollish. (my apologies if I do)

    Posted by Kristina | October 9, 2006, 3:27 pm
  14. I don’t really know how these “SEO’s” work, but I think the kind of spam that’s being talked about is the kind that bloggers and board admins like me have to install anti-spam software to deal with. It’s really nasty stuff which you’ve all probably seen, lists of links to gambling or porn sites or sometimes pharmaceutical sites that manages to post itself as “comments” to a blog. It’s sneaky– sometimes the “comments” look like comments but there’s a link in there or in the name of the “person” who posts the comments. I have Akismet installed here on my blog, and the stuff it catches is pretty ingenious sometimes, “Nice site! I work in this industry myself and” blah blah. But really, they want you to click on the link of the “poster.”

    Anyway, it sounds like Katchen is saying that what this SEO did is totally wrong– contacting an individual blogger (Amp) and asking if he could pay
    Amp money to turn most of the pages of Amptoons into link farms, so the link farms would fly under the radar of search engines like Google, who don’t want link farms coming up in the thousands for people doing searches on something. (And if this is  not clicking, link farms are those idiotic “sites” you end up at when you get a virus that turns your home page into a site that is called something like, “MySearch,”  or sometimes just by accident when you click on a link to a site that isn’t there anymore, where all the “sites” are is pages and pages of random links to things, no content at all.) When we look things up on Google, we don’t want to come up with a zillion links to link farms, after all, we are looking for content, which is what Google tries to supply and what spammers make difficult to supply.

    The people who bought Amp’s site are sneaky assholes. They don’t ONLY post links, they post “reviews” so that what they’ve got there masquerades as ‘content’, again hoping to fly under the radar of Google, Yahoo, etc.

    The whole idea of these places is to get people to click on their links. If you send a bajillion blogs lists of links masquerading as “comments”, then some percentage of readers will click on them, thus driving up the ratings of the places being clicked, I guess, I don’t know.

    I don’t really understand all this stuff, the above is all I can figure out so far. I just know that Amp, who hella knows better, sold his website to someone who appears to be a spammer.

    The most hideous spam of all is porn spam. I’ve got thousands of porn spam “comments” in my Spam queue, all of it stomach-turning garbage. I agree with the more knowledgeable posters here who have said that the link farms on pages of Alas aren’t worth much if the links don’t get clicked, definitely not what Amp was paid for those pages, so the “SEO” has something else in mind, who knows what. I doubt it would be spamming those of us with e-mail addresses on Alas, because that’s really not that many people in the overall scheme of things and it’s just individuals. It’s probably something like spamming all the links and the links to the links or something like that, who knows. Eh, I’m at the end of any insight I have into these things.

    As to advertising, I’m thinking of the kind of advertising Echidne of the Snakes and others have on their feminist blogs, advertising that is something feminists wouldn’t mind seeing.

    Katchen says Amptoons isn’t rated in Google anymore.  Huh.  I wonder if Amp knew that would happen and didn’t care, figuring he could only sell his site once anyway.

    Well, it’s all very disheartening.

    I think men can be profeminists but not feminists, per se. My experience is that the men who actually could be called feminists reject being called that because they get it, and men who will never get it in a million years call themselves feminists and complain if anybody questions them.


    Posted by womensspace | October 9, 2006, 3:58 pm
  15. I must look into Akismet (for my blog). But, for now, I’ve got it so that I have to approve only new posters coming in, and they all have to be logged into WP. I’ll see how that flies for a while.

    Mmm, think you may be right about the links to links to links, and the under the radar stuff. What a search engine nightmare!

    I had better go back into my lab and continue working on my ‘anti-scumbag & anti-arsehole’ bomb. Disclaimer: It may reduce this world’s population dramatically.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 9, 2006, 5:03 pm
  16. Silly me. I’ve double checked, and remember that I’ve already read it, that WP-hosted blogs are automatically covered. *doh!*

    Posted by stormcloud | October 9, 2006, 5:08 pm
  17. great post Heart.

