Meet Phil Bradbury, the vice president of a company that operates some of the best-known leading online adult brands, including Hosted Tube, Porn.com, PimpRoll.com, Paid Per View and TrafficForce.com. Bradbury’s an industry vet, and XBIZ wanted to learn more about him and his conglomerate of businesses for this Q&A.
XBIZ: How did you get involved in the online adult entertainment biz?
Sure, TGPs aren’t raking in the sales anymore and just giving away teaser pics doesn’t cut it like it used to; but at the core the game is the same. The goal is to generate traffic and people are paid handsomely for it. -Phil Bradbury
BRADBURY: Eighteen years ago I bought my first computer and left home for university. I’m from a small town, so at the time my assumption was that the only use for the internet was to search out nudes of the likes of Christina Applegate and Alyssa Milano. Apparently I wasn’t that far off! Anyways, a group of guys in my dorm were making money promoting adult sites using TGPs and link lists, I wanted to get involved but was busy studying business and didn’t have much time to work on learning HTML. I knew there had to be a way to get involved that exploited my business skills as opposed to me bending away from what I am best at to try to fit in. eventually as they decided to turn their hobby into a business, I got my chance.
XBIZ: How did you get things started up, and what are some of your current holdings?
BRADBURY: We began as a technical services company and we continue to manage the day-to-day operations of many projects that we have taken on over the years. In the beginning we ran the entire portfolio of sites that were marketed under the Adult Revenue Service (ARS) brand. Our first crack at a full program was Niche Wealth, which is still operating, but was sold off several years ago. Following that, we launched our most successful program to date, PimpRoll.com. In the years that have passed we launched or acquired several other programs and properties including: Adult elite, Massive dollars, long dong dollars, Baron Bucks, PerSignup.com, MakeBank.com and many others. Obviously, besides paysites, we run Porn.com and Porn.xxx along with several other successful tubes. In recent years we have created successful content sharing programs like Paid Per View that help producers effectively maximize the revenue they earn from their tube clips; and Hosted Tube where anyone can create their own porn tube site in less than five minutes. We run our own dating sites, our own cam sites and of course Traffic Force, one of the most robust ad platforms in the industry.
XBIZ: What is the state of the affiliate business for adult content?
BRADBURY: I am sure that I will take a lot of heat for this, but in all honesty the affiliate side of the equation has changed a lot less than people think it has. Sure, TGPs aren’t raking in the sales anymore and just giving away teaser pics doesn’t cut it like it used to; but at the core the game is the same. The goal is to generate traffic and people are paid handsomely for it. In the past they were paid through commissions for sales, now they are paid for impressions on advertisements. The money is still there and still flowing, but a lot more of that money comes from advertisers as opposed to the customers themselves. People seem to have this stigma that the consumers are getting everything for free and we are suffering because of it, but I can guarantee you that as long as the advertisers can afford to pay for their impressions, the consumers are buying something.
XBIZ: How about traffic? What are clients looking for and what are some of the key targeting features that help companies reach greater conversions?
BRADBURY: The traffic landscape has become a lot more analytical and will continue to evolve in that direction, this in my opinion is the driving force behind the most successful webmasters today. It is no longer viable to put something out there and hope it does well. Clients want to test as many advertising options as possible using all the tools that are available. We no longer create something for everyone and hope that the majority of people will find it acceptable. We target countries or even communities, we translate offers into dozens of languages and tailor pricing to suit. We target specific mobile carriers with offers that fit and we switch strategies or products throughout the day based on consumer spending habits during specific hours of each day.
XBIZ: Where are the brightest opportunities in the online and mobile adult businesses?
BRADBURY: Although free content is here to stay, customers will always be willing to pay for premium content and access to advanced features. Some companies out there pushing great new product and I hope that continues. I see the growth of adult communities that share information openly with each other and trade real user generated content. I see these communities getting stronger and more important. The lines between dating and camming are starting to blur as users are able to share a more intimate experience from the comfort of their own homes. Most importantly I see more and more new advertisers starting to look to adult traffic to sell their offers. Things you would not find on a porn site in the past, which is a very exciting prospect from my point of view; there is a whole world of products and services out there that our customers are as willing to pay for as any and their buying potential is presently under-exploited. Mainstream companies have been very hesitant to even talk about advertising on adult sites, but we are starting to see more of it happening now, which presents an incredible opportunity for all of us.
