Exec Seat: Q&A With Bryce Wagshul of FriendFinder Networks

Rhett Pardon

FriendFinder Network’s signature website, AdultFriendFinder, is one hot property. The site, where adults peruse for online and offline sexual encounters, continues after nearly 20 years to rank among the 100 most popular sites in the U.S.

And the company’s site is one of the web’s top draws for adult cam action and continues to get high praises from its customers for its quality of models and organization.

In 2015, we will continue to make incremental changes to our sites but also really push to increase the mobile experience. There is no denying that today’s consumer is spending more time on mobile devices than PCs.

These two properties are just the tip of the iceberg for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based FriendFinder Networks, where Bryce Wagshul helps steer the company’s revenue stream as a senior business development manager.

Wagshul, formerly an affiliate marketing manager with the company, sat down with XBIZ World last month for a friendly chat about how he got his start in the biz and where the company, which operates dozens upon dozens of web properties, is headed.

XBIZ: What do you do at FriendFinder Networks and how did you break into the biz?

WAGSHUL: I am a senior business development manager for AdultFriendFinder and all of the FriendFinder Networks sites. I am directly responsible for bringing in new business, maintaining current business relationships and helping affiliates monetize their traffic sources and member bases. I studied advertising and communications at San Jose State University. I have had many jobs working in customer service-oriented fields, helping to perfect my selling and people skills. Along the way, I made connections to someone who passed my resume along to a friend and the rest is history.

XBIZ: What are some of FriendFinder’s top initiatives going into 2015?

WAGSHUL: In 2015, we will continue to make incremental changes to our sites but also really push to increase the mobile experience. There is no denying that today’s consumer is spending more time on mobile devices than PCs. It is our goal to make sure our user experience is top notch and second to none. We have been rolling out a lot of amazing features for our AdultFriendFinder users, making the site more social, interactive and exciting. This in turn pays great dividends to our affiliates who promote us. Our two top performing offers currently are AdultFriendFinder and

XBIZ: What sector of the online dating business is seeing the best revenue these days?

WAGSHUL: Online dating is seeing an overwhelming increase in mobile usage with users who are ready to spend money. Thirty-nine percent of online dating is now purely mobile whether through mobile web or apps. It’s no secret that the best revenue is coming from offers that are responsive with a good pricing strategy.

XBIZ: How about foreign markets. Where are some of the hot traffic draws?

WAGSHUL: We are seeing many foreign markets beginning to explode in terms of member spending and online presence. Currently, we are seeing high conversion rates in many other foreign markets, besides Tier 1 English speaking geos. Latin America and India are two of the largest emerging markets, and the traffic volumes coming out of the countries cannot simply be denied. Going back to what FFN’s founder, Andrew Conru, stated on; the discretionary income of people are increasing worldwide. This is evident in the sexual activity going on in countries like India, China. In Africa, the future holds the promise of double-digit increase as far as people having more sex, which is where the hot traffic draws will be in the coming years.

XBIZ: Who inspires you in the business, and why?

WAGSHUL: In this industry, it is very easy to draw huge amounts of inspiration from peers and colleagues. I was very fortunate to be introduced into this industry by some of its biggest and brightest stars. I am also always inspired by the support of my FFN team, who constantly encourages me to think bigger, never settle and reach for more. I am inspired by my first mentor, who showed me the ropes, Sean Christian. I also gather daily inspiration from Nancy Roberts.

XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?

WAGSHUL: I like to get into the office as early as possible in the morning. Not only do I enjoy some of the silence while going through my emails, Skype messages and all other forms of possible communications, but I work with many international clients who are not on in the same time zones. This allows me to stay active with them, since most are finishing their days as I am just beginning mine.

XBIZ: How important is it to attend and be active at online adult trade shows?

WAGSHUL: It is very important for myself and the company to attend multiple adult trade shows yearly. Not only is it necessary to maintain a physical presence at these shows, but the opportunity of finding and creating new business is huge. Also, attending these shows allows you to truly get a clear understanding of where the market is heading, spotting market trends and rubbing elbows with some of the industry’s brightest.

XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?

WAGSHUL: To be honest, it is a rare moment when I am not thinking about the biz and work. But I find you will be more successful if you are able to give yourself a little separation from your work and personal life.

When not in the office or traveling for work, I enjoy staying active. Spending time with loved ones, playing a number of sports, going the gym and watching football. Go Niners!