Adult Processing Perils

Bob Rice
Processing adult products, services and memberships, according to Visa and MasterCard, is a high-risk business. Most banks shy away from all of us in the adult Internet because in their eyes, we are the ne'er-do-wells of the Internet and are more interested in making a fast buck, rather than the long-term business buck. And in general, banks, which live under the strict monitoring of Visa/MasterCard, tend to be a bit gun-shy of the adult webmaster business model.

Well I say, "Bah!" Times have changed. Real, fully functioning businesses are in this industry. I can understand banks not wanting to pay large penalties for chargeback rates above the allowed limit, and I can understand banks not wanting to associate themselves with the "social stigma" of our industry, but I refuse to stand here and have adult webmasters be considered "high risk."

Don't get me wrong here — I know there are bad apples in our crop, but there also are rotten fruit among the masses in the mainstream. While we keep chargeback ratios to a slim minimum — and most do comply — why then are we the culprits of high-risk processing?

No legitimate adult webmaster wants chargebacks. No adult webmaster wants to lose money or their merchant account. Every chargeback has a reason. Did you offer the wrong message on your tour? Did you happen to sell a membership to someone whose wife stumbled across the credit card statement and simply refuses to believe her husband is into midget porn? All of these are viable reasons for chargebacks, but there are also methods adult webmasters have developed to reduce these situations.

The adult Internet works very hard to perfect and create ways in which the dreaded chargeback is kept below the minimum, yet maximum level. We have insane fraud scrubbing, real-time data and even manually observed transactions. We have to do this, remember? We are the high-risk accounts of the world. Lose your processing and you lose your ability to remain viable.

It is apparent the term "high risk" may just be a reason for hesitation with banks and processing. Show me a smaller, qualified webmaster with a great tour, a great website, and I will show you a chargeback ratio that only can dream of. Show me a successful affiliate program, and I will show you a team in place to monitor transactions through various means to keep chargeback ratios low, low, low.

My advice is to continue to work on your sites, your products and services. Develop your skills to retain your money. Be true to your customers and surfers, and in the end, it will pay off. Shed the stigma of the adult webmaster as "high risk" and instead wear this label with pride; for we, as adult webmasters, truly are becoming the e-commerce model for excellence.