    Posted by AradhanaDevindra | October 10, 2006, 4:15 am
  18. I think in the back of our minds, we all knew that all the major ‘feminist’ websites were a bunch of sell outs. It’s too good to be true when you have more MEN posting at the major feminist blogs than you do women.

    That’s the first sign of a problem. Two when Playboy names you one of the top ten blogs on politics, like they have pandagon – that’s fairly revealing.

    It’s interesting how as anti-porn feminists other feminists would rather build alliances with major corporations that EXPLOIT women than build bridges with us, all the while laughing at us for supposedly allying with the right.

    Posted by AradhanaDevindra | October 10, 2006, 4:21 am
  19. The idea behind the outgoing porn link is that Google ranks websites based on “authority”. The more your site is linked to by other sites – especially from already established, high-authority sites – the higher its perceived “authority” on a subject; hence the higher your site will be ranked on Google for various search phrases.

    So what these “SEO’s” (search engine optimizers) do, is they buy links from high authority sites to try to raise the authority of their new/low-ranked/spam sites. And as internet profit goes, porn sells like nothing else.

    When it comes to porn, you don’t need anything resembling content, you just need A) naked women; and B) for people to actually choose your site over the millions and millions of others. Which is why someone would attach a monetary value to links from a site like Ampersand’s, which obviously has a high authority, having been linked to over and over again by other respected sites.

    So yes, he absolutely, positively built a site that achieved a monetary value based largely on feminist support and based on that value, sold it to porn spammers.

    On the hopeful side, Google does hate that kind of manipulation and it could very well be that his site has already been penalized for it. One can only hope.

    I was just talking to my partner last night about the concept of “male feminists”. She also doesn’t believe men can be called “feminists”, and I agree, but maybe for different reasons.

    For me, it seems clear that feminism “belongs” to women. It’s their movement. Some feminists believe that men can be feminists (through allying), and some feminists don’t. Either way, every single feminist knows more about what it’s like to be a woman in America (or any country) than I do. So my job is to listen. If they don’t have a consensus on whether or not I can be called a feminist, then I can’t feel comfortable using that term for myself. If I did, there would be no doubt that some feminists would believe that people like me were coopting their movement, and I think they’d be right. (Indeed, not only coopting, but dividing.)

    So, “anti-sexist” works for me.:)

    Posted by John | October 10, 2006, 10:08 am
  20. John, thanks for the explanation of how all of the SEO/spammer stuff works– that makes sense. And also makes me even more aggravated by all of this. I think what you have to say about being an ally/profeminist man is exactly right and especially, what rings at the moment is your observation re the way men can be divisive in feminism. The acts that gave rise to this thread are Exhibit A of that particular phenomenon. :/

    Thanks, stormcloud, for that link, I’ll check it out.


    Posted by womensspace | October 10, 2006, 1:00 pm
  21. Yeah, sorry; I wasn’t as clear as I hoped I’d been. I was (and am) pretty disgusted at Amp’s actions.

    Link farming isn’t what SEO is about however, don’t lump it all in with spam; positive SEO primarily involves dealing with the websites that have been poorly designed (or over-designed) and bringing them up to the standards required to get search engine listings. Once at that standard there are valid online promotional techniques to get sites better listings, which do not involve these kinds of dodgy tactics.

    Comment spam, paid links and a whole load of other stuff definitely constitutes dodgy tactics and crosses the line into spam. Unfortunately as an industry SEO has let itself become defined by the worst of its practitioners, and there’s some very unscrupulous people describing what they do as SEO.

    I agree that paid links can be hard to control & after checking this out further am very disappointed to learn you can’t screen out porn ads from Google Adwords and the like. Apparently Google won’t allow porn sites to host their adverts, but they are still happy to take their cash & place ads for them. Big surprise huh? Text link ads are easier to control; they have to be individually approved, but aren’t as lucrative.

