Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
How did you get into this? What in your background prepared you for what you're doing now?
After finishing college I didn't have a set career in mind, I fell into an entry-level job at an Internet company. They did processing, hosting and ran a number of online gaming and adult sites. It seemed they had their hand in every moneymaking basket at the time, in early 1998. I migrated into marketing within the first three months there, managing domain registrations and learning HTML and SEO.
I have always had a talent for writing and marketing as well as being technically minded. Learning code (the hard way, from a book!) and the basics of Photoshop, I was on my way to becoming a full-on webmaster. Combined with integrating my writing skills, an SEO was born. I took to it naturally, as I was still in a learning frame of mind after exiting college, and took off.
What changes have affected your work since you started it?
Over the past 10 years I have seen sweeping changes run through the adult industry over and over again. The rise and fall of so many search engines affected my work, but the basic rules of optimization have always stayed the same. I've never jumped on any trend or bandwagon when it comes to optimization "tricks" — from link farming and PR link strategies to bait and switch and other blackhat techniques. I've seen many try to cut corners and fail after short-term success. For my pride and the long-term wellbeing of my clients/employers, I've always stuck to what works and played it straight.
Currently new outlets for traffic building have opened up that no Internet marketer can ignore. There has been an advertising crunch, less free quality traffic and the expansive range of social media outlets, tubes and blogs to drive traffic.
From the SEO point of view, I think the change in coding trends and new elements used to design and encode the Web 2.0 pages of today offer the most opportunity for growth and changes in SEO strategies and implementations.
Keeping up with the designers and programmers is important for code enriching optimizers. It's important to not spread yourself too thin and to stay on top of your specialty.
What changes have affected your work as the Internet has gone from exotic to commonplace?
The more accessible the Internet is and the more commonplace the lingo and brand names are, the better for my job. As a marketer you want to know where people go when they get online — Google? Facebook? Twitter? Blogs? You need your potential customers to know how to find you (i.e.: use search engines). It is also easier to direct people from the offline world to the Internet when they are familiar with terms like "URL," "Google" or "keyword."
Internet porn is so commonplace, you see Adult Friend Finder mentioned in mainstream movies and "The Internet is for porn" jokes on "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" in primetime. Porn is becoming so tolerated it's almost passé. While there is more for people to do online socially, the Internet remains the best outlet for private on-demand viewing of porn, and with an unlimited selection, people will continue to pay for what they either can't find for free or want to enjoy advertisement-free in a high quality environment.
What do you see as the challenges to online adult enterprises as the economy tends to decline and discretionary spending slows?
There are two approaches to this: "If you're not growing you're dying" or "If you're not over-spending you'll survive." From the standpoint of the adult services sector of the business it is time to scale back advertising budgets simply based on the fact that not many more people are entering the business at a time when profit projections are lower than past years. When consumer spending is down and there are less sales to go around, the smaller webmasters have even less of a chance unless they have means to capture unique targeted traffic pools — which requires some outside-of-the-box thinking to acquire. As the affiliate webmaster population goes down, programs look towards advertising less and acquiring more in-house marketing talent, pooling their resources under one umbrella rather than flirting with the if's, and's and but's of a few affiliate whales.
Does your work affect your personal life?
The day to day doesn't affect my personal life very often. Only rarely do I take work home with me or have to check in due to a new product launch or a fire burning somewhere. Travelling to shows impacted my personal life more than anything else. Having a spouse who is also a 10-year veteran in the industry helps, but it's tough when one can attend a show and the other cannot. We both know what goes on and how flirtatious the behavior in the industry can get (albeit 99 percent harmless). But attending shows is a small and shrinking part of the business for me; my work is done in the office where I am most productive on both the marketing and networking aspects of the business.
Online is where it's at.
Do you have a personal motto or slogan that you follow?
"Do what you want and be good at it, live a life that's not a habit."
Excelling at what you do is important, but the way you live your life beyond your work is just as relevant to who you are and the way others perceive you. For me working in this business is being GOOD at what you do, being the one others turn to for advice while at the same time keeping a low enough profile to stay productive. Living life where each day offers a unique experience or opportunity, or learning something new and not settling for less or for lip service.
It's easy to rest on your laurels or reputation, but those who continue to work hard with their heads on straight will reap the rewards of a stable career for another decade to come.