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Host Color is appealing to the ladies

As much as I’d like to think of the web as a gender neutral industry, I’m constantly reminded that’s it’s not. Web hosting may be the last frontier in male/female equality. From the same people who brought us the ultra-gimmicky “free .US domain on Elvis’ birthday” promotion, Host Color is now offering a special rebate for the ladies. Until March 14, 2009, the web host will provide a special 35% to all women who enter in the code HOSTCOLORLOVESME2009. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, you see that Host Color is playing on the vulnerability of women by that ridiculous “he really likes me” promo code.

Now, I love a rebate as much as the next person, but there’s something unsettling about getting a discount by mere virtue of one’s sex. Ostensibly, Host Color’s promotion is in honor of International Women’s Day. I can’t help but wonder if this is Host Color’s way of differientiating themselves from the mysogeny of GoDaddy.

You may remember how GoDaddy paraded a series of buxom beauties (and Danica Patrick) on its two Superbowl Commercials this past February as a way to promote its hosting packages. GoDaddy’s blatant disrespect to women caused a major and immediate backlash. Within hours of the Superbowl Commercials, many female and even some male customers defected, in search of other web hosts. GoDaddy was forced to release an article supposing that most women loved the ads, based on unofficial poling. GoDaddy’s exploitation of women is legendary, though. This web host has practically built an empire on playing upon the lusts of their 20-something male demographic. One would think that Host Color, a web host that obviously disagrees with GoDaddy’s marketing model, would realize that focusing on sex is not a way to counter-react that type of marketing. Instead of promoting a “Ladies Only” rebate, which further emphasizes gender, how about apply the discount to all users, in the name of International Women’s Day? That’s true women’s empowerment.

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