    Has anyone asked Amp what he’s done with his contacts list, and if that was part of the sale, by the way?

    Posted by Katchen | October 10, 2006, 2:48 pm
  22. I really don’t know what to say, except I am horrified and disappointed. Anyway, Alas will be coming off my blogroll forthwith…although I haven’t visited there for a long time I have to say. I think, as you say, it’s hard to side with a man who isn’t anti-porn, yet calls himself a feminist, therefore I found myself not being very interested in what he had to say.

    Posted by Lizzie | October 10, 2006, 3:33 pm
  23. This is an affront. I’m really glad I came across this (via Ms.Jared-thanks!) .

    I would like to say that

    ” It’s too good to be true when you have more MEN posting at the major feminist blogs than you do women. ”

    While I am by no means a “major” blog, many of my commenters are men. (I know that many women read my blog, though) . So I don’t think that my blog, in which I dicuss almost exclusively the issue of violence against women , children’s rights, custody and family law issues is “too good to be true,” — frankly, I’m not sure why more women don’t comment, and I wish they would. But I would really be bummed out if people thought that having a majority of male commenters hurt my credibility as a feminist blogger…. just a thought.

    Posted by txfeminist | October 10, 2006, 4:18 pm
  24. I can’t say I’m surprised. When he valued civil lies over the ugly truth, I knew there was a gap there that just wouldn’t close.

    Posted by ginmar | October 10, 2006, 4:24 pm

    Don’t know how else to do trackbacks to LiveJournal.

    Thanks for the info – I haven’t seen much of a point in reading Alas since getting banned. :p

    Posted by funnie | October 10, 2006, 5:13 pm
  26. Dang, funnie, that was a great post. Everybody should go and read it!


    Posted by womensspace | October 10, 2006, 5:56 pm
  27. Thanks! Nice work to you in sussing out the situation.

    I really don’t want to boost his free-falling pagerank by exploring too much, but my understanding, then, is that the site was sold in June and the paltry announcement came in September? That’s certainly an extra dollop of…something.

    Posted by funnie | October 10, 2006, 6:38 pm
  28. funnie, on September 13, he wrote that he had sold it “a couple months ago.” The earliest review date I see is July 2. So he must have sold it in June.

    The thing that bothers me is, he said he’d been negotiating the sale for “months” before that.

    Clearly, it wasn’t a case of, gotta sell it now or I’m out on the street tomorrow.


    Posted by womensspace | October 10, 2006, 6:43 pm
  29. Well, and you know, even if he HAD been that financially desperate…

    Most *WOMEN* in truly dire straits find themselves with these alternatives:

    1. Hook up with a man in order to access his property/infrastructure, hoping that he takes care of you in exchange for the “free” effort you give him (we see how well this has worked out for any cash-strapped co-bloggers).

    2. Sell yourself (not someone else) to a man.

    Many financially desperate men prostitute women while remaining unwilling to let men prostitute them. Such is not the story of women’s lives.

    Posted by funnie | October 10, 2006, 7:41 pm
  30. Amp failed the decent human being test with me within a week of my first reading his blog.
    I think everyone draws lines in the dirt somewhere. One of mine is torture. Porn is produced through torture.
    While one could claim to be a feminist and in favor of torturing women, no decent human being would.

    Posted by thebewilderness | October 10, 2006, 8:38 pm
  31. Actually, it’s registered to this outfit:…

    Er, no. That’s the registrar, not the registrant. You need to scroll down further to get the registration information:

    22835 wilson
    Dearborn, MI 48128

    Domain Name: AMPTOONS.COM

    Administrative Contact:
    Douglas, William
    22835 wilson
    Dearborn, MI 48128

    Technical Contact:
    Douglas, William
    22835 wilson
    Dearborn, MI 48128

    Posted by Daran | October 10, 2006, 10:59 pm
  32. To me, pornography is just sex on tape, sex photographed, so like sex, it can be good, where consent and comfort exists and it can be bad, where there is no consent or questionable consent.

