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[whitespace] Caity McPherson
Sign Me Up: Caity McPherson has made a name for herself and her juicymango website by posing in various stages of undress with some of tech's biggest names, much to the dismay of execs, who have served her with orders to cease and desist.

Caity's Closet

Caity McPherson--feminist, techie, smut queen

By Michael Learmonth

CAITY MCPHERSON, local net-porn entrepreneur and webmistress of juicymango.com, finishes up a call on her cell as she walks into a Mountain View coffee shop.

She apologizes for being late, buys a cup of coffee and plunks her phone, Palm Pilot and keys on a cafe table. This is a woman who's been chased off the premises of Yahoo by a security goon and received "cease and desist" letters from Sun Microsystems and the Electric Power Research Institute. All the fuss, of course, is about sex. McPherson, who is building a niche porn business based on the geek-eros sensibility, seems to enjoy tweaking Silicon Valley's soulless, humorless corporate giants. By photographing her models (and herself) next to Silicon Valley's ubiquitous corporate signage in varying stages of undress, she's pointing out the hidden libido beating behind those overworked logo shirts, personal electronics and khakis.

Today, McPherson's wearing slim pants, sandals and a translucent blouse revealing the contour and patterns of the bra of a woman who must take lingerie very seriously.

She tells the tale of her brief tryst with the sex industry, which began when she was a student at SF State. She started dancing at the Lusty Lady while studying for a communications degree. There, she says, she learned to establish boundaries with her male customers.

"Women get into modeling and stripping for the same reasons they get into other jobs," she says. "I experienced more sexual harassment as a secretary than I did as a dancer."

Later, she got into computers and started reading an online newsletter, "Post-Feminist Playground."

"I loved the language," McPherson says. "It was about getting out of the victim mode, loving men, and being smart and not apologizing."

It was about that time she also stumbled onto porn on the web and decided she could do better. So she bought a Sony Viao from Good Guys on credit, and borrowed a camera from her mother. Her boyfriend's mother gave her a scanner.

Soon after the site was up she bought a Palm Pilot, got a DSL line and hired professional photographers. Then she placed an ad in Metro: "Exhibitionists wanted for female-fronted Silicon Valley website." Soon the calls started rolling in.

McPherson runs the whole show out of a second bedroom in her small Mountain View apartment.

"I live a pretty normal life," she says. Normal, except for the bottle of Argin Max "for female sexual fitness" sitting on her desk.

"Oh," she says, "I'm testing that product for Rouze," an online magazine she's been freelancing for. She also wrote a piece on the new lubricated latex "lapdance underpants" for men who want to enhance the dry-humping experience.

Hits vary, but generally juicymango.com gets between two and 10 new subscriptions a day and about 3,000 unique hits. That generates between $1,000 and $3,000 in revenue a month. Today, her greatest number of hits came from Yahoo and from a site called www.superpasswordz.com. Typically, most of her hits come from search engines and from emails bouncing around companies depicted in her "Tech Sign Girls" feature.

This month, McPherson signed a deal with a Seattle company that will increase her hits to 50,000. She also plans to hire a model to be the public "face" of the company so she can spend more time "representing the business side of the company." No word yet on whether that means she'll stop posing in front of the camera.

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From the November 11-17, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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