Reading the Fine Print
There’s a discussion thread currently underway at GFY where a member related the story of his friend from Denmark that reportedly has a couple of hundred adult domain names registered through DirectNic – domain names that over the weekend were placed on hold suddenly and without warning.
The story goes that the domain owner sent an email to DirectNic asking what happened, to which the registrar reportedly replied, “We have determined that your domains are illegal under US federal law [U.S. v. Extreme Associates, Inc., 431 F.3d 150 C.A.3 (Pa.), 2005. December 08, 2005 (Approx. 12 pages)] and the state laws of a majority of the states of the Union, including Louisiana and Virginia.”
Admittedly, most of these .com and .net domain names dealt with scat, rape and bestiality, etc., yet the feeling was that since the sites were hosted overseas where this material is assumed to be legal, that US laws shouldn’t apply and that the registrar was not justified in killing them.
While I’m not going to get into the false belief that hosting your site overseas somehow provides you with legal protection when your site is available in the US, I will get into the provisions of DirectNic’s Terms of Service – provisions shared by most registrars – that essentially say that if your domain name contains terms denoting illegal material or your site contains illegal material, that they can discontinue their service – and when their service is providing your site with its domain name, that’s a really serious impediment to ongoing operations.
I don’t know enough about the case to comment further and won’t get into the ignorance displayed in many of the responses to this thread, but I will say that before you click on that little “I Agree” checkbox, you should read and understand the details of exactly what it is that you’re agreeing to. Failing to do so could see you out of business, overnight and without warning – or worse.
A Blogger’s Best Friend
The latest blogging tool to hit the market comes from XBIZ community member Dino Cortez, who this week announced the release of his Blog Post Wizard; a new Windows application designed to increase the productivity of bloggers promoting adult affiliate programs while reducing common and costly errors.
According to its creator, Blog Post Wizard is a simple, form-based program that is template-driven, allows for users to create custom templates to suit individual needs and includes a standard library of common promotional data elements. The program instantly produces formatted HTML that can be cut-and-pasted into other blogging applications.
Blog Post Wizard handles some of the trickier and more repetitive tasks of post creation, letting users focus on producing quality content without worrying about coding or the various issues associated with common blog editors, all in an effort to boost productivity for promotional bloggers.
You can download an evaluation version of Blog Post Wizard for free by visiting b2b.DinoCortez.com – and take advantage of a special $20 registration offer if the program suits your needs. Check it out!
Based on the Urchin stats package (a package that I use on one of my mainstream servers), Google Analytics doesn’t come at the cost of a traffic leak like typical “button”-based free counters (buttons often featuring hardcore images, subject to 2257 requirements).
With a simple snippet of code added to each page you wish to track, Google Analytics provides you with detailed graphs showing the total number of visits and pageviews your site received, the average number of pageviews per visit, the number of visits and pageviews over time, the number of first-time visits and returning visits, the cities from which the most visitors come to your site, your top referral sources and more.
This is all pretty basic – but very necessary to have – visitor information that most stats programs convey to one degree or another. What separates Google Analytics from other programs is its high-level of integration and specialized tools for AdWords clients and others seeking information about their search engine marketing campaigns, such as CPC Analysis; AdWords Analysis and Keyword Positions; Overall Keyword Conversion; CPC vs. Organic Conversion; Keyword Considerations; Content and Navigation Optimization tools and much more.
I won’t get into all of the tools and options offered by Google Analytics but will say that for some operations, especially those that offer direct advertising, the ability to set up user access accounts to allow others to see your stats is quite handy. Although I won’t be trading in my trusty WebLog Expert server-based stats anytime soon, Google Analytics at the very least provides a nice “second opinion” on your traffic and at its very best, can make the difference between success and failure with your search engine campaigns. Give it a try and see if it works for you!
The Price of Freedom
Not inconsequential, the massive fees that a top attorney and his legal staff will incur may run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and be enough to bankrupt an operation. Forget about a happy ending; sure you might be able to escape jail time if you’re found “innocent,” but you’ll be putting your lawyer’s kids through college or buying him a nice vacation home in the process.
It’s not just the billable hours – hours that cost several hundred dollars per – either, but the additional expenses, such as finding your attorney and staff a comfortable place to live and work out of while your trial is underway. You might not have considered that, but since there are only a handful of truly qualified, experienced adult Internet attorneys, you won’t likely be fortunate enough to be prosecuted in his home town – or yours.
