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Q&A: ARL Cash President Laurel Hertz Masters the Affiliate Game

Q&A: ARL Cash President Laurel Hertz Masters the Affiliate Game
Alejandro Freixes

ARL Cash President Laurel Hertz has sharpened her business instincts to a razor’s edge over the course of 20-plus years in the adult biz, with major affiliate management creds from the likes of Hustler, Mr. Skin and Flirt4Free.

Her emphasis on quality over quantity, and high converting niche sites, ensures that partners rake in big bucks at a steady rate. And, with a loyal roster of unique video producers like PascalsSubsluts, Ed Powers and Bruce Seven, Hertz can attract increasingly sophisticated users to sign up for very lucrative lust.

If you cast too broad a net with your content, trying to appeal to the greatest number of people, that’s no guarantee you’re going to get the greatest number of conversions. It can backfire.

As the brains behind ARL Cash, she makes sure to target content that offers palpable character and chemistry. After all, she knows that effective affiliates and stellar promotion can popularize and monetize even the quirkiest movies.

To zero in on the money-making mojo fueling ARL Cash’s success and longevity, XBIZ sat down with Hertz, for this exclusive interview.

XBIZ: Tell us about your professional background, prior to ARL Cash. How did your previous ventures impact your approach to the affiliate game?

Hertz: I’ve worked in the adult space since 1996. I’ve managed affiliate programs for many high-profile adult sites such as Hustler, RedLightDistrict, Mr. Skin, SwankDollars and Flirt4Free, to name a few.

It’s always been interesting to see how technology and the adult business model has changed in so many different aspects over the years.

However, I’ve learned that through it all, an affiliate program’s success always depends on giving affiliates the content and tools they need to be competitive.

XBIZ: What does it take to thrive in today’s affiliate marketplace and how does ARL Cash lead the way?

Hertz: Content is everything, and quality matters over quantity. Users these days are inundated with a flood of content, and they’ve become very sophisticated in what they are looking for.

Sex alone doesn’t sell anymore; it has to be a unique experience. That’s why we favor producers with personality like PascalsSubsluts, Ed Powers and Bruce Seven.

These producers are making porn, but they also have a very unique brand with what they do.

Anyone can see what content is popular, but you have to cater to those trends with an edge, a unique angle.

XBIZ: Talk about your various program sites, like PascalsSubSluts.com and 3am.xxx. What are their profitable virtues ... and their deviant vices?

Hertz: If you cast too broad a net with your content, trying to appeal to the greatest number of people, that’s no guarantee you’re going to get the greatest number of conversions. It can backfire.

I talk to producers all the time that had one or more distribution deals that put their content all over the internet with promises of big returns. But all it did in the long run is oversaturate the market.

I’d say that the “deviant vices” have the most potential for profit. We prefer selling content that doesn’t appeal to everybody, finding pockets of specific tastes to cater to, and building a loyal following from there.

We definitely prefer exclusive content over familiar content. If it has character and chemistry, it doesn’t necessarily have to have a mainstream appeal; that all comes in time, with good affiliates and good promotion.

XBIZ: How does ARL Cash’s focus on niche content ultimately pay off for affiliates, vs. more “mainstream” adult fare?

Hertz: Don’t get me wrong; we love “mainstream” pornography. After all, I’ve also helmed SwankDollars for over a decade, managing programs with some of the most well-known brand names around: Club Magazine, Cheri Magazine, Swank Magazine, Gent ... big-tent niches like teens, big boobs and glamour definitely have their place in a healthy program portfolio.

But unique, small-niche content gets better conversion ratios. That’s ultimately what we’re aiming to give our affiliates: better conversions. Affiliates think just like paysite owners — money matters and optimization drives profits. They’re business-minded and we want to help them make the most with the traffic they have.

XBIZ: Discuss what kinds of promotional materials you offer affiliates, such as tube videos, banners, galleries, etc.

Hertz: So far, we’ve talked about our content, which is unique and unconventional. But when it comes to promoting that content, we are very pragmatic and old school.

We do banners and galleries still. Furthermore, we have a bunch of MP4 files for tube site owners too. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you just have to keep rolling out fresh tools.

We’re always testing out our materials, finding images, copy and designs with the best CTR. In essence, we are affiliates ourselves, so we put out the types of materials that we promote ourselves with, and share our results with our partners.

XBIZ: Describe the benefits of using NATS4 for tracking and statistics.

Hertz: Over the years, there’s only been a handful of affiliate tracking solutions out there. I’m pressed to think of anyone else in adult that is still out there, actually.

So, NATS has a universal platform that everyone is using, and rightly so. They were the one platform that didn’t shave affiliates, so that’s what we all used.

NATS is indispensable because it’s so comprehensive. That said, I wonder what NATS would look like in a more competitive, innovation-driven space.

XBIZ: What are the perks of each payout structure that ARL Cash provides?

Hertz: It really comes down to affiliate preference, what works for them. With newer programs, affiliates tend to favor PPS, but for programs with longevity, revshare may be more profitable in the long run. It’s really up to the affiliates and we cater to their preferences.

XBIZ: Give us a glimpse of ARL Cash’s grand plans for 2018.

Hertz: We’ll be releasing some new tours, and new sites that are very unique with exclusive content. Plus, we’re always looking for new partners to promote.

Personally, I’d like to get into the gay space. I think the conventional wisdom that gay and straight porn are two separate camps is kind of insular and bad for business. Gay content converts, there’s good retention, and less chargebacks.

It’s our goal at ARLCash.com to be able to offer as many great converting sites for affiliates to promote, with excellent retention. After all, without affiliates, this program wouldn’t be a success.

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