Time for a Change

Stephen Yagielowicz
“And now for something completely different…” – Dedicated fans of the old British comedy cult-classic, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” will no doubt recognize this famous catch-phrase; but the context I’m using it in today is not one of light-hearted humor, but of business at a most serious level.

You see, things haven’t been going too well lately: traffic is down; sign-ups are off and retention isn’t what it used to be – and I’m not the only one feeling the pinch. No mere “Summer Slowdown,” I believe these woes, which have been increasingly noticeable for some time now, have more to do with a fundamental shift in the way that consumers are seeking out and enjoying adult entertainment – as well as ‘what’ that entertainment is.

It goes beyond the glut of free porn, piracy, file-sharing and ever-more knowledgeable surfers that sign up for a tour and cancel on time, leaving with all of your content on their hard drives. It’s more than the impact of “Web 2.0,” the niche du jour, changing tastes, and the challenges of competing in a global market. Yet it is all of these factors and more.

So we’ve got problems; what do we do about them? Copy, innovate, expand and explore.

There are plenty of websites that offer compelling content, features and approaches that can provide inspiration for our endeavors. Smart operators will be able to find new twists on these factors and improve upon them with their own ideas. Increasing the scope of our offerings and breaking into new markets with new methods will pave the way to success.

Sure, this is easy to say, but hard to do. For my own part, I’m beginning the process of totally revamping my current offerings; keeping what works and improving upon it, while trying totally new approaches when the downside is negligible and the current approaches are lacking. Will it help? I can only hope, and you’ll be sure to hear about it.

But as I said, it’s not just me: even longtime industry powerhouse, Penthouse Magazine, is making changes; having recently announced that its popular centerfold will now come in two versions – nude and partially clothed – in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.

According to an XBIZ News story, “The design changes are in response to a Penthouse survey conducted by the Millward Brown research company in which 48 percent of those surveyed indicated they would like to see more photos of models provocatively dressed.”

48 percent is a pretty big number. Are half of your viewers seeking something more?

That stat was the final push I needed to take some action, but certainly not the only one, as I’ve been spending a lot of time studying some in-depth metrics of my sites and their performance across a variety of criteria, including evaluating user feedback.

Something needs to change dramatically; so, now for something completely different…