trends

Diversity for Dollars: Cam Networks Capitalize on Straight, Gay Markets

Diversity for Dollars: Cam Networks Capitalize on Straight, Gay Markets
Stephen Yagielowicz

When it comes to sexual orientation — or marketing sexually-oriented products and services, things are rarely as straightforward as black and white — or straight and gay.

With some cam networks reporting that up to half of their performers and patrons seek gay encounters (a percentage that is growing), it begs the question of whether or not “straight or gay?” should even be a site owner’s consideration in 2017.

Our platform is set up to showcase the broadcasters with the highest room traffic at any given moment on the front page of Chaturbate.com. This makes it easy for anyone to find a broadcaster that suits their fantasy because we don’t categorize users’ sexual preference as a one-choice situation … we don’t relegate male, female or trans broadcasters to separate category pages on our site.

XBIZ sought the advice of experienced cam industry insiders for their opinion, asking, “Gay vs. Straight: How does your cam network appeal to the straight and gay markets?” Their responses are enlightening.

FFN event manager Elli Rudolph told XBIZ that from the dating and social networking side, FFN has a long history of serving diverse audiences.

“We have OutPersonals.com, ALT.com, AdultFriendfinder.com and many more products so members can find the community that works for them,” Rudolph explained. “This year, Cams.com increased male model broadcasting (both straight and gay) by a factor of 10. Plus, we launched CamBoysLive.com to reach gay markets looking for male performers.”

Rudolph noted that running this initiative is niche model recruiter and model manager Aaron Zolkin.

“You’ll see him at many of the shows,” Rudolph said. “He’s excited to promote our platform within the LGBT community.”

Other companies are less aggressive in their outreach but plan to expand into the arena nonetheless.

“To be frank, we haven’t done a lot in the gay market as of yet,” MyFetishLive.com’s Michael Goldsmith told XBIZ. “As a relatively new site, we’re still focusing on growing our straight fetish market share before we branch out into the gay market.”

Jim Austin, Stripchat’s head of business development, told XBIZ the question “is really tough to answer.”

“We appeal mostly to the straight market right now, but we are putting forth efforts to enter the gay space as well,” Austin said. “One of the core challenges I believe is that it’s such a different approach and needs new traffic sources.

“Part of my job as head of business development is to find these answers and generate results,” Austin added. “So in the future, the company’s aim would also be to appeal to the gay market as well.”

“Our main audience is straight, but we’ve never forgotten about gay customers and we can proudly say their number is growing with time,” BongaCash’s senior affiliate manager explained. “We are sure we can provide for the best live webcam experience to anyone who wishes to enjoy our shows, whatever their sexual preference.”

Chaturbate COO Shirley Lara told XBIZ the company sees every broadcaster as equal, saying this “is why we don’t relegate male, female or trans broadcasters to separate category pages on our site.”

“Our platform is set up to showcase the broadcasters with the highest room traffic at any given moment on the front page of Chaturbate.com,” Lara says. “This makes it easy for anyone to find a broadcaster that suits their fantasy because we don’t categorize users’ sexual preference as a one-choice situation.”

CAM4 head of PR Derek Devlin told XBIZ the company is proud to have been built on the founding principle of “inclusion for all.”

“We were the first cam site to put men and women on the homepage together,” Devlin said. “This may be a counterintuitive move, but it underpins our belief as a company that we are all equal.”

Devlin said that CAM4 welcomes diversity and its community thrives on it.

“It’s who we are. It’s even etched into our mission statement — CAM4 exists to allow adults to express themselves, regardless of sex, race, size or sexual preference.,” Devlin explained. “With such a diverse community, we think there’s something for everyone on CAM4 — they do say variety is the spice of life after all!”

For others still, catering to a variety of audiences is a natural progression.

“VNALive is primarily a porn star and amateur cam girl network, however, we just added our first male performer, Alex Legend, and have a trans performer, Alina Wang,” VNALive’s Vicky Vette told XBIZ. “It’s not a large part of what we do, but as we get bigger I am sure we will have more for the gay market.”

VNALive is not alone in its evolution, with other historically straight-only sites seeing (and offering) opportunity in the gay cam market.

“Initially we focused on the straight market but now that we are successful we have all of the technology and traffic to expand on the gay side of our business,” Eric Wexel of FreeWebCams said. “There is very little competition on the gay side of FreeWebCams.com, so I would urge anyone with a loyal fan-base to contact me and I will help them get started on our site.”

While it is clear that the cam industry got its beginning by serving a straight clientele, sexual diversity is driving the growth of new markets and opportunities — with many networks expanding their focus and appeal across a rainbow of relationships.

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