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Ahead Of The Curve: Part 2

Ahead Of The Curve: Part 2

September 22, 2004
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" We've stayed strong by following our own game plan and not following trends. "

In Part 1 of this valuable series, we began a look at "What 15 Gay Adult Webmasters Are Doing to Win You Over" – here's the remainder of the comments, and wisdom, these webmasters passed on...

• Brian Sokel, Online Marketing, TLAVideo.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

The next year is a busy one for TLA. We are dedicated to creating a retail experience at TLA that is like no other on the Web while still providing the high level of content, quality control, and customer service that has become synonymous with the TLA brand. We will be launching new technology on our site to provide our customers with a high quality VOD service while improving our navigation for ease of use. We're preparing to launch a new version of our website that will introduce personalization for return shoppers while also allowing our editors to specially target the correct type of content for each shopper.

What can you offer customers that your competitors can't?

TLA is the only company out there to offer not only gay adult content but also gay non-adult products. On the gay adult side, we are the sole retailer of most of the A-list studio's (e.g. Titan, Rascal Video, Falcon, Hot House, Lucas Entertainment, etc.) unedited Director's Cuts. While there are many sites online that offer either general cinema or adult content, it is rare that you find a company that provides both and to the depth in which we do.

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

Technology advances so quickly these days that it's easy to become engrossed in the new buzz-word or new technology, but ultimately, you need to understand your business to be able to grow. TLA is a retailer of DVDs. This is our core business. To make sure we provide the best shopping experience for our customer is our primary goal and objective. This is the guide that moves our core business to create new and meaningful change on our site.

• Peter DiMaso, New Media Director, SpecialtyPublications.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

Specialty Publications is working on the launch of a major new website in the coming year: MenMachine.com will build on four years of success to emphasize our strengths in gay male erotic photography while offering several high-end video theatres, alternative content channels, and a more personalized customer experience. Our customers are loyal and our retention rate is phenomenal. MenMachine.com will be both more robust in content while providing a more intuitive interface. We want it to be the first place you visit in the morning-the last place you visit at night!

What can you offer customers that your competitor's can't?

The best and largest male erotica photograph archive!

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

We've stayed strong by following our own game plan and not following trends. We know what our clubs lacked was fresh video content, which is why we selected to include Chi Chi's Live and Raw and Live and Raw Hotel and the NakedSword MovieBox. Now that we produce our own video under the Unzipped Video banner, we have a whole new source for original content.

• Karl Edwards, Owner, President, Bedfellow.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

Let's not forget what we're doing here. We're not selling websites anymore. Those days are so over. We're selling porn-plain and simple. The website is just the mechanism by which our customers can acquire this porn. It's a different medium than DVD or video but the content or subject is the same. Bedfellow has maintained its place as the top gay porn site on the Net (we've won the Cybersocket Web Award for four consecutive years) by realizing that it's porn that people are after-and by giving them excellent porn every day. How will I keep visitors interested? By offering more excellent porn every day. Of course, the market shifts and users tastes change over time. By communicating with our members we're able to adapt the content to account for this. A lot of it is intuition, a lot of it is blind luck...but we've become pretty damn good at predicting what will "blow up the skirts" of our members and we deliver it time and time again.We rule!

What can you offer customers that your competitor's can't?

There's only one answer to this. Me. Not to sound conceited (everybody already knows I am) but I'm the thing that sets my site apart from every other site on the market. You have to put your own personality into what you're doing, and you have to put your own signature into every piece of content you produce. Ireally think everyone should have answered this question in the same way-uniqueness in the market has nothing to do with what features your site may have. It's about the content-make it come from you and nobody else can duplicate it.

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

Jenny Craig and speed.

• Bobby Stone, Marketing, Development, AdamMale.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

We plan on re-launching our site on August 1. It will build upon our online store's functionality by incorporating new features such as customer product reviews, customer rankings, lots more clips of our videos/DVDs, and even clips showing some of our sex toys in actual use.

What can you offer customers that your competitors can't?

Our website shows you in real time whether an item is in stock or when the item is expected to ship. Your order can be tracked on our site to see exactly where it is in the order process including transit. Everyone who orders $29 or more gets to choose a full-length XXX DVD at checkout which we'll ship along with your paid order. Also, our toll free Customer Support Service number is staffed 24 hours a day.

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

We've developed a very user friendly Affiliate Program that presents a very desirable win-win partnership with other online commerce sites. We also product test our sex toys, which often means an "at home" trial. These "at home" tests have uncovered lots of shoddy manufacturing, which we'd never want our customers to have to encounter. They've also produced many amusing stories.

• Andy Fair, Editor, DickMag.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

DickMag.com has just gone live with a fresh new redesign. It's the first major change since the site's inception back in 1997! We've dropped the frames, tweaked the color scheme, and reconfigured the navigation. Now you can click to just about any page in the current issue from whatever page you are on! Five pages deep with one of the models and you want to jump over to the fetish column, "Dick Kicks"? No problem. The link is right there at the top of every page. Our new writers bring a fresh voice to the site, too. Martin Quinn takes a hands-on approach to a wide range of fetish topics from armpits to rubber and uniforms to glory holes; Strong Lee's first person observations of life and sex in New York is great horny fun; and N. Splinter's interviews with nightlife personalities like go-go boys, escorts, and other assorted characters demonstrates why New York is the queer capital of the world!

