Straight vs. Gay

Stephen Yagielowicz
Recently, XBIZ World Magazine asked several players in the gay market, "What are some key differences between doing business in the straight and gay markets?" Here's what they had to say:

"When I first started in the industry five years ago, there were a number of key differences between both markets. The biggest differences by far were the pricing models for sites, the content, traffic and the marketing of the sites and/or content. The gay side was very community-based and focused on brand and exclusive content, customer loyalty, member retention and basic affiliate and revshare models, whereas in the straight market, business was based on signups, depth of content rather than exclusivity and large pay-per-signup and free/$1 trial models. It wasn't always easy to find cohesive ways for companies on each side to work together. Today, on the other hand, both markets have synergized tremendously with successful businesses in our industry, both gay and straight, using traits of the other in their own businesses and finding many common areas in which to work together. I have seen previous companies where I have worked on the gay side, like NakedSword and Cybersocket, bridge gaps and create opportunities with many companies on the straight side and enter into new business opportunities utilizing models previously employed by mostly straight businesses. As well, companies like GirlsGoneWild.com and Kink.com have successfully entered the market by working with brand, customer loyalty and content, while also working with gay businesses in traffic exchanges and new content development."

— Reena Patel, V.P. Marketing & Operations,
Kink.com/ KinkyDollars.com

"For starters, the gay market requires gay porn made by gay people (from content to marketing promotions), ensuring higher quality and respect for the culture and its values. Because the gay surfer is about porn culture and is more picky, the lifetime of membership is longer. Second, networking differs as well in the same sense. And third, the gay market, in a way, is smaller then the straight one traffic-wise, so your campaigns need to be well targeted and addressed. But overall, the same rules apply: honesty, flexibility, commitment and quality product."

— Mathieu Nolet, General Manager,

"While we market to both gay and straight affiliates, I'd have to say that it is so much more personal on the gay side. It seems that the majority of webmasters for gay sites really want to know what we are doing, they take the time to really critique our sites, and they try to get to know our company. It isn't only about the numbers or conversions. The biggest difference I find in marketing on the gay side is that being such a close-knit community, there is a lot more pride in the product and in the business we do. Since we see each other at events so regularly, you have the ability to build relationships as long as you are making honest efforts."

— Craig Tant, VP Sales,

"When aiming to reach the gay male consumer, you have to consider that your target demographic has more disposable income, on average, and lives in a culture where adult content is part of the lifestyle, not a taboo subject brought up only behind closed doors. Additionally, gay men tend to be more discriminating when it comes to actually purchasing a membership to a paysite. They look for more than just random pictures of naked guys…they want high quality video, original content and frequent updates. There are hundreds of gay sites out there, but many of them don't meet the standards of the consumer. Putting up a new site every week with recycled content and a borrowed backend isn't usually going to cut it with gay customers. You have to be willing to put in the extra effort if you want your site to sell."

— Rainey Stricklin, VP Marketing/Webmaster Relations,

"The first thing peeps need to realize is that gay is a market, not a niche. The second thing to understand is that, and this may amaze some people, gay men are different from straight men. Perish the thought! Mainstream marketing has long known that the 'typical' gay consumer is better educated, more worldly, more likely to embrace new technology and ideas, has a much higher disposable income and has a far lower level of 'people' responsibility than the typical straight guy. Now, before you jump down my throat — that last one means they do not generally have kids and a defined family role — even most gay men in a relationship would hardly consider themselves monogamous. Steve Lightspeed asked me once why single-guy sites do not work nearly as well as single-girl sites. The answer is simple: straight men fall in love with a single girl and one can be enough for them, whereas a gay man will fall in lust with a single guy, get his fill, and then move on. Fundamentally, gay men have their shit together sexually speaking and go after what they want — no pun intended. The old marketing rule applies to every degree: understand your product and understand your market — and both are very different when comparing gay and straight porn."

— Lindsay, "CTB,"

"The gay market is more protective of its traffic, and there is a distinction made between straight companies that try and produce gay sites and companies that operate unique straight and gay programs. The gay market is more fickle than the straight market, and deals are based on a broader set of factors — meaning that it's not just the program with the best sites or the one that is paying the most money that will win the business."

— Steve J., Sales/Marketing/R&D Guru,