opinion

Building A Strong Foundation

Stephen Yagielowicz

Porn’s perennial appeal means that there is a never ending flow of entrepreneurs that enter the business seeking their slice of the pie — but knowing where to start isn’t always easy and many prospective operators lack a cohesive business plan, or the industry savvy needed to come up with one. This however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a go; since taking a small bite and learning as you progress may mean the difference between success and failure in the long run.

Starting a profitable adult website can be quick and easy and doesn’t have to cost more than a few bucks for a relevant domain name, scalable cloud hosting, a free copy of WordPress, a good idea and some time to implement it — of course at this basic level, nearly any “good idea” you will come up with may be 10 years too late — but miracles can and do happen…

At this juncture, acquiring content and traffic are the biggest concerns you will face regardless of the type of website you choose to build.

Although in many cases the cost of adult content has dropped considerably over the past few years (impacted by economic doldrums, market saturation, piracy and surfer indifference as to what constitutes “quality,” which can squelch the need for HD videos), without content you have no product, and there remains a tangible cost associated with it, even when your business plan relies on “free” or “user submitted” material.

For example, if you start a blog, where will the content come from and what will you hope to sell? If a TGP/MGP/Tube or other site featuring user uploaded material how will you prevent stolen or otherwise illegal content from appearing on it?

Your content has to come from somewhere…

As a result, you must either buy content or have it given to you, such as through an often legally questionable tube site video upload process — or by a sponsor for affiliate promotional purposes — such as through a private “white label” or co-branded website.

White label websites are a very popular alternative, with cams, casual dating, and tube and video-on-demand sites all available in co-brand configurations that provide a fast and easy path to market, with a low barrier to entry — all that’s needed is a decent domain name, a little knowledge (and time to learn) and a reasonable budget for traffic.

Building your home on another man’s land is rarely ever a really good idea, however; with some sponsor’s fine print making it as likely for you to collect a payment as you are to be struck by lightning on your way to cash in that winning lottery ticket — which is sad when they have products that would be profitable to push for a true “25 percent of everything everyone spends on your site,” regardless of how many times that white label customer had visited (or been a customer of) the white label’s parent website or any other site’s in the sponsor’s portfolio, where a previous referral prevents you from getting paid.

While many prospective adult webmasters view white label sites as a traffic building opportunity to feed other properties in their network, relying on the white label’s “SEO” features to deliver profitable search engine traffic, recent moves by Google show that the company is serious about penalizing “thin affiliate and doorway pages,” with no amount of custom category headings able to obfuscate the fact that “your” white label website is essentially identical to many thousands of similar sites.

I’m not hating on white labels, it’s just that the common notion that you can build one in five minutes flat and immediately have a ton of search engine traffic fall from the sky to make you a boat load of sales (earning you a new Ferrari every week), is a pipe dream — and not a good approach to building a strong foundation.

But if traffic generation isn’t their strong suit and content is, can white labels be used as a profitable destination for traffic acquired from other venues — without relying upon any search engines as a traffic source — reversing the flow that many operators embrace?

The answer is “yes,” and while you do want to take every opportunity to optimize the white label for search engine marketing (SEM), a two-step site approach where, say, that cloud hosted WordPress blog is used to market the white label, which is on a sub domain, or associated domain, to carry across your branding, may be the best approach.

For example, a video-on-demand white label could be part of a blog of video reviews, where social media can be leveraged by allowing website visitors to comment and vote — with the blog using free clips and screencaps from the white label as its main content.

This is also an easy avenue for testing white label sales against straight affiliate sales. For example, a blog feeding a white label dating site could readily make use of A/B split testing to send half of its traffic to the white label and the other half to the parent website, to see which one the sponsor is really paying more on. The same process works for cam, tube and other white label sites.

Once you know which of a sponsor’s offers earns you the most, split test that sponsor against other sponsors until you find the winning combination. All this testing takes a lot of traffic, but there’s a better chance of generating traffic through your blog than through a white label site, and you also have to measure its profitability, making testing essential.

It sounds complicated and there’s a lot to it, but in practice, the day-to-day operation of such a setup is simple (and even mundane) and makes a great starting point for those who are just entering the business — or those seeking a new approach. Of course, many other options exist for starting an adult website in 2013 and your budget and skills should guide you along the right path to profits — but for getting the biggest bang for your buck, a WordPress integrated white label website is a tough combination to beat for porn today.

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