    I have the impression that a lot of ‘hardcore’ pornography, especially those that labels itself as such, is like sex gone wrong, on tape, sex where the women’s consent is dubious, sex where the women is not comfortable, sex where the women is not respected, sex where the one having sex with the woman makes derogatory comments about her in the locker room afterwards.

    Sex is supposed to be a good thing, what makes rape more worse than murder in my opinion, is that it twists what should have been good, what was an intimate mode of communication, into a cruel mockery, an assault. Sex is supposed to be a good thing, and pornography can be a good thing, it /can/ be educational, it /can/ be a celebration of human sexuality that is appreciated and respected. Pornography /can/ be sensual, it /can/ show men and women, or men and men, or women and women, being considerate and respectful of each other during sex, not violent or degrading.

    Unfortunately, ‘mainstream’ pornography is not, and while I don’t think violent pornography should be outlawed as long as everyone is fully consenting and respectful of each other on and off set, all viewers are adults, AND it is NOT mainstream…the way things are, is a symptom and support of sick society.

    Therefore, in addition to the manipulative nature of what was done, that it was porn sites, ‘hardcore’ porn sites that was linked to, is a much gross offense than if it was a ‘enter your zip code for a free iPod’ gig. ESPECIALLY considering his audience, some of whom are anti-porn for their own reasons…whose should be respected for their stance that they not be tricked into viewing it, ESPECIALLY considering that some of them might have traumatic experiences where the ‘hardcore’ pornography in question would be a TRIGGER that will cause them emotional pain.

    – MG

    Posted by Mercurial Georgia | October 11, 2006, 1:34 am
  33. That registration info that Daran posted up there? Just two days ago it still had amp’s real name where it now says William Douglas. Must be a coincidence…

    Posted by Melissa | October 11, 2006, 8:26 am
  34. MG
    Many of us ‘oldies’ over the last 30 years or so, have witnessed porn getting more and more derogatory, more violent, with more side-line fetishes ended up as mainstream.

    Because the market is over saturated, producers must go more and more extreme in order to stand out from the competition, this extreme it seems, is to portray more and more violence towards women. There is little chance ever of porn being ‘nice’ within this economic framework.

    Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that anti-porn feminists are prudes and dislike sex. It was (man’s) religion that labelled sex as dirty, followed by (man’s) porn that labelled sex as naughty. Porn, like all children, must continually push the naughtiness boundaries in order to gain attention.

    To wish for, or to work for, ‘nice’ porn, is a great waste of time. The fundamentals that underpin it are flawed. Unfortunately, porn poisons by association and (societal) climate, any act of consensual sex filmed.

    One more thing. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the terms ‘hardcore’ and ‘softcore’. The (original) categories were to differentiate between levels of sexual explicitness (whether or not erect penises or penetration) was shown, rather than violent or fetish content. In fact, ‘softcore’ can be just, if not more, damaging to women in that it relies primarily on the objectification of women in order to arouse/titillate.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 11, 2006, 9:49 am
  35. I think he would have been pleasently surprised if he had reached out to profeminist businesspeople and had their ads on his site. I don’t think he needed to go quite that far.

    Posted by shannon | October 11, 2006, 3:44 pm
  36. Hi,

    Just wondering where the comment made yesterday by Shelley is, and Heart’s response to it…?

    Posted by Melinda Casino (Sour Duck) | October 11, 2006, 4:24 pm
  37. Melinda, it’s here:

    I should really switch my blog over to my server, huh, so more comments show in the sidebar.


    Posted by womensspace | October 11, 2006, 4:40 pm
  38. Melinda, it’s here:

    I should really switch my blog over to my server, huh, so I can have more bells and whistles, like more comments showing in the sidebar.


    Posted by womensspace | October 11, 2006, 4:40 pm
  39. Ah! Terrific. My mistake.


