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Turgeon on AVS

Gretchen Gallen
XBiz took a moment to catch up with Robert Turgeon, chief operating officer for ManCheck.com, in light of the company's recent shift away from being one of the premier Adult Verification Services (AVS) to becoming a mega paysite.

Since the mid-nineties, AVS companies began sprouting up throughout the adult industry, opening many doors for the AVS and webmaster community to increase profitability while at the same time controlling underage visitations to adult content sites.

But the game is about to change, Turgeon told XBiz.

Mancheck.com rode the AVS wave for the first seven years of its existence. But according to Turgeon, the impetus to make the switch to being a paysite was the direct result of changes within the industry that will ultimately leave a negative imprint on all AVS business models that don't adapt to growing pressures from credit card behemoth Visa.

Mancheck currently has more than 31,000 affiliates under its wing.

Maintaining its integrity as an industry leader, Mancheck recently relaunched as a mega paysite without dramatically altering its business model, but following in its own best interest to get out of the AVS hot-seat.

Under its new model, Mancheck has done away with age verification and password sign-in, and by January of this year it will launch MancheckCash.com, a new affiliate program that is more typical of a paysite than an AVS.

According to Turgeon, the new program empowers webmasters with more choices and flexibility in terms of their association with Mancheck and its other affiliates, either inside or outside of the industry.

Mancheck is also on the verge of launching MancheckCinema, a pay-per-view site where webmasters can earn money on the pay-per-view model as well as through Mancheck membership, all with one sign up.

"We decided to diversify," Turgeon told XBiz. "We wanted to open up and expand our market in terms of accessing webmasters who have websites that they don't necessarily want to be part of, or connected with, other Mancheck webmasters."

As for the Visa crunch that is currently pulling the industry's tail, Turgeon warns fellow industry leaders to stay informed. A big shakedown is just around the corner.

"Visa has given AVS companies explicit instructions that they no longer want to be used as a means of verifying age," Turgeon told XBiz. " Just because someone has a credit card, doesn't mean they are of age. Visa put out the warning a long time ago and very little within the industry has been done to change that. Visa is saying we don't want that association anymore."

When Turgeon joined the Mancheck team a year ago from his own business outside of the adult entertainment industry, he says that Visa was in the same tangle with the AVS community that it is right now.

"People just haven't done anything about it," said Turgeon, adding that the issues Visa is bringing to the table are much more dire than the adult entertainment community realizes.

As the almighty Visa gets closer to the breaking point, it might bring about stipulations that could potentially cripple many AVS companies, says Turgeon.

Mancheck is so committed to shedding its association with being an adult AVS that it recently turned down an industry award nomination in the AVS category.

"Visa could eventually require all AVS companies to own their own content," said Turgeon. "Which means that if they have thousands of sites, they must show proof of ownership. An AVS will either need to host them, get rid of them, or go out of business. As long as an AVS continues down that path, they will find themselves in hot water."

Part II of XBiz's interview with Robert Turgeon will be posted on Thursday.

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