Q&A With Adult AdWorld's CEO, Daniel Rand
Daniel Rand, CEO of Adult AdWorld, got into the adult biz more than 15 years ago just be chance by recognizing a void and then capitalizing on it.
Today, he can proudly boast with integrity that his company was the first adult CPM ad network.
Adult AdWorld, Rand said, is run the old-fashioned way for the betterment of his clients and his business.
“We’re going to first ask you what you’re promoting, and what your goals are, and then we’re going to try to price you at what our experience tells us is a reasonable price to get a solid test and not waste your money,” he told XBIZ for this Presidential Suite interview.
Last month, XBIZ World sat down with Rand to find out how he started his business and to see what Adult AdWorld has coming up as we move into the second half of the year.
XBIZ: How did you get involved in the online adult traffic business?
Rand: It's kind of a funny story. I had worked on the mainstream side of online advertising since 1999 when a friend of mine created a website called puppet porn site as a goof. She made these puppets and spoofed them making porn videos and things like that. It started to get a lot of traffic so I tried to see if any of my contacts at mainstream CPM ad networks would run ads on her site. None of them were willing to so we recognized a void in the market. I put together money to start it, and after about a year I came on to officially run the business. We were actually the first adult CPM ad network.
XBIZ: What does Adult AdWorld offer that sets it apart from competitors?
Rand: I think the main thing that sets us apart is the relationships and trust we have built with both our advertisers and our publishers. My brother, Chad, runs ad sales and I’m actively involved with most of the larger, long-time advertisers. We’re not just sales reps trying to earn a commission, so when you ask us for a price quote we’re not just going to try to quote you the highest price we can stick you with. We’re going to first ask you what you’re promoting, and what your goals are, and then we’re going to try to price you at what our experience tells us is a reasonable price to get a solid test and not waste your money. That’s why many of our advertisers just give us a set amount of money per month and tell us to price and run the ads however we see fit.
XBIZ: Do you see adult traffic converging with mainstream?
Rand: I don’t really see adult traffic converging with mainstream except in very specific instances where the advertiser’s target audience does not care if their ads are associated with adult content. In fact, I’m seeing the opposite happen. We’re just seeing too much cow towing to the conservative factions of this country because advertisers are afraid of what will happen if they boycott their products. You can see evidence in how Google has backed away from adult advertising, the U.K. is putting more strict filtering in place, and even large publishers such as Twitter are now putting in place measures that will probably hurt the adult industry. They seem to forget how Yahoo, AOL, and most of the major community sites were built on adult traffic from free home pages and chat rooms. But I guess they’re not forgetting, that’s just the dirty little secret that was never common knowledge for the masses.
XBIZ: What new things are in store for Adult AdWorld in the future?
Rand: We have three major initiatives we’re launching now. The first is a new self-service for both our advertisers and publishers. This should help us sell our inventory a lot more efficiently and allow thousands of advertisers who want to spend as low as $50 to build and manage their own campaigns.
The second initiative is the launch of AdultMobileTraffic.com to service the mobile marketplace. AdultMobileTraffic will also offer a self-service platform so we’re actively looking for more publishers and advertisers with whom to work in this rapidly growing space.
The final initiative is to grow our adult pay-per-click search platform. We have relationships with many sources of quality PPC search traffic and have been actively placing many of our advertisers on this traffic. With Google, Yahoo, and others pulling back from working with adult advertisers we feel our experience in this space, and our access to this type of traffic, provides us a distinct advantage.
XBIZ: What’s trending in adult and what do you think porn fans are really looking for these days?
Rand: The biggest trend is obviously the transition from desktop to mobile traffic, as mobile traffic now makes up more than 50 percent of the inventory. In regard to what porn fans are looking for, that’s not as much our expertise as is running and optimizing campaigns that convert for our advertisers.
XBIZ: Some mention that virtual reality combined with haptic technology as the next big thing for the online adult and live cams industries. What are your thoughts on the future of adult technology and traffic?
Rand: The adult industry has generally led the way for many online technologies and monetization methods. I allow the content providers to work out how to move early adopters of these technologies into the mass adult market. Once this starts becoming clearer, we’ll certainly be there to work with then as partners to best monetize this experience.
XBIZ: How do you motivate your team?
Rand: I find the best way to motivate our team is to educate them regarding how all of the pieces of our business work together. If our technical people understand how building better targeting features helps ads convert better, and thus raises the eCPMs in our network, they then understand how that increases our profits and thus the bonuses we can afford to pay them. After providing the education, we try to empower them.
XBIZ: How important is it to attend and be active at online adult trade shows?
Rand: I have found it extremely important to attend the online adult trade shows. I’ve taken time off from attending from time to time and I have seen an impact on our business and how easy it is to get things done. The adult industry is highly dependent on trust and seeing people’s faces repeatedly really goes a long way.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
Rand: My work day varies a lot but I spend my mornings checking top-line numbers for traffic, revenues, and following up on email from the previous evening. I then try to check in on status reports for technology and development projects in process. The afternoon is usually spent meeting with our sales director to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our advertisers, and with our traffic manager to identify what kind of supply-and-demand issues we face.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
Rand: I live in Miami Beach so I have a lot of opportunity to get out and enjoy what South Florida has to offer. I enjoy getting out on a boat in the bay or meeting friends for dinner and drinks outside somewhere. Aside from that, I really enjoy travelling so my wife and I make it a priority to visit as many parts of the world as possible. I don’t want to live my life saying, “I wish I went here, or did that.” Life is just too short so you need to work hard but you should play hard, as well.