Thursday, October 11, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Anh of Mai Style Pages blog, Walnut St

These pictures of Anh mark a minor Urban Fieldnotes milestone: the first time someone I stopped on the streets already knew my blog before I took their picture. Anh, of course, is a blogger herself, a fact I guessed when I saw her walking Walnut St with that bright orange belt and a Nikon DSLR in hand. But you never know these days. DSLRs are now fashion accessories. Imagine showing up at a trunk show or runway event without one!

We talked about the Philly blog scene. She's new to it, as she is to Philadelphia, and started her blog, Mai Style Pages, as a way to get to know the city. By day she's a nurse.

We talked about cameras and lenses. She's still learning photography (aren't we all), but complemented me on how much better my photos have gotten now that I've switched to a full-frame DSLR and 85mm lens. I thanked her for the complement, even though I suspect the camera has more to do with my improvement than I do. 

Finally, we talked sponsorship. She wanted to know the details of the whole American Apparel thing. How did that come about? How does it work? I gave her the rundown, and in truth there isn't much to tell. They contacted me a month or so ago, presumably because they wanted to infiltrate the Philly market, and I agreed to let them advertise on my site, so long as I would be able to expose the gory details of the experience on my blog. For the record, if you're interested in how it's affected my numbers, it hasn't. If you're interested in whether it's brought in significant income, it hasn't. After three weeks of American Apparel sponsorship, you know how many click-through purchases my site has facilitated? Exactly one. That ain't gonna send my kid to college. But perhaps it will eventually contribute to the Urban Fieldnotes research travel fund. The next NY Fashion Week, after all, is only four months away. 

You may remember that one of the reasons I accepted the AA sponsorship is that I wanted to know how bloggers and blog readers would react to it. So here's the rundown so far: they haven't. Or rather, not in any significant way. I've had a couple of bloggers, Anh included, commend me for attracting sponsorship so early on. I've also had a couple of anthropologists and fashion scholars egg me on, hoping my "partnership" with AA will produce a juicy exposé of the seedy secret world of corporate blog sponsorships. So far, not so much. The deal has been pretty un-exploitative. They pay me when someone clicks through the ad and buys something from their site. A win win. No one — whether reader, blogger, or scholar — has so far expressed any reservations whatsoever about my having a sponsor on this site (though one colleague did, unsurprisingly, express their reservations about who that sponsor was). 

My preliminary conclusion on this whole blog sponsorship thing: it doesn't really matter. People barely notice if you advertise. And bloggers themselves — except perhaps the biggest name ones, able to demand top dollar for the privilege — make little money off of sponsorship deals. However, I've noticed, there does seem to be a small modicum of prestige that comes with attracting sponsors. It is a kind of stamp of approval from established brands. After all, if American Apparel thinks their brand benefits from the association with my blog, shouldn't you? Don't you just feel the coolness oozing on to you from reading it?

But I'll tell you what is exploitative: those damn fake comments posted by "anonymous" blog spammers that add on links to whatever service they provide, payday loans, leather cleaning products, or whatever. They seem to have latched on to one particular post, "The Nylon Style Recycled — Kevin, Walnut St," from way the hell back in May. Screw you, fake comment ad people, whoever you are. I'm tired of your generic praise, like this comment I got seconds ago from a payday loan company: "Great web sіtе you havе gоt here. t's difficult to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!" I have chosen, for obvious reasons, not to include the link. By the way, fake comment people, your comments are automatically marked as junk and deleted by Blogger. Hurray for spam filters!


  1. I actually saw you yesterday talking to Anh when I was on my lunch break (I work at American Apparel). I'm new to your blog since you recently took pictures of my coworker Robbie.

    Anyways, great work and your photos are beautiful!


  2. Thanks, Zoe. That's lovely to hear. Perhaps I shall catch you on one of your lunch breaks from American Apparel one of these days!

  3. LOVE what she is wearing. It would be interesting to know where your subjects shop.
    That's pretty awesome she already knew about your blog! Funny feeling isn't it?
    I see she had a nice looking camera as well.
    I haven't even had any time to check on the stats with my partnership with American Apparel. I should probably get on that...

    1. Hey Chancee! I read you blog too. If you are interested in where I shop you can check out my blog! P.S The photos you just posted are amazing. Wish I had your photography and editing skills!

  4. The saga continues. Enjoying hearing your experience with it. I wonder how much Scott Schumann's am app ad brought in when he had it...

    I haaaate those spammer comments. And the ones from other bloggers who are just trying together their link up on as many blogs as possible. Both make actual comments all the more refreshing to read.


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