    Posted by Melinda Casino (Sour Duck) | October 11, 2006, 5:01 pm
  40. “Sex is supposed to be a good thing, and pornography can be a good thing, it /can/ be educational, it /can/ be a celebration of human sexuality that is appreciated and respected. Pornography /can/ be sensual…”

    Like stormcloud, I’m not going to diddle myself with what pornography could be compared to mainstream pornography when the goal is changing what mainstream men are into what men could be.

    Men could be a good thing, men could celebrate human sexuality, and men could be sensual, but mainstream men are not and making real the could be’s of men is what I think pro-woman politics need to keep in mind as the end goal.

    Men and their greedy attitude of “The world owes me sexy women” is the problem that needs changing, and pornography is an extremely influential, and growing ever moreso, part of what sustains male sexual entitlement and it prevents men from shitfting what they are into what men could be.

    Posted by Sam | October 11, 2006, 5:25 pm
  41. ditto Sam, ditto.

    And I did giggle at:
    “The world owes me sexy women”

    Sums up their entitlement, and their little fantasies of ‘own personal harem’.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 11, 2006, 6:04 pm
  42. it’s interesting that barry has finally decided to respond to this criticism…after hugo called him out on it. twenty or so women call him out and we’re all roundly ignored – one man calls him out and he’s immediately answered.

    again, telling.
    xoxo, jared

    Posted by ms. jared | October 11, 2006, 6:30 pm
  43. I disagree, and retain my current view, which I have thought about. Since I don’t want to rec p___ here especially considering the topic…I can only say that if you really look for it, brave pages and pages of junk…or look through CBC where they featured a women for women thing months ago, or look through ‘adult women’ sites or magazines, the ones that actually have intelligent articles addressing feminist issues instead of ones that details ‘how to please your man’, you could find it. Hmmm, if you live in a big L city like Toronto or Vancouver, you might have a better chance of finding healthy stuff IRL than online…

    Ultimately, I have a feeling that this will end with an ‘agree to disagree’.

    Posted by Mercurial Georgia | October 11, 2006, 6:39 pm
  44. I said on Feministe, and it bears repeating: feminist women need to remember that many “pro-feminist” men talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Actions speak louder than words.

    Funnie – I linked your article in the comments on Feministe. I hope you don’t mind; I enjoyed it so much that I was going to quote it outright, but didn’t want to deprive you of the hits. Brilliant and funny! Props.

    Posted by Ginger | October 11, 2006, 6:54 pm
  45. # Mercurial Georgia Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 11th, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    I retain my opinion, which I have thought about, and as it is with any opinion that I have thought about, anyone can say that whatever I think it’s invalid or A Waste Of Time, but in the end, I think what /I/ think.

    I guess we just live in different worlds, different countries, neighbourhoods, decades, personal experience, and, this will be the point where we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    Posted by Mercurial Georgia | October 11, 2006, 8:50 pm
  46. Ignore the above repost, I pasted over my other reply by accident.

    Dear Heart

    I request that you please remove all my comments from your site, at least the one regarding sex and porn, I feel as if I’m being held up to be patronized to ‘other feminists’, the way an ‘Unwoman’ is held up to be patronized to ‘other women’. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the issues of porn and sex since it’s apparent that both of us feels strongly about it. I asked for the removal of the comments, because if I can’t refute what I feel is misrepresentation in the strip club thing where someone said ‘MG’s point is___’ and if I just can’t refute. It’s your sandbox, you set the rules, but I chose not to play.

    I’ll appreciate it if you’ll respect that.

    – MG

    Posted by Mercurial Georgia | October 11, 2006, 8:54 pm
  47. Hello Heart, my first time commenting here. 🙂 Have you seen this response at Just Shelley? I found it so absurd that I had to reply. I wish I had saved my comment, since I don’t know if it will be published. Damn.

    The idea that Amp “consistently” fought harder for women than women fought for themselves infuriated me.

