Lately, I've given a lot of coverage to the subject of 'pre-fab' or 'turnkey' adult sites, a subject which has sparked a lot of interest — and controversy. It has been a study of the good, the bad, and the ugly; and we have heard from both the producers, as well as the consumers, of these products. I think I have presented a fair, balanced look at these programs, and given everyone a chance to publicly respond here (in addition to the email I've received privately on the subject). During this process, we became aware of what I personally consider to be 'by far' the best of these programs, and I really wanted to hear from someone who had purchased a site from them. Yesterday, I did. Here's what he had to say:
I am an unfortunate victim of Sexco, formerly Sizco. I purchased a "custom" website from them after doing months of research. I have worked in and around the adult industry for the past 18 years as a photographer, but have never been a webmaster before. I had a client who hired me to do all the photography for a site, which never came to be. Since I had paid the models and owned the photographs, it seemed logical that I should do my own website, which let me fulfill the promises made to the models and make use of the content that I had shot. I called everyone I knew in the industry, including porn stars, producers, and even the most prominent agent in the industry (who shall remain nameless). Everyone seemed reluctant to refer me to anyone who could design a site for less than $2500. Since I had already expended a healthy sum in film, processing, model's fees, and the like, that amount was out of the question. The thing that made them stand out, was that I could add my own content to the site. Other companies wouldn't let me do that, so that made them the logical winning company. Their salesman stressed that they had first class customer service, and would be happy to help a newbie like me to make a success of this venture, and so I took him at his word. What a mistake!
My first indication that something was wrong happened in the initial design process. I wanted to include the content that I had shot, and was told it would cost me more to do so. That seems strange, since every other design company I talked to told me that it would cost more if they provided the content for design. At that point, they had my money, so what could I do? I now know the real reason for that was because they use the same tired old content for every site they design. I've looked at other sites of theirs, and found the same girls used over and over. My site's design looks like it came from the mid 90's, and when I said that, I was told it was only $599, so what did I expect? I don't know what you all think, but a simple design can still have impact and be up to date. I've cultivated a friend who is a designer that used to work for them, and he does high quality AVS designs that far exceed my design, all for around $350.
The next problem was with the billing department. On two occasions I was billed for services twice in the same month. I was told my billing date was the 18th. They then billed me on the 13th, and then again on the 1st of the month. They said it was just an error, but it caused me a lot of grief, since the credit card I was using was a 0% interest card, which only carried enough credit to pay them each month. Then, when they wrongly billed me on the 1st of the month, they had the nerve to threaten me with termination, because my credit card couldn't be billed. I had nothing from them but excuses, and they even tried to argue with me about when my billing date was. They said it was the 13th, and even if it was, why did they then bill me on the 11th of the next month. It was a nightmare, especially since the staff was anything but polite, and when I told them that I was going to use other hosting and content, they billed me for another month.
As far as everything that "is included" in the turnkey package, I did not get what I was promised. It's been since December 13, and I still have not received the so-called "LEGAL DOCUMENTS" that are supposed to be included with site, namely the certificate of ownership. I have also never received the backup CD-Rom that was promised. This has caused me great hardship, because when I finally decided to change hosting providers, they disabled my FTP access within 6 hours of requesting my DNS change, causing me to be unable to download all the files which I needed to transfer to my new server!
As far as the content they provided, it isn't bad, but I'll be damned if I could find a way to open it in a new window to original size, as they claim. Perhaps that is a new feature that wasn't available at the time I was using their content. At that time, all pictures opened in a frame about 4x6 inches.
The Promotions and Advertising Package listed on their website when I purchased my site was non-existent. The salesman told me it was in re-design and would be ready January 1st. Of course that was also false, as it wasn't available until March 1st, to the best of my knowledge. They also claimed to have submitted my site to all the major and adult search engines, but they wouldn't furnish me with a list of where they submitted my site, and I can tell you that even if they did really do it, the META tags were absolutely ridiculous, including silly keyword phrases like "beautiful teens." There was no real relevance between my content and keywords. As far as the E-books, they were also non existent. I understand they are now available, but as I said before, they were advertised a full four months before they were ever available.
I also find it curious that they are so willing to mention Dasha. Anyone can view her stats, by entering her website address and /stats and see that she isn't doing very well at all. As far as her asking to be the spokes model, I highly doubt the credibility of that statement, since they are very proud to mention they are paying her 6 figures for the job. I'd say the moon was made of green cheese for 6 figures. Besides, I'm sure they are giving her a lot of help that the normal idiot like myself wouldn't get. Think about it.
This business is a close knit community, as we all know. Companies like this, I believe, take advantage of newbies, by making them believe they are getting value for the dollar, when the only thing they are getting is a ticket to surefire failure. If I were Dasha, or some other prominent industry person, I'm sure I would have received better treatment, but because they figure I'll be out of the business, they really didn't care.
As a result of my experience, I am having my entire site re-designed, to the tune of $1200, plus content, etc. When all is said and done, I will have spent in excess of $7,000 just to correct the mistakes that were made. Perhaps I will never get it back. To date, my turnkey site has had 2 conversions. That is a sad fact, since in February, I had 1.2 million hits, as well as Top 10 search engine ranking at Google among others.
My advice to anyone who embarks on this road, is to weigh everything you do carefully. If it sounds too good to be true, it is! Whatever you do, don't buy a turnkey site!
firstname.lastname@example.org" For now, I'll leave off with telling you that I have actually received more reader email inspired by these articles than on any other subject in recent memory...
I will likely put this topic to bed now, unless I hear from someone who has made 'riches' with a turnkey site, and has been satisfied with the process — in the interest of balanced journalism. For now, I'll leave off with telling you that I have actually received more reader email inspired by these articles than on any other subject in recent memory, showing that there is indeed a high level of curiosity about these oft controversial products. For now, take care — and always read the 'fine print' before signing on the dotted line... ~ Stephen