Sex Wars: Attack of the Clone Zone

April 21, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the bunker we find ourselves on the bring of yet another Pink Pound war.

Following on from our recent article “Gay Dating Wars” we have stumbled upon an emerging row between two of the UK’s largest gay retailers.

The use of the word “Exclusive!” in the title of the story the Pink Paper (owned by the dark lord Prowler group) suggests they are relying on sources that may stem from gossip, rumour and pure speculation. The emphasis on this particular story is interesting as there is a clear motive behind it’s publication, and Clone Zone have quite fairly bashed back.

Decent Journalists and those who know some of the basics of media headline creation will see red when they read phrase “an anonymous member of the public” – tried and tested classic way of deceiving people into thinking the facts have been investigated and the anonymity is because what they are saying is true but want to protect their identity. Even so, it’s also a media excuse for making things up.

As it happens, the Pink Paper’s publishers Millivres Prowler Group are among the list of those owed significant amount of money which the Pink Paper estimate totals at least of £500,000 (according to an unnamed “insider”). Although most people in the same position as Millivres Prowler Group are right to be annoyed at not being paid but don’t be fooled into thinking this is news. The Pink Paper’s report on Clone Zone is nothing but a cleverly constructed case of commercial smear.

On the recently revamped Pink Paper website they recently introduced a commenting feature. Since it was launched it is rarely used, either few people are commenting on their articles or they are choosing to exercise some level of editorial control over public feedback so it is again surprising to see a flood of vicious comments making a range of plain nasty statements about the individuals involved.

The most obvious example of “self-trolling” in order to support the article is this one:

“use your pink pound elsewhere now – shop at prowler and any other decent trading company”

The weekly readers poll in the same issue, also run via the Pink Paper’s website apparently posted by “anonymous”  the day before the paper’s regular weekly publication date asks:

“Should directors whose firms go bust be allowed to run a business again?” – “If your bosses made your company go bust and made you redundant in the process, should they be allowed to side-step into another directorial role?”

You’d expect a “registered newspaper” to have more than 16 people voting in a poll nearly a week after it was created. This could be due to the fact that the relatively poor volume of traffic the site receives compared to it’s biggest rivals which are relatively small operations, many of them non-profit or social-enterprises run by one or two people from home.


In an unepected twist, those who have a clear interest in this particular fight have stepped into the ring and stood up for Clone Zone and have pledged to publish an official statement from the former directors. Manchester based charity the Lesbian and Gay Foundation who also publish a monthly regional gay health and lifestyle magazine “OutNorthWest” have today placed an article on their website under the headline “Clone Zone Bosses Upset at Pink Paper Headline“.

It should be noted that the LGF provide content to the Pink Paper but also rely on significant advertising revenue from Clone Zone. The LGF seem to be attempting to juggle a conflict of neutrality and may be attempting to balance the fuss or perhaps they are making a moral objection to Millivres Prowler’s bully-boy reporting around the situation of a business that has it’s roots in the same community they do.

Previous issues of OutNorthWest have seen several advert placements plugging the adult retailer over the years, the magazine’s editor claims they rely entirely on advertising revenue in order to produce the publication which has a readership of over 60,000. This month (February 2009) contains no advertising for Clone Zone. Although one advert for their more profitable arm “H20 Sauna” remains.

Gossip is an essential part of any community, it allows us to communicate and allows us to inquire about the status of our peers with our peers. The LGF may be quite right in giving so much space on it’s website to a story which airs the dirty laundry of two major players in the country’s gay business community despite this having implications on their own future.

Perhaps the LGF may now consider extending that same opportunity to the wider community, instead of giving so much airspace to rich sponsors even if they vanish tomorrow.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
– Mohandas Gandhi

GayMafiaWatch asks…

To the Editor of the Pink Paper:
Are you so naive to think the public won’t see right through this story you’ve obviously generated to serve the direct financial interests of your parent company? What do you say to Clone Zone’s response that your article about that is unfair and upsetting?

To the Directors of Clone Zone:
What do you think about your alleged creditors using one of their national gay publications as a way of attacking you? and will you continue to stock the (free) weekly Pink Paper as a result? do you feel the change in the formulation of poppers and their resulting unpopularity due to new legislation have contributed to Clone Zone’s problems?

