Patches!

People have asked for these for a long time, well that time is finally here. BME patches!

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If you would like to buy your very own Hockey or Calm patches, you can get them here:

Hockey Logo Patch
Calm Logo Patch

You may have heard about the recent flooding in Columbia, South Carolina. Unfortunately, Rachel was affected by this flood. She lost all of her belongings in the flood and the home that she lives in with Ari and her boyfriend David received serious structural damage. Things were lost that money can never replace and during this devastation Rachel has been working hard to help others in her community. FEMA and insurance won’t come close to covering their financial losses and a friend of David’s set up a GoFundMe to help them out. If you’re interested in helping, you can check out the GoFundMe here.

Support BME: Update

Thanks to your support BME has surpassed the voting threshold needed to be considered for the small business grant!

It will be a while before we know if we won the grant, but we just wanted to extend a huge thank-you to everyone who voted.  There are still 2 days left, and more votes won’t hurt, so if you haven’t yet taken a moment to vote for BME, you can do so by simply visiting www.missionsmallbusiness.com.  On the bottom right you’ll see a button labeled “Log in & Support”.  The site will link to your facebook, so you don’t need to create a profile of any kind.  Once you’ve signed in, search for “BME” and click the “VOTE” button for BME.com.  That’s it!

So again, from all of us here at BME, thank you so much for your continued support.

p.s. The t-shirts from the fundraiser for Ari are being printed right now and should be back from the printers in the first week of July.  So expect to see them in your mailbox sometime after that.

Mission: Support BME

As many of you know, BME is a small business.  With only 5 employees, BME still manages to be the world’s largest online tattoo, piercing and body modification community, historical archive and educational resource.  While there have been some changes over the years, most notably the gallery redesign, and the upgrades to IAM, not to mention staff changes, BME is still up and running.  For those that have been paying attention to Rachel’s IAM page, you’ll recall that the site redesign took about 3 years longer than was predicted, and cost a lot more than was estimated.  We’ve since gotten rid of the company that was screwing us over and brought in a new programmer that has been working day and night to address as many issues as possible.  Now with us having such a small staff, it’s obviously a lot harder for us to keep up with the changes that you’ve come to expect from your social networking sites. Now if BME were to receive a large sum of cash, we’d be able to bring in more programmers and get the features that you want to you a lot sooner.

So what can you do to help?  Well, we’re not asking for your money, but we are asking you to support us as we’ve applied for a small business grant.  Showing your support is extremely simple.

First, visit www.missionsmallbusiness.com.  On the bottom right you’ll see a button labeled “Log in & Support”.  The site will link to your facebook, so you don’t need to create a profile of any kind.  Once you’ve signed in, search for “BME” and click the “VOTE” button for BME.com.  That’s it!

We need at least 250 votes to be in consideration for the grant, so be sure to ask your friends to vote as well.  The more votes we get, the better our chances of winning.  If BME receives the grant, you can expect a lot of the changes that we’ve been working on happening considerably faster.  So put this on your IAM pages, your Facebook wall, and your Twitter feeds!  Get the word out, and help support BME!  Voting ends June 30th, so vote today!

BME Updates, Free IAM time, Submit photos by e-mail

If you didn’t have a chance to read this morning’s announcement of the new ASK.BME staff, you should take a quick look.  In addition to adding new ASK staff, we’ve been cranking along turning out new fixes and features to IAM as well as tweaking various pages so they’re more in line with the old IAM. More changes are coming and we’re hoping that by the end of the summer we’ll have all of the new things we’ve been busy working on behind the scenes completed! It’s been a huge project that has spanned several years but we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you to everyone who has been patient and understanding while we work to bring BME up to par with the rest of the advances that the internet has seen come to light!

Feel free to send in some questions! To celebrate the addition of new ASK.BME, We’ve added 3 months to all IAM account expiration dates which should add 3 months to everyone’s accounts that are already active as well as making any expired IAM accounts accessible again!  So if you had an IAM account in the past and it’s expired, now is the time to come back and check out all the changes for yourself.

Now one of the biggest requests we’ve had over the past year has been to bring back the system that allowed you to send in your photos by e-mail.  Well we listened, and you can once again send in your photos.  To do so, simply e-mail the images to submissions@bme.com.  When you send photos to that address, they’ll appear in the media section of your BME profile.  From there you’ll be able to tag your images so they can be published in the appropriate galleries.  And remember, uploading images lets you have a free membership.  Check out the BME FAQ for all the details regarding free memberships, as well as paid subscriptions.

