Q&A With Payze's Sales Director Chris Rodger
Payze’s Chris Rodger arrived on the online adult scene during those golden years in the late 1990s, and he hasn’t looked back.
Taking an entrepreneurial approach, the affable Rodger had a hand in launching some of the earliest solo-girl sites in the early days and later managed affiliate programs.
At Payze, where he’s approaching his second year at the company, Rodger is charged with ensuring the growth of the payment solutions company.
XBIZ World spoke with Rodger last month to find out how he jumped with both feet into the industry and how Payze is shaking things up in the world of processing. We also learned more about his love for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
XBIZ: Tell me about your journey in the adult biz. How long have you been in the industry, and how did you get your start?
Rodger: First, I want to thank you for the opportunity to contribute to XBIZ World. I’ve known Alec, Moe, and all the people at XBIZ for many years and it’s a privilege to take part. My origins in this business are probably what you would consider standard for most veterans who arrived in the first wave in the late 1990s. I was a career serviceman, and was nearing the end of that career when I got online with a local BBS. I made a lot of new friends locally and got into business with one of them, creating a girl-next-door kind of site for his wife. Some may remember her CarolCox.com and the production company Wild Rose Productions (WRP).
For quite some time, Carol’s site rivaled Danni Ashe in terms of popularity, downloads and traffic. The industry was in its infancy and it was an exciting time for us and definitely for the business as a whole. Being a pioneering part of what we now call solo-girl sites was invaluable and from there I went on to manage affiliate programs TripleXCash and TeenRevenue for many years.
When these programs were sold, I opted to move on to other things, working on contract for several years until deciding to work permanently in my present position with Payze.com.
XBIZ: Do you still use the “Evil Chris” moniker, and how did that come about?
Rodger: I used to manage the original offices at WRP and the original staff gave me that name before I ever registered to post on any message board. There were two of us named Chris in the office. My great friend Chris Begin (who passed away a few years ago) was the other Chris. He was our head designer, and a great guy. I ended up being “Evil” and he got to be “Good Chris” although I’m certain it should have been the other way around!
XBIZ: What exactly sets Payze apart from its competitors?
Rodger: From a technical standpoint, Payze has a unique relationship with the team at TooMuchMedia (NATS). Our unique software gives the merchant full integration into their NATS installation and admin. This isn’t just simply adding a new biller. Payze allows merchants to literally port the merchant account into their existing NATS admin environment to perform all billing and processing tasks that they would ordinarily have to go to their billing website to handle. Everything billing and processing related is now at their fingertips, right inside the NATS admin they’re already accustomed to using. Price points, new site setups, cancellations, refunds, reports, declines, CBs, cross sales, upsells, etc. All fully integrated into NATS saving considerable time and money.
The Payze team should also be mentioned as it is comprised of some of the very best veterans this industry’s billing sector has to offer. All successful people with impressive backgrounds in business, billing, finance, and sales. Doug Wicks our CEO was head of sales at CCBill for over a decade. Joel Paulin headed up all financial aspects there as well, significantly contributing to the immense growth at CCBill in their earliest years. Finally, Hank Freeman (aka Mr. SexKey), is a very successful entrepreneur who created SexKey.com and ManSites.com AVS systems, making a lot of other people into very successful webmasters in the process. It’s evident why we say that our processing experience “Payze.”
XBIZ: Are there any new developments or offerings coming up with Payze in the near future?
Rodger: Yes, we’re growing! Payze is getting very close to rolling out full IPSP services. So whether you’re a merchant who prefers your own merchant account, or third-party services, we can efficiently fulfill those needs.
XBIZ: What are some of the big concerns for the traditional online adult payment processing business and their customers going into 2016?
Rodger: I think the main thing merchants should be concerned with is their own billing diversification. The old “all eggs in one basket,” or “set it and forget it” approach is an adverse practice. Merchants who assume they are “all set” in their billing should always be looking for an edge to balance and diversify their processing. Make sure you’re using multiple accounts through different banks. Give yourself the option to swap from one method to another on literally a moment’s notice. Also remember that direct merchant accounts typically cost half than third-party IPSP services and provide payments directly and daily. Payze has multiple bank relationships in the U.S. and EU for your convenience.
XBIZ: What are your thoughts on the future of online adult entertainment? Will virtual reality technologies create new avenues of revenue for companies?
Rodger: I’m no content producer, but I do believe that virtual reality entertainment will play a huge role in the next 10 years. It’s just inevitable that interest in traditional delivery methods of adult material will decline, and with the introduction of virtual reality headsets (Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, among others) the demand for VR should be immense. It also goes without saying that mobile will continue to be the vessel of choice. Gaming, movies, and sports will also play big roles in VR, so the mobile devices will fall in line with the delivery of this kind of content too. I believe the next decade will be very exciting for our business!
XBIZ: Who in this business inspires you?
Rodger: I consider myself fortunate to be working for people that inspire me. The integrity, professionalism, and leadership that I see from the owners of Payze inspires me every day. This is a team that enjoys turning a crisis into an opportunity and I’m very happy to be a part of that kind of team. Inspiration in business comes from many other sources as well. I’m inspired every time I attend a tradeshow and see my colleagues, peers and even competition in action. I hope that I’m an inspiration to others as well.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
Rodger: I’m one of the many fortunate people to work from my home office. My family keeps me regimented and I get up early, take care of my son, feed the dogs, and get ready for the day. Once everyone is off to work and/or school, I make the 14-stair commute to my office. I’ve been working from home for well over a decade, so I’m accustomed to it. I can easily motivate myself to get on task and get things done. I suppose a previous career in the military contributed to that adaptability. Discipline. Yes, I do make my bed every morning.
XBIZ: When not thinking about business, what do you like to do?
Rodger: Outside of work, I love to spend time with my wife and son, even if it’s just doing things close to home. We’re all very “online” people so we tend to try to pull ourselves offline to spend quality time together. I play softball and golf a little as well.
XBIZ: You’re a big hockey fan. What does it look like for the Leafs this coming season?
Rodger: I take a fair amount of torment for being a Leafs fan, but I suppose it comes with the territory. Like any Canadian, we look forward to October and hockey. Who knows what will happen with the Leafs? Probably not much for the next couple of years but it’s just impossible to not cheer for your team no matter who it is or what sport.