To the Lesbian and Gay Foundation:
Will the new owners of Clone Zone honor existing advertising deals made with yourselves? they appear to have removed all their adverts in your latest issue of OutNorthWest so what impact will this have on the magazine’s future? oh and one last question, who’s your daddy?

You! – tell us what you think, post your comments below:

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Gay Dating Wars

July 8, 2008

Its clear the gay media are now part of some type of gay “mafia round table” primarily concerned with promoting the commercial interests of their friends and investors at the expense of the LGBT community.

Monopolisation of the “Gay Dating Sector” provides a constant flow on revenue for a growing number of the alleged “Gay Mafia” – and the majority of them have proven some type of connection to either gay sex chat-lines, gay dating websites and the gay press. There is no love lost between a number of the big gay websites that are not only competing for membership and subscriptions but also as a virtual advertising space that they use to promote the commercial interests of their friends.

Aggressive and stealth marketing techniques are being used by certain gay empire builders in a sleazy new media war against their competitors, using their ownership and influence over the gay press as a weapon to fight off any emerging threats. We have already reported on how the purchase of the “Puffta” gay teen website has been used by owners of gay tabloid “The Pink Paper” by “Millivres Prowler Group” to recruit new customers for it’s paid-for publications and it’s adult mail order trading arm, and how both Prowler and Gaydar had dubiously provided sponsorship under various brand names to a number of events and groups in exchange for influence, advertising space and as an attempt to make their customers believe they are supporting the interests of the community.

Last year our article exposing the truth about Puffta receive several careless, childish comments here on our wordpress blog attempting to defend their actions of the company – after which a simple check of the I.P address told us that it was posted from the offices of “QSoft Consulting” – the owners of Gaydar.

Millivres Prowler Group also carried out some rather in-depth research last year with “Out Now Consulting”, these comments appeared in an marketing news blog:

“This new UK gay market research report is a real groundbreaker,” said Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now. “Many organisations, companies and brands, want to better understand the complexities of the UK gay and lesbian consumer market. Now the market data behind the UK gay market is going to become accessible in a way never possible before.” “This study will reach gay consumers through print and online. It will reach lesbian and gay youth and it will reach gay men and lesbians through their most important gay and lesbian media products,”

“We are delighted to announce this new research,” said Kim Watson, Deputy Managing Director of MPG. “Many people espouse views on the lives of lesbians and gay men, often without knowing the facts. Now, as a result of this new research, we will know more than ever before about the very many gays and lesbians in the UK whom our media products reach.”

GayMafiaWatch believes this current assault against ladslads.com is one such new technique dreamt up to cash in on the community. The above is clear proof of smarter, sneakier, move covert ways of harvesting the pink pound being explored and deployed – and the identity of those who are employing them.

More recently a “campaign” was launched on “Facebook” and promoted via the FitLads dating site after articles began to appear in “The Pink Paper” (which recently re-launched it’s own online presence) attempting to mount a campaign against “ladslads.com” with a rather dubious and blown-out-of-proportion story about a young man who had been told he would have to pay to have his ladslads.com profile removed which had been defaced.

Searching for this individual’s name on Google came up with a post apparently from someone of the same name claiming that his MSN messenger account had been hacked into. Even if this rather vague and contradictory story proves to be true and the actions of ladslads.com are right to be called into question – BUT clearly the bigger issue here is why all of a sudden has there been such a massive fuss focusing on this particular incident, and who would be benefiting from promoting it and smearing the company name through whatever means they have?

It could well be that “ladslads.com” has become too much of a threat to a threat to “them” and their friends, hence why the “The Pink Paper” has been so keen to pursuing this story whilst dismissing and ignoring other, more serious and relevant gay issues.

Fellow gays, please inform your peers of this possible stitch-up, and use this knowledge to protect your dignity and your own reputation. Don’t just sign up and lend your name to any old cause or campaign, especially when it is one promoted by the media itself that has the indisputable and dubious intention of protecting it’s own vested interests by getting it’s hands on your pink purse.