Finally, once you start e-mailing in your photos, check out the leaderboards to see where you stand.  Every year we give away prizes to the top contributors, so make this the year you get a prize!

Also, 30% OFF almost everything in the BMEShop! Coupon code: movingsale
Sale ends April 11th! Check here for details!

Free Gear from BME!!

Yep.  You read that right, we’re giving away free stuff!  Some of you may have noticed a “FREE GEAR” checkbox on your BME profile page.  Well, we’re going to be starting up the monthly shirt giveaways again, so to kick things off we’re giving away all of our old stickers.  We just got new a new shipment of stickers in that have the updated BME.com address, so the ones you’ll be getting will be the last batch ever to have the BMEzine.com address.

So here is how it is going to work. Anyone who posts on the comment section for this post, will get stickers in their mailbox. The only thing is you need to have is the “Enter to win FREE GEAR” check box selected on your account, your t-shirt size and your shipping address.

If you don’t have it set already, go to https://www.bme.com/accounts/profile/, check the FREE GEAR box, select your t-shirt size and make sure that you’ve either entered in an address or that your address on file is up to date. This is all under the “Personal Information” page which that link will take you to, it’s all at the top of the page.  (If you don’t have an account, then sign up today!  Opening a BME account is free!)

Then come back and post in this comment section with “I want stickers!”. Nothing else! Do not include your address in the comment forum!.

Once we’ve got posts in the comment section, we’ll start sending out stickers. We’ll verify that you’ve got the “Enter to win FREE GEAR” check box selected, your t-shirt size selected and then Rachel will grab your address from the account admin (All she can see is if you’ve got the FREE GEAR box checked or not, your address, shirt size, membership status, types and expiration dates and submissions linked to your account) and you’ll receive an envelope with free stickers. Don’t worry, BME always ships things in plain white envelopes with a discrete return mailing address. We also take great pride in protecting BME members personal information and would never distribute, reveal or sell your personal information, unlike some sites!

We’ll start shipping out stickers on Friday so as long as you get your post (and settings configured), in before midnight EST on Friday, you will receive some stickers! Hurry up and update those accounts and post in the forum!

Edit:  Please make sure that if you don’t have an IAM page, that you’re using the email address associated with your BME account when you post on modblog otherwise we won’t be able to find your shipping address!

Wrapping it up for the year

It’s been a while since we’ve done them, but the BME Year-End Awards are coming up!  Now, because we didn’t do them last year, we’ll be doing the 2010** awards this month as well.  Now if you don’t know what the awards are, they’re how we recognize the top contributors to BME.  We look at 3 categories, photos, videos, and experiences*.  The top 10 in each category win fabulous prizes!

Now in the past, with the way the system worked is that we’d cut off submissions for the year end awards some time in December.  This year, with all the changes to the site, we can now take submissions up until midnight on December 31st.  So that means if you’re one of the top contributors come New Year’s Day, you’ll be getting a gift certificate to the BMEShop.  In past years we’ve given away t-shirts, but this time we thought it would be nice if the winners got to choose what they received.  Here’s how the prizes break down.  The top 10 contributors in each category will each win the following:

  • 1st place: $1000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250
  • 4th place: $100
  • 5th place: $50
  • 6th place: $40
  • 7th place: $30
  • 8th place: $30
  • 9th place: $30
  • 10th place: $20

If you do the math we’re giving away over six thousand dollars in prizes this year!

So what does this mean to you?  Well you’ve still got a few weeks to send in your submissions, so before the end of December upload your photos, videos and experiences* to BME.  Who knows, if you’ve submitted enough to be in the top ten, you’ll be getting a prize!  If you’ve been sitting on a bunch of photos that you haven’t uploaded yet, now is the time!

Now, all that said, we know there were some problems with the t-shirts in 2009 (I’m looking at you Angela).  If you were a winner of a 2009 year end award, and did not receive your shirt, send an e-mail to shop@bme.com with your shipping address, phone number, and shirt size (mens sm-2xl or womens s-xl), and we’ll send them out.

On top of all of this, the BME New Year’s Eve party is coming up!  We’re only a few days away from bonfires, suspensions, and all kinds of shenanigans!  Check the event listing for all the details!  BMEHQ is located right near King’s Dominion in Virginia, just outside of Richmond.

*Top 10 consists of the top 10 BME members who have submitted more than 1 experience.
**2010 prizes will be announced at a later date.

BMEShop Year End Sale!  Coupon Code: holiday20off

40% off Diablo Ogranics Jewelry!! Coupon Code: 40offdiablo

5000th Order Shipped Out Receives $100 Gift Certificate!

