If you go back and take a look at my first blog post you’ll see that writing about my work is a relatively new thing for me. I have been known to say “If I could write words to express what I want to express, I wouldn’t have to make films!”
And in someways that would so much easier. A writer needs but a pen and paper and her imagination. She can choose to use whatever words she likes; there are none more costly than others. Even on my tiny little films, I depend on a couple dozen other people to put their art and craft and sweat in the service of my vision. The equipment and supplies needed to make movies is expensive. The people who know how to make or use these things have bills to pay, so they need to be paid.
But the result of all this effort and expense is that my expression is (to some degree) liberated from the limits of language. I can explore and express ideas that we simply don’t have the right language to enjoy in words alone. This is especially true when it comes to sex. Indeed, even after 10 years of making these films, I continue to struggle to find words for what makes these films what they are, and I’m not alone. If you read what other people write about our work, it is often described in terms of what it is not.
Describing what these films are is more slippery. Selecting the words for sex, which is at the very heart of these films are, presents an array of disheartening choices. Shall we go medical/educational; penis, vulva, coitus? How about defiantly earthy; cunt, cock, fuck? Are these films frank or hardcore? Adult? Erotica? Porn? Or maybe a little bit of all of them, and perhaps something more as well, something that doesn’t yield words alone. Something that must be seen. Something that must be felt.
Google is a language-based business. It can’t listen to music, it can’t look at pictures, and it certainly can’t watch our previews. The googlebot comes to a site and registers words like “penis” and “vulva” and “coitus” or “cunt” and “cock” and “fuck”, and applies its algorithmic logic as it sees fit. It’s ability to understand what we do it limited by the shortcoming of the language we have to talk about sex. To the googlebot, sex is a biological function, or it’s adolescent prurience. There are no other words, so there are no other ideas, no other taxonomy, no other categories.
At least not in Google’s universe of words – which is why I choose to make films.
Some responses to people who commented on yesterday’s post:
M&K, I don’t think it’s censorship. The “adult internet” is rife with people who really have nothing to offer the world save their efforts to juke search results. It’s a different kind of spamgame, but in the end it’s volume driven, with few penalities for a low signal to noise ratio.
I think what happened a combination of Google trying to find a way to create a penalty, but without giving much thought to the way it’s approach might penalize people searching for sex information or products, or how it might harm people offering sex information or products. And why would they? What we do is very much a marginal activity, and there’s no real gain for Google to care about TinyNibbles.com or ComstockFilms.com. Frankly I’m shocked that Google has taken any interest at all.
AAG, Certainly an atrocious result. I think the motives are more a result of the confused status of sex in our culture than on anything specifically unwholesome at Google.
Matt Cutts, I’m glad we have our name back. I hope that our high ranking on relevent searchs returns as well. Among our top 50 referrers (Google used to be first or second every week) our organic Google visitors had the very highest page count per visitor. From that I’d infer that the way we were ranked last month was delivering quality search results to the people who came to our site via a google search.
Trip Hazzard, I’m glad we have our name back. Time will tell about the rest.
Inquistor, Thanks for checking up. There were a couple other similar sites that I didn’t name. Google seems to have re-connected some of them with their name-searches as well. I couldn’t say how their other search traffic has been effected. But there are others that are still out in the cold.
Halfdeck, This entire line of work is a crusdade. Thank you for your concern. Perhaps you’d like to chime in here.
Jason, Your comment might be interesting if it was informed by 1) facts. 2) an adult’s understanding of how the world works.