Placing Bets on iPad-Optimized Porn

Q. Boyer
Back in January, practically before Steve Jobs had completed the sentence in which he put a name to the long-awaited tablet device forthcoming from Apple, adult site operators had already begun to snatch up good domain names for what would soon become the first round of iPad-optimized porn sites.

By the time Apple’s latest hardware hit shelves in the U.S., several enterprising adult companies had already launched their first iPad-focused sites, banking on the buzz around the “magical, revolutionary” tablet to drive sales to their fledging properties.

While many Apple critics have derided the device as merely an overhyped and oversized iPod Touch, far more important from a business and development perspective is the consumer response, which has produced sales that greatly outpaced those of the iPhone in its first few weeks of existence. According to Apple, the iPad sold one million units in just 28 days, better than twice as fast as the iPhone, which took 73 days to reach the one million sales mark.

The list of ‘early adopter’ iPad sites below is far from comprehensive, supplying but a small sample of the iPad-optimized properties that have sprung up in the weeks since the device first arrived in stores. The point is to take note that companies both big and small, sites both established and just emerging, are attempting to leverage the popularity of the iPad to spur sales and expose their brands to a growing consumer base, and to highlight what these companies have done (or, in some cases, have not done) to optimize their sites for viewing on this hot-selling new piece of hardware.

DavidNudesiPad.com: One of the most recent launches on this list, DavidNudesiPad.com is a simple but well-crafted site that offers easy navigation, and is well-formatted for display on the tablet. The videos are encoded in h.264 format, and play within the page rather than opening in a separate player. All in all, the iPad version of the site does a great job of showcasing the photographer’s work in a clean, classy package that is well constructed for iPad-based viewing.

DigitalPlayground.com: On the iPad, DigitalPlayground.com looks and functions very much as the site does on a desktop or laptop, which is a testament to forward thinking, and a good example of how to fashion across-platform compatible site. The videos are embedded on the page, the image quality crisp, and the playback is smooth and reliable. While the display is not customized for the iPad, per se, the site's top-down navigation is certainly iPad-friendly, yielding a "natural" feel on the tablet when perusing the site. It goes without saying that the content itself is top-notch… this IS Digital Playground we're talking about, after all.

BDSMPad.com: Launched before the iPad was available in U.S. stores, the site’s optimization doesn’t run particularly deep, unfortunately. BDSMPad’s design is very wordpress-template-like, and once you enter the members’ area any sense of the site being optimized for display on the iPad is gone. The videos open within the Safari media player (as the videos for many sites do when viewed on an iPhone), not embedded into the page as with DavidNudesiPad.com. On the plus side, the videos play very nicely, and the site is currently faced with very little competition in the content categories it carries, meaning that despite its optimization shortcomings, it remains the likely site of choice for iPadbased BDSM fans at the moment.

BangYouLater.com: While the company made the rather dubious press release claim that bangyoulater.com was “the first iPad compatible adult site” (in a release dated April 14), at the time I was writing this article I was unable to get the site to resolve on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Judging by the way the site displays in standard browser however, it should look and function just fine on an iPad, once the problem causing it to fail to resolve on Apple’s various ‘iProducts’ has been corrected.

PinkVisualPad.com: Launched to the public the day before the iPad became available within the U.S., PinkVisualPad.com was crafted to take advantage of the iPad’s improved CSS support (meaning improved in comparison to the iPhone), using CSS for visual effects like gradients, rounded corners and drop shadows, rather than being a graphicintensive site. The site employs HTML5 to display video inside the browser, rather than in the iPad’s media player, and is generally designed to look and feel like it blends with the iPad GUI, and to feel more like a native iPad app.

RocketTube.com: Although the iPad version of RocketTube.com does not appear to have been reformatted for the tablet from the version served to standard desktop browsers, the site does scale well, and is easy to navigate on an iPad. The videos play within the browser, rather than opening in the iPad’s media player, further simplifying navigation for iPad users.

XBIZ.com: While technically not a ‘porn site,’ XBIZ.com is certainly about porn, and represents one of the better examples among early adopter porn sites in terms of being crafted in ways that take advantage of the iPad’s abilities and features. A very nicely formatted web app, the iPad version of XBIZ uses a framework that allows the site to operate in a way that is very close to a native, on-deck iPad app, and which shares some features common to iPhone apps as well, like the bottom menu overlay, and the “snap-back” function when the user scrolls beyond the bottom or top of the page.

If the history of the adult Internet is any indication, there’s a great deal of evolution in store for the iPad porn market on the development side. As time goes by, and the early adopters make adjustments to their iPad-optimized properties, improvements and refinements are bound to be made — and just as assuredly, styles and structures will emerge that will be rapidly copied across the breadth of the iPad porn space. What the early adopters have that will be hard to reproduce, however, is the benefit of being first to market, and first to catch the eye of consumers who have a shiny new device that appears almost made for porn viewing, regardless of Steve Jobs’ protestations to the contrary.

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