It's All About the Bait...
I've had a few conversations lately that have left me considering just how little some wannabe Webmasters know about the mechanics of profiting from the online adult entertainment industry. This article will try to set out the basics in a fanciful fish story for those who have so far found profits to be elusive.
I've written many articles targeted towards "newbies" and spoken a few times on the subject as well, yet there is still a lot of misunderstanding about some of the most fundamental concepts of our industry that I thought it was time for another article about the way things work.
I'm going to tell you a little "fish story" to try and make sense of the traditional adult site marketing model of using free sites to up sell to pay sites: Imagine for a moment that you are a fisherman, except instead of fish, you are trying to catch Web surfers. While you could just throw out a line with a hook on it, you aren't likely to get too many "bites" that way. What you need is a little bait on your hook:
In this analogy, your "hook" is a "free site;" so named because anyone who wants to can access it without paying any entrance or subscription fee. The "bait" is the content you place on your free site; content that you will use to attract surfers with. This content could be photos, videos, stories, cartoons, or even links to other Web sites. Whatever the content (or "bait") is, if it is FREE, yet has a 'perceived' value, it will attract the attention of surfers - if they know it's there.
HOW do they know it's there? Because you let them know where to find it! This is where "promotion" comes into play, but as this is a fish story, I'll use the appropriate nomenclature and thus the term "presentation." While countless amateur fisherman are happy to toss their lures out into the middle of the pond, hoping that a fish will just happen by and take the hook, more experienced anglers will study the pond "in depth" (yes, that was a 'joke').
These fishermen will look at maps outlining the contour of the pond bottom, take note of the depth and temperature range, and even get out on the water in a small boat, using a "fish finder" to locate their quarry, and drop their bait right in front of the biggest, hungriest fish. They present their bait in the most appealing manner possible, and are rewarded with the biggest fish in the pond. By being serious about their fishing, they reap much greater rewards than those who take the sport more casually.
Likewise, the savvy adult Webmaster will study where surfers are most likely to be, where they are most likely to go, and what bait they're most likely to bite on. You will want to learn about search engines, TGPs, link lists, top lists, and pic posts, plus banner exchanges, WebRings, and email lists, as these are some of the tools that you will use to let surfers know where they can find your bait.
Once you get the surfer on your "hook" then what? You reel him in, of course! Now if fishing was your hobby, you might admire your catch, then set him free. But fishing is your BUSINESS, so you need to pull that bad boy out of the water and take him over to the fish market. Give your fresh catch to the man at the counter, and if he has a use your catch, he'll pay you for it and send you on your way. After that it doesn't matter to you if the fish market sells the fish to a restaurant, cooks it up themselves, or sets it free - you've been paid, and can go back to the pond for more! The fish market is your sponsor, or in other words, the operator of a Webmaster affiliate program who will buy your traffic (the surfers you "catch") from you. And that is part of the challenge of fishing; you have to be smarter than the fish, and you have to be better at being a fisherman than they are at being elusive prey.
So where are we now in my little fish story? Well, just like the fisherman who studies the waterways he fishes, then carefully selects and presents his bait to yield the maximum catch, you need to study the adult marketplace, and learn what "bait" works best, and how best to present it in order to attract the maximum number of surfers. Likewise, just as the fisherman hauls in his catch to bring it to market, you hope to induce surfers to click on your sponsor's banners, text links, table ads, etc. Doing so will send them to your sponsor, and you'll get paid!
Just like finicky fish who might want rubber worms in the morning, and crayfish in the afternoon, you have to be flexible, and experiment with your bait and presentation techniques; since what works today may not work tomorrow. And that is part of the challenge of fishing; you have to be smarter than the fish, and you have to be better at being a fisherman than they are at being elusive prey. Study all you can, and be flexible. Only then will you succeed!
I hope that my little fish story helped clarify the way things work for some of you. If you have any questions, just click the "comments" link below, and ask away: ~ Stephen