profile Gives PimpRoll a Boost

John Stuart has moved from its parked position to become a true site containing true content. The domain name that still holds the Internet record as the largest all-cash transaction when MXN Ltd. purchased it in May for $9 million, is being marketed by PimpRoll, already one of the leading affiliate networks in the business. The launch is bound to boost PimpRoll to even greater heights, since the name is so strong that it receives an estimated 50,000 hits per day through type-in traffic alone.

"The name is going to be a great help, because it's so familiar," said PR Don, marketing and public relations manager for PimpRoll. "It's a site everyone can remember and use as a brand name. That definitely gives PimpRoll an advantage."

A new advantage for this well-established company is like bringing coals to Newcastle, because PimpRoll already was one of the biggest players in its field, boasting about 450 sites and adding a new site each week on average. That's a long haul from the time when its owner, PR Dave, started his first online business in his college dorm, registering his initial domain paysite in 1998. Dave went on to create PimpRoll in 2001 and since then the firm has blossomed.

"Consistency is our biggest competitive advantage," Don said. "People know that a PimpRoll product will have quality, and webmasters know they'll get support from us. We market the sites hard, we pay on time, and we give massive free hosting for everything. We don't charge our webmasters anything, and they can use all of our services, like free host galleries, video and photos. We basically pay out $1 million per month to webmasters, so they're making money and so are we. Everybody's happy."

Payouts are a key ingredient in the PimpRoll formula for keeping webmasters smiling. While many companies pay on a biweekly basis, PimpRoll pays every week. Whenever the firm has a new site launch, it supports that launch for a week with upped payouts.

"It turns out to be about $60 for a three-day trial," Don said. "We have a lot of three-day dollar price points. We even do dollar trials and we have monthly price points as well. But the upped payouts are what really give us a boost in sales, in the short term."

Don also claims that the company's track record for honesty and dependability are at the core of its good relations with webmasters.

"We've never had any controversies," he said. "There's never been an issue of shaving, and people respect us for that. We've got a good reputation when it comes to being honest. There are no shady dealings here and that's the result of the owner, Dave, who's a very straight shooter when it comes to doing business. Reputation in this business is so important because so many people come and go. Anybody who has $10,000 can start a site but whether or not it lasts, and gains the respect of webmasters, is a different story."

The brain trust behind PimpRoll does more than just stress consistency in payouts. Dave likes to keep webmasters happy by setting up promotions, like the "Summer Slowdown," which features upped payouts for two-week periods during the slow sales season. It reduces profits temporarily, but it achieves something much more important.

"People tend to follow the dollars," Don said. "You see a lot of webmasters hopping from company to company, depending on who's giving the highest payouts that week. We try to do promotions that breed loyalty."

One of those promotions, called the "Go Promo," has been a huge success for PimpRoll this past year. It's a sales contest in which webmasters can win prizes, including cars, boats, and vacations.

"We give away something pretty big every 60 days," Don says. "Usually it's a car, but sometimes people take the cash equivalent. It keeps the guys loyal because for every five sales they earn a ticket that gives them a chance to win. We've given away four cars already, with two more to go. The last winner will be announced on Jan. 3. Winners get a choice of a Jeep Compass, a Nissan Frontier, a Volkswagen Jetta or a Honda Civic. They're about $20,000 or so each. The boats we give away are anything from a pontoon boat to a fishing boat. The motorcycles are BMWs, Harleys and Ducatis." FRONT-END IMPROVEMENT
In addition to these perks, Dave and Don are concentrating on improving their existing sites to make them more user-friendly. It will amount to a "facelift," according to Don, aimed at improving the firm's traffic tools and allowing webmasters to have more options to promote PimpRoll.

"We have a stronger commitment to exclusive material, exclusive sites and high-definition sites," Don said. "We're tightening up our video galleries and photo galleries by making better traffic tools. We're making them more visually appealing. We look at what our competitors are doing with their traffic tools, and we make changes to keep up with them.

"We also try to think outside the box sometimes when we introduce a new site. We just came out with Food, which is not for everybody, but it's a specific taste for specific people. That keeps things fresh, because it's not just another big tits site. You have to find a balance between the most popular things people are looking for and the niches, which are some of our best-converting sites. They're usually hard to find, so when people do find them, they usually want to buy them."

Keeping up with the ever-changing Internet landscape is another priority for the people who run PimpRoll. Don makes a point of monitoring what he calls "macro-economic conditions" on an international scale, and what he sees — a dramatic devaluation of the U.S. dollar overseas — makes him think that one day American Internet companies may be dealing in Euros instead of dollars.

"We've talked about making the switch to the Euro," he said. "I personally think the greenback will come back, because it's been the currency of choice in the world for a long time. But maybe there is a fundamental shift going on. If that's true, we definitely would change over to the Euro. If webmasters clamored for that, we'd have to consider it. But for now, we have faith in the greenback."

Don and Dave are convinced that this kind of out-of-the-box planning will fuel the continued growth of PimpRoll, which in just six years has established itself as one of the veteran affiliate networks on the Internet.

"In terms of longevity on the web," Don said, "six years is probably like 60 in the real world."

And based on what has happened in those six years, PimpRoll may be just beginning to scratch the surface.