TubeClicks is really a sort of no-brainer evolution of the base model, but while the inevitability of the effort is not lost on Fresh Dave, who entered the industry in 2004 selling video-on-demand technology, he also fully appreciates the many challenges his team faced muscling the idea into existence.
"It's not the easiest thing introducing a brand new business model to an industry that is used to a certain way of doing business," Fresh Dave told XBIZ. "A lot of thought and time went into it. First, with an A-team of sponsors we're still working with, we began populating Gutter.com with fully legal, 2257-compliant content. TubeClicks was also in development from the beginning, but took a while to develop as we went back and forth on the concept of how to run it and how to cover every angle so that we would make money, webmasters would make money and affiliate programs would make money."
Gutter.com launched about a year ago with 12 sponsor programs. To join, a program must provide a minimum of 1,000 scenes. According to Fresh Dave, the scene minimum is but one way of determining the seriousness of the sponsor program in working effectively to maximize the potential of TubeClicks.
"We get constant requests from sponsor programs to become a part of Gutter.com and TubeClicks," he said, "but we are very selective about who we work with, which is why we established the 1,000 scene minimum. But there are other ways — such as being diligent about uploading scenes into the system on a regular basis — that a program can do to show us that it is serious about taking advantage of what we have to offer them. At the end of the day, we really are all partners in this venture."
Sponsor programs currently working with TubeClicks include Adult Paymaster, Bang Bros, EuroRevenue, JuggCash, PimpRoll, SilverCash, TrafficCashGold, DeeCash, PlatinumBucks, SpaCash, Hundies, GunzBlazing, HentaiBoss, Blue Loot, TripleXCash, AdultPlayersClub, Barebacked and Lavish Cash.
The TubeClicks affiliate program is a simple procedure. A webmaster signs up to TubeClicks and populates their affiliate ID for the 18 programs that are listed under the third party sponsor section. Once they populate their IDs, they are ready to push traffic.
"Then they grab a TubeClicks ID and drive traffic to Gutter.com, where we dynamically insert the appropriate affiliate program ID into the text link or banner above or below the video. From that point on, it's just like the affiliate is pushing traffic directly to the program. They get paid directly from that program and make 100 percent of the profits. We don't take a piece of the action and we don't skim the traffic," Fresh Dave said.
Fresh Dave explained that TubeClicks makes money on other webmaster referrals, since not every webmaster that signs on is an affiliate of the 18 programs. They also make money through Gutter Premium, an upsell that provides members with 20,000 videos in mobile format, higher resolution and streaming speed priority, the ability to create profiles to interact with and meet other users and other perks. They also get Vivid and Hustler TV channels as well as Gutter TV, which adds another 120 niche specific TV channels."
"Of course, they also get unlimited viewing of scenes a day, which for free visitors is limited to 15 per day," Fresh Dave said. "Gutter Premium goes for 9.83 dollars, euros and pounds, which means that affiliates make more on foreign (non-U.S.) sales. Depending on the volume of sales, our webmasters keep 50-60 percent of premium sales on a revenue share basis for life."
Fresh Dave is adamant to clarify that affiliate traffic is not siphoned. "As far as affiliate traffic is concerned," he says, "nothing outside those 18 sponsors is displayed, because that would be a traffic leak."
TubeClicks also provides a number of tools for affiliates, including deep linking, RSS, hosted MGPs and customizable flash flow, banners and MGP interfaces. Stats available include third party outgoing clicks, by sponsor, where traffic came from and landed as well as free join, paid join and multicurrency breakdowns.
Despite all the attention given to affiliate and sponsors, Fresh Dave believes that the bottom line responsibility for Gutter.com and TubeClicks, as well as for the industry as a whole, is to provide a superior experience for the surfer, which means meeting their expectations. As far as the age old question of whether content or traffic is king, Fresh Dave barely hesitates before answering. "Traffic," he says, with the quick caveat that as the main element in creating the satisfactory experience, content comes in a close second.
Fresh Dave also believes that Gutter.com addresses the unavoidable reality that the producer no longer controls the game and even more vitally, that if they fail to meet the expectations of an increasingly sophisticated consumer of adult content, that surfer will go somewhere else, as they currently do in increasing numbers. In the end, it's all about control and the consumer has it.
While Fresh Dave admits that that loss of control continues to be difficult for many industry players to accept, it is a reality that TubeClicks and Gutter.com have come to embrace. By layering a multi-sponsor affiliate program on top of a consumer-driven legal tube site, the TubeClicks innovation has been to merge supposedly irreconcilable forces in a way that benefits everyone involved. Thus far, he adds, the results have been promising and both sponsors and affiliates are pleased with the results.
One continuing complaint about tube sites is that the free video offerings are far too many and too long, killing sales in the process. While paying strict attention to the quality of the consumer interface, Fresh Dave has addressed quantity the way other tube sites do, by limiting daily viewing by free surfers to 15 scenes. As to length, Fresh Dave says that Gutter.com contains no 30-minute scenes and the minimum length for a clip is 2 minutes.
"The longest video we have on Gutter.com is about 15 minutes long, and we only have a few sponsors who have provided those," he says. "Believe it or not, the sponsors who are providing those videos have great content and are seeing great conversions, even at that length. In fact, our best performing sponsors are JuggCash, Bang Bros and Brazzers, and some of them are posting up some of the longer scenes and doing much better than many of the other sponsors providing shorter scenes."
As to the future, Fresh Dave insists it is bright. "Over the three months we have been around, we have seen consistent growth in traffic, and as the traffic has grown sales have been growing a little more than the traffic, which means the measures we have taken to increase conversions have been working."
That doesn't mean he is going to stop innovating any time soon.