Pledge Week, part 2 of 4

Back in 2000, when the corporation was created, I signed a contract with the corporation to start producing almost-daily content for this site. I was assured in writing that I would have creative control over every aspect of this site.

"Amy," they said, "look. We have to have access to your site, in case anything goes wrong and you're not available. But if you'll check section 15(c) of the contract, you'll see that we plan on remaining behind-the-scenes at all times."

15 (c) All parties to this agreement agree that the only person providing content on (and any subsites or partner sites to be created in the future) shall be Amy [my surname]. At no time will any other person employed by the corporation use the publishing system on, make available written or pictorial content on, or make any kind of announcements on unless given prior permission by Amy [my surname].

All right, Ms. Uppington-Smythe, you of the lovely bleach-scented hair, let's talk about the phrase "breach of contract." (While I'm at it, did you ever really expect any of us to believe that you were born with hair the color of Kraft caramels? You work as hard on the color of your hair as you do on the size of your ass. I've seen less-chemically-preserved Twinkies.)

So, my readers, I feel like I owe you an apology for the mess that you saw on this site yesterday. I thought I had both legal and personal reasons to believe that the integrity of my site would remain inviolate, no matter how bad my relationship with Corporate may have become over the past month. I am horrifically sorry that Chelsea took matters into her own hands and decided to expose you to the nasty realities of negotiating a website contract in the post-dot-bomb world.

Since some of you emailed and asked, here are some of the site-related products they've asked me to "consider" --

  • the Domesticam: all live, all Amy, 24-7.
    Let's get realistic, folks; have any of you actually looked at me lately? Do you really want to see me all the time? Jenni, I ain't. Besides, I'm not very interesting when I sleep. (Some of you would contend that I'm not very interesting when I'm awake, either, but that's another story for another time.)
  • Hand-E-Tote
    It's not a purse, but not yet a tote bag—and it doesn't have Miss Britney on it either, drat the lack of luck. Just some dumb-ass logo. I mean, I've got how many skins for this site? I've done print design professionally. All they had to do was ask me to take one of the skins and turn it into a logo, and I would've done it, but noooooo, they had to go out and hire some $400-an-hour SoCal hotshot graphic designer to make up some new graphic. To be honest, it looks like ass. I wouldn't even use the thing. It looks like a diaper bag!
  • Banner ads
    They want me to start rotating banner ads throughout my site! You know what's worse? I hear that the guys in Corporate for are first in line for negotiations! They want to "utilize my existing readerbase" to build "Wondergeek Brand Loyalty." I thought those guys were my friends. Remind me to tell them that they all suck…
  • 'Ad-Free Skin'
    For a measly twenty dollars a month, supposedly my readers can have access to a special skin that allows them to bypass all but text ads. I have it on good authority, though, that they plan to do a greymatter 'upgrade' that automatically converts choice words into text links to other sites. Oh, and they want me to design this. As far as I'm concerned, they can get the SoCal hotshot to do this too.
  • A special hardcover edition of The Zen Domesticat's Guide to Garden Poetry
    As Chelsea ever-so-kindly explained to me, I know just enough about poetry to be dangerous (if someone hands me a shovel and a rake). Apparently they want to capitalize on my 'talents' and publish a combined volume. Undoubtedly it'll have some kind of bold-print tripe on the cover, like "With 24 Pages Of Never-Before-Seen Photos!" You know the drill: extra color pictures of me desperately trying to dig the rocks out of my garden while the cats mewl piteously inside the house. Or something tedious and dull like that.
  • Speaking of cats: Edmund Sings The Blues.
    Noah, I'm gonna get you for that. You know Corporate watches this site 24-7. Do you realize that within two hours of your suggesting that, my cat got a bloody recording contract? That bratty little diva is already starting to make demands: he wants a bigger litterbox, fresh fish every day, and a weight trainer to help take care of his pudge before they shoot the cover for his CD. I consider this all your fault. (Edmund, however, thinks you're wonderful.) I'm sure you'll get a thank-you note from Corporate for your idea.

All this makes me feel so…dirty. So…corporate. Like I sold out. I wanted to write, and they offered the resources to make this possible, and now suddenly I'm being made into the bad guy because my readership is low. Now I find out they're having this stupid little Pledge Week, and I'm expected to play along like I approved of the entire thing in advance.

Well, I didn't.

I'm thinking they've spent a little too much time over in the Corporate office, sucking down double cappu-mocha-cinos and Chinese takeout while listening to NPR. The only thing I can figure is that this overdose of PBS and NPR made them decide that disrupting my writing schedule for a few days would actually increase readership.

To do that in the middle of contract renegotiations is a cheap, cheap shot.

What can I do? What are my legal rights? What should I do? I don't know. Got any ideas, lovely readers?

Keep those cards and letters coming.



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You -have- gone corporate. And in response, I've sold my likeness to B & C Eagle so they can use it on their 5000-count packs of brad nails. ROYALTIES ARE MINE!

Hey, you're lucky they didn't sue your parents for trademark infringement. I shudder to think what the penalties for that might've been. They could've forced them to rename you "Janet" to avoid legal problems... But hey, if you're getting money, you can bloody well buy ME a beer the next time we get together.

See, this is why I chose to create a non-profit organization, rather than a corporation. (Secret Internet Tip: You can tell I'm an organization because of the .org on the end of my URL.) Some of the other members of the board come up to me and ask me to make changes to the site, and I tell them to blow it out their ass. One of the reasons why I insisted on unanimous voting for all voting procedures. One person objects (usually me), and they can't get away with whatever nefarious scheme they're trying to inflict on me. They tried to make me put in pop-unders last week! Can you believe it?

Amy, I do believe that we agreed that this dispute would not see the light of day on your website. A verbal agreement is still a contract with myself and my company. I must insist that you contact me immediently about this situation. Thank you.

Give em hell Amy. Those facists will not take our beloved Domesticat's website. Fight the oppressors!!!!

Have you even considered the offer from AOL to take your content proprietary under keyword: domesticat? It's extremely lucrative, and the branding procedure doesn't hurt much, just ask Ted Turner to show you the scar....

I think it would only be cool if the branding could be AOL's logo. Instead of saying that you got screwed by AOL, you could say, "I got branded by AOL!"

Heh. I'm going to have to invite you to the next meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Jones School of Management now, just to help me fight this kind of crap. You know, the Board reads, too, and they're going to get ideas for this. -sigh-

Ha. The Board on my website keeps insisting on such things, but I always respond with, "Weasels drank deeply of the bitstream and devoured the tasty cream cheese with very small crackers." The discussion tends to veer away from the previous topic after this statement. Perhaps you should try it. We've been trying to get banner ads for _quality_ lesbian goat pr0n, but there are so few quality sites...

Bwahahahaha. I am laughing because corporate can BMA, and that Andy mispelled his own domain name.

That's what he gets for having such a convoluted domain name.

I've edited Andy's URL so it points to the right place. He is, after all, the king of obfuscation...

I kind of like the phrase "ad-free skin." When I first read the title of that, er, product I thought that would request payments to not have name-brand tatoos perminantly etched into their body. Now I know what I'll do if I ever become a CEO. "Mr. Anderson, it says quite clearly in your contract that you must sacrifice a stipend of your salary if you do not allow us adspace on your person."

Heh, this is getting a scary sports parallel ... the temporary tattoos that some boxers are getting for every fight ... agggh.