Breaking the Rules

Stephen Yagielowicz

Are your sales slumping? Are sign-ups not as easy to come by as they once were? Do your retention rates need a substantial boost? Perhaps it's time for you to start breaking the rules:

You see them everywhere: cookie-cutter sites, each one duplicating the efforts of the previous, whether the template site was 'successful' or not. Sometimes this is the result of the old 'more is better' mentality which taught Webmasters that if they could make $30 on one sponsor signup per month from one single site, then 1,000 similar sites could make them over $30,000 a month. Many Webmasters who learned this lesson would come to rely upon various scripted solutions to the problem of mass-producing such an enormous quantity of nearly identical 'virtual properties,' thus littering the Web with these 'made to formula' sites which often left surfers with a feeling of déjà vu and a yearning for something more — a yearning for something different...

Perhaps it's the result of unimaginative or neophyte 'wannabe' Webmasters who cannot create their own Web sites, but must rely on copying the work of others, and do so without knowing if the Web site they are copying was worth imitating in the first place. Even if it was a successful site design or marketing approach that was copied, the imitator probably lacked the skills or traffic needed to adequately profit from it.

Less insidious, but no less unprofitable, are clueless 'newbies' to the wonderful world of adult Webmastering, who with the best of intentions 'lurk the boards' and digest every last tidbit of information that they can find, in order to learn 'the correct way' that things are done in their new business. Then, after dutifully following the step by step examples of those who have blazed the trail before them, they sit back and wonder when those fat pay checks will finally start rolling in, so that they too can enjoy that 'big-pimpin' "MTV" lifestyle that they imagine all their fellow adult Webmasters are already enjoying:

If all of this sounds a bit too familiar, if 'true' success is still eluding you, or if you are working far too hard for far too little reward, then perhaps it's time you started breaking the rules! No, I am not talking about doing anything stupid, or illegal, like spamming every AOL member with offers of hardcore 'kiddie-porn.' What I am talking about is trying unconventional approaches that will help you stand out from the crowd, and then testing their effectiveness against your current operation. Here's a few examples of the types of things that I am talking about; perhaps they will give you a few ideas of your own:

Food for Thought
Traditionally, free sites have been used as a vehicle for attracting surfers in the hopes of up-selling them to a pay-site membership. This model worked admirably and quite consistently until the number of adult sites that offered free porn became so large, and the avenues to finding these free sites became so readily available, that trying to sell today's savvy surfer on the concept of paying for what they can have for free is no longer the easy proposition it once was. The remedy to this is not to 'make ugly sites,' but to find a better (or at least a 'different') way of doing things.

Sure, you can still use free sites to make money, but the writing is on the wall, and on the balance sheet, leaving those who can innovate and adapt to changing economic, political, and legal climates to prosper, while those who are unable to adapt will continue their downward spiral towards needing to 'get a day job.' What is the solution? 'If I had it, I wouldn't want to share it:' But let me give you some food for thought: ...why can't you sell a product or service, then send a qualified prospect to where he or she is likely to make an additional purchase?

If free sites try to up sell to pay sites, then what are pay sites trying to up sell to? If AVS sites can up sell to pay sites, then why can't pay sites up sell to AVS sites? If your free sites can successfully give away their content, then why can't they sell it — even if it's through the basic mechanism of an AVS program? If Search Engines and directories can charge a fee for sites to be listed, and to increase the prominence of their listings, then why can't they charge surfers to use them? Since this business is really about traffic and not about porn, how can you manipulate your traffic in order to turn a profit?

Many people say (and believe) that "surfers are unwilling to pay for content" — yet that is exactly what they are trying to make them do when sending traffic to a sponsor's site. If the sponsor can make them pay, then why can't you? And when considering this, why does one have to exclude the other? In other words, why can't you sell a product or service, then send a qualified prospect to where he or she is likely to make an additional purchase (which puts money in your pocket)?

There are many ways to do things in this business, but no one 'right way.' Some approaches may be more effective than others, just as some Webmasters may be more competent than others. What is clear though is that 'business as usual' just doesn't cut it anymore, and the situation won't get better by itself. This doesn't mean that there's no money to be made, just that there's 'different' money to be made. It's all up to YOU! ~ Stephen

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