Weaponizing Blogs

Having just sent my shekels to the Z Man, I got to thinking about monetizing blogs.  Which got me thinking about weaponizing blogs.

First, let’s discuss the money (undoubtedly the Clinton Foundation’s unofficial motto).  I’ve always wondered why blogs don’t get into the merchandising business.  I know, I know, liberals only like to spend other people’s money, but still, you’d think a site like Daily Kos could make a killing on merch.  What better way to virtue-signal that you’re one of The Smart Ones than by wearing a Kos t-shirt around?  So long as you put in some bullshit about how the shirts are made by the Hopi Indians of Kazakhstan using only locally-sourced, free-trade, shade-grown polyester, you could clean up.  I clicked on one of the many, many, many “design your own t-shirt” sites out there, and got a basic one-off for about $30.  Which is a lot, but I bet a bulk order from a real screen-printing house could cut that at least in half.  Your only problem then is storage, but since the folks involved pretty much by definition live in basements…

From there, the branding ideas kinda write themselves.  Speaking of writing themselves, most of Kos is (or was; for obvious reasons I don’t visit much) “diaries” written by members of their “community.”  Sticking with the t-shirt thing, if I were Kos, I’d give out a free t-shirt to diarists in the “silver circle” (wrote 50 diaries), “gold circle” (100 diaries, or got 100 links, or whatever), etc.  I know, I know, the thing about only giving away other people’s money still applies, but so skilled a self-promoter as Kos could be brought to see the need to spend a little money to make more money.  Or, hell, make it a bumper sticker — god knows the Left love them some bumper stickers, and those are way cheaper.  Big picture, his net outlay is close to zero (or actually zero, if it can be written off as a business expense), so the marginal rate of return is very high — if one t-shirt (bumper sticker, whatever) gets even five sets of eyeballs to the site….

The odd conservatism of the Internet might be in play here.  I do seem to vaguely recall websites trying to aggressively brand themselves with merchandise back in the late 90s, and failing miserably.  But most of those branding attempts seemed to be product sites, not blogs — Pets.com, not Salon.com, or slathering Danica Patrick in GoDaddy.com stuff — and the infrastructure wasn’t there yet.  Nowadays you can get custom anything off the Internet for a reasonable price — see e.g. Snapfish, with which parents plaster their kids’ faces on scrapbooks, coffee mugs, pretty much everything.  But Internet People seem to assume that if an idea was tried once and failed, it could never possibly work….

But whatever, the point is, selling blog merch seems like an obvious idea that nobody’s doing.  Admittedly I’m the furthest thing from an Internet Person (who still somehow has a blog), but the only site I’ve seen that even kinda sorta tries it is Vox Day’s, and even there only as an adjunct to all his other hustles.  Just for fun I checked Salon.com, a site that’s both desperate for revenue, and whose readership consists of nothing but Wall-adjacent Millennial cat ladies who confuse “reading some bint going on about her herpes infection for 1,000 words” with “political activism.”  You’d think they could sell t-shirts if anyone could.  And yet, their “marketplace” is entirely parasitic off Amazon.

Take a page from the shoe companies’ playbook.  For them, the brand doesn’t sell the product; the brand IS the product.

Which brings us to the second point: Weaponization.  One of Our Thing’s biggest problems, I think we all agree, is that we have no idea who “we” actually are.  We all naturally assume that any “official” gathering — in the increasingly unlikely event it’s permitted at all — would be instantly infiltrated, so that the ever-tolerant apostles of peace love and understanding could have us all fired from our jobs.  An “unofficial” gathering faces the same problem, since it can’t be organized without social media and social media is the natural habitat of the Junior Volunteer Thought Police (JVTP).*  So we all wonder if maybe “we” aren’t just the same five or ten or fifty lunatics, using several different handles, jerking each other off on the same handful of “dissident” sites.

Which is exactly where They want us, brothers!!