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 11, 2006, 9:38 pm
  48. Mercurial Georgia, just to be clear, you want me to remove all your posts? It sounds like you think I’m moderating them– I’m not, although I’ve screwed up twice now and sent stuff to “spam” accidentally, then unspammed– I know it’s confusing. I will remove your posts but want to be sure you still want me to.

    Y Carrington, yes, I saw that. I hope your response gets approved!

    And welcome. I’ve been meaning to add you to the blogroll. 🙂


    Posted by womensspace | October 11, 2006, 10:09 pm
  49. It got published! And here it is:

    I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with the notion that Barry fights harder than most feminists.

    Yes, Barry has the “right” (by liberal capitalist standards) to do what he wants with his website, and sell it to whoever, and you’re right—in a contract-based society like ours, he doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do so. But to say that he has done more for women and feminism than his fiercest critics (some of whom, by the way, have been on-the-ground in the women’s struggle for three decades or more) is patently absurd. However much this man wrote about feminism and patriarchy on the Internet—which ain’t the same as fighting patriarchy in real life—he can never fight harder for women than women fight for themselves.

    “Fighting the battle for women online?” You can’t be serious.

    Y. Carrington — 4:29 pm October 11, 2006

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 11, 2006, 10:27 pm
  50. If you are moderating them, not for trolling, but for dissenting opinions as well, then please remove all my comments, because I don’t want my support for a site that does do that to be up there, nor do I want to be ‘held up’ without my own voice.

    If you are not moderating refutes, then fine.

    Either way, if you don’t want to debate pro/con of p___ and it is a rather volatile subject, I’ll just scroll over any posts that addresses the sex industry from now on and stick to reading the other stuff.

    – MG

    Posted by Mercurial Georgia | October 11, 2006, 11:11 pm
  51. Shelley has some bizzare analogies.

    Some interesting comments (seem to be mainly men):

    “Leaving aside the issue of whether it’s anti-feminist: if nothing else it’s tacky, no?”

    “basically, people feeling that their contributions to the social network have been exploited for reasons they hate.”

    “What’s annoying people is not that he “sold” but that he “sold out”.”

    So, it’s not just the feminists that see the situation for what it is. Interesting.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 11, 2006, 11:22 pm
  52. “Pimping” is sadly the right word.

    It’s a form of an electronic bait and switch scheme. Drawing in women for the women’s issues/content on the blog only to be redirecting them to a porn site…

    I’m not really sorry this happen, however, for my reasons why see below what I posted on Violet Socks blog. It’s a good wakeup call:

    NYMOM said:

    “Well I’m kind of glad that Amp lost his standing with feminists.

    The bottom line is that the most popular sites and leading speakers on womens’ issues should be OTHER WOMEN, not men…no matter their credentials.

    Just as other groups all have their leaders, stars, most popular people talking about their issue to come from their own group, so should women…

    I can’t believe that we have no women of sufficient talent to start up a blog with cartoons and other amusing figures to pick up where that one left off and continue drawing in the same number of hits or MORE…

    I just refuse to believe that we have to accept that porn is the price we have to pay in order to participate in an interesting conversation on a blog…or that we have no women bloggers of sufficient artistic talent to fill that niche left vacant…”

    So women should be planning how to start another site to fill that niche left vacant and to be re-directing commenters to that one…this little money-making scheme off your friends should be short lived when the comments dry up…

    Posted by NYMOM | October 12, 2006, 9:16 pm
  53. I agree NYMom, but for this:

    It looks to me like most feminists dont’ fun ads, but prefer to discretly ask for donations. If the rare one or two do have ads, they certainly don’t make money off tits–either advertorial or editorial tits, support prostitution, pimp out teenagers on their banners. Etc. I think feminists blog differently. Maybe what you suggest won’t happen. Fine with me.

