opinion

Safely Monetizing Cam Traffic

Cathy Beardsley

It has been stated that adult pornography has been a driving force behind the expansion of the internet. In the 1990s, dial-up was slow, and production of adult content was created by a studio system that distributed produced films via DVD and VHS to consumers.

While consumers turned to the World Wide Web in the 1990s for easy access to adult entertainment, download speeds crawled along as users saved videos and photos onto their hard drives that sometimes took days to complete. But as internet speed increased in the late 1990s, cam technology started to improve, allowing surfers of the web to engage with people around the globe through video and photos.

Successful cam programs recognize and reward repeat customers and limit exposure to new users or those that have been problematic before.

In 1996, Jennifer Ringley set up a camera in her dorm room as a social experiment to document her life for internet viewers called JenniCam.org. This intimate look into her life attracted millions of weekly visitors who paid to see Jenni creating the first cam site that broadcasted adult content.

Now with faster internet speeds and better quality cameras, camming can be done anywhere from the living room to the great outdoors, with model interaction that engages users in new and individualized ways. Camming can be one-to-one or one-to-many. Cam site programs give models monetary safety by processing transactions from consumers and helping to market models and boost paying consumers.

Interactive entertainment or camming counts for more than 50 percent of consumer sales in the adult industry. It's the growing piece of a shrinking pie as internet users access more and more free content, often pirated through tube sites. And while we figure out how to grow the pie again and limit piracy, adult merchants need to embrace what’s driving consumer sales around content.

Webmasters should talk with their payment processor about white-label cam solutions, which are a great option for driving more revenue for an adult site while offering new and interactive content. At SegPay we have three white-label program options for our clients with ImLive, Streamate and Flirt4Free.

I have a theory that the growth of cam sites corresponds with the growth of the gig economy. In 2007 when the economy tanked, everyone had to figure out how to make a living. Corporate jobs were disappearing, plants were closing and college grads couldn't find good jobs. Enterprising people of all ages have had to figure out how to make money, be it driving for Uber, creating a blog or a website, becoming a life coach, or becoming an adult cam model.

With the prevalence of adult cams and consumers wanting content and personal experiences that fit their tastes, there are a wide array of model types needed to engage in the space. The most successful cam models are creative and personable, which are the keys to getting and keeping an engaged audience base.

Merchants in the adult industry have to be continually on guard for fraudulent transactions, but also need to take care of their talent. Successful cam programs recognize and reward repeat customers and limit exposure to new users or those that have been problematic before.

Setting spending limits for new customers is a smart idea, as is gathering signature and identification info from consumers that have proven to be larger spenders. Single-click checkout for returning patrons will improve their experience and encourage repeat transactions. These consumers can spend hundreds or even thousands with a favorite model. At SegPay, we’ve also seen a trend that gay men tend to spend more than their straight counterparts.

Secure codes add an extra level of protection by determining that the customer is who they say they are. It also shifts the liability back to the issuing bank, specifically MasterCard and Visa EU, if there are fraudulent transactions. Prepaid cards tend to have less risk and create anonymity for the consumer, but members that use prepaid cards will probably have many different cards. This could create a false positive for what is a good customer unless you identify that the card is prepaid.

SegPay has optional variables that we pass back to help merchants manage fraud and develop user profiles. We provide prepaid card indicators, issuing country information, first six and last four digits of the card numbers and IP country lookups. These can be critical when identifying potentially fraudulent transactions and building user profiles.

Merchants need to keep an eye on the models too. Model collusion is a growing problem. Merchants need to monitor chargebacks and refunds by model and collect identification materials and addresses to confirm that models meet country age requirements for adult work.

The ever-changing landscape of the adult industry is why I love this business. It's a fast-paced marketplace where real merchants have real business issues. Today the trend consumers demand are cams but tomorrow the trend will be virtual reality. It's an ecosystem; from model to bank to consumer and we all play important roles.

It took only three years for Cathy Beardsley to turn startup SegPay into a profitable company. As president and CEO, Beardsley oversees the day-to-day operations and long-term strategic planning for the company. SegPay is one of four companies approved by Visa USA to operate as a high-risk Internet payment service provider in the U.S. Since 2005, SegPay has offered online merchants a state-of-the-art billing platform that provides realtime payment processing around the globe.

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