12 Clicks Cash Clicks with Cross-Sells

John Stuart
When Ron Holiday returned to the adult market two years ago with webmaster affiliate program 12 Clicks Cash, it was almost like he'd never left. Having run the firm's parent company, Standard Internet, with his partner for 11 years, Holiday never lost touch with the friends and partnerships he'd made in adult. This allowed the 12 Clicks Cash president to make a smooth re-entry.

"When we first started in adult, we were already pretty big in click brokerage," Holiday said. "We'd parlayed that into mainstream stuff. We actually were the first company to broker searches and pop-up ads. The market for clicks was fantastic in the early days, but as soon as the market wised up it was no longer a place for big returns.

"Google kind of ate our lunch on searches, and along with Microsoft, hurt our pop-up business. So we decided to come back into adult a couple of years ago. We maintained all of our friendships while we were away, so it was very easy for us to get back into it."

Part of the reason why 12 Clicks Cash has flourished in its relatively brief life is the reputation the company has established in the sometimes murky arena of cross-selling. Holiday's company may be an affiliate program and boast of its own content on its own sites, but at the end of the day 12 Clicks Cash specializes in cross-sells.

"IPSPs [Internet Payment Service Providers] are coming to us knowing we're a somewhat conservative company in a not-so-conservative part of the market," Holiday said. "We're working with Commerce Gate and Danni's Hard Drive, to name a couple. We're going to offer them cross-sells, which is good news to them. The IPSPs realize they're losing business, and their customers are behind the eight ball by not having the cross-sell option.

"When you see firms offer $60 or $100 payouts, everyone assumes they're cheating you. They wonder how we can pay out that much. Well, it's because we're making so much money in the cross-sell world. Cross-sells make so much money it's like crack. Once program owners get a taste of it, they can't walk away from it.

"The only thing we're doing with the cross-sell is letting them rebill. We're not hitting them with extra charges. We're not up-selling them. We're not emailing their members. We don't do any of that, which makes us a safe partner to work with. We've carved out a niche for ourselves as a safe company with which to do cross-sell business."

Even though 12 Clicks Cash does a lot of affiliate business — the company has 25 sites covering the top 14 niches — a major portion of its effort goes into business-to-business dealings. In this area, Holiday has taken pains to make 12 Clicks Cash stand apart from the usual patterns of behavior in this area.

"There are a lot of shady characters in the cross-sell world," he said. "We've shown our partners that we're not part of that crowd. It's really reaping a lot of benefits for us. When we show them that we have an exclusive deal with a big IPSP, they know we're not some fly-by-night outfit trying to make a quick buck in cross-sells.

"Our honesty sets us apart. I speak the truth to affiliates, even when they don't want to hear it. We're very free with our opinions and with offering what we believe to be sound advice. We're trying to help whoever it is we talk to. I think that's a rare commodity today, because so many people think they're protecting their little island of knowledge.

"Sometimes I think this even hurts me in getting affiliates. They think, 'He's that asshole from the boards who thinks he knows everything.' I say that I've been in this business for 11 years and I do know everything."

Although 12 Clicks Cash is always on the lookout for new affiliate partners, Holiday is very particular about the type of person he'll accept under the company's umbrella.

"If your entire business revolves around waiting for the next free hosted gallery to come out from Program A, or waiting for the next big payout from Program B, you're not going to be here very long," Holiday said. "You've got to be someone who strikes out on your own and isn't afraid to invest in your own company.

"Buy your own content and don't stand around waiting to be spoon fed by the program owners. If you just sit there and collect what the program owners give you, you're one of 100,000 affiliates. If you strike out on your own, you're far more likely to become successful. If you're just going to sit and use my tools, you're not going to get any further."

The 12 Clicks Cash program deals not only with affiliates, but also with consumers in its cross-selling activities. Holiday claims that the company has no complaints from them, outside of the usual queries from customers who don't realize they've been prechecked for fraud. These people always receive full refunds, a company policy that Holiday insists is much of the reason why 12 Clicks Cash converts and retains well.

"We do everything we can to protect the original join that has thrown me the cross-sell," Holiday said. "Whenever someone either calls or navigates to our cancel pages, we instantly give them credit back.

"Fraud is a huge issue for us. We used to be fantastic at dealing with fraud in the quick brokering days. It's amazing how much credit card fraud there is in adult. I personally handle a good bit of it. I feel that when you accuse someone of being a thief, you don't leave that up to an employee, so I always get the last call on that personally."

Holiday's hands-on approach doesn't stop with fraud dealings. He's hired a talented staff to keep 12 Clicks Cash looking fresh with sweeping updates on all of its sites. Since being established nearly two years ago, the company has changed its content 100 percent, according to Holiday. All the sites have new front ends, and all of the content has been encoded in high resolution and Flash, making it fully resizable up to full screen without sacrificing picture quality.

"A lot of our trailers at the front ends are done in Flash in a larger format," Holiday said, "so we give you more bang for your buck inside the members area."

For the remainder of 2008, 12 Clicks Cash also will be releasing new promotional material for each of its new sites. Holiday promises that one site each month will be chosen to release a couple of hundred free hosted galleries with higher payouts.

"We'll definitely keep our foot on the gas pedal to get content out to our affiliates," Holiday said.

The improvements have helped 12 Clicks Cash create a solid footprint in the adult market, but Holiday believes there's another reason why the company has done so well there.

"Mostly it's because I fit into the adult market," he said. "There are no business owners in adult who will say a bad thing about me. They know that we're straight shooters, and we have a very good relationship with all of our competitors and all of our partners. It helps in this business to have no one badmouthing you."

It also helps to be available to any and all who have questions or need service. This, too, is a quality stressed by Holiday.

"My ICQ is all over the Internet," he says. "If you want to contact me, you hit my ICQ and you'll get at least five minutes of my time. I have an incredible staff, and we can pretty much do anything for anybody."

When a business can make that promise, it's no mystery why it has enjoyed great success.