opinion

Content Vs. Traffic

Stewart Tongue

Long-time veterans of the online adult entertainment industry can recall endless threads on industry message boards where people debated the merits of their own market segment compared to others.

Content is king some argued, and others fired back that Traffic was all that really mattered. In a tastes-great-versus-less-filling sort of way, it became a common theme. Occasionally the debate grew fierce when spending budgets were on the line and traffic sellers were directly competing with content brokers over client dollars.

To say content is more important than traffic or vice versa, would be a grave mistake.

“Since the debate first started it was always a very transparent way for people to market their own services” said Clement of VideosZ. “The guys saying traffic mattered more were mostly traffic brokers. The guys saying content mattered more were mostly content shooters. So they were competing for budgeted dollars all along. Most of the people who own successful sites spent very little time on the debate because which one matters more is irrelevant, you can not succeed without both to some degree.”

The conventional wisdom of long time content producer and paysite merchant Colin Rowntree from Wasteland.com has been echoed for more than a decade.

“They are of equal importance, and always have been.” Rowntree said. “Without the right kind of traffic, one can have truly compelling and wonderful content, but no way to monetize it. Without compelling content, one can have all the traffic in the world with little hope of converting it to revenue.”

However, the continued proliferation of free porn content as a means to acquire traffic may finally have reached a tipping point. These days nearly every major brand makes three-minute hosted videos available for legal tuabe sites. FHGs, picture sets, dynamic flash banners and other promotional tools provide affiliates and fans with most of the members area catalog dispersed across countless free sites in bits and pieces without any fees.

Many believe it becomes impossible to argue that content is king when so much of it is being given away, not just in exchange for guaranteed traffic, but merely in the hope of getting traffic potentially. Not all content is the same, just as not all traffic is the same, but even the highest quality content is having a hard time finding clients willing to pay for it in the current free porn climate.

“Traffic is all now, to grow any type of business in adult you need traffic.” said Michael, vice president of Twistys, a company known for it’s massive collection of top quality glamour content. “People will argue that content gets you traffic but that’s a falsehood. In today’s market the only thing that matters moving forward is traffic, how you acquire and monetize it.”

Even a large content archive can go from valued to worthless, with a fairly fragile line separating the two types. Try selling a paysite and the offers you get will be based on multiples of earnings with almost no consideration of the content costs. Conversely, traffic always maintains at least some generic value. Yes, filtered niche traffic converts best, but even if that niche becomes weak the traffic can always be repurposed to other objectives.

Many now see content as means to obtain traffic rather than to convert traffic into sales. Text content for SEO value, video and pictures to secure spots on traffic sites and other uses of content targeted to draw traffic back to a site for monetization are common. However when a 3 minute tube clip appears on a site with 4,000 other videos, while the entire full length version of the same scene is also available on clandestine user forums, the dilution of the content makes it much harder for even the best studios to shine through the free porn malaise.

“Existing studios with the infrastructure in place to produce top quality content have already carved out a niche for themselves with distribution deals and publicity options that are unlikely or impossible for most new shooters to obtain these days” said Mark of BlazingBucks.com “Established brands with loyal fans are a self-fulfilling traffic source which is great for any content provider who can rise above the crowd, but building that kind of name recognition takes a very dedicated team working diligently over a long period of time.”

Now, with the advent of fully managed sites from Adult-Centro, new site owners can also attempt to capitalize on the known content brands of others more easily. Fully managed hosting, processing and design allows merchants to publish new sites on their own domains in minutes, while eliminating all of the effort needed to manage a massive licensed content collection which also reduces the costs using a pay as you go bandwidth model. That’s also a perfect option for any webmaster who already has access to their own traffic or plans to focus solely on traffic generation.

“Anyone who thinks content is most important really should check out AdultCentro because we have a massive collection of the best content from top studios that can be published on a fully managed basis” said Stan of AdultCentro. “Anyone who thinks traffic matters most should also check out AdultCentro so you can focus on traffic and have us handle the content side of the equation for your sites. The beauty of AdultCentro is that it answers the needs of both parties.”

Boutique porn providers, have made a solid living by nibbling at the fringe niche markets and servicing a clientele that feels as if it is being left out by mainstream marketers. Flying under the radar of many major tube sites and illegal content uploaders can be an advantage these days. Stacking an aggressive take-down scheme on top of that and pursuing all available legal remedies to keep your content as unique as possible can also have a profound impact on your bottom line.

“To say content is more important than traffic or vice versa, would be a grave mistake” said Sherm of DukeDollars.com “The two go hand in hand. The trick with making the most money with your traffic is by properly analyzing your conversion rates across multiple sponsors/sites/tours, constantly tweaking zones based on what your traffic is interested in seeing, and making the proper changes when peaks become valleys. Productivity is priority number one, and knowing your traffic’s likes and dislikes is what will turn your traffic into sales. Overall traffic numbers are far less important that concentrated amounts of targeted traffic when selling access to membership driven sites.”

As Sherm went on to explain, the real value of content comes from acquiring and understanding the needs of your traffic. “The content comes into play when you learn about your traffic’s needs. As one might guess, the sites that offer the most unique content, are the ones that often perform the best. This is where a program like Duke Dollars comes into play, as the content produced is rarely, if ever replicated successfully, and the exclusivity of the content keeps the surfers interested in attaining membership access. If the customer realizes that no other site will fulfill his desires better than a site that you are promoting, then he will realize that joining that site is a necessity. Know your traffic, know how to direct your traffic to high quality content that they need to see, and know that your hard earned traffic will result in sales.”

These days, savvy site owners are moving beyond the content and traffic discussion to look more closely at other important details that affect their potential clients. Price points, interactivity, accessibility, trust, simplicity, speed and a host of other elements each need to be addressed properly to prosper in the free porn era. As the pie continues to become smaller and companies rapidly consolidate the market, finding competitive advantages in areas beyond the number of uniques or the quality of the content may ultimately decide which brands endure and prosper.

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