Doing so is the best way to be competitive while identifying areas for improvement that can be turned into your own unique sales propositions.
The perfect example of this is the tube site phenomenon; blamed by some in the adult industry for "killing the biz" — but for many consumers, however, the tubes are the biz.
The denial and false assumptions surrounding this current reality is hurting previous-generation adult sites and muddying the waters for new entries and initiatives. While real world factors come into play beyond a site's search result rankings, a quick trip to Google can provide a ready glimpse into some of today's most popular adult Internet sites — revealing what consumers find (and thus come to expect) when they look for porn.
The following are the Top 10 organic results I obtained from searching Google for "porn" as a single keyword — in much the same way as an "average" surfer might:
In the interest of scientific research, I decided to follow these links to see what I would find. PornHub, a tube site, ranked number one, displaying a number of free clips on its home page, with an easy user interface. One of the top thumbnails caught my eye and I was soon enjoying "Red Neck MILFs Tanning," featuring a couple of hot mommas that stripped out of their bikinis, rubbed baby oil on each other and became good friends.
The advertising is unobtrusive and the bold invitation to "unlock all features for $1" undoubtedly pulling in cash. The video played for more than 13 minutes, was compelling and of a higher quality than I had expected for a free sample.
As a consumer venturing out on to the adult Internet, whether I spent that buck or not, I may not go any further in my quest for online porn.
Free tube portal Porn.com came in second in the listings, also offering free videos. Joined by fifth placed Free Porn Videos (www.freepornyourturn.com), a pseudo directory site, these sites undoubtedly deliver considerable levels of traffic to the Pimproll network.
Mr. Babes and Lover of Porn are also tube sites, but unlike many others, the latter site requires users to register (or login) before viewing any videos. Bang You Later is also a tube site, boasting high quality video along with a mobile and iPad version. SexyTimez is a busy looking tube portal as is Porn.to. Erotic Candy, on the other hand, is a review blog.
The last listing is particularly interesting, as it is a single comic strip entitled "porn," on a blog calling itself "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language." I cannot say how it ranks so well, but wonder why so many adult sites rank lower…
So there you have it — 70 percent of the top "porn" sites are tube sites (at least from the standpoint of this one, simple metric). While these sites offer the same type of content (free adult video clips), there are distinct quality and usability differences between them, as well as variances in feature set depth and business models. Blogs and paysite reviews make up the rest.
This does not necessarily mean that building a tube site is the way to go, it just means that understanding the tube experience is vital to understanding consumer expectations — the meeting and exceeding of which is the key to success. Take a fresh look at the leading adult websites today and see how their strengths can be incorporated into your approach.