Company Profile: From Italy With Love
Although the launch into a market across the ocean has been slow and careful, sources in the company are very confident that the new market will be a spectacular success.
“We still haven’t launched the site full force, or the affiliate program, for the simple reason that we’re still kind of gathering more local [American] girls,” says a company spokesman. “RIVcams always has been known for its amateur performers, so when we go to a new country, we work hard to get local girls to sign up instead of working with studios, which is something we really never liked. But right now in the U.S., we have a mix. We were forced to get a few studios involved, but we are in an aggressive campaign to find amateur girls through classified websites like Craigslist and many others. We have a person who does that for us every day.
‘Finding amateur girls is the biggest, most difficult task for any community or webcam site. You can’t start a website like those without girls, and girls won’t sign up if they don’t see traffic or they don’t see other girls on the site. It’s the chicken and the egg thing. But the website is launched and we did some promotion for the affiliate program. We definitely need more girls aboard, so I am talking with several American studios that have a lot of girls that might want to sign up. Although I hate to use studios, we definitely need to use them to jump-start the site.
“And the classified ads are starting to pay off, because we are seeing more sign-ups.”
RIV has opened an office in Atlanta to facilitate the new venture and very soon the firm will add an affiliate manager to deal strictly with American webmasters. Also, designers have created a new look and feel to the site with a splashy design and a new logo. So far, American webmasters have been pleasantly surprised.
“I would say they’re very pleased with the conversions they’re getting,” the source says. “Our U.S. webmasters are helping to shape the affiliate program to reflect an American webmaster’s way of doing business. We had to make some adjustments in developing our affiliate program to fit the American market, including a different kind of payment, bigger payment turnaround, and reinforcing our support personnel.
“I know how the U.S. market works. You have only one chance and you’d better be ready. So we’re not yet promoting the affiliate program in America the way we would like. I know American webmasters want to see English-speaking girls, and we don’t have a sufficient number of them yet. We do have Italian girls who speak English, and I think that will be a different spin for American webmasters.”
Because RIVcams has been so incredibly successful in Europe, it is just a matter of time before the company repeats that performance in the U.S. RIV receives a ton of interest from the European print and broadcast media, stemming from the fact that one of its girls wrote a book about being a webcam performer.
“She wrote about going from working in a grocery store to making several thousand dollars a month,” the company source explains. “That caught on in the press, and the rebound brought a lot of attention to the website, and it really exploded. There are Italians all over Europe, so we received a lot of word-ofmouth advertising. It was great, because suddenly we got visitors from Germany, Turkey, Spain and even North African countries.”
RIV has marketed heavily in these countries by placing ads on local satellite channels, and aside from Italy and Atlanta, also has an office in the U.K. and soon will open a new one in the firm’s next target for launching its webcam site, Russia. The company officers expect the Russian move to match the success RIVcams has enjoyed everywhere else in Europe, mainly due to the different flavor its girls bring to the webcam sites.
“The girls really can make good money,” says the company source. “It depends on how much they want to work. They can tell erotic stories and even sell their lingerie. They also sell their photosets and amateur videos. They even sell their ICQs in some cases. The girls set up email accounts and instant messenger accounts, to customers can reach them easily for private conferences.
“We urge the girls to buy pre-paid phone cards, so they’re giving out a phone number that’s not really their personal phone. There are a lot of girls doing that in Europe, and in the U.S. there are plenty of smaller cell phone companies that allow people to get cell phone accounts without releasing too much information.”
What has worked best so far for RIV and its performers has been the casual ambience of its webcam sites.
“The message we try to deliver is that RIVcams.com is more than just a webcam site,” the source explains. “It’s more like a community site. We tried this in the other countries and it worked.
‘People have a tendency to join and stick to it because they can talk to the girls in private chats. In many cases, the customers don’t even ask the girls to get naked. They just want to talk to someone. But it starts a relationship between the users and the performers to the point where they can request custom pictures or custom photos. There’s a lot of interaction, because they’re talking to real girls who are just having fun while making some extra money on the side.”
RIV soon will add new webcam sites in the transgender and gay niches, the latter to be called RIVBoys.com. The company also is improving its webcam technology to keep up with the constant demand for better picture and sound quality in that area. All of these things contribute to the RIV success story, but according to the company source, one thing makes the firm stand apart from all the competition.
“We offer a truly global platform,” he says, “and although the big webcam sites are in many countries, almost none of them have a real community feel. We have girls in many different countries and we have a complete community in each place, from users to girls. This means traffic, which is what webmasters want.”