The solution would be some kind of recognizable signal.  I suggested the white Hugo Boss cap (and I still wear mine whenever I go out!), but as this is a tiny group blog with 14 readers, it can’t work.  Branded logo gear could, though.  Just wear your “Z Blog” t-shirt out in public and see what happens.  It’s got a big “Z” on the front and the web address on the back, and… that’s it.  Every day you reach 100 eyeballs, and if even five of them check, and if even one of those can be brought over to the White Side of the Force, that’s a massive win.  And even if nobody clicks, there’s always a decent chance of spotting a fellow thoughtcriminal in a crowd… throw in a countersign of some kind, and boom!  Instant battle buddy.

Combine the two, and you’ve got a revenue stream for the bigger blogs.  Of course, that opens up the possibility of the standard Leftist deplatforming tactics, so alas, a direct “Z Blog Store” is probably out.  BUT: Since all those t-shirt printing places are out there, both online and in real life, why not simply ask readers to make their own?  Hell, you don’t even have to get it printed.  Go buy a five-pack of plain white tees from Wal-Mart, get a sharpie, make a big “Z” on the front, and write “thezman.com” on the back.  So long as that’s not the only stuff you buy on that shopping trip, there’s no way the algorithms could get you.

Which, alas, means that the Z Blog can’t monetize directly by selling merch, but that’s the beauty of advertising.  The Z Man already asks for donations.  Anyone sufficiently motivated to buy, or make, their own Z Blog t-shirt will surely be motivated enough to fork over some dough, and since you can send cash money to a PO Box, it’s Fed-and-JVTP-free. Best of all, since it’s just a t-shirt, there’s plenty of plausible deniability.  “Oh, what, this thing?  They were throwing these into the crowd at a minor league hockey game.  I have no idea what it means; I just wear it to work out in.”  Build the brand, and they will come.

Thoughts?

 

 

*A nice bit of counter-branding would be to rig up a cute little .gif of a nerdy little boy dressed up like an FBI agent, with the caption “Junior Volunteer Thought Police.”  Any time any Liberal starts going off in your social media account, just paste it as your reply and watch ’em squirm.  Like the NPC thing, but more aggressive.
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4 thoughts on “Weaponizing Blogs

  1. Frip

    Great post as always, and FAS. (funny as shite).

    ” I suggested the white Hugo Boss cap (and I still wear mine whenever I go out!).” Too bad you only go out once every 3 months. Kidding. That’s cool that you wear it. I just assume everyone here has forgotten about it or was too cheap to buy one in the first place. $30+. But worth it. I’ve over 70 caps, and I’ve never felt such a quality cap as the Hugo Boss. It’s actually “heavy”. I wear mine frequently.

    The custom Z man t-shirt is a great idea. I’d do it. In fact I WILL do it. There’s nothing so pathetic to a cause as hearing good ideas and not acting on them. I’m not so worried about strangers seeing me in the Z t-shirt. Rather, it’s the people close to me and relatives, who would surely Google who Zman is, and freak their shit that I was into this stuff. But, it’s becoming slowly known to them anyway, that I’m what they’d think of as “far right”, or even “white (fill in the evil blank)”. So I don’t have much to lose that way really.

    The other reason why your Zman idea works particularly well, is that if you want to remain in polite society, Z’s not outrageously provocative. It’s not like he’s throwing around the full N-word or doing the all-women-are-whores thing, like a lot of popular blogger/podcasts on the D-Right. And he remains “civilized” on the JQ/cat fancier issue.

    Also his popularity or readership is not so small that it wouldn’t matter if you wore his t-shirt . Yet not so large (yet) that you’d get kicked out of restaurants for wearing it. It’s just about right. Z’s underground enough to give a t-shirt that cool mystery vibe. And his name is perfectly enticing. I could see walking by a bunch of Progs in the college town nexdoor and them thinking, “Zman? Sounds kinda Rightwing badass. Who THE FUCK is Zman?!” Then rushing to their dorms to Google the shit out of it.

    Vox Day has the cool name for a t-shirt too. Then people find out what the dweeb actaully looks like and you become a dork by association.

    Along your Patriots/Boss idea of appropriating a known symbol. Something I think would work quite well would be a Motorhead t-shirt. That is, a certain rare-but-easily-purchased Motorhead t-shirt. See link below.

    I’m talking about if our movement as a massive whole, takes up a wearable symbol. Not just a few guys wearing it.