While some forms of insurance might cover legal fees associated with civil actions, there’s no insurance that I know of that will pay your legal fees if you’re facing criminal charges. Most attorneys will work with you to find a way to fund your defense if they feel that there’s a reasonable chance they’ll be paid, however.
One of those ways is the establishment of a legal defense fund where through pleading, fear and misinformation, you can manipulate generous and well-intentioned peers to pay for your sins, um, “defense,” against what are ‘obviously false and trumped-up charges.’ There are other options, of course, but every little bit counts…
The real issues for those in the industry not facing prosecution is “do the merits of a particular case justify its prosecution, and if so, should I still support the defendant?” and tied to that is the question “should the fact that I’m in porn mean that I should support the lowest common denominator simply because ‘we’re all in this together?’”
Considering both of these fundamental questions, the answer I come up with is “no.”
Freedom isn’t free, and there are consequences to our actions. Taking responsibility for one’s deeds is sadly no longer the American way; blaming others, and expecting others yet to foot the bill, seems to be the popular choice. Still, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Regardless of whether or not you may be called to account for your actions, it makes prudent sense to devote a good percentage of your income to both proper legal advice and to establishing a “war chest” in the event of prosecution. Not only will you be far better prepared should the worst occur, but you’ll have a nice addition to your retirement fund should you never need to pay for a protracted legal defense.
The Perfect Paysite
When considering the ingredients of the perfect paysite, it’s first important to understand why someone joins a paysite. The simple reason is that surfers will only pay for what they can’t get for free and only if they can justify the expense, which often comes down to a matter of trust and faith: in other words, does the prospective member believe that paying for a membership to your site will provide him with a satisfying enjoyment of the content he desires, with the levels of quantity, quality and ease of access that he expects – and then be able to cancel his membership, hassle-free, when he no longer wants to be a member?
On top of that, he will only buy the membership from you, instead of your competitor, if he can only get the content he desires from you or if you beat your competitor in showing the prospect that you have what he wants.
Understanding all of this gives you the recipe for the perfect paysite: You need exclusive, original content, updated at least weekly and preferably daily. You shouldn’t give away all of your best content, via for example, thousands of free hosted galleries provided to your affiliates, and you should ensure that your site loads quickly and that your content is easily accessible by focusing on intuitive navigation. Make the site easy to join (and then leave) and promote it so that folks looking for the type of content you offer find you first.
Those are the basics and they leave a lot of room for individual expression, but if you can master those basics, then you too could have “the perfect paysite.”
My Newest Sponsors
While these are not “new” sponsors in the sense of being new to the market, they are, at least in two cases, new for us – and today, I’ll tell you about them and why they were chosen to be the recipients of our low volume (but relatively high quality) traffic.
The first of these is Pornication’s live cam offerings. While I had offered Pornication feeds from the member’s areas of my old AVS network, I dropped them a few years ago when I closed that network over 2257 issues. Now a part of the Gammae family, I’ve added them to our TGP/MGP not only because of the quality of their feeds, but because of the efforts of Nancy Moore, my affiliate rep, who not only encouraged my addition of them, but helped me come up with the best presentation of the feeds for our site.
This brings up one of the most important factors in choosing a sponsor: finding a rep that will go the extra mile to work with you, even if you’re not a major affiliate sending many thousands of signups. I could care less about promises of “a million dollars per signup” or “a chance to win a gold-plated Porsche” – just give me an honest payout and someone to work with me that understands the program.
The other two sponsors were added yesterday. The first was FTVCash, home of the “First Time Video” girls. Their content not only fits in well with our amateur site, but the depth and variety of their free hosted galleries and other promo tools makes this an easy choice. These weren’t really the reasons I signed up, though. For my part, I’ve seen their galleries and enjoyed the high-quality, compelling solo-girl content they offered and considered the site to be on my short list of “worthwhile” pay sites. But the truth is that it was Fiona.
As part of my wife’s duties as ASACP’s Membership Compliance Coordinator, it’s her job to perform periodic member site reviews to ensure that everything is kosher. During one of these visits, she discovered Fiona Luv and some tantalizing pics of her “tootsies.” Having a foot fetish, my wife marveled at Fiona’s feet and while going over her website opined that “this is something that I’d join.” If you can get her to pull out her credit card – or even consider doing it – then that’s a site I want to promote.
