Christoph Pass, PartnerCash’s CEO, has an interesting story on an underlying reason why he took the plunge and got into the biz. Pass told XBIZ World that his diagnosis of brain cancer was later followed by a need for cash to pay for treatment, and porn seemed to be the lucrative antidote.
Pass, in this Q&A, also talks about Saboom, the first interactive video entertainment website to give users the opportunity to choose their own adult adventure and to create their own content.
Since last year, when we opened our international program, we are now close to 19,000 affiliates. We Will continue to grow our international products portfolio throughout the year. —Christoph Pass PartnerCash’s CEO
He also discusses the company’s grand plan to go international.
XBIZ: How did you get into the adult affiliate business?
PASS: In 1999 I got diagnosed with brain cancer and was forced to earn a lot of money to pay for therapy. It was a test medicine that was very expensive at the time. My brother, who is a genius tech guy, forced me to learn HTML, Dreamweaver, Photoshop and all those things. He had this idea to build porn sites and earn the money to pay costs for my medicine and therapy. From that point on the success skyrocketed. I was healthy again two years later and the company has grown to 180 people today.
XBIZ: How many affiliates does PartnerCash have, and where are most of your affiliates?
PASS: Until September 2012 PartnerCash was only running a German-speaking program with about 16,500 affiliates. Since we opened our international program we are now close to 19,000 affiliates within only one year. We are growing fast, and since we opened up our North American office in Montreal for taking care for our North American affiliates we are even growing faster.
XBIZ: With Saboom.com, surfers become porn producers and create customizable scenes from the virtual director’s chair. It’s quite innovative and creates an erotic, interactive experience. How did you come up with the idea?
PASS: Since 2006, when the first tubes started appearing, we’ve been thinking about the next level of porn paysites that will make the users pay in the future for porn. We spent many discussions internally and externally about it. We were pretty sure that every porn surfer has an image in his mind about the perfect porn scene. So we put the user into the director’s chair. We figured that a scene’s angles would be doable, but we could not find the right user interface that would allow the user to control all of this easily.
One evening I came home and one of my kids was playing a game called Monkey Island, where the computer asks you at certain points “where do you want to go now; you want to turn left or right.”
This technique seemed to work, so we employed this easy idea into Saboom. We continue to develop it further every day. Today, our users can control the story and angle of our video shows. They can chat live on camera with our porn stars while they are interactively controlling their video shows.
XBIZ: How often do you film scenes for Saboom?
PASS: We consistently film productions for Saboom, as well as for all our other video paysite products. Our content team is dealing with weekly productions in Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, keeping all our products updated. Saboom productions take much more time than normal productions because of all the different interactive stories and angles. We produce two to three updates each week.
XBIZ: PartnerCash last year decided on translating much of its German-language content to English and announced the company is considering itself an “international” company. How has that worked out?
PASS: We announced ourselves as an international company by releasing new products that cater to a broader audience, such as Saboom.com and our new IPTV solution. We will continue to grow our international products portfolio throughout the year. As for the bottom line, it has been better than we anticipated. So much that we have opened a new office in Montreal to cater to our growing demand.
XBIZ: Does PartnerCash have any new projects coming up?
PASS: There is a lot of stuff going on. The major project at the moment is IPTV, which we are rolling out after a long beta phase internationally. Also we are going to roll out a new international version of Saboom. We have about 300 other products in the German-speaking market, including dating, live cams and various paysites. We are going to roll out new products internationally very soon. So stay tuned because there is going to be a lot of opportunities for our international partners.
XBIZ: Where is most of your business coming from?
PASS: PartnerCash is the leader in the German-speaking market, so a big percentage of our business is done in these markets and it’s been growing quite a bit in Europe in the past two years. Since we opened our affiliate platform for North American partners last year, we’ve been growing there fast as well. And we keep rolling out localized products to push this market for us to the next level.
XBIZ: What sector of the online adult business is driving the market these days?
PASS: I think the mobile business is getting most of the attention in the industry. Smart TVs and other new devices are also getting attention. Dating and free live cam websites are rocking the market, and it seems that this trend will continue for a longer time.
There is a lot of business going on and a lot of scams, as well. It’s not a well-regulated market but it will be soon.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
PASS: A typical work day starts at 6 a.m. together with my kids and my wife having breakfast. I get into the office around 9 a.m. I typically have a short meeting with all my managers to get the latest updates.
Afterwards, I do my Skype calls with divisional managers to get an idea what’s going on at our other locations. After that, I go for a lunch break in our cafeteria and have a short walk through our garden to clear up my mind. The rest of the day is filled with different meetings with a product or sales team where I use my experience to give my feedback to the different product managers and team members. About 5 p.m. it’s time for a Skype conference with our North American office and check out how they are doing over there. After this I sign all the contracts and papers that are there for me, and I try to leave the office at 6:40 p.m. and have dinner with my family. I go and take a walk in the forest behind my house and clear up my mind again. I do another one to two hours later at night browsing the boards and the web to see what’s going on there. This is my day.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
PASS: There is my family which is getting most of my attention aside from the business, and there are my hobbies, one of which is [the military science fiction realtime strategy video game] StarCraft. Also, I was a musician in the past, and I still to love to write songs and record them in my home studio.