Calling all Python Programmers!

With all the responses we got with our last job posting, we’ve stated to make great strides towards getting the BME World Tour videos from Japan translated.  We’ve got enough translators now, but we are still looking for someone to fill the position of Lead Programmer for BME.

BME has spent the last 3 years redeveloping its web presence from the ground up. Throughout the process there have been a lot of detours as well as the predictable bumps in the road. BME is looking for a lead programmer to integrate with our development group that has helped to program the new site. You will work with our current company to learn the new site as well as to help finish the deployment of all of BME’s 2.0 rebirth. After the development company has been phased out, you will be responsible for maintenance and changes to the existing site and software. You will also be responsible for programming new features, debugging and developing/programming new sites that will come with BME’s growth. As BME doesn’t have a “main office”, all of our staff work from home. This is a big bonus for most of us and has worked well over the past decade.

Requirements:

  • Diligence and attention to detail.
  • Multi year senior level programming experience in python (as well as C/C++).
  • Core competencies in Python.
  • Excellent HTML/CSS/JS skills and an interest and awareness of emerging web standards.
  • Superb problem solving skills.
  • Good knowledge of SQL
  • Expected to maintain, enhance and install our custom application stack.
  • Expected to be able to manage the whole life cycle of product development including public facing and deployment.
  • Experience with linux based web architectures.
  • Experience in Java and .NET an advantage.
  • Experience of deploying and maintaing websites with Apache, Linux, and either Postgres or MySQL, and development with frameworks such as Django.
  • A real appreciation of clean, well-tested, well-documented code.

Useful Experience:

  • SQL database management
  • Database administration
  • Linux administration

Benefits:

  • Working in a mod friendly and positive environment.
  • Working in a small private company with international reputation in the Body Modification Community.
  • Exposure to some of the most exciting aspects of the industry.
  • You can work from home! This can be a part time job for extra income while you maintain a full time job as unfortunately, BME isn’t in a position to offer health care, 401k or other retirement benefits.
  • You won’t have to come into BME HQ but you will have a ticket to attend BME’s main events (BMEfest/ModProm etc)!
Please send your resume, availability and salary requirements to rachel@BME.com with the subject line “Python Position Applicant”.

Of course a post wouldn’t be complete without an unrelated image, so here’s CajunKourt’s recreation of Giger’s “Pisces”.

Upcoming Events!

Tonight is a killer book release at CanvasLA from 8pm-11pm. It features the amazing artwork of Ichibay and Pint as well as live drawing by both artists. There are limited books available at the event, though we’re hoping to be able to get a couple copies for BME shop. So don’t miss out on this if you’re here in the Los Angeles area tonight.

I posted about Paul Booth’s upcoming Halloween event for the east coaster readers and I wanted to give the west coast a little love as well. If you’re in the San Jose area, don’t forget to check out the San Jose Tattoo Convention which is put on by State of Grace. Check out their internationally renowned attending artists lists and GO if you love anything about the art of tattooing and can make it out! It’s well worth it! Taki puts on an amazing show that focuses on the art of tattooing at his conventions without distractions of bands, MMA or BMX etc that other promoters add to their shows.

I wish I could make it up but I’ll be out in Las Vegas defending BME against the lawsuit that was filed AGAINST BME (not the other way around) after the plaintiff was found guilty of cybersquatting by a three-member panel, including an arbitrator that he hand-picked. He filed suit against us (not vice versa) and keeps trying to get us to pay him almost $100,000 for the domain.  If anyone wants to have a Vegas meet up this week, I’ll be there from Monday till Wednesday!

BME Legal Update


(IAM: xTewFittyx‘s BME logo’d feet by Joey G. at Sure-Fire Tattoos)

Hi, folks. If you’ll recall, I mentioned a while back that BME was embroiled in a silly lawsuit with world-famous cybersquatter Greg Ricks. To recap, Ricks owned the BME.com domain and used it to host photos and ads related to body modification, which makes for a pretty clear-cut case of intellectual property theft. I tried to purchase the domain from him several times, and each time he would agree in principle, only to jack up the price at the last minute. (Shocking, right? If you can’t trust a professional cybersquatter, then really, what’s left in this world?) This grew tiresome, and BME filed a suit against him before the World Intellectual Property Organization,  which promptly found in favor of BME. (Also discussed here.) Easy enough, right? All’s well that ends well and all that good stuff?

