opinion

Lessons Learned in 2010

Allison Vivas
So 2010 has come to a close and for many companies it wasn’t necessarily a year to celebrate. Adult companies closed their doors, left and right, some publicly and others quietly. Most adult companies now openly admit that business isn’t nearly as good as it was years ago and others openly discuss major concerns they have operating in this climate.

For those companies that are still standing or even growing, there’s a lot to celebrate, even if 2010 wasn’t your best financial year. Last year made us stronger and we walked away with experiences to learn from. In some ways, it’s all of those “great” or “easy” years that we should dislike, because it’s those years that made us think everything we touched turned to gold and that we were immune to external factors. When I remember the Ibill fiasco, in which many companies lost some of their membership revenue, and compare that to the most recent epassporte issue, the old adage “fool me once…” comes to mind. Not that either company was necessarily planning on fooling others, but my point is that when things were great, we didn’t learn the lessons we could have learned as well as we absorbed them once times were tough.

So here’s my quick list of lessons from 2010 to walk away with. (These are presented in no particular order, nor are they an indicator of any direct impact on my company):

1) Lifetime Revenue Share doesn’t really exist- affiliate program apparently can stop paying affiliates even for their revenue shares at any time apparently, so let’s avoid that going forward or work with companies willing to legally bind themselves to pay for the life of the customer.

2) DMCA is an affirmative defense, not a form of immunity from copyright infringement. (In other words, all of you copyright holders still have the right to bring a lawsuit, even if the site you’re looking to sue has that little DMCA disclaimer at the bottom….)

3) It’s okay that the DVD model is declining. If it impacted Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, then it’s pretty safe to admit it’s impacting the adult industry, and to accept and plan for a diminishing DVD market.

4) Keeping large sums of money in a virtual location anywhere, like Epassporte, is not a good idea. Let’s stick to real banks you can walk into, or at least not put all our eggs in one basket.

5) Complaining on the boards doesn’t work anymore. Why waste our breath with complaining on the boards to get results? If it’s something really worth it to you (anti-piracy, ethics, etc.), put a real action plan together to get something done.

6) We still are targeted by those from outside our industry. From piracy to obscenity, from .xxx to OSHA regulations, the climate in the industry is risky and we all end up impacted. We should do what we can to support the defense of our industry and support the Free Speech Coalition.

7) Companies who engage in overly-aggressive billing strategies don’t care about the consumers, don’t care about the industry and don’t care about their business partners. In the end, everyone gets screwed by their business practices, so maybe we shouldn’t support them on their get rich quick schemes for fast money? (For that matter, this is a lesson we should have learned in 2004).

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