opinion

A VISA Alternative

Stephen Yagielowicz
We’ve had a few recent discussions on the XBIZ boards that explored innovative marketing and billing mechanisms; some of which caused complications with billing companies such as CCBill, due to the nature of the content and means of its presentation. Billing difficulties are nothing new for webmasters, however, and often result from policies imposed by banks and credit card companies.

Finding acceptable ways around these challenges can be rewarding and lead to expanded opportunities for profit. For many smaller operators, including models trying to start their own website, one such challenge is the $750 VISA fee. A trivial amount for a properly capitalized company, it may be insurmountable for a girl whose motivation is financial necessity rather than insatiable exhibitionism and likewise for the working man on a limited income, trying to make some gas money on the side.

One of my favorite solutions for operators in this position is the creation of a hybrid site; initially developed as a premium-level AVS site, then evolved into a combination paysite / AVS site. Let’s take a closer look:

I’m not going to get into everything you need to know about AVS sites here; simply do a search for “AVS sites” at XBIZ if you need to learn the basics. Suffice it to say that you can build your site to meet the particular AVS’ standards for participating in its premium program offering recurring payouts. Submit your site to the AVS and enjoy the quality traffic you’ll receive from being on its new sites list while you develop your own ongoing traffic sources.

Once your site has fallen off of the AVS’ “new” list, redo your join page to offer CCBill as the primary processor (without VISA) and make a “VISA” join link that goes straight to the AVS’ signup page.

Set the AVS’ join page as the “denial” page in your CCBill admin, and link to this page from your tour / join page as an “alternative membership option.”

If your site has a $19.95/mo. price point, for example, the difference between the CCBill payout of $16.95 (your $19.95 membership fee - the 15 percent processing fee) and a typical recurring AVS payout of, say, $14, is only $2.95.

If you pay the VISA fee of $750, using the numbers above, it would require 254 member-months worth of sales through CCBill before you recouped your $750 (254 x $2.95 = ~ $750)

When your site makes those 254 sales, you should have the money to pay the VISA fee, which will allow you to bump CCBill up as the VISA processor as well, and still offer the AVS as the denial URL and alternative link, enjoying the best of both worlds and enhanced revenue opportunities.

No, the AVS will probably not like this and will likely de-list you as soon as they see it, BUT if you have a quality site that is making sales, they will not likely toss you out of the program – continuing to process your new and recurring memberships – and giving you the added benefit of often dramatically increased retention rates for those AVS systems that offer their own extensive members areas.

There are similar ways that smaller operations can incorporate a poor man’s version of cascading billing and expand their earning options, and exploring these ways can help you to achieve your goals in this biz. Keep experimenting and good luck!

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