trends

It’s a Mobile World, So Why Isn’t Porn Ready

Stephen Yagielowicz

The adult entertainment industry has a long reputation for technological innovation and leadership — but this reputation may now be as obsolete as are many of the adult websites currently on the market, because those outdated websites are incapable of serving the changing needs of their visitors — many of whom are now accessing the Internet via a mobile device.

At the beginning of 2014, five times as many Americans accessed the Internet via desktop computers than via a web browser on a mobile device — seemingly contradicting claims of the rapid growth of mobile web usage — but it is important to note that during this same time, American’s Internet access via mobile apps eclipsed access via PCs.

According to comScore, 55 percent of American Internet usage is attributable to mobile device users, with 47 percent coming from app traffic and the remaining eight percent attributed to browsers on mobile devices such as Safari on the iPhone.

According to comScore, 55 percent of American Internet usage is attributable to mobile device users, with 47 percent coming from app traffic and the remaining eight percent attributed to browsers on mobile devices such as Safari on the iPhone. Compare this to the 45 percent of American Internet users surfing via a personal computer. These figures demonstrate that it is not only the Internet access devices that are changing (with the Pew Research Center finding that 55 percent of Americans own smartphones while 42 percent own a tablet), but also the ways that those devices are used.

Hidden in these statistics is another relevant revelation: apps not only account for dominance of access, but perhaps more importantly, vastly increased time — with 88 percent of a consumer’s time spent on mobile media consumption occurring via an app — compared to 12 percent via a mobile browser.

Given these realities, the lack of a responsive or mobile-compatible site or app is shortsighted at best — and at worst, a sign of owner incompetence and of a site that is spiraling down into market irrelevance.

For an insider’s look at how the online adult entertainment industry is making the shift to mobile access, we turn to the XBIZ.net professional community to learn how some frontline operators are responding. While none of the discussion’s participants seems to be ignoring the growing percentage of mobile users hitting their sites, nearly half still send mobile traffic to another site, as if they cannot be bothered to implement a monetization solution of their own. Our informal survey reveals that more than 40 percent of adult websites redirect mobile visitors to external resources, such as ad networks or sponsor program offerings including white labels and mobile video-on-demand platforms.

While this may be the easiest and fastest option, it means that a visitor hoping to reach your site ends up at someone else’s site. This is the equivalent of a TGP visitor clicking on a thumb that he hopes will display a desired gallery, but is instead skimmed off to a traffic trade — resulting in a negative feeling towards the site or brand that circle jerked him.

Klentelaris says he sends mobile traffic to brokers because it is less of a hassle than other options, even if those other options have a greater perceived earning potential. He explains that while he might earn more money by sending mobile users to sponsors instead of brokers, inconsistent earnings and sponsor specifics can hamper cash flow — for example, some sponsors only accept Vodafone users from specific countries — but even with this level of filtering, some sponsors still do not convert.

Klentelaris underscores the value of traffic filtering, noting that while he sent mobile traffic from all carriers and devices to a single sponsor that claimed to be able to monetize all mobile users, promising €60 per 1,000 filtered users, the sponsor did not generate even a single free signup. When purchasing mobile traffic, he only buys users filtered by carrier.

“This is about which carriers convert and which do not,” Klentelaris told XBIZ. “The problem is that filtered traffic is only available in very small amounts, and as result you have to compete with other buyers [for those same visitors].”

Sean Holland of OrbitalPay told XBIZ that when it comes to handling mobile traffic, he has done it all — from sending mobile visitors to his own sites, to brokers, to redirecting certain countries to his own white label sites as well.

“My biggest surprise was with feature phones [because] I didn’t think the low amount of traffic would amount to anything, especially [since] BlackBerry’s were the main source,” Holland explains. “I gave Kimia (Kimia.mobi) a shot, and low and behold, the checks started coming in and growing with every payout — and payouts in euro too, which is a bonus.”

Holland notes that using Kimia is as simple as adding a line of code to your site’s htaccess file, which will redirect users by device to a custom white label site provided by the company, allowing you to send any feature phone traffic to a feature phone optimized site.

At around 20 percent, the smallest segment of adult sites offers a mobile version of their main website, automatically redirecting visitors to the appropriate internal URL. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, these operators build watered-down versions of a website — with a potentially disappointing lack of features, as well as an increase in development and maintenance costs. Sure, you might give such operators a point for effort, but in 2014, they are working harder than they need to, while under-serving their audiences. An exception to this is for sites specifically targeting low-tech feature phones; but using this approach for smartphones and tablets is counterproductive.

Marcel of EVM Cash International SL recommends redirecting mobile users to a mobile/tablet version of your desktop site, because this is what the user (and search engines such as Google) will expect to see, and also advises operators to create a downloadable Android app for directly delivering adult content.

“Making your own app is not that difficult anymore,” Marcel offers. “You can make one in few minutes.”

While apps are popular, a responsive site provides a great foundation that allows users to enjoy the full feature set that a site has to offer — with 40 percent of adult site operators “getting it,” demonstrating their acceptance of today’s marketplace through responsive website designs that serve all their visitors equally well — using one easy to deploy and maintain platform.

When it comes to the value of responsive designs, SGS of SDYPhotography notes that since deploying a responsive tour, almost half of the new signups are from users of mobile devices. SGS is also “staggered” by the number of sites still using Flash files — that while once dominant on desktops, have since fallen from favor, due to a lack of support on iOS devices such as iPad and iPhone.

Examining this information reveals that mobile adoption by adult website operators could be better — with the lack of uptake no doubt contributing to a decline in sales — which is no surprise, since today’s customers are unable to use your product. It is a price that copycat producers pay for building countless “me too” websites that they cannot afford to upgrade — rather than focusing on building excellence and universal accessibility into a flagship product. If more operators chose this latter path, porn would be ready for mobile today.

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