BaDoink: Rapid Growth of a Top-Tier Brand
In recent years BaDoink has been one of the fastest growing and most rapidly evolving brands in the adult business.
The rise of the company and some of the moves being made are intriguing because BaDoink is positioning itself right on the blurry line between porn and mainstream with a surprising amount of success.
CM Productions LLC opened its doors in 2002, and BaDoink.com, the company’s flagship site, launched in 2006.
“From the beginning, BaDoink was different,” CEO Todd Glider said. “Rather than a focus on content, we focused on the delivery of content. Of course, content was and is a cornerstone of our success, but the R&D was always technology focused.
“So instead of defining and developing distinctive videos to bolster the marketing muscle of an array of paysites, we built software and pushed home grown products aimed at making the viewing more adaptable, the UX more intuitive, and the experience richer for consumers. “Like every company that broke into the industry more than eight years ago, desktop was the initial focus,” Todd said, “but even then, we wanted BaDoink to be accessible from any device. We developed software apps like the BaDoink Ultra Interface. Ultra was inspired by Apple’s iTunes interface; it functions as a dedicated, feature-filled home for all your porn.
“There was, is and always will be a browser version of the BaDoink members area, but Ultra offers an undeniably superior experience” and made the offering one of the first to embrace mobile consumers on equal terms with desktop audiences.
Some innovations have already become obsolete, motivating the company to continue finding new exciting ways to move forward without a reliance on a static set of notions just because they each worked well in the past.
For example, Todd pointed out, “One of BaDoink’s key features at launch was EasyBurner, an integrated add-on that allowed subscribers to burn DVD compilations of any videos they downloaded locally.
“Unchain yourself from the desktop, that sort of thing. It even included a media encoder, so in addition to burning DVDs, one could convert videos to numerous formats, ensuring compatibility to all the mobile devices in use, even non-smartphones.
“When it was clear that DVDs would be yesterday’s news, we developed EasyOnTV, a DLNA-enabled media server that allows one to wirelessly stream any video from any device — your laptop for example — to any other network-aware device in the house — like your SmartTV or Xbox console — and since Ultra couldn’t really be like iTunes if it didn’t support the export of videos to iTunes, we made that happen. iTunes export is part of the ultra interface, allowing one to watch any video on any iOS-powered device as well.”
“Hitching our wagon to a software interface was considered a bold move by some. After all, the consumer evinces a general leeriness about all things porn,” Glider said. “Asking them to suspend doubt, download a porn-related software title, many thought it would be met with resistance. Not so, it turned out. The overwhelming majority of members installed, and continue to install the software.”
Going the software route also made it a more fluid transition to mobile than many HTML based paysites were experiencing during the later rush to reach porn fans on the go.
“With the rise of mobile, our attentions turned to hand-helds. It was a good decision, and among the primary reasons that BaDoink went from being a brand you’d heard of but did not know much about, to a truly global brand,” Glider recalled. “The upside of ‘going mobile’ was strikingly clear. We dove right in. It became our primary focus. We optimized our mobile sites for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, even Palm.
“We created apps to supplement the mobile experience. The BaDoink Video Downloader was added to the iTunes App Store and GooglePlay Market, and we were pleased with the results. For a period of months, it was among their most installed apps.”
Best of all, the growth of the brand continues today, even as many other adult brands are unable to gain traction. Badoink is always evolving.
“Three years on, the downloader continues to evolve. A DLNA media server is among its key features now. That means the end user can download a video to his phone and then stream it wirelessly from the phone to any network-aware device in the home. When tablets got a foothold, began their rise, our tours and members areas were redesigned responsively.
“In fact, we overhauled the members area completely, created an entirely new UX for mobile and table, one that I’m comfortable saying is superior to any other offering in the industry. All of the above led to that hockey stick growth we all salivate over in business school, and we weren’t going to rest on our laurels. The concept of the “strategic inflection point,” it looms large. Everything plateaus eventually. We always seek to address the ‘what’s next?’ question and be proactive about it.”
So, what’s next for BaDoink? “What’s next for us was dating. Enter WellHello.com, a new collaboration with dating sector vet Tim Whale, and at more or less the same time, we unveiled BaDoink magazine, a ‘pivot’ toward mainstream, which was a reaction to BaDoink’s market penetration. The brand was everywhere. Parenthetically, there was a time when our mobile traffic funnels, tours and landers were so pervasive; I challenged people not to find us,” Glider said enthusiastically.
“Pervasiveness aside, we wanted the brand to stand for more than porn. So the concept for an adult-oriented magazine was hatched. Type in BaDoink.com, and instead of a porn tour, you’re presented with a sophisticated online magazine. BaDoink is now standing at the intersection of sex, technology and lifestyle. We sharpened that focus, trained it on SexTech, and that’s really the magazine’s ‘beat’ in the macro sense.
“We’ve a cadre of journalists putting pencil to paper, reporting to Editor-in-Chief John Lane. Growth’s been strong, and the magazine’s opened a lot of doors. We’ve been profiled in Forbes, featured in Tech.com, quoted in Pando Daily, The Register, and even covered by El Mundo.”
That mainstream acceptance has many benefits, including a degree of immunity from recent organic rank cleansing of porn properties by Google and other major traffic platforms.
Meanwhile the dating product, under Smoochy Brands LLC has been ‘blowing up,’ to defer to industry parlance. WellHello.com was developed with mobile in mind from the very beginning, so it’s something mobile users around the country have really latched onto.”
“Looking forward, expect Smoochy Brands to create new sister brands to WellHello, brands focused on more geos, more targeted consumer groups. Expect BaDoink, the magazine, to continue building momentum, as it beats the drum for a new generation of adult consumers, and pushes the sex tech sector forward.”