What can you offer customers that your competitor's can't?

There's a lot of talk about original content, and that is important, but it's also important that content be unique. If you've seen one skinny blond kid jack off, you've seen them all. DickMag.com features regular guys from NYC. The kinds of accessible real people you'd see walking down the street. In any given issue we'll feature a beefy Hispanic guy, a thin white guy, a twink with a hairy chest. They're all sexy in their own way.

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

We started producing content for the Web in 1997, and launched as a content plug in 1998. We've delivered updates on the first of every month ever since. Recently, we've expanded to offer webmasters two additional plug-ins: video-on-demand at www.DickShow.com and www.NYCBoys.com image gallery.

• Bill Rivers, President, BadPuppy.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

Badpuppy has been about the visitor experience since the very first day we went online in 1995. People want changes and enhancements to make their experiences memorable. If we don't provide, then the visitor will go elsewhere. Since the beginning, our game plan has been consistent. We not only keep up with the latest in technology; but in certain cases we invent the technology.

What can you offer customers that your competitor's can't?

Our claim to fame is our 24/7 technical and customer support. At 2 a.m. when something is not working the way a visitor might envision all they have to do is pick up the phone and give us a call. I believe we are the only adult company that can make that claim. Another thing we offer our visitors that a lot of other companies don't provide is a great deal of exclusive content. Badpuppy adds four new model sets every week and the Badpuppy model images can be viewed in up to four different sizes (resolutions).

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

We do that by incorporating new technology as it comes out. One of the biggest benefits we have at Badpuppy is that porn was not our direct focus when we started the company. A lot of us were already in the technology field and that, being our love, has helped us apply the best technology to our adult business. One of our biggest advances this year is our audio/video delivery system, FireFeed (www.firefeed.com). We were not satisfied with the way other company's products streamed audio and video so we decided to put our own together.

• Alexander Poole, VP of Website Development, LucasEntertainment.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

We've hired an incredibly talented new designer who is rebuilding our entire website from the ground up. This will include much more efficient navigation while maintaining our notoriously sleek and clutter-free look. Members will be able to view the new streaming content that we now shoot exclusively for our site, not to mention our entire catalog of full-length features are all online, uncut. I have almost doubled the quantity of images in our galleries, there will be sneak peaks of our upcoming releases, fetish reelsC9there are so many new additions that I don't have room to mention them all here. Oh, yeah, and plenty of updates! Always update and keep things fresh!

What can you offer customers that your competitor's can't?

We just started a new campaign: "Shop Direct & Save!" No new logic here, just good business sense. If any customer sees one of our movies on sale somewhere else for cheaper, I match the price and give them free shipping on the product. Plus they'll be getting the exclusive Director's Cut, which stores don't sell. Why the hell not?

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

Admit that you don't know anything so you're constantly learning. Internet technology is evolving to the next and next level every second, powered by the ingenuity of millions of people of all ages across the globe so there's always going to be a better way to do it all. Also, know your fan-base and give them what they want. Know your competition and anticipate their next moves. Hire a smart, talented, and intuitive Web designer who can build you what you need. There's a lot of crap "webmasters" out there with out-dated skills that will suck you dry, waste your time, and still not deliver the goods you've asked for.

• Reena Patel, Director, Strategic Accounts & Marketing, NakedSword.com

How do you plan on keeping visitors interested?

At NakedSword, we're always working to improve the selection for both members and VOD customers. To optimize consumer experience we're increasing server capacity, bandwidth and streaming resources as well as re-mastering our top movies. This coming year will also bring a host of offerings, through a slew of new affiliate co-branded sites.

What can you offer customers that your competitor's can't?

We have a selection of studios that no one in the industry can begin to compete with. We work closely with all of them-Falcon, Hot House, Titan, Rascal, Jet Set etc.-to ensure we get the premium titles. We also offer a highly successful membership model in addition to the typical PPV model-an often overlooked source of revenue as the newbies rush to VOD. We've had members who've stayed with us for years and this is a testament to our quality and commitment. NakedSword gives them access to nearly 3,000 titles whenever and wherever they want and that's hard to beat. We also interact with our members, creating a community base, through content-as in our exclusive "Tim and Roma Show!", gossip, blogs, and other interactive media. We are not just another vending machine movie site; we pride ourselves on great design, content and user satisfaction.

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

We try new things. We analyze the market and trends, and keep a pulse on what's going on. We also research what the customer and webmaster affiliates want. Whether it's a technology, like digital downloading, or a hot new title from Falcon, we go after it.

There you have it: a look at "What 15 Gay Adult Webmasters Are Doing to Win You Over" – heed their lessons and prosper!


BUSINESS ANALYSIS

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The mainstreaming of pleasure products is proving to be a blessing and a curse for the sex toy industry. As the demand for pleasure products continues to grow, manufacturers are seeing an increase of counterfeiters... More »

Trends in Paysite Design, Content Delivery

Given the highly visual nature of adult entertainment, it is no surprise that many paysites have shown design-forward approaches — some skirting the bleeding edge, while others sought stability over... More »

Surviving Affiliates Seem to Be Thriving

Long a mainstay of traffic generation for adult website owners and monetization channel for tech savvy marketers, “sponsor programs” have delivered countless millions of dollars to affiliates... More »
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