Giving Away The Money Shot

Stephen Yagielowicz
"Lifer" recently started a discussion on the XBiz boards about the discrepancy between what seems to be common-sense marketing and what most adult Webmasters actually practice: "Giving Away the Money Shot."

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, "the Money Shot" is the scene showing the man's ejaculation. It's what's paid for; both by the producers, and the consumers of porn. It is the basic commodity of our industry, and the most visible distinction between mainstream and pornographic photo and video imagery. Since it's what we are trying to sell, it makes little sense that many Webmasters give it away – and in such quality and quantity that for many consumers, there's little incentive to pay for it.

As Lifer put it: "Everyone in the adult industry says that the best tours and advertising are those that tease and entice the potential member to join. Okay... I agree. Let's face it... Everyone who joins a site has an anticipation that the site will satisfy their desire to see more... especially the money shot of the model in the tour that caught their eye. So why do adult sites give the money shot away in banners, tour graphics, free galleries, etc.? Is it possible that you would actually have more sign ups if the money shot is not shown? I mean, everyone knows it's there. Has anyone ever tried this?"

While there are a few examples of sites who stick to a "softcore only" marketing approach (AmateurPages being a successful example), it only takes a few clicks through a major MGP (Movie Gallery Post) to see often high-quality material ranging from mild softcore to extreme hardcore, and beyond – into material that even a rookie prosecutor could make a successful obscenity case against – freely available to anyone, including minors.

Sure, there are a range of presentational techniques found on the adult Internet; including paysite tours with text-only "warning pages" and "star" covered genitalia, but these sites are arguably at a serious disadvantage when trying to compete with the "anything goes" approach of many sites run by operators who believe that the more they give away, the more they'll sell. While the preponderance of this type of marketing would lead you to believe that it must be effective, the reality of declining industry profits is due in no small part to the practice of "Giving Away the Money Shot."

A favorite example that I like to give on this subject is the lady at the supermarket who has an electric skillet frying up little slices of kielbasa, attracting passersby with the tasty aroma, and offering them a small piece on a toothpick so that they might sample the product, and then hopefully make repeat purchases of it. This is the idea behind giving away free porn in the hopes that the consumer will like it enough to pay for more just like it.

The problem with the online adult industry is that we're not as smart as the kielbasa peddlers: whereas we seem to have an "if a little bit is good, then a lot is better" mentality, the kielbasa lady knows that if she gave away a whole kielbasa to everyone who asked, they'd go home and enjoy a satisfying meal, without having to pay for it (and there's a good chance they'll come back later for another free kielbasa for a later meal, until the store stops giving them away for free).

Common sense, but our industry seems to be hell bent on satisfying our prospects for free...

While many folks will doubtless agree with what I'm saying here, and some might even have an epiphany and change their approach because of it, there's another related issue, and that's the challenges involved in "doing something about it..." No, I'm not talking about some "the online adult industry should unite and all agree to not show free hardcore porn!" fantasy, but the difficulty that many smaller companies and individual operators will face when trying to market a softcore solution, including a difficulty that I ran into just last night – but that's a story for another day.

Stay tuned, and stay safe! ~ Stephen