    Posted by Pony | October 12, 2006, 11:25 pm
  54. RE: Amp-Gate

    […] I wasn’t sure where Barry stood on the anti-porn/sex-positive feminism front, but I’ve never gotten any sense of his being pro-porn in any way. (He’s since clarified.) I really couldn’t imagine him approving of this. What was going on? Had the site been hacked? Did he have an evil twin?

    I take it you weren’t on the Ms boards when Amp use to brag about having so much porn he had to file it? And when he wasn’t “filing” it, he was drawing it. He’s been a pro-porn advocate and a rape apologist for as far back as I remember.

    In fact, when the Village Voice boys showed up to defend a controversial picture they ran in an article on teen sex (a stick figure of a girl on all fours and a boy stick figure standing and sticking it to her from behind), Amp was right in there defending porn and the Village Voice boys. When these frat boys started to lose ground, Amp then violated Ms’s strict no porn pix policy and posted the picture, because “some people couldn’t link to it.” (Even tho no one had complained they couldn’t link to it). Bullshit. He did it for intimidation purposes because he was losing his argument. So not only is he pro-porn, but he tries to power over and intimidate women with it.

    Whatever the explanation, it was clear that I had a major scoop here. Ampersand is a big name in the feminist blogosphere….

    A big name to whom? I run around in feminist circles. Sometimes even in the big leagues. I don’t know too many people who know him or care that they don’t know him. I, myself, only know him from the Ms. boards.

    Hello? He’s a man. A porn-loving, rape apologizing, predatory white boy who feels entitled to be a self appointed spokesperson for feminism, define feminism for feminists and feels entitled to direct feminists as to what they should and should not do and how they should and should not act and what our issues should and should not be. Which would be the opposite of what feminism is about and be defeating of it, no?

    Now stop stroking the boy’s ego. He’s not a big name. He’s a joke. And jokes like him come a dime a dozen. Slick talking, manipulative con men who razzle dazzle women with sweet talk and lip service and telling them all the things they want to hear while they’re busy pimping and selling their own mothers up the river for a buck.

    Well that’s my nickel’s worth on Amp-gate. Hopefully his credibility is so shot that this will be the last anyone hears from him. All I can say is, good riddance to bad rubbish. But as sure as we’re sitting here, they’ll be another one that’ll come along to take his place. I’m pretty sure the patriarchs have a factory near Area 51 that produces a whole line of them. Just learn to unplug from the plug-uglies. They wither up and blow away without any gyn energy to feed off of.

    Posted by Luckynkl | October 13, 2006, 4:07 am
  55. NYMOM & Luckynkl,
    I agree with the sentiments. Don’t know why (at least some) feminists held him up so high (him being an XY an’ all). It should certainly be a woman-run site or sites that act as a central hub in the blog network.

    Yep, I’m sure that there will be more XYs that will set feminists up for betrayal, it’s happened in the past, it will happen again.

    The minimum standard for pro-fem men is that they cannot be pro-porn.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 13, 2006, 7:57 am
  56. I can’t believe that we have no women of sufficient talent to start up a blog with cartoons and other amusing figures to pick up where that one left off and continue drawing in the same number of hits or MORE…

    We do. The problem is that people like Barry work their male privilege to a) crowd out women and b) make a profit for themselves off women’s backs. Look for Alison Bechdel’s website. I’m sure she’s got links to other female cartoonists. Have you heard of them? No. And that’s not because Barry’s so fucking great. He’s not. He’s derivative, for one. It’s that he’s a man.

    or that we have no women bloggers of sufficient artistic talent to fill that niche left vacant….

    So women should be planning how to start another site to fill that niche left vacant and to be re-directing commenters to that one

    There is no niche left vacant. There are tons of feminst blogs out there run by great women. Barry got all the attention because he’s a guy. Because he worked his male privilege to make a profit off women’s backs. There’s no vacuum, there’s no vacancy, there’s just the sound of Barry’s profiting off of women coming to a well-deserved end filling up the airwaves at the moment.

    Posted by Char | October 13, 2006, 3:43 pm


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