opinion

Chasing the Illusive Trends in Live Cams

Bob Johnson

Trends in the burgeoning and highly competitive live cams market can seem obvious to the major players, but what’s really important is often illusive. Call it the “phantom” trend — instead of seeking and following what appears to be working, finding an alternative path may be better worthwhile. That’s one flip side theory put forth by Gamma Entertainment’s Guillaume Boisvert, director of Homecams.com, who believes that the secret to success in the live cam market — often overlooked and possibly ignored — is not following general consensus of what works in streaming sex for profit, but apply one simple secret — the illusion of intimacy.

Boisvert says that webmasters looking to ride the latest trends are missing the point.

Social media like Facebook and Twitter have made the web more social, but instead of bringing people closer together it’s created a lot of loneliness. -Christopher Peyras, marketing director, Streamate.com

“You are terrible at promoting live cams. You signed up to the most well-known and reputable live cam affiliate program. You got some banners, dynamic ones even. You plastered your tube site with it, next were your blogs. You even got yourself a pretty swanky white label and are popping it as an exit console for your tube site. With the amount of traffic pounding that site it’s a foolproof plan .... Now sit back and count your money ... right? Wrong,” Boisvert says.

The executive explains that if a webmaster is scratching his head wondering why his new cam site is making less money that his old teen program being used since 2003, even though he’s using all of the latest tools and fancy videos that load five at a time — he just doesn’t get it.

The problem is looking to follow a trend where there is none.

“You are still operating under the assumption that you should present your live cam sponsor as the next product; how it’s a great product and people should buy it. It’s time take a step back and think about where the web is today. Take your personal surfing habits; how much you interact with banners; What you actually do with your time online; Where do you spend your time and which activities keep you coming back. The answer to these questions all revolve around social connections doesn’t it? From your incessant twittering to beating your ‘words with friends’ high score to your old school emailing, it’s not what you use; it’s whom you connect to,” he says.

The executive maintains that live cam pros must understand that they are simply the conduits that create a connection between individuals. “You are not selling a product, you are merely making introductions. Present the right girl to the right guy and get out of the way,” he says.

Supporting his claim, Boisvert points to the success of Facebook. He asks if it’s a product, and has anyone ever seen a banner promoting it? So how did it amass nearly a billon conversions?

“It’s simple; they connected people and made it their priority to stay out of the way,” He says and adds that since Facebook is now trying to make its presence known, no one is interested.

Boisvert believes that the only thing that live cam surfers want is to make connections with people that can provide them the experience they seek. “You are not part of that equation; make it easy on everybody, help them understand that you have their next exciting connection, and again, get out of the way,” he explains.

But is just selling intimacy enough? And is that the overriding trend that’s not a trend at all?

Adult Webmaster Empire’s (AWE) senior authorized consultant, Douglas Richter tends to agree.

Richter, who oversees live sites including giants, LiveJasmin.com, LivePrivates, MyCams.com, JoYourself, MatureCams.com and more, says that AWE is able to lead in the live video chat vertical market partly because its platform is designed with interactivity in mind, “which will always sell and never die.”

The more easily users can interact directly with performers through an intuitive interface, creating a personal experience; the more engaged they will become with a particular brand, he notes.

Video Secrets’ (VS) Brad Estes is another proponent of user intimacy. He says from its early inception, the company’s “Flirt 4 Free” product has focused on the customer experience, and although it’s not a new trend, customization and enhancement of that premise is where the market is headed.

He also notes that providing the intimacy is “what produces maximum profits for all VS affiliates.”

And the strategy works. Estes says the paradigm of evaluating business decisions against the end-user experience has helped VS grow revenue and market share over the past few years. “Dozens of our affiliates have referred customers with lifetime spending in excess of $100,000,” Estes says.

“Our plans for the future are a closely guarded trade-secret, but it goes without saying that they have the end-user in mind. We are inventing new show types, new ways for customers to use their credits (our virtual currency) and new promotional tools for affiliates.”

But intimacy can mean more than the sexual thrill live cams provide. Estes says his customers continue to demand the best quality product, the best performers and the widest array of features to enhance their live cam experiences. He says VS surveys its customers on a regular basis and has implemented “countless features that extend the experience beyond yesterday’s per-minute live cam show.”

