Exec Seat: Q&A With Alfonsus Kusuma
DatingGold’s Alfonsus Kusuma has seen it all in the dating space. After all the industry veteran has spent the better of the past decade working in the space.
Kusuma, known simply as “AK,” leads the dating network’s sales and marketing and is a busy brainstormer who’s always throwing out ideas for his staff, as well as developers and product managers, to digest.
DatingGold runs scores of sites, including AmateurMatch.com, XXXDating.com, CheatingHouseWife.com, Untrue.com, CougarsPlay.com, MyAsianHookup.com, WebCamClub.com, HookupBBW.com, WebCamClub.com, CuteHookup.com, Cheaters.net, FindCheaters.com, AdsforSex.com, DatingAffair.com, and MilfsHookup.com.
Prior to The Phoenix Forum, XBIZ World sat down with AK to find out more about him and what’s new at DatingGold.
XBIZ: How did you venture into the adult industry?
KUSUMA: I’ve always been in sales, from telemarketing and cold calling to consumers to B2B. I first got into the adult industry by responding to an ad for a sales position. I had no idea it was an adult entertainment company. At the beginning of my interview I was asked if I had any problem working in the adult industry. The first thing I thought of was how envious all of my friends would be. I asked him in response, “No problem. What do I need to do to get this job?” The company was Video Secrets. I stayed with the company for nearly five years.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
KUSUMA: I glance through my work emails each morning and based on what new predicament has developed overnight I know how I’m going to spend the rest of my day. Mondays and Tuesdays are filled with meetings. I have two departments I have to meet with weekly along with weekly meetings with our CEO and the management team. Between my sales team, my media buying team, and the other department managers at Dating-Gold, I definitely stay busy.
XBIZ: How hands-on are you with developing new products, striking new deals?
KUSUMA: We are lucky that we have talented developers and product managers who are very creative. I tend to stick more to the marketing aspect of things. However, a lot of brainstorming takes place at DatingGold and we are always throwing out ideas.
XBIZ: Do you see DatingGold as a pioneer in the adult dating category?
KUSUMA: Yes without a doubt. I always feel like we are pushing ourselves to be one of the best dating companies out there. We aren’t afraid to take risks and make changes in order to improve. We’ve gone through a lot of trial and error. It’s definitely not an overnight process, but we learn from our mistakes and it has paid off for us.
XBIZ: Are there any new Dating-Gold projects around the corner?
KUSUMA: Dating will always be our core product and but this year we are really focusing more on our cams platform WebCamClub.com. We have really perfected our formula when it comes to dating. We are now taking that strategy and applying it to our cam sites.
XBIZ: How has the adult dating business changed since you started 10 years ago?
KUSUMA: Oh wow. A lot. Back in the day, there were only a few big players in the adult dating vertical. Traffic came easily because there wasn’t a lot of competition, plus dating sites converted really well and affiliates were eager to push dating offers. Now with so many dating sites, competition has increased tenfold. A confirmed email address used to cost $2 now it costs us $6. Fighting for affiliate traffic was difficult at first when all the new companies started adult dating sites. Now I am seeing a lot of competitors work together to monetize each others traffic. It’s interesting to see your competitors become your business partners.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
KUSUMA: I love spending time with my kids after work. My wife makes sure that they get their homework done and chores. When I get home, I get to be the fun parent. My wife and I watch a lot of TV shows. We watch about an hour or two every night. Whoever invented DVR is a genius! “The Walking Dead” is my favorite TV show right now.
XBIZ: What do you foresee as the future of dating?
KUSUMA: The million-dollar question! In my opinion, website interactivity is becoming more important than ever. In our case, integrating our cam sites into our dating platform has been extremely successful. There are more and more members interacting with the cam girls and building online relationships. Virtual dating and fantasy dating is getting more popular. There are even services that offer users fake girlfriends that will post on their facebook and other social network profiles.
XBIZ: Are more people comfortable seeking love online?
KUSUMA: Yes. I also think that people are more comfortable with the idea of starting an online affair.