WIA Profile: Laurel Hertz
Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
Prior to working in the adult industry, what did you do for a living?
I was a college student, but also worked as a staff accountant and bartender while attending college. In my last two years of college I ran a couple of free sites and that's when I knew that I wanted to work in adult after college and not for a stuffy consulting firm where most of my peers ended up. Besides, back in 2000 I saw a lot of early growth on the Internet, with the adult sector being on the forefront.
What do you find most challenging about working in the industry?
Like I said, the adult Internet biz is on the forefront of Internet technology and Internet marketing techniques. It is constantly trying to stay abreast of these technologies and techniques that are most challenging and most rewarding. For example TGPs have the most traffic currently but "tube" style sites are growing like crazy; programs that don't cater to both are losing out on traffic. Red Light is constantly working with webmasters to stay ahead of the curve. Whatever the next trend is legally, technologically or marketing-wise I am constantly making sure our affiliates have all the tools they need to take advantage of it.
In your opinion, what sets Red Light District's affiliate program apart from other affiliate programs?
We are constantly changing. Any affiliate company that thinks simply by offering affiliates RSS feeds, linked Flash video trailers, free hosted galleries and other basic tools that they are staying current with webmaster tools, is out to lunch. Red Light was built not only to offer the proper tools to the webmasters, but also direct the traffic generated by those flashy tools at pages that are built to specifically convert that type of traffic. For example, when you click on a pic of a porn star in our RSS feeds, you are taken to a page of her pics and a list of the movies she has been in. Our whole tour is dynamic and webmasters can send niche traffic to a niche page built specifically for them.
Do you anticipate that more video production companies will be launching their own affiliate programs in the near future?
Video sales have been dropping by around 33 percent a year for the past couple of years and that trend is going to continue. In the past, the video companies considered Internet sales such as licensing content and VOD revshare deals as bonus money. Once video companies realize that licensing their content was a one-time cash deal and not a long-term Internet game plan, we will continue to see video companies creating whole divisions devoted to the Internet, and that will include affiliate programs.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to entry into the online market for companies that primarily produce content/DVDs? What is keeping other major video producers from taking the "online plunge," so to speak?
I think the biggest challenge they face is lack of knowledge. I don't pretend to know the best way to light a set, but I do know that spending five minutes in Photoshop on a thumb can double the clicks to a gallery on a TGP. Marketing a physical DVD and marketing a porn site are as different as night and day; that's why you see video companies seeking out proven Internet professionals to run their Internet division.