Roger Talley, the guy who wrote www.newmodels.com and The Professional’s Guide to Modeling has written some articles concerning model networking sites (like OMP, Model Mayhem, Model Insider, etc.) that are very worth the read. Roger owned a modeling agency once upon a time, and really understands how the modeling world works–both agency-wise and Internet-wise–and these articles touch on Internet-related stuff that isn’t addressed at www.newmodels.com. And while, at first glance, these articles may seem like fear-mongering, knowing Roger personally, I can tell you that’s not the purpose of these articles. Roger is big in educating models and giving them the tools to keep themselves safe, and fear-mongering ends up having the opposite effect. These four articles were, no doubt, written to make models aware of certain things that model networking sites aren’t doing in the interest of their safety, and to explain to them why continuing to do their own due diligence prior to shoots is still very important.
Model Networking Sites and Common Sense
In the first article of the series, Roger leads with saying that, largely, “transactions” on model networking sites like Model Mayhem, OMP, and Model Insider (along with the vast majority of others) go off without a hitch. However, he does take the time to highlight some of the “extreme cases on all networking sites that go horribly wrong”, listing a few cases where members have gotten others involved in prostitution, or have resorted to drugging and raping, or (worse), murder. Very rare events, but it happens, and Roger talks about how sometimes, these few-and-far-between extremely bad cases can be blown out of proportion and result in near-paranoid handling of things. And, of course, he touches on the flip side of that… that some people think everyone who signs up for those kind of sites is legit and safe.
Model Networking Sites and Warnings to Models
The second in the series, this article talks about what the modeling sites are doing to warn members that other members may in fact be criminals, scammers, registered sex offenders, or whatever. In short, the answer is “not much, if anything at all”, but it’s much, much more complicated than that. Roger talks about the rules on some sites regarding telling members of others’ one has dealt with, as well as what some sites encourage others to do when registering. It’s a good read, and an important one, that begins to shed light on what you’re either getting yourself into, or have gotten yourself into, once you’ve signed up for model networking sites.
The Will to Believe and Model Networking Sites
In this article, Roger talks about “the will to believe” and how it relates to model networking sites. What I am talking about (and thus what Roger is talking about) is that quite often, models think “oh, well this must be what it’s supposed to be like” and carry on with things that they might not be comfortable with, or might not feel right about. And in some cases, this can get them in trouble ranging from getting scammed to getting hurt, sometimes even multiple times because “this is part of the job”. Roger touches on how easy it is to lay blame on the victims of these scenarios, but that’s not always fair. In the vast majority of these cases, the model networking sites and how they handle members (especially after being informed that a member is in fact a danger to others on the site) comes into play.
Prudent Use of Model Networking Sites
In the final article of the series, Roger outlines some of the problems that have arisen because model networking sites don’t educate their members, encourage members to sign up with fake names, and don’t police their members at all. Roger talks about how, keeping things in perspective, it is possible to have positive experiences on model networking sites. He talks about how members can often use the forums on the networking sites to research and discuss scammers and bad experiences (but user-beware, as the forums are also often full of misinformation and trolls). Roger also points out resources like www.newmodels.com and the article database at Model Insider, often recommended by forum regulars, who are often fonts of information (and worth conversing with) themselves.