    For those who don’t know, the Motorhead logo is a pig with horns. It was a fairly popular punk/hard rock/metal band in late 70’s early 80’s. (And beyond)

    It has advantages over the Patriots/Boss symbols, because while Motorhead is popular, their symbol isn’t so problematically common as the Patriots. And not so esoteric as Boss.

    The Motorhead symbol is appropriately scary for something calling itself Dissident Right. It fits. It’ll seem totally right a young angry D-right kid 10 years from now.

    Further, the band leader, Lemmy, was a cat fancier historian and collector. Not great in literal terms. But it sends a certain low frequency signal to be picked up on by fellow travellers and prospects. N**i chic was the term back in the day.

    This particular logo on the t-shirt below is not the standard Motorhead logo. (Probably designed by Lemmy himself on the downlow.) The pig is wearing a cap. There is a dagger. Etc… Scroll over the image to enlarge.

    Since Motorhead IS quite popular, again, it would have to be THIS t-shirt. For future reference, call it the “warpig dagger Motorhead t-shirt”. At first glance, a common Motorhead t-shirt (nothing to get kicked out of Starbucks for)…but different, for those of us in the know.

    Obviously a heavy metal t-shirt is not something Grandpa Dis can be expected to wear to the park. This would be something for the future. For younger guys. And besides, this is all absurd to begin with. Here I am an adult man writing 8 earnest paragraphs of something me and the boys would’ve laughed about getting high in middle school.

    Oh well, as Lemmy sings, “You know I’m born to lose. And gambling’s for fools. But that’s the way I like it baby I don’t wanna live forever!

    https://smile.amazon.com/Mot%C3%B6rhead-Warpig-dagger-Shirt-T-Shirt/dp/B07QH4GW8G/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=MOTORHEAD+T+SHIRT+DAGGER&qid=1560989322&s=gateway&sr=8-2

  2. Maus

    I hate to rain on the custom t-shirt parade, but “zman” is Hebrew for time. Those who know will either assume it’s a pedestrian website filled with banalities or that it is hosted by a (((Special Person))). In either case, they’d be unlikely to check it in their browser. While Z’s blog is remarkably low-key on the JQ for a thought leader of Our Thing, I am mildly amused that his nom de plume is a Hebrew word for the concept of time/period/season, which is so often the framework for his commentary. Many of us seem to have a very well developed historical sensibility.
    On the subject of identifying symbols, articles of clothing are too easily compromised by the enemy. Somewhat better would be a frequently changed call and response code, e.g. Agent 1: “The white bean soup is excellent today.” Agent 2 replies: “Does it warm the soul?” Best is simply to judge a man by his deeds, rather than by what he says (or wears).

    1. Severian Post author

      I didn’t know that. I don’t think it matters much, though, as anyone who knows it — and, crucially, is put off by it — is, sigh, no doubt already on “our” side. (I know, I know, pas d’ennemis a gauche, but holy guacamole do I get tired of the (((Special Person))) stuff).

      Given that, I still can’t think of better, cheaper way to spread the word. “The word” being both

      1) dissident ideas; and, perhaps more crucially
      2) strength in numbers.

      Everywhere you go, the poz is the default, because we all know that while parroting the poz carries no social penalty, saying anything based to the wrong person will get you fired. That’s 90% of the reason why the poz wins — forget active resistance, there’s not even passive resistance. But what if you walked into, say, a coffee joint and saw a table full of guys wearing their Z Man (or whatever) t-shirts? Might one not be emboldened to say to the barista, “no thank you, I don’t care to donate to whatever goofy SJW cause you’re promoting today? Just give me the damn coffee minus the sermon, please”?

      Or maybe not. Maybe we ARE just the same fifty lunatics, jerking each other off on the same five or six websites. But the first step in mounting any effective resistance is determining the true balance of forces.

      (Obviously using the Z Man is just a hypothetical, because he’s the guy who has just started monetizing his thing, and thus the one I happen to see. If his moniker bugs you, imagine Steve Sailer shirts or what have you. So long as it’s someone who presents an actual argument, and doesn’t seem likely to snap and start frothing at the mouth about fluoride’s danger to our precious bodily fluids, it’s good).

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