It might even be somewhat fair to blame the industry's arch enemy du jour, the tube sites, for some of the problems in this regard. And besides often offering unlicensed full-length videos, the tubes typically have an advantage in feature sets and user interactivity — although perhaps "blame" is the wrong word to use to describe a process where an entity that is so reviled by paysite operators is actually forcing these players to excel in their own operations as a matter of success — if not outright survival.
Although the tubes are not the only example, with history and the mainstream also pointing the way to how webmasters can provide the content and user experience that customers demand, the tubes may provide a glimpse of the paysite of tomorrow. But how content is formatted and displayed is not the only factor in determining its desirability. So with this in mind, let's take a look at some of the common (and not so common) types of adult content that surfers have come to expect — or at least come to demand.
Photos are Forever
The earliest example of erotic art, still imagery has evolved from crude cave paintings of big-breasted fertility goddesses to today's advanced digital photographic imaging that continues to increase in resolution and color quality, as well as in the ease of production and post-production manipulation to the point where nearly any person with a modern, high-quality digital camera can produce "professional" results — eliminating many of the quality concerns faced by previous generations of photographers and visual artists.
For the paysite operator, providing customers with bigger, better and more photos is a necessary part of staying abreast of consumer demand, even in our video-centric world; but it takes more than quantity and quality to stand apart from the crowd these days, as there are a number of enhanced display and delivery options that make the enjoyment of adult photo collections that much better.
For example, only providing static galleries with low-resolution thumbnail images and little-to-no navigational aids will not make your members too happy in this gee-whiz age. Sophisticated gallery controls with user-selectable slideshow speeds and page transitions; image tagging for easy searching options; viewer voting, commenting and rating systems; compressed "zip" file downloads of high-resolution photo collections; wallpaper images; screensavers and more are all part of the cutting-edge paysite today.
Videos: Providing Motion and Emotion
Just as with still imagery, video technology has increased dramatically in the quality of productions able to be produced by even the most amateur of cameramen, with the more professional videographer now able to deliver simply stunning hi-definition images on an amazingly low budget, compared to even a couple of years ago.
And likewise, progressive paysite operators are increasing the resolution, quantity and quality of their videos while deploying them with enhanced display options. For example, a full-length, high-bit rate video may be just what a user with a fast broadband connection wants for a download-to-burn option, allowing for easy expansion of his DVD collection, while other members will appreciate the same video broken up into scene-length clips for easier downloading, and still other users will prefer shorter, dial-up friendly highlight clips such as those used for promotion on movie gallery post sites. A savvy operator will offer all of the above as download options, along with streaming videos for those who prefer not to download a movie, but to watch it then and there.
This brings up the added complication of format flexibility — a concern no longer faced by webmasters adding photos to their pages in the common JPEG format, but grappled with by video marketers trying to provide the biggest bang for the buck, while avoiding unnecessary encoding costs. Windows Media, MPEG, Flash, Silverlight, QuickTime and a variety of formats that target mobile devices such as .mp4 are all part of the growing mix of formats consumers may demand from your paysite — and that list is growing.
Stories: Telling a Tale of "Tail"
Erotic stories have been popular among people all throughout history — just as they still are today. However, modern technology has advanced the process well beyond the simple written word; the process now includes everything from basic text content, such as web pages full of sexy scenarios, to interactive storytelling where online community members add their own "chapters" to an evolving storyline.
Included in this category are the foundations of interactivity that are so important for member retention and building a fan base, such as frequent personalized blog posts and the use of social networking platforms such as Twitter — an increasingly popular way for porn personalities to keep their name in front of their audience.
Technology has also advanced the art of erotic storytelling on the verbal front — more commonly known as "talking dirty" — in all of its various incarnations. While traditional audiotext (phone sex) services are the easiest example, other popular forms include audio stories that are essentially the adult version of "books on tape" where a performer reads aloud what would otherwise be written content, along with new forms of interpersonal communication such as Skype, which allows for live, two-way talk on a low-to-zero cost and widely available platform.
A Fantastic Future
While some may consider many of these forms of adult entertainment to be overkill for a typical paysite, the tech-savvy younger generations of surfers require more than scans of Polaroid photos and poorly encoded videos shot on VHS. They're used to powerful tools for accessing and viewing the content of their choice and are not easily satisfied. With the increasing focus on haptics, 3D, mobile and other technologies, the demand for new and better forms of content will only escalate. It's up to the paysite owner to find a way to profitably satisfy these demands while staying on the cutting edge.