Well, no. Ricks decided to play the agitator, and made the preposterous claim that not only was he within his rights to use BME.com as a means of generating income by way of diverting traffic from BME, but that we were infringing on his copyright! Seriously! He actually said this! So he countersued (also claiming that BME is only a “pornography site”), and on goes this ridiculous comedy of errors.

Here’s where things start to get interesting. See, you get to learn a lot of fun stuff during court cases. Now, maybe it could be realistically argued that registering a three-letter domain like BME.com is just good business sense, and that Ricks had no intention of capitalizing on the sort of content that BME offers until he saw the huge spike in traffic he got from visitors trying to come to us, and then he decided to put up some stolen images and tattoo links and such. This is a charitable perspective, to say the least.

Except, ha ha, there is convincing information to suggest that Ricks is either heavily involved in or solely comprises Gee Whiz Domains, an outfit that seems to have a disproportionately large number of cybersquatting domains.  BME.com is one thing, but when you take into account that Gee Whiz is also sitting on such frequently typo’d destinations as “yahooemai.com,” “msnnb.com,” “officedepo.com” and “cnnmmoney.com,” well … something doesn’t smell right. (For more on this, go here.)  

For more fun facts, consider that Gee Whiz also owns domains like: drugdealer.netyoungpreteenlolitagirls.comunderagelolitaphotos.com, and xxxanimalclips.com.  Drug dealing, underage girls, and bestiality.  What fun.  It may be that Gee Whiz only does business with Mr. Ricks, but if our suspicion is proven true — that Ricks is the owner of Gee Whiz — his accusation that we are a porn site will look really funny in light of his domain portfolio. (Ricks actually just lost a similar case, but for some reason decided not to follow that one up with another silly counter-suit. I guess we’re just lucky.)

The dispute largely centers on Ricks’s assertion that BME’s claim to “BME” is invalid, and that we have branded ourselves as “BMEzine,” which is simply not true. From day one, the “brand” has always been “BME,” whether it’s been:

  • Internal use, such as an April 11, 1997, site update that included references to “BME News,” a message mentioning that “BME is user-supported,” and a copyright notice that  plainly refers to “BME: Body Modification Ezine.” Oh, and cross-site use throughout the years, including features such as “BMEradio,” “Your BME,” “BME/live,” “BME/extreme,” “BME/HARD,” and contact links instructing users to “Contact BME.”  (More on this here.)
  • Users on websites as far removed from the usual subject matter with which BME deals as travellerspoint.com asking for advice about where to get tattooed while on vacation, only to have another reader mistakenly suggest BME.com as the ideal reference point; the reader quickly corrected himself and pointed the original author at BMEzine.com. Apparently, people expect BME.com to be the domain of BME! (More on this here.)
  • References in the media, including: The Guardian (London) mentioning on September 11, 1997, that “BME is a Body Modification E-Zine [...] devoted to [...] piercings and tattoos”; National Public Radio including discussion of “the online magazine BME, Body Modification Ezine” in a June 7, 2003, broadcast about tongue-splitting legislation in Illinois; and a United Press International report from March 16, 2004, writing of “BME — Body Modification Ezine — a popular online forum dedicated to educating people and promoting issues about body piercing and modification.” (More on this here.)
  • But don’t take their word for it! Body modification experts like Master Piercer Elayne Angel and Allen Falkner have gone on the record to emphatically state that BME has always been the signifier for our site, not to mention the launching point for complementary projects such as “BMEvideo.com,” “BMEshop.com,” “BMEfest.com,” TeamBME.com,” AskBME.com” and “BMEworld.com,” among several others. Because, you know, it has been.

    How’s this for a barnburner, though? A Florida-based lawyer named Kevin Wimberly (who, it just so happens, is also a self-proclaimed “tattoo enthusiast”) caught wind of this  case, and it reminded him of a paper he wrote while in law school entitled “Tattooed Identity: Resolving the Tension Between Statutory Copyright Law, Identity, and Skeptical Subculture.” Much of the research for this paper was done with the help of BME’s article archives, and Wimberly claims he’s been using BME as a resource since at least the year 2000, and that, “[if] any other company used the designation BME, it would confuse me and anyone else in the marketplace.” (More on this here.)

    So, even with all of that said, the cybersquatter is still making the argument that the “BME” name is his, and that we have been the ones wrongly using it all this time, which is his right as an American, I guess? Anyway, I just wanted to give you all an update on this silliness, and with any luck, this will all be settled soon. I’ll keep you in the loop. And of course, as always, thank you for supporting BME — without all of you, there’d be nothing to fight for!