profile

The Most Downloaded Exec: 2

Matt O'Conner
XBiz recently had an opportunity to learn more about Ashe's back-story and find out what she has in mind for her third act.

XBIZ: How long did you feature dance before launching Danni's Hard Drive?

DANNI ASHE: I started my career as a stripper, first in Seattle and then Texas. I danced, off and on, for almost eight years leading up to starting Danni's.

XBIZ: How did you make the leap from web surfer to webmistress?

DA: In 1994, I found out about Usenet groups. Around the same time, my husband's company started to build one of the early commercial websites. I bought a modem and decided to check it out for myself. Within a short period of time, I found pictures of myself in one of the Usenet groups, and the proverbial light bulb went on.

XBIZ: What were your first years running a site like?

DA: When I found my first ISP, I asked him for a dedicated server prior to launch because I thought I might get a few hits. He was a nice guy and assured me that a public server was fine. We launched and shut down his whole system. Then he gave me a dedicated box. It was all brand new, so there was no history to draw from. I hired employees, but not in any traditional sense. They were friends of friends, and drama was the flavor of the day. But, I wouldn't trade any of it. We had so much fun the whole way through that I really consider those early years the most formative of my professional career.

XBIZ: Did you do most of the initial programming yourself?

DA: I tried to hire people to do it, but I think, like most entrepreneurs, your vision is crystal clear. But enabling someone else to realize that vision is easier said than done. So after a couple of attempts at hiring someone, I decided to do it myself. I bought a couple of books, went to the beach and, while other folks were plotting with Grisham, I learned HTML.

XBIZ: Is it true that one programmer turned down a 50-50 split to build the site?

DA: I offered a guy 50 percent of the profits to build the site out. He asked for $900 instead. I didn't want to part with the money, but I needed my site. I paid him, and, in retrospect, it was a really fortuitous thing [for me]. For the programmer, maybe not so lucky.

XBIZ: In what ways has the business changed since then?

DA: Well, the industry has gone from being the Wild West to being a real industry with well-defined success metrics and operating parameters, structures and rules. None of that existed when I started. Our business has changed drastically as well. We are a media company now, as opposed to a website, and a very successful one at that. Our content is distributed via the web, TV, video-on-demand and DVD. We also distribute content through a partnership with Akimbo Systems, provider of a set-top box that allows Internet content to be viewed on home televisions. And we're not done yet.

XBIZ: Do you see the Internet eventually eating the offline aspect of the adult entertainment business?

DA: Not at all — they coexist wonderfully. For example, e-books haven't destroyed the publishing industry; they've simply provided another way for people to access what they enjoy. I do think that DHD has a unique opportunity to create a truly integrated and complimentary online and offline consumer experience by better understanding what subscribers seek from a variety of media delivery channels.

XBIZ: Could you tell me more about some of your other business ventures?

DA: We have two subscription websites — the main Danni's Hard Drive site and a wholly owned subsidiary, Misha Online. Misha Online has been an interesting addition for us because it fills a different niche than Danni's but does so with the same female-empowering style of Danni's, one of our strongest brand elements. Then there's a production company that creates and markets adult films. Existing film lines include Danni Ashe Presents, a line of R-rated programs sold at mainstream retail stores like Musicland, and Danni's Hard Cut, a series of hardcore films. We also have licensed consumer products, including photosets and novelty items, which are sold online and via retail outlets; and we distribute content to a wide variety of sources, including the handheld devices like the iPod and other MP3 players and Akimbo Systems.

In part three we'll wrap up our exclusive interview with Danni Ashe.

More Articles

trends

Fueling the Funnel: Paysites Compete for Traffic

Stephen Yagielowicz ·
trends

Content Is King: Paysites Evolve as Porn Pushes Technology

Stephen Yagielowicz ·
profile

Q&A: Paxum CEO Octav Moise Shares the Wealth

Alejandro Freixes ·
educational

S2S Postbacks: Getting Ad Stats in 1 Place

Juicy Jay ·
opinion

Tips to Master Customer Subscription Retention

Cathy Beardsley ·
opinion

A Primer on How to Integrate Paysite Processing

Jonathan Corona ·
educational

Trademark Ruling a Victory for Adult Products, Services

Marc Randazza ·
profile

Q&A: Rich Girls CEO Cristina Enriches Cam Models

Alejandro Freixes ·
profile

Q&A: LiviaChoice Embraces Grand Camming Destiny

Alejandro Freixes ·
opinion

Refined Protocols Reduce STI Risks for Performers

Eric Paul Leue ·
Show More