A couple of years later, Henning moved into the adult dating realm by launching AdultMatch.com, the first site of what would eventually become Dating Gold.
Now, six years later, Dating Gold has become one of the industry's largest affiliate and adult dating programs, boasting more than 10 million users worldwide and more than 15,000 affiliates. The cramped work space has morphed into a spacious office in Stockton, Calif., that employs 25 people: programmers, sales and marketing experts, customer service folks, and accountants.
"We've definitely grown tremendously in the last six years," said Henning, CEO of Dating Gold. "Six years in the business is definitely an achievement, because a lot of businesses don't last that long. When we started with Amateur Match, we didn't have an affiliate program yet. That's where Dating Gold came in, to serve our affiliates for our dating site."
Henning claims that the secret behind his firm's success is no secret at all. It's just a matter of doing whatever it takes to keep his affiliates and his customers happier than they would be with the competition. And Dating Gold has found a lot of ways to do this, usually by marrying cutting edge technology to generous payouts. The company's programmers have concocted a one-of-a-kind system that allows them to track stats for affiliates, recording how much traffic they send and how much money they're making. And the money they make is definitely a lure.
"We pay $75 per sale on Amateur Match," Henning said, which contrasts nicely with the standard $50 per sale offered by most of the competition. "But we just started a cam promo that offers $150 per sale on our Webcam Club site. We also pay per email, and that's anywhere from $2 to $5 per email, depending on the quality. We offer that for both our dating and cam sites and people don't have to worry if they convert into a sale. Our payouts are biweekly, and we also have a revenue sharing plan, which is more popular on our cam site.
"We definitely try to have the most competitive payouts," Henning said, "because that's one good way to grow your numbers."
Another good way to grow numbers is to stay ahead of the curve technologically. Dating Gold constantly adds the newest promotional tools, and its latest offering has been nothing short of phenomenal.
"The biggest thing we've done in the last year has been our white labels, where we can white label a dating or cam site," Henning reveals. "We started doing custom live cam solutions last April when we launched WebCamClub.com. Now we can do a cam white label, so affiliates can set up a white label version of the cam site for themselves. They also can do that with a dating site.
"The unique thing about our white label, as opposed to our competitors, is that we offer affiliates the opportunity to do their own billing. If they want to set up a dating site, we do all the technology, all the software, the entire back end, and all the profiles, but they can do their own billing if they want to. This is an advantage to affiliates who want to control their own credit card information. We also offer a version in which we can do the billing for them, if they don't want to mess with that."
Another Dating Gold innovation involves a new application programming interface tool (API), which supports requests made by computer programs.
"With our new API tool, people can host their own registration page, and then post the profile data to us, after which we pay them," Henning said. "This allows us to work more with the mainstream networks, because they can't have nudity on their sites. But they're willing to run our offer, so they post the information to us and we pay them a commission. In this way we can work with people who buy advertising on different sites — people we normally wouldn't be able to approach."
Recently, Dating Gold has made yet another inroad into the mainstream market as the company expands its operating base. Last month, Henning announced the launch of a Google Maps Landing Page on his sites.
"We had to keep it mainstream, because Google won't allow adult content," Henning said. "It's basically a map that shows where you're from, and if, say, you're from Los Angeles, it will show you the sales available in your area on the map. You can then click on the sales you see, and it will show you the girls available for live cam or dating in that area. It's something that no one has done before. We thought it would be a good way to allow people to find a girl in their area, since so many folks are familiar with Google Maps."
Henning's other piece of news is that he has just become a partner in Right Hosting, the Los Angeles-based company that provides full service web hosting, created by industry leaders in that field. Dating Gold was one of the first firms to sign up with Right Hosting, and Henning was so pleased with the results that he took the plunge into partnership.
"We invest a lot of money into maintaining good support for our affiliates," Henning said, adding that he's excited to join forces with such veterans of the hosting industry, people Henning says he already knows and trusts.
And trust, Henning adds, is the vital cog in the Dating Gold success story over its first six years.