opinion

Fight the Good Fight!

Harlen B. Yaffe
It was two years ago this month when Mr. Deeds, or in our case, Larry Flynt and Joe Francis, headed to Washington on a mission: “With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It’s time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America,” Flynt said.

“Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation’s most important businesses; we feel we deserve the same consideration,” Francis added.

We all rolled our eyes and everyone else groaned ... after all, the porn industry is recession proof ... or so we all thought.

Two years later, ePassporte has joined the old iBill in the whatever-happened-to-them club, Falcon and Colt are no longer independent studios, GayGravy became the poster child for the take-the-money-and-fuck-thosewho-earned-it-for-you bandwagon and the list of gay sites and programs that went under in the last 365 days expands to four typewritten pages.

Sorry, Larry, sorry, Joe —no one is laughing now.

The proliferation of free porn was already a problem before long before the bottom fell out of the economy. That downward economic freefall was the perfect Petri dish of the ascendance YouPorn — and it’s estimated 13.7 million members to get their hands on a seemingly endless supply of erotica without ever having to reach for their credit card. That is money they used to have to spend, and they used to spend it with us in greater and freer numbers than they are now. What changed?

Perhaps the operative question is what did not change — and by and large, what did not was us. As an industry, through consolidation, the need to survive, and possibly taking our eye off the prize after a long walk on easy street, what we have stopped doing is innovating the technology to improve the media experience that helped drive viewers to our sites in the first place. We are no longer steering that wagon; we are running behind it, clamoring to get back on before we are left behind for good.

Tubes sites are today’s MGPs, which replaced TGPs, which replaced user groups … there had always been free porn as long as it has been possible to right-click and save. But we always had the next best thing waiting on the other side of our members areas.

Arguably, the best way to counter the everescalating amount of free porn available is to once again have a delivery solution that renders the overly compressed, highly digitized cost-free options almost unviewable.

If we want folks to reach for the wallet before they reach for their dicks, we must resume our leadership in giving them a reason to do that.

I wish I had a crystal ball or a magic wand to either spearhead the next content delivery evolution.

What I do know is there are a lot of cows roaming free right now and that sure makes it a lot harder to sell milk until we figured out how to get the folks back to our pasture. All in favor say mooo!

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