XBIZ: What’s coming up for the company in 2015?
BRADBURY: You’ll have to wait and see! To be honest, our company has been expanding outside the adult industry lately, so it is likely that many of you will never hear of some of the projects we are currently working on. Although many of these projects are not adult related, our hope is that they will be successful on their own merit, and that the technologies we develop as part of the process will translate to our adult properties — helping to usher in a new wave of innovation.
XBIZ: How do you juggle all of your companies properties and what are some of the biggest challenges that you face in a typical week?
BRADBURY: To be honest, I don’t. Things here run as smoothly as they do because of an incredible management team that has learned to work together effectively. My challenges pale in comparison to the hard decisions they face day in and day out. As a company ripe with ideas, our hardest decisions often revolve around choosing between good ideas. I recognize that a few companies have amassed armies of coders and throw darts in every possible direction, they are doing well and I applaud them, but that is not us, we have several employees who have been with us well over a decade and we grow only at a pace that allows us to develop relationships with each other. Because of that we often have to pick and choose, we have to say no to projects that we feel would be successful in order to concentrate our efforts on others. “What should we do” is easy, the hardest decisions our team faces are questions about “what should we not do”.
XBIZ: What advice do you give other company leaders in maintaining a tight team of loyal staff?
BRADBURY: Never act like you are above the people who have made you a success. Never demand that they do something you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. Never say you are too busy to talk with an employee. Learn about your team, make their interests your interests and make their problems your problems.
XBIZ: What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned about the adult business?
BRADBURY: With this being my career since I left school, I can’t really draw parallels to other industries, so certainly these things are not unique to adult, but I must say, things move fast, change fast and you must be willing to change with them. Your values don’t have to change and your goals don’t have to change, but the process needs to, sometimes frequently, and often drastically. You have to be willing to let projects go, to let ideas die, you can’t be afraid to abandon a project near its completion when you know that’s the right thing to do. When an opportunity arises you need to be willing to put other things on hold and run with it.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
BRADBURY: Many members of our team show up quite early, including several key people, so I usually spend 20 minutes or so talking to each of them before I even make it to my office. After that I dive into my inbox. Much of what I do is like triage, I direct questions, comments, concerns and offers to the right people so they can investigate them further. I check analytics on our key properties and look into anything out of the ordinary. I’ll check key news outlets for the significant stories, whether adult related or simply technical in nature. I’ll get brought up to speed on our current projects. Generally I eat lunch with Dave, we discuss a rundown of what is going on and he adds his input. Much of lunch is a creative discussion that brings the endless number of innovative ideas Dave has into focus so we can debate new opportunities for the future. In the afternoon we will usually have a meeting, it might be the pay site division, the marketing team, our programming department or a hybrid brought together for a specific purpose depending on our needs. The end of my day is usually spent digging into an investment opportunity or getting shown new products like alternative billing options, content monetization platforms or any other new technologies.
XBIZ: What inspires you in business?
BRADBURY: Certainly what inspires me has changed over the years. In the beginning I was driven by a desire to be successful, and to show people what I can do. As time has passed I have developed relationships with employees and managers alike, many of them are among my best friends. Now, I am driven to ensure my own success and the success of the team. It became clear to me long ago that helping to make sure the people I respect prosper is a tremendous personal reward as well. Additionally, I am incredibly proud of the company we have built together, the reputation we have gained throughout the industry and values we have stuck to over the years. At this point, I take more pride from seeing our company prosper than anything else.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
BRADBURY: I am a wood worker at heart. The only time I use a computer at home is for work-related purposes. I like to build with my hands, to renovate and to create. After a particularly hard day, you will usually find me at my lathe turning wood or at the back of the yard with an axe in hand. In the summer I spend most weekends camping and during the week I coach t-ball. I stay active with volleyball, softball and a dart league (yes darts). I’m a member of the Royal Canadian Legion where I volunteer frequently. I also read quite a bit to stay sharp.