If the World Was a Tiny Village...

In his latest book, New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman explains: "The world is flat." Globalization has essentially shrunk our world to the size of a peanut. What does this mean for the online adult business? It means barriers of entry are falling. Anyone with a laptop and a dream can make it big.

The same forces that bring this accelerated competition, though, also bring us a wealth of new opportunity. Broadband penetration is climbing and potential customers now span the globe. The smart, forward-thinking company will move toward a strategy to convert every potential surfer, whether he or she is located in Bangor, Maine or Bangalore, India.

By artificially shrinking our world down to more manageable numbers, we can better shed light on some very important issues.

If the world's population of 6.3 billion people was represented by just 100 people, it would look like this:

  • 50 would be male, 50 would be female

  • 61 would be from Asia, 12 from Europe, eight from North America, five from South America, 13 from Africa, one from Oceania

  • 47 would live in an urban area, 18 would struggle to survive on $1 per day, 53 would struggle to survive on $2 per day, and only six people would own 59 percent of the community's wealth.

Of these 100 people only 17 have Internet access:

  • Six of them live in Asia, five in Europe, only three in North America, two in Latin America, and one in the "rest of the world"

  • Of the 17 people with Internet access, five speak English, two speak Chinese, one speaks Japanese, three speak Spanish, and six speak one of the many other languages used around the globe.

  • Only 9 people have credit cards.

What do these stats tell us, practically speaking? They speak volumes. If you are serious about growing your business you need to be thinking about billing, and more specifically, non-credit card solutions.

Here's the math: about 18 people (out of our representative 100-person village), or 1,173,109,925 people worldwide, have Internet access, and only about 600,000,000 people have credit cards. That still leaves up to about 600 million people who have Internet access but no credit card.

Another issue to take into account is how multilingual your site and billing is. If you have English-only sites then you are missing a ton of potential business. You wouldn't agree to pay for a site if all the text was in Japanese. In fact, you probably wouldn't be able to if you wanted.

Of the world's Internet users, only 20 percent are from North America. So if roughly one-fifth of your possible customers speak English, you need to diversify communications.

Outside North America
The last issue to consider in relation to these statistics is the relative buying power of people from different countries. The adult industry has long been based on memberships, typically ranging anywhere from $20-40 U.S. per month. Now, again, this makes sense for the typical American citizen, making approximately $40,000 a year, possibly with supplemental income from a wife or partner. For much of the world though, this membership pricing structure simply does not fly.

If you want to make more money you must realize that sometimes it's better to get something instead of nothing. People often ignore the old adage "a bird in hand is better than two in the bush," and end up losing out on extra revenue.

With Micro-payment options on your site, you expand your possible client base to people who either already have a site membership and aren't planning on buying another, to people who cannot afford to pay for a full membership but can afford to pay something for adult content, and people who simply want to pay for the content or time that they actually use.

At NoCreditCard (NCC) the approach is to help clients with their portfolio of billing, and to take a completely holistic approach. Alternative billing methods will never take over as the main processing medium in the adult industry. However, the way to really squeeze alternative billing methods for all their worth is to make sure that they complement your existing billing.

If you're not converting Spanish credit-card traffic well (which you probably aren't), think of shooting it to a telco-based solution like Phone2Enter or CoolAccess, bringing the end user to amazing content in his own language and with a payment solution that will actually work.

"Since we began working with, we have seen a substantial increase in our overall revenue," said Rico, Owner of PanchoDog, WeConvert and SheDevilDollars. "By not using NCC, we were basically losing out on markets and income that not only are now part of our constant attention, but are also a decent part of our revenue. Given the current foreign-market growth, it makes absolute sense to find alternative billing methods that cater to these markets, period."

In the end, how much you monetize your foreign traffic is completely up to you. You need to find an experienced and knowledgeable alternative solutions provider, start looking at your business model in a global context, and construct a billing strategy that takes into account the nuances of different countries, their cultural leanings and what will perform best in terms of payment and content.

Remember, today's world is "flat." Now is the time to reach out and make the most of your products.


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