The other program was Mayor’s Money, and once again, it was partly because of a specific model that the program promotes (Brooke Skye). While Brooke may be a bit over-exposed these days, she has undeniably one of the best-converting sites out there from what I’ve heard. Talk is one thing, tools are another, however and Mayor’s Money offers some of the most innovative promotional tools that I’ve seen from any program; and with several other popular, good-converting models, backed by folks that have been around for quite awhile, I’m anxious to incorporate their offerings into our site.
From flexible geo-IP targeted ads to easy fan signs, custom content, endless galleries and a pretty hot simulated chat tool, plus sites with abundant hi-definition videos guaranteed to satisfy discriminating surfers, this program seems to be another winner.
So there you have it: some of the factors that lead me to join one particular program over another; support, sites that convert and innovative marketing tools to promote them with. You’ll notice that payout level played no part in any of these choices, but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, feel free to use the links here to check these proggies out for yourself; sure, they have my code in them, but it won’t cost you a dime and may indeed make you quite a bit of money…
Girls Gone Mild
Yep, it didn’t take long at all to see that some folks still don’t get it…
An obvious target for scrutiny if ever there was one, I’m not surprised that GGW had the feds come down on them. After all, those endless TV ads showing inebriated girls who aren’t in any condition to (legally) sign legal documents, bouncing around and being naughty at all hours of the day, were bound to raise a few eyebrows.
Beyond that, it’s doubtless that a few of those girls really weren’t of age (or at least conveniently “forgot” their IDs), and/or were daughters of agents or otherwise inflamed, influential players that were aghast at how their child was spending the pile of money she “needed for books” by going to spring break instead.
From the DOJ’s viewpoint, this was a fortunate and satisfying victory with a major cash settlement that will no doubt look much better to the department’s Congressional critics than does a handful of inspections that all reportedly resulted in “passes.” From the viewpoint of the many outraged parents who are offended by these constant commercials, the victory must also be quite satisfying.
Indeed, Bill O’Reilly covered the story on his FOX News show last night, offering his own opinion and allowing two guest commentators (both women) to express their views as well. O’Reilly, ever the pragmatist, opined that he thought the department had much better things to spend their time and resources on, like chasing al-Qaeda (a view I agree with wholeheartedly). His attitude was basically “Who cares if a college girl who might be 17-and-three-quarters wants to be in these silly videos? This is all a waste of time!”
His guests had other opinions, however. The sensible one felt that since there are laws on the books, the government has a responsibility to enforce those laws, but pretty much left it at that. The token liberal, on the other hand, surprised O’Reilly, since most liberals are thought to embrace adult entertainment, but she felt that the GGW producers are “sleazy” and that the government should make it as hard as possible for anyone to do business in this “sleazy” industry. “It’s not a liberal view; it’s a feminist one” she offered.
The two morals of the story being: don’t forget your paperwork – and don’t think that liberals will give this industry a pass…
To Skim or Not to Skim?
The reason for this is simple: it’s the primary method by which most gallery post sites acquire their traffic. It’s also a major component of the lack of trust that many surfers have towards adult sites – a lack of trust that manifests itself in the poor conversions that gallery post traffic typically results in.
Don’t get me wrong; the over-abundance of free porn available at these sites is the number one reason why this traffic is non-productive (“Why buy the cow when the milk is free?”), but the fact remains that if the surfer can’t trust you to send him where he expects to go, he’s not going to trust you – or anyone you’re associated with – with his credit card information.
Some sites skim more than others, often to the point where you can click a link a dozen times before hitting the gallery. Some, but very few, gallery posts don’t skim clicks at all. Savvy surfers pick up on this pretty quickly; bookmarking sites that don’t skim (or skim at low, predictable levels) and avoiding sites that skim at higher levels.
I’m not opposed to traffic trading, but many webmasters need to carefully re-think the way in which they trade this traffic. After all, if you were at the mall and about to walk into the food court to grab a bite to eat and someone grabbed you and pushed you into the shoe store, would you be likely to buy a new pair of shoes? Me neither.
A Helping Hand
While I’ve done image editing for many years, I always relied on Micrografx tools, since when I started in web design back in ‘94, Photoshop was still print-centric, and lacked the sophisticated tools required for smart JPEG saving, GIF optimization and other online image manipulation necessities that we take for granted today. Photoshop quickly caught up to speed, but it was only recently that I made the switch; so now, I’m learning the ins and outs of this flexible powerhouse.
