This is a complete article on free-hosted galleries (FHG). We will define what they are, how they appeared, their development, and how this recent phenomenon is affecting the adult industry.
Free Hosted Galleries Defined
A free-hosted gallery is a thumbnail gallery with legal, licensed pictures or movies provided by a sponsor that is already embedded with all of the affiliate's linking codes. Free-hosted galleries are on the sponsor's hosting; the webmaster promoting the galleries never has to worry about paying for bandwidth or server fees. Free hosted are either static or dynamic. Static galleries retain the same content forever. Dynamic galleries auto-update with new content on a daily basis. The mass appeal behind FHG is a matter of convenience and free content to surfers. The webmaster never has to worry about any aspects of the gallery; all he has to do is link to it to start earning money. All of the design, content licensing, and coding is already taken care of.
Free-hosted galleries first appeared in the middle of 2001. Some of the first sponsors to take advantage of this new promotional tool include:
Free-hosted galleries were an instant success and quickly became the "Next Big Thing." Today FHG are considered to be an essential commodity to any complete sponsor program. The demand for FHG is extraordinary. Almost every day sponsor programs are announcing the addition of new galleries to their system or are launching their own unique gallery program for the first time. Collectively as of April 2003, there are at least 17,000-20,000 free-hosted galleries. Included in this number are 200-300 dynamic, auto-updating galleries. Each month an estimated 1000-2000 FHG are added to the web.
What is the secret of this phenomenon? What marketing secrets were used to gain such incredible popularity for free-hosted galleries right after their introduction? What is in store for webmasters of different work, traffic, and experience levels and what are the best ways for sponsors to get the word out? This article contains all of the information you will need.
The Success of FHG
There are several reasons why free-hosted galleries are so successful. The most important reason is that they save webmasters time. The pioneers of the FHG understood their webmasters and responded to their demands. Most webmasters work alone or in small groups where they spend much of their working on labor-intensive coding and design. Tools like FHG are extremely useful because they save webmasters time by eliminating much of the need for coding, design, hosting, and content. After all, time is money.
Secondly, FHG became a major success because big TGP and CJ owners (the people who control the majority of adult traffic) jumped aboard the bandwagon of FHG usage. Before hosted galleries came along, TGP owners relied almost exclusively on webmasters to create and submit galleries to them; but this created problems for the TGP owners. They had to deal with reviewing a steady flow of both good and bad galleries to give to their surfers. Finally, traffic that was sent to the galleries went to the sponsors of the webmasters who submitted the galleries — not to the TGP owners who generated the traffic. Free-hosted galleries now allow the TGP/CJ owners to make much more profit from their traffic than ever before. The owners are no longer losing as many sales to gallery submitters. TGP owners have turned FHG into a fountain of wealth and have effectively broken into a market that used to be dominated by gallery makers and submitters.
A third cause of success is that hosted sponsor galleries eliminate the risk of cheating that TGP owners face when they list other webmasters' galleries. Sometimes devious gallery creators and submitters get listed by TGP sites and then change their galleries after they are listed. They will redirect the gallery traffic to their own sites or sponsors, which ultimately hurts the image of TGP sites and causes them to lose the loyalty of their surfers. It is also a tremendous workload to police a TGP and watch out for cheaters. People who use FHG never have to worry about galleries cheating or being redirected because they are coming directly from reputable sponsors, not shady webmasters.
The final reason that FHG are so successful is that they use content that specifically caters to their website. Many reality pay sites use content that is very targeted and pertains only to that website, such as College Fuck Fest, Bang Bus, or Milf Hunter. Hosted galleries use targeted content from within a pay site to promote on the FHG. The end result is a FHG that is very targeted and that converts traffic extremely well.
In this series' conclusion, we'll look at Webmaster objections, and sponsor challenges, when using free hosted galleries - Stay tuned!