But what else can an operator do to avoid problems when "trust" breaks down?
The basic problem is a sometimes unnecessary reliance upon others.
For example, a paysite owner may rely upon affiliates as a primary traffic source, trusting them to feed his site with the visitors it so desperately needs. Affiliates in turn trust the paysite owner to pay the agreed upon payment in exchange for those visitors.
But some affiliates will spam while some sponsors will shave — with the result that neither trusts the other — leading to the situation we have today, where some site owners are dropping their sponsor programs, relying on in-house or purchased traffic sources and cutting affiliates out of the loop. Likewise, many affiliates have found that they can take greater control of their future by building their own destinations for the traffic they have.
Content producers that are not being paid by brokers or other licensees may also find that building their own destination sites make sense, while sites that depend on third party content, feeds or services may find that shooting their own exclusive content is sensible.
This walling off of individual ecosystems is taking place among the upper echelons of adult website networks, where content, billing, presentation, traffic generation and more, is internalized as much as possible. Business models are always evolving, but it is clear that professional adult website operators are seeking to maximize control over operations, rather than relying as heavily on outsourcing or "the bro factor" as they may in the past.
While not necessarily a bad thing, this process is much easier for the larger operators that have the resources to develop this infrastructure in-house, than it is for the lone wolf — which in itself changes the nature of adult's opportunities today.
The Clash of the Titans takes place in this arena, where individual fiefdoms embrace direct competition with the same zeal as they once embraced "co-opetition;" where savvy solo sites endure; and the middle ground is the most sorely contested — and vulnerable to change as an increasing number of operators choose to go it alone.