opinion

Niche Pricing

Stewart Tongue
For many years webmasters have explored virtually every content niche from grandparents banging the babysitter to shackled sweethearts and their leather-clad trainers. Some have tinkered extensively with pricing mechanisms including trials, recurring billing, cross-sales and a variety of price points over the years. Now, it seems the industry is on the verge of combining these two areas of expertise and establishing niche pricing as well.

In years past, studios competed to put out the best exclusive content. As years have gone by, so much porn has been produced that only the most ardent adult film enthusiasts have seen even a small percentage of the entire catalog. The glut of back-catalog films has spawned several 'all you can eat' style sites with tens of thousands of videos available for one monthly price - while other boutique studios continue to put out new exclusive videos that can not be seen anywhere but on their own solitary websites.

Recently Porn.com announced a bold move, lowering their monthly signup price on type-in traffic to under $10.00 per month. Affiliates are able to set their own price with set of link codes that include or exclude variables like cross sales, consoles and trials. According to PIMPROLL (the company that owns and promotes Porn.com), retention numbers have been tremendous as a result and the new pricing is here to stay.

Some, on industry message boards have been quick to claim that the lower pricing is a bad thing and that they would never even think of selling their prized content at such a low monthly price. In most cases, those comments are coming from site owners who produce much smaller boutique niche sites with very specific content that they do not license elsewhere. What we may be seeing is the emergence of tiered pricing much the same way mainstream stores have operated for years.

If Porn.com is soon to become to 'Target' or "Walmart' of porn with can't-be-beat pricing, and others intend to try to offer higher resolution harder to find more extreme content at a higher price point, consumers will quickly find ways to take the path that suits their own interests the best.

Arguing that tube sites are here and all porn is free really do not carry much weight. The fact is, 'free porn' never comes at a quality even close to that of paid porn. Lower resolutions, nagging ads displayed, interface gimmicks and other tools used by free tubes to monetize traffic definitely degrade the viewing experience for visitors in contrast to what most paid sites now offer.

When evaluating the price of your own site, keep in mind what your potential customer can get for his or her porn dollar these days. If you site is no better than a free tube, it won't be getting many signups... but if it has something to offer beyond the grainy images found for free the price needs to make sense as part of the larger landscape of sites online.

It's no secret that PORN.comdecided to make pricing changes after investigating the success of mainstream counterparts like NETFLIX. Very few sites these days are truly unique. Review sites and other compilation sites will help you get a good broad view at sites similar to yours and their pricing structure. While site owners look for clues on competitor tours and join form styles to improve sales - it seems many try to price their sites based on their own independent costs or hopes and dreams. In a competitive marketplace, making sure you are priced in a smart way relevant to your niche may result in better sales and retention. As others change their prices and adjust to the economy, market trends and external factors... your price needs to flow accordingly... or it may be the thing holding you back the most.

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