Social media in the lesbian community is active this morning with the news of the closure of After Ellen. Trish Bendix has written a rather moving and honest blog post about the reasons behind the closure. The mainstream owners weren't making enough money - there are better, more profitable markets - tell us something we don't know. This is ultimately why lesbian brands need to stay within the community. They don't need to make millions - they need to survive! Founder Sarah Warn has also put out some poignant Tweets including where the name came from!
In the UK we have been lucky, Millvres put DIVA magazine up for sale recently, and this could have been the end of the road had it not been for Silke Bade and Linda Riley who got together and formed a new media business and snapped it up. So far the feedback is good, and the community are behind it... We can only hope this continues.
Running Planet Nation, I know only too well how hard it is to garner real support from the community. As in financial - you know, the thing that actually keeps things going. I can't even imagine how much a mainstream owner would want, and for a website with full time staff, offices, etc - I know that Planet Nation is run on a very tight budget and this works as it means a little goes a long way - but that little isn't always easy to come by either.
I've tried all sorts - upgrades, bolt ons, memberships - nothing seems to work long term. Women support for 1-2 months tops then stop. Mainstream websites like Facebook drain the budgets from everyone who think throwing money at a wider audience will reach more than a small amount at a targeted group. Frustrating but this is the world we live in. Elaine from the Glass Bar has offered to run a fundraiser in October, giving proceeds from the door of Boi Box to Planet Nation - which is amazing, but hardly a sustainable business model.
Thankfully I'm an entrepreneur, and I'm resourceful and I have some great plans to put into place to resolve this - as long as I can get through to October!
Most corporates only support LGBT ventures as they want to maximise their budget. Driven by their placement in the Stonewall Workplace Index they think a one fits all approach is best - not understanding that this can cost more and also be far less effective.
Meanwhile lesbian visibility continues to dwindle.
The question is will we as a community learn from this and support our fellow LBQ women who support our visibility; or will we simply share status updates with unhappy emojis on social media and go back to the same old. I guess only time will tell.