“Customers on any of the Video Secrets live cam properties, like Flirt4Free.com, use our game elements, archive of 1.7 million recorded shows, virtual gifts and group and party chats, to name a few, to get the most out of their money. We have successfully created a community that goes beyond the easily commoditized live cam product and the loyalty and patronage of this community continues to net our affiliates the highest revenue per user possible,” Estes maintains.

Streamate.com marketing director Christopher Peyras is also on board with the appeal of intimacy and how it works for the successful live cam market. He says his website seeks to appeal to all of it users on a more personal basis. “Everyone feels the ‘need’ to talk, interact and fantasize,” he says..

The marketing specialist also points out that social media like Facebook and Twitter have made the web more social, but instead of bringing people closer together it’s created a lot of loneliness. “Sometimes you just need to connect with a real person. We provide a platform where anyone can interact with a live person at any time, and there are no limits to how personal that interaction can become,” Peyras notes.

But not all live cam pros buy into the customer intimacy theory completely. To those whose hearts (and bottom line) are still bound by technology; there are a few trends that are continuing to receive love from the live cam veterans.

PussyCash, which operates ImLive, WebCamWiz and other live cam sites, believes the industry is heading toward white label sites. Vice President Shay Efrom says that webmasters see a positive trend in having their own cam sites with their own name brand. In addition, this method provides webmasters with a new database where they can send traffic.

Efrom also notes that one of the most pressing issues is cross-platform ability. “This means being able to make profits on all platforms: the web, Android, iPhone, iPad and other tablet devices. Companies are now working to capitalize on each kind of traffic and maximize profits,” he says.

This cross platform issue is especially crucial to companies trying to optimize, and more importantly, monetize its traffic.

The live cam pro points to his WebcamWiz product as an example of the trend toward white label adoption. He says it’s the only free white label generator that enables webmasters to create cam sites in minutes and has become extremely popular.

“WebcamWiz is powered by PussyCash, and its 80,000 plus hosts provided by ImLive. It’s the only complete cross-platform white label solution in the industry.”

Efrom also notes that live webcam companies are looking to explore new markets in new countries and regions with suitable products that have high compatibility to local users along with affective billing solutions.

And that opens the doors to another burgeoning trend — mobile cam offerings.

WebCamPorn.mobi’s operations manager Johan says mobile webcams are the biggest upcoming trend in the live cam arena. “Our company research reveals that users are thirsty for more iPhone, Android and iPad cam sites and are constantly looking for new, better options in this field. The demand for full smartphone access is growing exponentially and people around the world expect to be able to chat on web cams using their mobile devices,” he says.

Johan maintains that “sex on the go” is the new buzzword and users want their live cams anywhere, and anytime they choose. “This is not merely a passing fad, it’s a real change in the live cam world and it looks like it’s here to stay,” he predicts.

What makes Johan’s’ online offering different is that it was built primarily to take advantage of the mobile trend. He says that unlike other adult sites that use preexisting contents and optimize them for mobile, WebCamPorn is developing exclusive materials for smartphones.

“Our site is not a regular desktop website that has been converted for cellphones. It has been developed and designed especially for mobile users and it focuses on their needs above all else,” Johan says.

Some of the advanced features evident on the company’s main site include quick access to different platforms like Android and iPad and even a “Pick-a-Babe” option that allows users to choose a cam girl by bust size, hair color and build.

Streamate’s Peyras also believes mobile is becoming a must have feature for every site, live cams included. “The increased availability of smart phones and tablets are changing browsing habits. A few years from now, we’ll probably see more mobile browsers than desktops. Adult sites are just following the market,” he notes.

A little different take comes from AWE that feels catering to affiliates is still key. Richter says the company is keeping a close eye on the industry to ensure that partners will continue to have the most competitive products.

He says early summer is going to be sizzling hot for affiliates, performers, and membership sites alike with the recent release of AWE’s feature show tools and the potential for companies to license what he calls industry leading technologies.

“Soon with “Escalion,” AWE will offer a true oneclick solution — not an over-simplified ‘modified cross-sell’ — but a free credits for verified new customers tool. Plus we are rolling out the highest payout programs this industry has ever seen,” Richer reveals.

He adds that AWE already shows its dedication to its partners by providing a “proprietary state-of-theart, never-before-shared scrubbing solution for Live-Jasmin and a sophisticated recommendation system” that he says illustrates more than a trend. “In August,” Richter says, “AWE begins “a new era.”

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