November 14, 2003 02:00am
Sex and Tech in the Fleshbot
by: Kari L. Dean
The porn gods may be smiling on Fleshbot, the new blogging-for-bucks pornography venture of media entrepreneur Nick Denton.
Denton, founder of gossip blog Gawker and techno blog Gizmodo, launched Fleshbot.com this week just as sex tapes of socialite and budding reality-TV ingenue Paris Hilton hit the virtual world. Scandalous porn video landed smack in the middle of mainstream news, and Fleshbot had the story.
But beyond that stroke of luck, Fleshbot may have found a niche as a webzine for aficionados of both pornography and the technology that now drives much of it.
"I think that Fleshbot helps prove there are literate, intelligent, job-holding, well-educated people who don't live with their mothers, but are interested in porn," said Carly Milne, a Fleshbot scout who trolls the Web for fresh links for the site.
"Of course the site is meant to titillate, but they aren't all just interested in rubbing off and going to sleep," she added. "They are also interested in the photography and the technology of it all."
Updated several times daily, Fleshbot is structured like other weblogs, complete with an ongoing log of rants and commentary on the latest porn happenings, links to porn sites of preference, pics alongside each entry and a blogroll. On par with some of the more sophisticated blogs, however, it also has several sections of categorized content, including both straight and gay porn.
Of course, there's plenty of the usual porn fare on Jenna Jameson's dildo auction (she's losing the Googlefight to Paris Hilton, by the way), links to hard-core DVD reviews, ample photos and contests like Rate My Implants.
But it's the site's cheeky writing and uncluttered design that may set it apart from other porn sites, which about 32 million Americans -- or 24 percent of U.S. Internet users -- visited in September, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Equal in prominence to typical porn categories like Amateur and Hardcore on Fleshbot are technophile-targeted categories like Morph and CGI.
In the Morph section, for instance, editor/blogger Jonno d'Addario writes a blurb that epitomizes the topic (sex), angle (technology and pop culture), tone (sarcastic), content (pictures) and scope (international) of Fleshbot:
"(Blogger) JagEsquire at TransparentSmoke takes Maxim to task for -- gasp! -- allegedly altering a photograph of Hungarian starlet Kata Dobo in this month's issue. The way we see it, it could've been a lot worse."
The blurb links to a site containing altered images of female celebrities. What's been morphed, surprisingly, is not cup size. It's the noses of famous models and actresses.
Sex writer Susannah Breslin, who considers d'Addario's writing "smart, sexy and snarky," said Fleshbot reaches an audience that other porn e-zines have yet to capture: intelligent hipsters who like porn.
"I think Fleshbot is a good representation of where porn is going," Breslin said. "It's smart, and funny and hip, and I think it makes looking at smut cool instead of trashy."
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