Time flies when you are having fun. And BitterStrawberry’s managing partner, Gian Carlo, is having fun.
Not motivated by dollars and cents, Gian Carlo says his “happy place” and “true passion” is growing BitterStrawberry and the company’s PornDoe properties, which offer unique and distinct hardcore fare on more than 30 websites.
BitterStrawberry.com is a mobile-traffic performance tool that provides a 360-degree overview on the programmable shifting of campaigns, based on a number of top pointers like eCPM, traffic volume, type of traffic and sources.
And that has been accomplished with persistence and focus, Gian Carlo says of the company, which is now entering its fifth year in business.
“Constant improvement” appears to be the mantra at BitterStrawberry.
XBIZ recently spoke with Gian Carlo to find out more about the companies he manages and what makes work his labor of love.
XBIZ: BitterStrawberry.com is one of the top success stories in the online adult industry. In February 2017, the company celebrated its fourth anniversary. What have you learned in those four years after starting up?
GC: To summarize it in just few words, we can't stop when we’re tired. What helped us succeed over the years is the fact that we are persistent and focused.
XBIZ: BitterStrawberry.com bills itself as a mobile traffic network that utilizes a unique targeting system. What’s your “secret sauce”?
GC: BitterStrawberry.com is a mobile-traffic performance tool that provides a 360-degree overview on the programmable shifting of campaigns, based on a number of top pointers like eCPM, traffic volume, type of traffic and sources.
At the core of our “brain” or the “secret sauce,” as you called it, is a worldwide 3G and Wi-Fi ad-scanner developed in-house.
This unique tool gives us a better understanding and insights on rising mobile offers, in each niche, each country, any day 24/7, including current market share (percentage), lifecycle stage (introduction, growth, maturity, decline) and much more valuable information that helps us position the offer and understand its integration value within our campaign distribution system.
Besides that, we have some other aces up our sleeve. They will stay at the core of the two news products that we will launch this year, so stay tuned.
XBIZ: How is BitterStrawberry.com able to get more sales on the same amount of traffic?
GC: Segmentation and performance targeting. We know exactly what type of traffic converts best with which type of offer. Unlike your conventional affiliate trackers and performance marketing solutions, BitterStrawberry.com is designed to end repetitive tasks and illogical flows and focus instead on processes to maximize your earnings from every click.
XBIZ: Let’s hear about your PornDoe.com properties. What new and exciting in that area of your company?
GC: Using a variety of new code, PornDoe.com aims to revolutionize the way we market our products to our users. Effectively, PornDoe.com is striving to become the new standard with its localization strategy aimed at widening the range of potential users for our partners.
The recent rewrite of the back-end ensures that content partners get maximum exposure through more ads than any other program.
Furthermore, we have created new marketing mediums to raise user engagement to the specific content of interest.
Finally the recent facelift places PornDoe.com among the most aesthetically pleasing and user friendly interfaces of any free platform.
Traditionally tubes were somewhat shunned as they were heavily ad driven and often contained pirated content. We approached our site with a more dignified front, keeping it 100 percent legal, never making any use of any unlicensed content.
No one has done anything similar to what we do at PornDoe.com. We have offered users and content partners alike an amazing free model to either consume or showcase their content.
But what makes us unique is our model in regards to the premium side of PornDoe.com. Aside from having over 30 sites from varying niches and languages along with releasing over 100 exclusive scenes monthly, we are the only ones that truly created an exclusive membership associated to a free model.
Effectively we are attempting to redefine what a true porn membership should be, a sort of “Netflix” meets porn catered for the premium user. Finally, as we host and produce, we understand from a global sense where the market is weak and how we can continuously improve the bridge between the free and premium model.
XBIZ: Would it be safe to say technology is one of your favorite interests?
GC: Actually one would think so, but it is not really my wheelhouse. I tend to yell for our IT help desk guy very often! I got my first computer in 2000, so I was quite late compared to most of the industry veterans. I actually had more interest in reading about businesses flourishing, putting ideas into production, building the right team through tons of trial and error and encourage them to use the latest technologies to bring innovative products to market.
XBIZ: How and when did you get involved in the online adult biz?
GC: I have been in the adult business since 2001, despite many not knowing about me in the online business until around 2007. I have been very fortunate enough to catch the ebbs and flows of the market. I initially got into the DVD licensing, replication and broadcasting market.
When the time was right, I moved my interest to paysites with the advent of online memberships and pivoted once again when the market changed because of tubes. Now, after having spent the last few years working with traffic, I had seen the market taking a turn once again.
Users started to be aware of the value of real high-end content, so I invested in a product that is catering to that need. I can only hope to keep riding the waves and pivoting when the time is right, as others have not been so fortunate.
XBIZ: What will the world of online adult commerce look like in two to three years?
GC: Well, if you look at the last two years of PornDoe.com and PornDoePremium.com, you will see that we are constantly improving and the companies that are not doing the same will be forgotten.
Everything, from technology to legislation changes, threatens all business models and therefore you need to build products on foundations that allow you to expand or adapt, but in a proper way.
Definitely premium content is coming back to top and tubes are a marketing ground that will be heavily controlled, as piracy tactics are becoming more and more controllable. An ecosystem that makes the best use of both is definitely something that will be able to weather any storm that comes next.
XBIZ: What’s a typical day like at the BitterStrawberry.com office? And what’s your company culture like?
GC: Abraham Lincoln once said, “Good things come to those who wait… but only the things left behind by those who hustle.” This is our culture. We are a group of driven individuals.
We have of course jumped on all the trends that big tech companies take part in, such as the free lunches, cool office design, fancy ergonomic chairs … but that does not define us.
We reward tremendously and support our team members impetuously … because companies and products are built by people. We do not fear the employees that take advantage, because we know that our culture will churn out those that simply do not fit. Fortune favors the bold, not the faint.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
GC: That is always a good question and from most people in my position you will hear the same. Believe it or not, since I do what I like, I consider BitterStrawberry.com, PornDoe.com or any other project as my happy place, my true passion. I was never one to be motivated by money.
Some work to live, some live to work. I found my balance right in the middle. I was lucky to always have chosen to do what I like and although sometimes things are not easy, it has always been more rewarding than cars, gambling, partying or any other pastime.
XBIZ: Where do you like to travel?
GC: Honestly, I travel all year round for business, so when I can choose what I want to do, I prefer to spend quality time with my team, friends and family and of course my wife, Carmen.
We are fortunate to work in an industry with great trade shows in fun locations, so in between, if I can get my toes in the sand, I am more than happy.