It wasn't long ago that I was standing in the middle of a new car lot looking at two Cobra convertibles and realized that an adult Webmaster is similar in many respects to an automobile salesperson. Both the adult Webmaster and the salespeople are the middlemen, the automobile manufacturer can be likened to our content providers, and of course, the buyer is our surfer...
As the middleman, we scramble to sell the customer something that we were provided with. The manufacturer produces the most commonly requested options and a happy medium is achieved, or at least that's the way it has worked since the first automobile was offered. We try to sell the customer on what we have and if they don't care for what we have? They leave. This is by no means a new process or a shift in customer demand; it will always be this way whether it's an automobile or porn that we're selling.
The old cliché that the customer is always right truly means something in the adult entertainment business. My quest in that lot that day was to purchase a white Cobra convertible with a black top and black interior with all the trimmings. It just so happened that they had one but not exactly what I was looking for. It took only long enough for me to cross the lot and stop at the two cars for a salesperson to be on me like a trigger-happy surfer on a full screen pop-up. Anyone who has purchased an automobile at a dealer knows what I'm talking about. What startled me was not his approach, it was his genuine interest as to what I wanted and not giving me a speech on just why I should buy this particular car. I told him exactly what I wanted and within a few minutes, he located an exact duplicate of what I envisioned. By the end of the day, the vehicle was delivered and I wound up the happy owner of a new hi performance convertible.
Let's take our analogy and apply it to the content provider, Webmaster, and surfer. We as webmasters can provide the surfer only what we are offered, on another plane we have the content provider giving us what is generally in demand, the surfer is now given the option to buy or to go find another site. So where's the communication? What does the surfer want to begin with? Now reverse that role with the content provider; what does the Webmaster want? It's a vicious cycle in which can be brought to an end, it's a matter of specifics, and if we work together, it can be accomplished.
If we just take ten minutes and look around for an adult website that has any sort of interactivity such as polls, message board, feedback, or a contact form barring a resource site such as this, you'll be hard pressed to find even one let alone find more than a handful with an e-mail link. As the so-called middleman, how are we to know what our buyers want if we don't ask them. For the past year we broke away from pushing our sponsors and trying to make tons of money. We focused on finding out what the surfer wanted and did so by intentionally making the site both marginal and full scale. The results were quality traffic, returning week after week. By turning our attention to what the surfers wanted, the specifics no matter how minimal or overabundant, they were satisfied. Granted the amount of surfers actually taking the time to participate in a poll or complete a feedback/survey form will be minimal. Statistics showed that the ones that did take the time to complete the forms/polls were consistently returning IP's and that is what we were looking for, a recurring visitor. No matter what program you use whether it is a click thru program or a(n) per sign-up program, the principle applies. Niche sites can benefit from this type of communication and are in a better position to gain a response. The surfer knows what he wants and is more willing to give out that info if he/she is going to benefit from, especially from a site that already has their interest. With our votes tallied, our biggest problem was, actually finding or implementing the specific content that was in demand; enter the content provider. In all its simplicity, we established a means of communication between our surfers, our content provider, and ourselves.
Looking back, our content provider or automobile manufacturer as you will, has provided us with a generalization of what's in demand. They have to ultimately guess at what we want in the way of layout, positions, dress code, location, and so on. I think you see the pattern here; the content provider is giving us an automobile with only the standards and no options, not by choice, but out of necessity. What we did to test our theory, was have a photographer take photos of some of the requested angles and those normally seen; which we then posted and closely watched the stats. Clearly the returning visitors received exactly what they wanted as the specific images were requested almost three times more than the usual ones offered. Of those that gave responses to our polls, it showed they wanted more shots of facial expressions, those showing delight and the actual pleasure. They wanted to see the body language captured during oral sex and not the actual close up act itself. In another instance they wanted to see the hands running across the back of the female while barely viewing the man's face buried from behind. The most requested, was of more of a "lead-in" to the actual acts themselves; a storyboard if you will.
In all its simplicity, we established a means of communication between our surfers, our content provider, and ourselves. We gave him specifics of what we needed and then we offered what was asked for; on a shiny dinner plate. It's not hard to figure out that the burden of guessing what the surfer wants, and what we want, has been taken off of the content provider. They can now focus on providing us the quality content that we want, and not what we have to choose from. It's a pretty clear-cut case of minimal communication, find what your surfer wants and you're going to make money no matter what kind of website you run.
If we as both webmasters and content providers could sit down at a roundtable such as the proceedings at InterNext, our hunt for that elusive content would be almost non-existent. It's our jobs to give the surfer what he wants; it's also our jobs to tell the content providers what we want. By listening and providing the content needed, we will buy. And so a new circle begins, one that will see fruits much sweeter than what we know today.