opinion

Tube Sites: Going Full Circle

AJ Hall

Tube sites have a lot of paysite owners unraveling at the seams. Others are eager to jump on the bandwagon as tubes start giving back some of the traffic they control. The controversy surrounding tubes and what to do about them has paralyzed a number of adult entertainment businesses.

Recently one of my customers (incidentally one of the most successful solo site operators in the business over the past 10 years) told me he will resist working with the tubes in any way — even if it means he will go out of business. Out of principal he will actually take a role in destroying the very business he worked so hard to build – to spite the tubes. To me it’s madness, it’s pure craziness but he’s not alone in his thinking. I’ve talked to dozens of producers, studio folks and site owners who feel the same way. Pride is a good thing and I respect people for standing behind their principles … but it’s not going to keep anyone warm at night.

By posting heavily branded, edited trailer style videos on tubes every day as part of their promotional campaigns, many of adult’s biggest brands have started regaining some control over what’s out there.

If you’re a producer, the tube site operators don’t care if you go out of business. It probably even helps them if you do – less competition means more sales for the paysites they control. It turns out that they are, on the other hand, quite willing to help you stay in business.

For every pissed off customer I hear from there’s another who tells me they’re getting good traffic, more type ins and more sales as a result of posting videos on big tubes themselves. It appears that despite the overwhelming negativity expressed on industry message boards, the industry is divided when it comes to the best way to approach the situation.

A couple weeks prior to this article I spoke at length with a senior-level manager in charge of several of the highest traffic tube sites online. He told me they actually prefer it when content producers submit videos themselves than when full length movies are submitted illegally. It makes sense — they prefer a consistent supply of content that in itself has a consistent quality level. Better quality content means better traffic for them. In exchange, they’re happy to post your heavily branded videos and in some cases even provide a banner linked to your site underneath your videos. It seems they want their partner submitters to make sales. After all, if you’re making sales there’s a better chance you might later decide to become a paid advertiser.

I despise piracy. I’m not a fan of the way that free tubes have devalued adult content. It’s hurt my customers and it’s hurt my business too. Where I stand on things doesn’t really matter though. As the owner of a CMS software company that powers thousands of paysites my job isn’t to have an opinion. My job is to see things in black and white. Since I’m as heavily invested in the paysite ecosystem as anyone, it’s my job is help paysite owners adapt. The best way to do that is to keep my customers in business and keep them growing. If this means giving them tools to be able to work with the tube sites to capture traffic, so be it. If they can see an increase in sale and gain some control how their free content is being published it’s a positive move.

By posting heavily branded, edited trailer style videos on tubes every day as part of their promotional campaigns, many of adult’s biggest brands have started regaining some control over what’s out there. Or at the very least, they’re making some money from it. The “if you can’t beat them, join them mentality is beginning to make sense to a lot of people. After all, logically it does seem more beneficial to create strategically crafted video advertisements and post them yourself than to simply have your content out there in its entirety for free.

What these companies are doing is relatively simple. You produce an edited 5 - 10 minute (or longer) video made up of cuts of the very best parts of a scene from beginning to. Then you add prominent branding or co-branding depending on the requirements of the tube site being submitted to and it goes into a queue for posting.

And so it comes full circle. The tubes that grew massive traffic by posting free content are now sending the traffic back to the same people whose content they devalued.

How this all turns out will remain to be seen. Ironically, many struggling paysite operations are seeing an upturn in sales as a result of exploiting tube traffic. We may actually see brands become stronger than ever as a result of the massive exposure that only big tubes can offer.

AJ Hall is a 12-year adult industry veteran and the co-founder and chief executive officer of Elevated X Inc., a provider of popular adult CMS software for the online adult entertainment industry. Elevated X powers more than 2,000 leading adult sites, has been nominated for industry awards 11 times and won the 2012 XBIZ Award for Software Company of the Year.

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