But CEO Allan Henning said the move will succeed because of DatingGold's aggressive approach.
"We're offering many of the tools that established cam companies offer," Henning said, "but we're also going above and beyond, with innovative marketing tools and site features. DatingGold is going beyond white labels, offering custom live-cam solutions for other companies. This advanced white label enables our partners to have their own branded live-cam site, their own billing solution and their own customer database. Many affiliate programs are excited about the cross-selling opportunities they have to increase revenue by having their own live-cam site.
"The launch time [was] very fast, with DatingGold providing the technology, software and abundance of models that normally would take years for companies to develop themselves. Our live-cam solution has been developed since day one to provide other companies with the ability to have their own cam site, without having to worry about the huge overhead of software and live model performers."
That Henning has been planning this move for a while is evident in the secret weapon he added to the DatingGold personnel roster a year ago: Alfonsus Kusuma, known in the industry as A.K., DatingGold's business development executive.
A veteran of the live-cam arena, owing to his years of service with VideoSecrets, A.K. claims he knows why WebCamClub has shot out of the blocks so well.
"We're offering our affiliates higher payouts," A.K. said. "We're paying them $125 per sale right now on our live cam sites. Also, this month we're giving away 10 free passes to the Playboy mansion party. Affiliates will qualify by sending us 10 sales or more. Every 10 sales sent to either WebCamClub or AmateurMatch will get the affiliate one entry in what's like a lottery for the party passes. We intend to do the drawing live on our WebCamClub site, just to show everyone it's fair.
FUTURE FOR LIVE CAMS
Although the live cam business seems to be an industry phenomenon right now, Henning believes this is only the tip of the iceberg. He sees a much brighter future for live cam sites.
"It's definitely huge," Henning said. "More people are going to get comfortable with it, once the higher Internet speeds are in place. The resolution will be high-definition quality with the bandwidth increases and technology improvements. I think there will be a vast array of models as time goes on. It will be a higher-dollar business eventually, charging more money per minute for the high-end girls. The video is good now, but it will be much higher quality, full-screen HD-type quality. I see it happening in the next two to four years."
Although most of Henning's attention is focused on his new live-cam venture, he's not ignoring the DatingGold foundation, the affiliate programs for the myriad dating sites that include DateMatch, AsainAmateur Match, GayAmateurMatch, LesbianAmateurMatch, EbonyAmateurMatch, BeeMatch and the company's flagship site Amateur Match.com. Affiliates continue to send traffic to these sites in gargantuan numbers, and A.K. is sure of the reason why.
"We have a one-of-a-kind program that allows us to track stats for affiliates," he said. "We can see how much traffic they send and how much money they're making. We provide more programs than our competitors. Our reporting tools are state of the art and our affiliate payouts are among the highest. We're paying $75 per sale and our competitors are paying $50. We also pay $3-$4 per email. Our competitors don't pay anything for emails.
"We have a bi-weekly payout. In our industry, there are a lot of cases when you don't get paid for sending traffic to your sponsors. But we haven't missed any payments to our affiliates. This has allowed us to build strong relationships with major players in our industry. It's simple. If you don't screw people, you stay longer in this business."
Even though the DatingGold system has been a tremendous success, A.K. insists that it's still a work in progress. Henning constantly looks for ways to improve the system, mainly by listening to the feedback A.K. gets from the affiliates.
"We are not going to stop improving our system," A.K. said. "After all, the better tools we provide for our affiliates, the better they promote us, and that helps everybody's bottom line. "We have in-house programmers who constantly improve our software. We just implemented a new system where affiliates can generate their own business on the fly. Let's say you want to promote WebCamClub. We have a link that shows you the WebCamClub site right in the promo tools.
"When an affiliate says to me, 'It would be great if we had this,' I send that feedback to our developers, and they figure out a way to make it happen. Right now, our system allows affiliates to choose which program works best for them.
Many of our affiliates like to be paid when their surfers sign up with our sites for free. We do provide this program, often known as pay-per-free (PPF) or pay-per-lead (PPL). To them, it's an easier and faster way to make money from us.
"Here is how it works: We have a link in which affiliates can promote us with this program, and if someone registers for free on one of our dating or webcam sites — we let users do this to have a taste of what we have to offer — then we try to convert those users into paying customers."
Like all successful sponsor-affiliate partnerships, the DatingGold model stresses affiliate support; for example, A.K. guarantees immediate response to affiliate emails. Apparently, he's been as good as his word, because the firm's affiliate list continues to snowball.
Viewing the position DatingGold enjoys in the industry now, it's hard to believe that the company began just four years ago.
"We originally did mainstream dating," Henning said, "but we moved into the adult market in order to put our affiliates in there for our adult dating sites. AmateurMatch was our first one, and is still our biggest."
FROM THE GROUND UP
After running websites for a newspaper, Henning built his first mainstream dating-site with minimal capital in 2001.
"It was only about $10,000 that we started with," he said. "I used to get a text message for every S&S sale, and we were happy then if we got one per hour. After about three or four weeks, we had to turn it off, because it was texting all the time."
A.K. had a much more convoluted journey to DatingGold.
He sold toner cartridges in Texas.
"It's not a fun job," he said. "You're dealing with screaming office managers, demanding their orders."
Not surprisingly he left that job, but landed another difficult position, doing hard marketing for an outsource company.
"I had to cold call offices and schools, and I didn't like it," he said. "I answered an ad on Monster from VideoSecrets. When they interviewed me, they said they were an adult entertainment company, and asked whether that would be a problem for me. When I learned what they would pay, I said, 'When do I start?'"
A native of Jakarta, Indonesia, A.K. left home for college. Unfortunately, that college was located in New Zealand.
"In New Zealand, there are more sheep than people," he said. "Jakarta is almost like L.A. — the nightlife never ends. So at 18 years old, going to New Zealand from Jakarta and seeing people go to bed at 7 p.m., you can understand I wasn't happy. I felt like my family had exiled me."
A.K. eventually got a reprieve, and attended Oklahoma State University, which had nearly 300 Indonesian students in classes. There, he met his wife and graduated in 1998 with the marketing degree he now uses to help DatingGold stay on top of the heap.
"It's been a journey," A.K. said, "but helping DatingGold launch its live-cam business is what I'm most proud of."
» This article originally appeared in the December, 2007 issue of XBIZ World Magazine.