Aiding me in this quest for knowledge is a how-to manual I picked up, called “Adobe Photoshop CS2 – The Art of Photographing Women” by Kevin Ames (ISBN 0-470-04825-5), a 416-page text that delves into everything from manipulating RAW files to performing a wide variety of useful techniques for the glamour photographer and / or adult designer. The $34.99 price tag is worth every penny.
If, like me, you’re looking for the fast-track to Photoshop success, this is the ticket!
One for the Road
A small piece of a larger puzzle, it’ll take a few months before anything useful comes of it; but neither the name itself, nor the site designed around it or the seriously snazzy logo, or its place in the scheme of things, is what I want to discuss today; but rather, some of the considerations that led me to purchase it.
When something that I think would make a good website name or theme pops into my head, one of the first things that I do after seeing if it’s available is to ask someone else for an opinion. The reason for this is simple and all around you: lots of webmasters grab names that seem fabulous to them, but leave others wondering “what the heck is that supposed to be?”
Being too “cute” or using slang terms that you’re certain everyone else knows, or just being stupid, leads to all sorts of worthless domain name registrations. I know that most of the good names have been taken and that all of the great names are long gone, but stretching the options so thinly is often a waste of time and energy.
As for the great names, they are the truly valuable ones simply because they have real type-in value, for example, sex.com is a great name: lots of people will type this into their browser’s address bar, assuming that the site will contain the content they seek. Almost invariably, short, common, easily spelled, single-word names, ending in ‘.com’ (such as golf.com, flowers.com, or porn.com), these great names have long been off the market.
Good names are another matter, however, and many are still available. These are typically two-word names that make common, understandable sense in the context of the content being offered on the site they denote. While some of these have moderate type-in value, none of them are as intuitive as the great names, with the majority of type-ins coming from return visitors that didn’t bookmark the site but remembered the name – a process that effective branding encourages. The best of these names also tend to have a certain ‘ring’ to them that makes them ‘catchy,’ as it were.
So there I was, sitting in the moonlight enjoying an ice cold beer and thinking about the gap in my portfolio and how I wanted to address it, running option after option through my head, when a name with a nice ring to it compelled me to check it’s availability. Sure enough, one of two versions was available. “One of two versions?” you ask? Yep. When I settle on a name, the name itself as well as the brand that will come of it, is an issue and as such (when choosing a multiple word name) I seek out both the hyphenated as well as the non-hyphenated version of the dot-com (other TLDs being a waste of resources). When appropriate, versions of the name with and without an “s” on the end of the word are also advisably collected as a means of brand protection, i.e., “domain-names.com.”
The hyphenated version separates the names so that search engines and surfers alike know what it really denotes. For example, ‘domain-name.com’ is much clearer than ‘domainname.com’ – both to man and machine. In this example, even a spider with a sophisticated artificial intelligence engine would not be certain from the name alone whether it denotes “domain name” or “do main name” since the separation point isn’t clearly specified. While it might make sense to you, you’re not a machine, and those machines are a major source of free, high-quality traffic, so considering their needs is a priority. Having the non-hyphenated version of the name (domainname.com) pointed to the hyphenated version, effectively redirects any type-in traffic to the main site.
In my case, sadly, the non-hyphenated version was unavailable, having been registered in 2003, but pointing to no website and resolving as a 404 error. Preferring the hyphenated version and willing to accept the (slight) loss of type-ins that would hit that page if they forgot to add the hyphen, I had no problem going for the single, hyphenated name, since it really is “that good.” Well, a little problem; I decided to sleep on it, but registered it the first thing this morning. As for getting the opinion of others, my lovely wife Dawn said: “Damn! That’s perfect!”
I’m also not too sad about not being able to have both names (yet). I was in a similar position before: I watched the (non-hyphenated) name I wanted being renewed, again and then again. On the fourth year, it lapsed – and I picked it up – the moral of the story being “good things come to those that wait.”
While I’m trying to be disciplined and not over-extend myself, I also hate to see a good opportunity pass by. There’s a lot more to this story, but I’ll save it for another day. In the meantime, I hope I’ve given you some things to think about when considering your next domain name purchase.