trends

Affiliate Programs Evolve With the Times

Alex Henderson

Paysites have been a profitable part of adult e-commerce since the Bill Clinton era, but much has changed with the adult paysite model in recent years. The demand for live webcam sites has grown considerably, mobile optimization is essential and running a successful membership site is much more challenging than it once was.

As adult paysites continue to evolve, so do their affiliate programs. And important affiliate trends to be aware of range from heavy promotions of webcam sites to an increasing emphasis on high-quality content.

Today, the affiliate programs have custom-produced tools, per request by the affiliates — and the paysites are responsive, active tours with tons of updates and add-ons.

Toni, owner of the affiliate program FetishHits.com, explained that as the market for adult paysites became increasingly competitive, the need for quality affiliates became more important than ever.

Toni told XBIZ: “Today’s affiliate programs are optimized much more than in the past. Some products, especially cams, are taking a bigger share of the sales than before, when regular (membership) paysites dominated the sales. Many affiliate programs that were big 10 years ago aren’t around anymore. I think that today’s programs have also evolved in the way they treat affiliates. They appreciate them much more than they used to and understand that they wouldn’t be there without them.”

Toni added: “The most important thing for an affiliate program is that its webmaster make as much money as possible. If the affiliates make money, the affiliate program will be successful. The requirements to be able to do that are quality sites that convert. Content is always king. After that comes promotional tools, affiliate support, free hosting and much more.”

The phrase “content is king” has often been used by owners of adult paysites and their affiliates, and Paul Acevedo, director of marketing for the Budapest, Hungary-based DDF Network, asserted that having first-rate content is more essential than ever in today’s competitive adult paysite environment.

“To have a successful affiliate program, I think, starts with the content,” Acevedo told XBIZ. “If you have content people are dying to check out constantly, your ratios will be great and your rebills even better — and that will get the affiliates knocking at your door.”

Ask to identify some of the things that are essential for a successful affiliate program in late 2015, Acevedo responded: “Definitely providing the tools that the webmasters need, quickly and effectively. New promos, front and center when they login. Let them know about any special deals or contests for affiliates straight away. Let them know you can work with them regarding pricing and the type of content that works best for them.

“Offer white-label solutions if that’s a possibility. Make it easy for the affiliates to contact you, and offer payout solutions that are frequent and dependable.”

Jack Lawson, CEO of the Los Angeles-based CherryPimps.com, observed that today’s paysite affiliate programs are considerably different from the paysite affiliate programs of the past.

“We feel that while affiliate programs have become in a way simpler, paysites are more advanced,” Lawson told XBIZ. “Years ago, the average affiliate program was filled with thousands of mass-produced FHGs and banners, while thousands of paysites were static tours slapped on top of white-label members areas provided by one of the dozen feed providers.

“Today, the affiliate programs have custom-produced tools, per request by the affiliates — and the paysites are responsive, active tours with tons of updates and add-ons. The users are more educated, so they aren’t lured or fooled by shit paysites. And they also need fresh, hot, converting banners. The entire market has evolved top to bottom.”

According to Josh Torrey, traffic manager for CM Productions and BaDoink.com, there is no reason why affiliate marketing cannot involve some type of adult/mainstream crossover if the product is relevant.

“Adult has really gone mainstream now,”Torrey told XBIZ. “It isn’t a dirty little secret anymore. So considering mainstream products that may also suit the users’ interests can be a great addition to any affiliate marketing plan.”

Celine, affiliate manager for the Paris-based TotemCash, which offers the popular desktop stripper program VirtuaGirl.com, noted that including micropayments as an option is essential in today’s adult paysite environment.

“Consumers keep on evolving, and they are consuming on demand,” Celine told XBIZ. “The mobile model pushes consumers into that direction as well with micropayments. To remain competitive, paysites have to adapt to a pay-per-lead model. The affiliate model based on rev-sharing and recurring membership is having less success. Pay per lead or per sign-up is now the best way to attract affiliates.”

AJ Hall, co-founder and CEO of Elevated X Inc., stressed that paysites should favor quality over quantity when it comes to affiliates.

“The natural evolution of programs has resulted in a change in focus from trying to attract any and every possible affiliate to trying to attract affiliates that make good use of resources to drive consistent, quality sales,” Hall told XBIZ. “Ten years ago, a really good affiliate drove tens or even hundreds of sales per day.

“These days, for many sites, a really good affiliate is someone who can drive five sales a day on a consistent basis. Given the increase in competition for traffic with tubes, solid affiliates are of much more value today than ever before because the affiliate game is more focused — and attracting and retaining the right affiliates is more important than just working toward attracting as many affiliates as possible.”

Andy A, CEO of the Tampa, Fla.-based adult content provider Webmaster Central, noted that with adult tube sites offering so much free erotica these days, affiliate programs for paysites cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

Andy A told XBIZ: “In the past, an affiliate could have one or two sites pay out $35 per signup — and everyone would make money. Of course, that time is gone now. An affiliate program has got to have sites that convert and something unique that sets them apart.

“Having paysites that can get sign-ups is by far the most important quality an affiliate program can have. If the sites are not converting, then nobody makes money. So sites that convert are paramount. Having cookie-cutter sites are fine and good as filler, but a good affiliate program needs to have a high-quality, unique main site that sets it apart from the others.”

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