Friday, December 5, 2014

I Hate LuLa

This is totally out of line and unprofessional. But guess what, I'm not a professional.

I hate LuLa. Every article on there is either fanwank (ooo, Leica, sooo worth it); some sort of techwank explaining why some arcane, silly, and sometimes just wrong, approach to something is the best (ETTR is sooooo a good idea); or worst of all some sort of walkthrough about how to use a ton of photoshop to crush the life out of some perfectly innocent, if boring, picture (watch me turn this generic landscape into a hideous fairyland).

The photographs are all perfect exemplars of the technically virtuoso pictures of nothing. They're dead, they say nothing, they mean nothing. To be fair, some of the main guys sell plenty of these horrible zombie things, but they sell them because they match somebody's couch, and because they're pretty, and because they're expensive. These guys can go to friggin' Antarctica and come back with a bunch of photos of ice.

Sometimes it seems, although it's not literally true, as if every essay is selling something. There's no denying that these guys are all hustling hucksters. Yes, they're selling some photos, but mostly they're selling workshops, photo taking trips abroad, DVDs, books, and one imagines, their own parents. They should run some workshops on how to sell workshops, since that's what they actually seem to be good at.

There's also the sniff of scam about the whole thing, to my sensitive nose. They love damn near everything they review. Of course, no money changes hands. But that's not the point. If you haven't got a lot of beef in the industry, bad reviews will cause you to lose access. They'll simply stop sending you equipment to test. Since clicks are LuLa's life blood, and gear reviews are easily the top click-getters, well, you can do the math.

Then there's the endowment thing, which I'm pretty confident they're not stealing anything from or even paying themselves salaries out of, but it's yet another relatively easy way to get clicks. Open applications for grants! Just click here, and here and fill it out. Everyone, come on over and apply. More content, more clicks, more everything. Drive that traffic. And traffic is life. Traffic is money.

Who got selected for an all expenses paid (or something) trip to Antarctica with a bunch of older portly dudes? By a coincidence, she's a very attractive young woman.

It's not auto-generated clickbait. It's lovingly hand-crafted artisanal clickbait. Which I guess is actually kind of sad.

The forums are pretty ok though. I almost never touch the front page, and when I do, I am usually nauseated and angry in a few minutes.


  1. I left the Lula forums. Actually, I left all the forums I used to participate in, so it is not a special Lula thing.

    The whole forum thing has become just what you wrote: "clickbait". Lula, or others, are not really interested in running a forum, they just need something to attract clickers. Forums are fine, because they are basically free content. And the problem with that is that the most clever users soon realised what is going on and left.

    Take any forum you use and check the archives 10 years ago and see for yourself how different it was. Or just do the following check: some forums have statistics on who posts what. Check that and you will find out that most of the traffic is from a handful of posters, each one with a daily count of, say, 50 posts. Isn't that crazy?

    Welcome back, BTW. I used to follow your posts and the fact you quit was quite significant to me.

  2. Wow, I'm only a year late reading this. Don't know why I never found your blog before but it's fascinating and I am compulsively working my way to the present.

    Couldn't agree more about LuLa; every time I visit it I wonder why. It certainly isn't to read reviews of cameras that cost more than an SUV, and the photographs are mostly very ordinary. Time to wipe it off my favorites.