Centered on Adult

Lisa Briggs
America has become an e-commerce culture, and nowhere has there been more of a recent demand for secure, swift and scalable electronic payment processing than in the adult industry. One of the leading providers of fully integrated e-commerce solutions is DHD Media.

For more than a decade, this boutique powerhouse has been the place to go for credit card processing, hosting, streaming, digital rights management, fraud scrubbing, online marketing and affiliate management services. The company's client roster represents a cross-section of leaders in the industry, and its quality of service and support is top-rated by each one. But what is its secret?

"I get asked this question a lot, and to be honest, I really don't know the answer," CEO Ron Jenkins says. "Maybe it's working smarter and harder. Since we don't know how other companies in this space operate, we really can't compare strategies. All we know is that what we do works. We know how to weigh transaction factors, and we know what makes a difference for our clients. They're in a business to make money, and we don't want them to leave any on the table. Our proven method allows them to enjoy maximum transactions with minimum chargebacks. We don't have any secrets or data that no one else has. It just how we look at it and process it."

Working with data is a specialty of Jenkins. In 2003, he came to DHD Media from a corporate financial background with more than 10 years' experience and expertise in e-commerce. Jenkins' approach is all about making it work. And his choice to jump into adult-centric waters has been personally rewarding, as well as professionally rewarding for DHD Media.

"One of the biggest differentiators of DHD Media is that we are not an adult company, we are an e-commerce company," Jenkins says. "What I love about this particular industry is that even big companies are sort of medium-sized companies as opposed to billion-dollar organizations. That means you are dealing with founders who are profit-driven. Because they're founders, you're talking immediately to the decision makers. Adult entertainment companies understand relationships. Everyone working in this business gets it."

In fact, Jenkins cites relationships as the foundation of DHD Media's successful business philosophy.

"Processing, billing, fraud scrubbing, DRM and a 24/7 customer support center are tools we provide, but our model is centered on relationships," Jenkins says. "What we strive to do is make our customers happy. It's not about building the best mousetrap. It's more about keeping customers satisfied. They tell us what they need and we give it to them. This is a very fast-moving industry, and our clients know better than we what they need to accomplish their goals. We just know how to accomplish it for them."

While other companies such as Paycom and CCBill also strive to maintain happy customer relationships, DHD Media's approach to the market is on a less grand scale — and that may be the secret to its success.

"Our competitors may be hugely successful and are to be admired in many ways, but those companies set out to be good providers of services to hundreds and hundreds of small to medium-sized players," he says. "DHD Media set out to be a leading provider of the best services to the biggest players in the space."

Blue-Chip Clients
It's no secret that DHD Media caters to some of the largest and most successful affiliate programs, such as AEBN, VS Media and Naughty America. Does this mean that small to mid-sized organizations would not benefit from partnering with DHD Media? Not at all, according to Jenkins.

Chargebacks are one of the biggest challenges for adult entertainment companies, and with the new regulations and policies initiated this past year by such top-card associations as Visa and MasterCard, the landscape has become even more difficult to navigate. How has DHD Media managed to maintain its forward motion?

"I can honestly say that we've not had to change very much, even with the crackdown from Visa and MasterCard," Jenkins says. "Our technology has evolved but not our core. We are still leading edge. On one hand, we welcome new regulations. It has pushed the shadier players out altogether."

Another advantage DHD Media enjoys is its reputation with the banking and credit card community. Especially with an adult industry moniker, companies are constantly challenged by the reluctance on the part of financial institutions to solidify ongoing working relationships.

"It can be difficult for some companies to find banks and merchant acquirers willing to deal with high-risk accounts, but we have established strong relationships with a number of financial institutions that welcome our business," Jenkins says. "What makes the difference is an open channel of communication coupled with a proven track record. Traditionally, banks may want that extra point or two, but they don't see it being worthwhile it if comes with high-risk problems. With DHD Media, those problems don't exist."

It all sounds good, but will DHD Media be able to keep its advantages through 2007, especially since, in all likelihood, the new year will bring more government restrictions, regulatory changes and challenges across the board for many companies?

"I don't know what 2007 holds, but we've been incredibly fortunate in the past with our relationships," Jenkins says. "We've delivered an increasing pace of performance expectations, and I'm convinced we will continue developments that will provide pretty significant performance gains in 2007 for us and our customers."

More Regulation?
Jenkins predicts the industry will continue to see more regulations, while clients will continue to demand more functionality, flexibility and performance. He also believes the industry will see a growing need to integrate more alternative payment methods and more currency conversions into domestic accounts.

"Our industry is already moving so rapidly that we might witness a completely new direction in online processing for the adult industry in 2007," Jenkins says. "That will bring a whole new set of challenges. For DHD Media, I think our biggest challenge in 2007 will be finding more ways to deliver our services to the smaller guys as well as the big guns."

For those companies looking to jump on the online bandwagon and start processing payments in 2007, what does Jenkins recommend they do?

"Do due diligence," Jenkins says. "Check out who else is using the processor you're thinking of partnering with. What are they doing for them? Is it what you need? Be sure you know how you want to package and sell your product or service. Then choose a company that will enable you to do so. That's how we've been successful. We are enablers."