educational

Traffic Trends: May, 2004 – Part 1

Stephen Yagielowicz
If there's one thing that all adult Webmasters have in common, it's that we all need a constant flow of traffic into our Web sites. There's no surprise then that whenever Webmasters gather, one of the most frequently discussed issues is the current trends in traffic generation and management. Such was the case at the recently held Webmaster Access event in Atlanta, which culminated in an eagerly anticipated traffic seminar. Here's a few highlights for those who were unable to attend:

I've been to lots of seminars at many different events, both mainstream and adult, and I have to say that this traffic seminar was one of the most informative that I've attended. With a knowledgeable and helpful panel made up of Mark from CyberCat, Scott from SleazyDream, Eric from Adult.com and Andreas from Naughty America – with Lensman from Adult.com at the helm – this was going to be a discussion that you wanted to carefully listen to.

Moderating the panel, Lensman opened with a discussion of the importance of using TGPs, hosted TGP galleries, and opt-in mailers to develop an increasing flow of sustainable traffic. Lens then introduced Mark from CyberCat to talk a little bit about what his company does.

"We supply traffic... from TGPs using your banners, galleries, and links," said Mark, describing his company's position as a link between major TGP owners and Webmasters seeking premium listings for their thumb and or movie galleries or other advertisements, such as fixed text links. In an arena where the top TGP spots are often pre-paid placements, having Mark's centralized spot-brokering and consultancy services is a quick and easy solution to turning on the traffic faucet. But beware of the Network-busting flood of traffic you might receive: "Make arrangements with your hosting providers so that you don't get shut off," Mark recommended, with Scott from SleazyDream adding that major TGPs like his will tell you the exact time and date that your placement will go live, so that you can prepare your network for the sudden bandwidth and server load increase.

While SleazyDream only accepts pre-paid premium gallery placements, Scott advised Webmasters working the free-listing TGP sites to "keep it fresh and entertaining" if they wished a decent placement, or to even be listed at all. With many TGPs receiving thousands of gallery submissions a day, it's easy to see why being able to stand out from the crowd is important. Different doesn't mean cluttered, however, as Mark pointed out: "The average surfer spends 46 seconds on a Web page – keep it clean."

Lensman asked about the increase in exclusive content being used on TGP galleries – a very different situation from a few years ago when the bulk of galleries seemingly used content from the same overused CD collection... Mark commented that the amount of new, exclusive content that was available on TGPs today was great, with Scott adding that "Today's surfer has 3 to 4 years of experience and they want to see something new..."

Commenting as a pay site owner, Andreas discussed the importance of using free hosted galleries as a traffic source for his network, and added that "If you're going to buy traffic, you should send it to your own traffic source," believing that in some cases it was better to feed a hub than an individual site. Lensman summed it up from the pay site owner's (and all site owners, for that matter) view: "Traffic is the constant pursuit for us – it's a never ending thing."

Eric from Adult.com brought up the importance of building relationships with other Webmasters when trying to develop traffic trades, "...after that, it's all about who converts best." The importance of this cannot be overstressed, and it's a good reason to attend the shows: while you may not be able to maintain the trade if your conversions are not competitive, being "a friend" will at least likely get you a nice listing "to see how it goes."

When discussing the subject of handling exit traffic and the use of consoles, Andreas acknowledged the range of options by saying "You can pop off an exit to one of your own sites, or 30 exits to your sponsor..." Asked how many exits he allows on listings, Scott remarked that "What I look for on paid listings is that they're tasteful and don't take control of the browser," adding "I want the surfer to come back to my site." Mark said that most paid banner placement links were allowed 2 exits, but that no exit consoles were allowed on gallery listings. He added that "A lot of sites use bots to check listings every half hour, and if any changes have been made, the listings are dropped."

This brought up an area of concern for Lensman; "We talked to attorneys yesterday who advised we should have '2257 notices on each gallery." For long-established companies with a base of adult galleries already listed, linked, archived, and search engine indexed, the prospect of having them dropped due to a slight code modification required in order to comply with a federal law is an unattractive one – and one that would make a negative impact on traffic flow, and therefore, revenue. The consensus was that adding a '2257 link to an existing gallery might indeed be problematic, and that adding one to new galleries also had a potential cost in counting towards the number of outbound links – a number that most TGPs limit.

Regardless of the impact, '2257 compliance is mandatory, and there are additional legal challenges to consider when analyzing traffic sources as well. In the conclusion of Traffic Trends: May, 2004 we'll take a look at the evolution of legal compliance and its effect on traffic management, several new, alternative traffic sources, and the importance of using DRM as a traffic multiplier. Stay tuned! ~ Stephen

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