Mansion's MPA3

John Stuart
The big news at Mansion Productions, the Los Angeles-based provider of affiliate stat-tracking and content management software, is its new version of the MPA3 program. The new template engine, now available in beta, boasts a completely rewritten source code, and Mansion CEO and co-owner Oystein Wright wants the world to know about it.

"It's been three years since the last new version came out on the MPA3 program," Wright said. "It has a brand-new look and feel. It has a lot of new features that we've worked on over the past three years, both for clients and for in-house use. The former MPA3 program was very mature, and it's hard to improve on something like that. But we found some improvements by listening to clients, who always have ideas on what works best for them. We take the best suggestions from client feedback and put them in."

Wright adds that the new program had a long test period, in which it was optimized to make sure it ran smoothly. Now he claims it will help Mansion clients have an easier time managing their affiliate programs.

But that's not the only news at Mansion. Wright reveals that he plans to roll out a new version of his content management system (CMS), called MAS, in a few months. He predicts it will allow clients to control all of their content, including pictures, videos and texts.

"It's a publishing system," Wright said. "All the content is loaded into the software and it's automatically published on the Internet, instead of having to sit there and do manual HTML editing and so forth. It makes it a lot easier to publish your websites — be it one, 10 or 100 different websites — at the same time. It includes automatic updates on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can pre-load the software with all the content you want, set the dates for publication, and it will do it for you. So if you want a site that you don't constantly have to work on, this software is the answer."

Wright claims that, surprisingly, Mansion has more customers using MAS right now, than MPA3. He hopes it will become a solid alternative to Mansion's other content management system featuring a shopping cart, VIST, which debuted early this year.

"This is a very powerful tool for DVD stores," Wright said. "You can run your entire store using VIST, and also easily integrate it into MPA3 for affiliate tracking. It gives you the best of both worlds in the content management system, the shopping cart and the MPA3."

As a Whole
The multiple new softwares and services offered by Mansion are aimed at the industry, rather than at affiliates, although the firm provides affiliate software, too.

"We don't deal directly with affiliates," Wright said. "Our software goes to clients to make it much easier for them to keep a handle on their affiliates, concerning the payouts, providing the affiliate linking codes, so they can easily set up traffic to go to the sites. We give a very accurate tracking and accounting of everything sent to a particular affiliate program."

Included in the Mansion software are marketing tools, which allow clients to add free hosted galleries, pictures of the day, videos of the day and dozens of other features that make it easier to send program traffic.

"That really is the key," Wright said. "Make it as easy as possible for the affiliates to send traffic to these programs. Most affiliates don't like to work too much if they don't have to. So software like this makes it much easier for them to work with affiliate programs, and do cascading billing, for instance.

"It helps them maximize each potential customer coming into a paysite. We make sure that if the primary processor doesn't take the transaction for some reason, it will cascade to a second or third processor. So if the customer has a valid credit card, they always can get the purchase through."

Wright estimates there are about 30 different payment processors built into the new software, allowing the customers to choose what's best for them.

"So wherever in the world a customer makes a purchase," he said, "this software makes sure they can pay our clients to get access."

In addition to the software improvements, Mansion also has taken pains to put itself at the top of the list among web designers — especially Flash designers — in the adult industry.

"We have designers on staff," Wright said. "Typically, a customer who buys our MPA3 or MAS programs, also buys our design services. It just makes it easier. We know the templates."

All Work and Some Play
Of course, not all of Wright's time has been spent in the techno-lab these past few months. His company sponsored the Summer Boat Party at the 2007 Internext gathering in Hollywood, Fla., which was roundly praised as the highlight of the entire event. But Wright wasn't too sure how it would go at first.

"I was a little bit nervous," he said, "because having a party where people are stuck on a boat for three hours is not always something that becomes a success. But it turned out quite the opposite. People didn't want to leave the boat. It was packed, but there was plenty of room to stand, dance or gamble."

Wright's success at guiding Mansion to the top of the heap in providing software to an entire industry is the conclusion of a long journey that began in Norway. A native Norwegian, Wright worked in his homeland as a systems consultant, selling entire network systems, including computers, servers and cable connections to various companies. He started tinkering with the technology in the 1980s, but his contact with the computer goes well beyond that.

"I mainly grew up around computers," he said, "because my dad worked with them. I remember going to my dad's workplace in the 1970s, and they had server rooms that were as big as five Norwegian houses. The rooms always smelled like hole cards."

Wright played the hole card that led to his present career in 1997, when he came to the U.S. and scored a job with the early software provider Epoch. At that time, his current partner Garry had just started Mansion Productions, which was just a collection of paysites. Coincidentally, Garry created his own affiliate program using Epoch. This put the two future partners together for the first time.

"Garry is also from Norway," Wright said, "and he didn't know that I was Norwegian when we first spoke. I spoke to him in English for about 20 minutes, and then I switched over to Norwegian. It freaked him out, because in Norway, the adult industry wasn't held in high regard. Nobody over there knew exactly what he was doing, so when I started talking Norwegian after he'd laid out exactly what he was doing, it definitely scared him."

Apparently, Garry's freak-out didn't last, because he asked Wright to join him shortly afterward, with the intention of taking Mansion to a different place. Not only did Mansion change its address, it underwent a complete metamorphosis.

And people in the adult industry are glad of it.

"The feedback from clients has been very good," Wright said. "We haven't actively sold ourselves over the last few years. We noticed a few years ago that it was getting tougher to support all the new clients we got. We had to take a step back and revamp our entire force of employees, retraining them.

"Now, a few years later, this really has proven to be a very smart move. We have about 35 people on staff — programmers, designers, webmasters. We just want to be there all the time to help our customers. We could have taken on twice as many clients, but our support would have been much worse. So last November, we decided not to pursue new clients, even those who were already interested in us."

Customers typically come to Mansion by word-of-mouth and referrals from existing clients who like what the firm does for them.

"But even without selling ourselves," Wright said, "we are the biggest software company in our industry. And now that we've improved our internal workings, it's full force ahead once again."