Chef Jeff Makes Lemonade
A former tennis professional, Mena, aka Chef Jeff, has been in the adult business since 1999, when he and his then-wife started an amateur website. He hosted Internet radio shows, established and edited adult industry news websites and was the director of Internet operations for ElegantAngel.com in 2004-2005.
On the production side, he worked as a director, photographer and production assistant for companies including Insanity Pictures, GuerillaTraffic.com, PlatinumBucks.com and DeeCash.com, and performed “in a handful of scenes, mostly Internet.” He also did non-sex roles in a couple of adult videos, offered web design services and owned and operated a handful of non-adult sites.
After seven years, Mena decided to get out of the adult industry. He sold his businesses in December 2006 and took some time off to revive his tennis skills. He landed a job at a tennis center in the city of Surprise, Arizona, in August 2007, but it ended a month later after an outraged citizen complained to local authorities, and he got back into the adult business with iBangPornstars.com.
“iBangPornstars.com was one of many concepts that I conceived over the years,” Mena told XBIZ. “When I got back into the business, I pitched my favorite concepts to a few companies, and MayorsMoney.com really liked the idea of iBangPornstars.com. They funded a pilot, which I shot with Candy Manson, and they loved it. After that it was just a matter of striking a deal and starting production.”
The premise of iBangPornstars is simple: A female performer spends the weekend at Mena’s house, and sexual hijinks ensue in real time. Performers who have joined Mena on his weekend shoots include Holly Wellin, Tyla Wynn, Carly Parker, Trina Michaels and Whitney Stevens.
The weekly shows include a scheduled one-hour interactive live webcam chat show powered by CamZ.com.
“One of the great advantages that the Internet has over other delivery methods for entertainment is that you have the ability to broadcast live from anywhere in the world,” Mena said. “I’ve always thought that that advantage ought to be featured more in websites and what they offer their members. What better way to let the people know the porn stars in a real live setting that to put them on a live webcam here at the house?”
Mena told XBIZ that response to the one-hour live chat sessions has been strong.
“For the live cam shows, we’ve been getting between 1,300 and 1,700 viewers in the one hour,” Mena said.
The rest of the weekend, there is 24-hour coverage with three cameras. One is fixed on the office area, the other two are roving cameras that are moved throughout the day. The live cams are connected with a chat room so members can talk with each other and the participants.
“It’s the live broadcast of a real-life true story,” Mena said. “The girls really do come and spend four days at my house and it can all be watched live. Members get to watch the entire photo shoot from start to finish, watch me making meals and eating with the models, watch the models shower and change, it’s very voyeuristic. The sex happens on camera as it actually happens here at my house. It’s unscripted. We don’t do the typical blowjob, three or four positions and a pop.
‘Because it’s not scripted, you never know what’s going to happen next. Viewers can’t look away. I also think people can relate to me — and who hasn’t dreamed of banging a porn star? I’m personable and I love what I do. I’m not doing anything new here, just good old POV porn, packaged and marketed in a new way, built around my true life story, which can’t be duplicated. And I think I’m a decent photographer and videographer.”
Footage from the weekend is edited down and posted on the site as sex scenes a few weeks after the shoot. Although the situations are improvised, the weekends still require planning.
“Since we’re catering to the porn star niche, the first thing we look for is a model with some experience in the business and a name that is recognizable as a porn star — either that or she’s got to be super hot,” Mena said.
“A good personality is a plus. This isn’t a good shoot for porn divas, because this isn’t a typical porn set,” he said. “The models that will enjoy this shoot the most are those that enjoy relaxing by the pool, eating, drinking, having fun and lots of sex. The girls that won’t enjoy this shoot are the real divas and those stars that don’t like sex.”
Performer Courtney James, who was Mena’s guest Feb. 28-Mar. 2, found iBangPornstars a pleasant change from her regular work.
“It was more relaxing than a regular shoot,” James said. “You could do everything on your own time, and there wasn’t a hassle of having all the cameras and people all over the place. I expected to come here and work, but it was totally laid back and different. I got to be the real Courtney, and have sex the way I have it. That made it a little more exciting.”
Within two months of launch, iBangPornstars had an Alexa rating of 19,000, Mena said. iBangPornstars is part of the MayorsMoney.com affiliate program, which was recently acquired by DeeCash.com.
“This means even more promotion and traffic for the site,” Mena said of the acquisition by DeeCash. “They’ve already given me the green light to double my content production.”
Mena shares credit for the site’s success with the MayorsMoney personnel.
“Ideas are easy. Producing an eCommerce adult web site that is truly ready to compete in today’s marketplace is an enormous challenge,” Mena said. “The MayorsMoney.com crew are all top professionals. When that kind of synergy works so well, you end up with a real winner like we did.
“I have always delivered the goods, so it was nice that MayorsMoney.com brought that confidence in me to the mix and offered me a great deal.”