309 Models Later
Just don't tell Randy Blue that. Blue is the founder of the wildly successful website RandyBlue.com, a site that is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. He doesn't like titles, so you'll never see him calling himself "president."
"We believe that everyone brings something different to the table," he said. "If anything, I'd be called the creative director."
Featuring some extremely sexy men — gay, straight and bisexual — RandyBlue.com is responsible for introducing several popular models to the porn world: Recently, Rascal Video exclusive Blake Riley won Best Newcomer at the GAYVN Awards and has received multiple nominations at Gay Chicago's upcoming Grabby Awards (to be held in Chicago on Memorial Day weekend). Tony Capucci, another recent Randy Blue graduate, just inked an exclusive contract with Falcon Studios.
"I think it's awesome," Blue told XBIZ from the set, where Randy Blue exclusive Reese Rideout was performing a scene with Eddie Diaz. "It's nice to see Blake and Tony taking that next step in their careers and are finding success. I love that we were the ones who introduced them to the world."
Created back in 2003, RandyBlue.com was the brainchild of Blue and his partner. The site was a far stretch from Blue's background of sales, marketing and the development of beauty products.
"When we started RandyBlue.com," Blue said, "we were working with a company called MaxPixels. We provided content for them, but quickly discovered that we weren't making a killing in content sales. Back then, everyone wanted to make money but no one wanted to pay. I started looking at other paysites, and they were all shit. People didn't know what they were doing — they were all over the place. Tastes were immature, and back then, all anyone wanted was to see a dick on their computer screen. They didn't care how they got it. However, that's no longer the case. Just like how today, no one wants to watch black-and-white television anymore — we're in a different era."
Back in '03, the only players in the game were, according to Blue, "Sean Cody, and eventually, Jake Cruise. I wanted to have a site that portrayed my tastes more — all kinds of men, with each man a perfect specimen of what his category was.
"I wanted the site to have a rich, upscale taste to it," Blue said. "I wanted RandyBlue.com to be talked about without any embarrassment. So I would shoot photos of a model — one set would go for content sales, one would be for us — and by the launch, we had a lot of our own original content."
Five years later, Blue tells XBIZ that there are approximately 309 models on his site (new models are introduced every week), he shoots three scenes a week and the site has eight live shows and 12 original videos that debut each month. In addition to the original content, RandyBlue.com offers a variety of options, including erotic stories, blogs, video channels, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and a lot more, including former Bruce Weber model Peter Adonis, whose personal workout on the site has fans going crazy.
There are no plans for developing any DVDs from the site — not even "Best of" compilations. "There's no denying that the current DVD market is changing rapidly," Blue said. "If we do produce DVDs, you can bet we'll do it differently."
Word hit the street fast, and while Blue won't reveal how many members subscribe to RandyBlue.com, he does admit that it's "a lot."
Hundreds of models apply to the website on a monthly basis.
"One of the things I am most proud of is that we have a great reputation," Blue said. "Most of our talent base comes from these applicants. We don't take everyone, obviously — they have to fit a certain mold. But I'll happily refer models that may not be a perfect fit with RandyBlue.com to other sites. We don't normally take twinks, but I'll certainly pass them along to another site where I think they'll make the most impact.
"When I'm looking at models," Blue said, "it all comes down to personality and professionalism. I'd say looks only comprise about 30 percent of my criteria. The other 70 percent is all about personality and professionalism."
There's no denying that RandyBlue.com's content is professional in every sense of the word.
"When I hear people lumping us in with other 'amateur' sites, it makes me crazy," Blue said. "But I think the term is changing rapidly. When the Internet first emerged, it was a great way to classify things. There were no promotional campaigns or posters to accommodate the content. But the industry has grown, and our production values are just as good or better. We work with some of the greatest photographers — in fact, we just brought on a model named Q, who was a member of a French boy band in the '90s. He wouldn't have done that if it hadn't been for our professionalism.
"If anything," Blue said, "our site is just as valid as a larger video studio. In many ways, we provide more work for our models and show them off to a different audience."
On break from his scene, Reese Rideout, the "Poster Boy of Randy Blue," told XBIZ how he came to Blue's site.
President of JABB Management Andrew Briskin said, "When I set up JABB, we approached Randy first to handle his models, as they are some of the most sought after in the business and the clubs, and fans love them."
At press time, dates were still being finalized for the tour, which will bring Blue and his site much more exposure. One event that is finalized, Briskin said, is the appearance of four of the RandyBlue.com exclusives in New York City on June 27 for New York Pride.
There's no denying that Blue knows what he's doing, and has been rewarded by fans and industry alike: RandyBlue.com has received a Cybersocket Web Award every year since 2004 — recognition that being "amateur" had nothing to do with.