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Q&A With CCBill’s Founder and CEO Ron Cadwell

Rhett Pardon

If you do business over the Internet in the adult space, you are likely to have firm knowledge of global e-commerce solutions provider CCBill.

Since 1998, online merchants have trusted CCBill and its company icon and CEO, Ron Cadwell, to provide consistent on-time payouts, expert support, distinctive affiliate tools and an extensive set of account management options.

I am continually excited and encouraged not only by the new industry faces I see at both our and XBIZ events, but also by the familiar ones. We have clients and industry peers who have stood side by side with us since its inception, and continue to drive the entertainment, the marketing, and the selling models to new exciting places.

Today, Tempe, Ariz.-based CCBill processes for more than 30,000 websites worldwide and organizes The Phoenix Forum, an annual spring conference going into its 15th year that is designed exclusively for the online adult industry. Cadwell and his family entered the online space with the start of Cavecreek Web Hosting in 1995 after a familiar face in the industry — Colin Rowntree of Wasteland.com — approached him to manage the hosting of a site.

After finding growing consumer demand for adult content in the hosting realm, the company took a leap and obtained an online merchant account after finding the right programmers to build its system’s architecture. In time, CCBill was born.

Since those early days at the beginning of the commercial, CCBill has grown exponentially and thrived, becoming a solid pillar to the online adult industry along the way.

Cadwell took time from his busy schedule to discuss with XBIZ World how his company stays at the top and what the future looks like for e-commerce and processing.

XBIZ: What makes CCBill stand out in such a crowded field of processing companies, and what are your clients typically demand these days?

CADWELL: I think one of the consistent things that has separated CCBill from the other processors over the years is the personal approach we take with our clients. A lot of times in business it can seem like organizations you work with are only in it for themselves, or not very relatable. Having started as a family company ourselves, we knew the best way to serve clients was to work with them, and to help them grow. I’m proud that we’ve been able to maintain that approach, and I think our clients know that we’re in it with them. On top of that, I think another thing that helps us stand out is our longevity, and all of the accumulated knowledge we have gained over the last 17 years in the online payments industry. Clients today demand the best ... and with good reason, as it can be the success of their business at stake.

We find they’re looking for a provider that can not only meet their current needs, but one that is well positioned to help them grow and one that knows all the ins and outs, including the regulations surrounding payment processing, so they don’t have to worry about all of that. They’re also looking for a stable e-commerce partner that delivers what they need, and one that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

XBIZ: What are some of the common mistakes (or lost opportunities) that webmasters typically make when it comes to setting up their processing accounts?

CADWELL: That’s a good question. There’s no shortage of options out there for today’s merchants. While it can sometimes seem that any processing will do, it’s always worth the time to think about what you want out of a payment processing service, before going with the first one or the cheapest one that comes along.

Something we’ve seen over the years is as webmasters or merchants begin to really become successful and grow their business, their processor needs to be working with them every step of the way, with the supporting tools and systems needed to solidify the growth. So, I would suggest to always look ahead to where you want your business to go and grow, and then compare different processors to see which will be ready to provide the features and tools you need to not only get there, but to keep on growing.

XBIZ: As founder and CEO of CCBill, what are some of the biggest challenges that you face in a typical week?

CADWELL: For me, it is really all about making sure that I have my finger on the pulse of our company and that I am staying a step ahead of our business “influencers” and those of our clients. Banking and credit card association rules, a long list of varied government regulations, our market competitors and consumer buying trends all run through a constant review process for me, as our “Chief Business Leader.”

But let’s be clear, I am also very fortunate to have a very solid team of talent, many of whom have been with me and CCBill for well over a decade, that help me proactively address and many times react appropriately. My CCBill team keeps us moving forward, to successfully meet and exceed our business goals.

XBIZ: In what ways do you see CCBill evolving in the coming years? What changes in the adult billing space do you foresee in the U.S. and abroad?

CADWELL: I think we’ve always been evolving, and will keep doing so as the markets and consumers are changing. When we first started, the Internet was really just getting going and taking payments online was a new experience for pretty much everybody. Fast forward several years from that time and you’re hard pressed to find anyone that hasn’t made purchases online. It really is amazing how quickly behaviors have changed.

In the U.S., I think we’ll keep seeing adult subscription billing models be integrated into some newer technologies like smart TVs or Roku. In the U.S. and abroad, we’ll see consumers wanting to simplify their experiences. Be it through an e-wallet type of application or some other method for managing their subscriptions.

As for CCBill, I think we’ve always had an eye toward the future, and we will continue to develop and offer our merchants more tools to help them succeed. There are a couple of things we are working on currently that will help them reach and interact with their consumers in some different ways ... ways that can help their business keep growing.

XBIZ: Where are the brightest opportunities in the online and mobile adult spaces currently? And where to you see those spaces in the next five years?

CADWELL: There are a lot of really interesting things happening on the technology side as it relates to content. People are viewing on anything from a smartphone to a tablet, and even on their TVs through a streaming media device of some sort. Some of our merchants are branching out into these newer streaming platforms and I think we will see more of that continue.

People are accessing and consuming content in more and more different ways, and it’s not just all tied to mobile. Although that certainly is a major force within the market and will remain as one for the foreseeable future. We’ve also been seeing a diversification of offerings with our merchants as they continue to push the envelopes for their own businesses.

One of the best things about the adult market is that is it always leading the charge and sometimes reinventing itself as demands change, and from all the different conversations I have at trade shows, that mentality isn’t going away. It’s a pretty exciting time to be part of this business.

XBIZ: What are some of the things that make the adult billing field exciting for you?

CADWELL: We launched CCBill in 1998, specifically to service the needs of the adult digital online market. Over the course of the past 17 years, many of the processes and innovations we have built into our systems and business have been to support this dynamic, fun and ever evolving vertical.

One of the main reasons CCBill volunteered to take over, and produce, The Phoenix Forum in 2001 was to solidify our position and support of this incredible market. The adult industry continues to be serviced by smart, creative and, yes, revenue-hungry entrepreneurs and corporations.

I am continually excited and encouraged not only by the new industry faces I see at both our and XBIZ events, but also by the familiar ones. We have clients and industry peers who have stood side by side with us since its inception, and continue to drive the entertainment, the marketing, and the selling models to new exciting places.

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

CADWELL: I like to relax with friends and family, get out to do some fishing and spend some time in places like San Diego. As anyone in this business knows, it can really be a 24/7 type of thing so taking time out to enjoy other parts of life is important.

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