The Kent Ridge Common, 26 Jul 2009, Kelvin Teo
STOMPing the path of the old Sammyboy forums
SINGAPORE – Sex sells. That is the reality. Sexual themes tend to be crowd pullers; a sex site or porn magazine will be able to draw in more audiences than a financial news daily for instance. No prizes for guessing which publication between Playboy magazine and Financial Times have a greater number of readers.
Some of the readers may be familiar with Sammyboy forums. At least, the reporters or journalists from The Straits Times and The New Paper should be, having quoted from Sammyboy forummers on certain occasions. The Sammyboy forum had erotic beginnings as a sex forum initially. At a certain point of time, forummers began to discuss and exchange views on non-sexual related topics ranging from sociopolitical issues to hobbies. Thus, the forum host set up the Sammyboy Alfresco Coffeeshop/Kopitiam to meet this end.
Stomp is attempting to emulate Sammyboy in this respect. It came up with a StarBlog section that comprises celebrities and mini-celebrities such as Maia Lee, Jamie Yeo and Dawn Yang. From the very outset, this Starblog section was meant to be a crowd puller. But there is more. Sometime back, each celebrity shared their sexual experiences or opinion of sex, something that was a usual feature in Sammyboy sex forums (Not Sammyboy Alfresco Coffeeshop). One of the eye-catchers was Jamie’s account of her first sexual experience and her first act of masturbation at 6. Whether it is considered positive or negative will depend on which perspective you are coming from.
When Stomp was first set up, there were some who initially feared that the former will establish a hegemony over popular sites that Singaporeans tend to visit. Others charged that Stomp was set up to divert traffic from popular sites with little or no censorship that Singaporeans tend to visit and this was the establishment’s way of ‘managing the Internet’ because Stomp is after all a Straits Times venture, and the Straits Times is notoriously known to some as the establishment’s mouthpiece.
Whatever the reasons behind Stomp’s establishment, the question is whether they will be able to emulate Sammyboy by making use of the proven “sex sells” mantra. It depends on the raison d’etre of Stomp and other extenuating circumstances. Stomp may be relatively successful in attracting certain sections of the crowd – those whom are into gossip chatter, tabloid materials, FHM or/and Maxim magazines and anything related to sex appeal. An importance difference between the establishment of Sammyboy Alfresco Coffeeshop and Stomp is the difference in eras in which they are established.
Sammyboy Alfresco Coffeeshop was established in an era where blogging was considered alien to many Internet users. And the technologies involved in the establishment of a blog such as the ones we see at Wordpress or Blogspot were probably in their primitive stages then. Thus, users usually expressed their views in the forums. When Stomp was established in 2006, blogging was already in fad, and there are a number of established technologies available that allows any user to seamlessly create a blog. Thus, if the other purpose of Stomp is to be a repository of opinions, it will face stiff competition from Wordpress and Blogspot. Simply put, if Stomp wants to play host to a myriad of views and opinions, it will have to do a Wordpress and Blogspot. But, Stomp from the outset was never in the molds of both blog publishing services.
If Stomp intends to be magnet to attract all kinds of audiences, it may fail in this respect. It may not get the better of Blogspot and Wordpress in terms of attracting opinionated netizens although it may attract others. Simply put, it is never in a position to compete with sites that provide intellectual-based contents. For those who worry that Stomp will divert traffic away from the intellectual sites, they can sleep easy at night.
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