"I had no idea what I was doing," he said. "I saw all these subscription sites and tried to figure it all out. I did my research, went on GFY to promote it, and looked for a webmaster to help me out. In the beginning I got no traffic. I had a beautiful website but nobody was looking at it. It didn't even have a cash program. I was basically exchanging banners and doing crazy shit like that. That doesn't work.
"I found a webmaster on GFY named Matthew, who is still with me today. He taught me how to get traffic going, find affiliates and build a cash program. So Matt helped me build it up from LaZonaModelos to Latin Teen Cash, which now has nine websites. We're building a program here. We started with nothing, and we've built something up over the last three years that's really growing," Patts said.
The term "growing" is putting it mildly. In the last couple of years, Latin Teen Cash has morphed into one of the principal players in its niche, which exclusively features Latina models from South American countries like Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador. Its recently revamped multisite Latin Teen Pass is a combination of six sites boasting more than 120,000 photos and 300 high-quality videos, available for a single membership fee. The firm has just launched a new site, PamelaSpice.com, and this year plans to move into the wireless arena with Latin Teen Mobile, a site with content that customers can download to their cell-phones and iPods.
Not only has the company changed. Its owner, Patts, has morphed into Pacino, which is how he's known today in the business.
There are other changes in the wind, but the project that excites Pacino the most is the new site for Pamela Spice, because it represents quite a departure.
"Up until now, all my solo girls have been topless softcore sites," Pacino said. "Pamela Spice is the first one where I venture into a little more hardcore. I think it's going to do well, because affiliates have been waiting for this type of site for a while. Pamela's 18 and really fresh, because she's never been on the Internet before. I think she's going to be a big star, because she has that look that makes people want to find out who she is. I worked on her for many months, and I finally convinced her to do it. I'd been shooting that site for nine months before it debuted in December."
Pamela Spice follows other successful Latin Teen Cash models, like Pacino's first hit, Selena Spice, and later, Karla Spice. But the Pamela Spice site is certainly not Pacino's first sojourn into hardcore. Last September, Latin Teen Cash launched Pacinos Adventures.com.
"It's my flagship site right now," Pacino said. "It's a reality type of site, in which we travel around South America looking for Latinas. None of them are actresses so they're true first timers. We shoot it in such a way that it has a real atmosphere, and we introduce the girls and show who they really are. They're all girl-next-door types. I try to find girls that nobody else has."
Pacino personally finds his models and shoots all the content in South America, where he's been a steady visitor for more than 10 years. He's built up an impressive network of contacts in various South American countries over those years, including a crew of people he trusts.
But after all that time, Pacino still revels in the one aspect of the job that he says is the most fun: the thrill of the hunt.
"I find all the girls," he said. "I network, and when I meet a girl she'll introduce me to other girls. Sometimes I'll find them in a mall. I talk to them and become friends. My main goal is to find real girls, so I go off the beaten path to places that are more quiet and maybe a little more dangerous. You can't just go to places like Venezuela and Colombia and just start shooting. It's a process, and you've got to be careful. You've got to research it and know the people, the culture and how to move around.
"I have a company registered in the countries where I work. Each country has its own regulations, and I follow the rules. Obviously, the over-18 thing is one of the main concerns, along with testing for sexually transmitted diseases. But in general they don't regulate things in South America as closely as they do in the U.S. Sometimes the police will harass you because you might be shooting in open areas, even though you're not breaking any laws. There are ways around that. Sometimes you need to pay off the local authorities."
Local gendarmes aren't the only potential danger of shooting in South American countries. At times, Pacino has run into problems with the more stringent customs and attitudes of the Latin communities, both in terms of family and especially angry boyfriends.
"You need to know how important family is to Latins," Pacino said. "You definitely don't want to work with girls who are married. You look for girls who are single and unattached, because their photos are going to appear on the worldwide Internet. I find people who don't have a problem with that, because it's a very important thing. I don't want any problems from boyfriends or cousins looking for me. I don't want to hear, 'Hey Pacino, I saw you fucking my wife.' I've had people looking for me anyway, but I have a lot of people around me. And I do my best to explain to the girls the likelihood that family and friends will find out about their work down the road. In South America, they settle things much differently than here. So I'll pass on certain girls who I feel might be involved with a heavy boyfriend, even though she may be the most spectacular looking girl in the world."
While Pacino has managed to dodge the occasional jealous boyfriend, he's made sure that the law enforcement people in the various nations have no reason to target him — especially when it comes to age verification of his performers. To prevent any mistakes, he's come up with a solid solution.
"I don't trust some girls with their IDs, so I actually make a passport for every girl on my website," he said. "It's an official passport from their country, so there's no doubt that all the girls on my site are 18 and above. With all the 2257 stuff, you have to follow the rules. A lot of my girls have that young look, so I make sure there will be no problems by going above and beyond, double checking everything." Once he's found his performers and verified their ages, Pacino and his crew rent locations that ensure privacy, yet offer the exotic backdrop of a South American shoot. Many of his locations are huge farms, and Pacino claims that about 80 percent of his videos are shot outdoors.
"Latinas have an exotic, sexy look," he said, "and to put that in one bed with a white wall behind defeats the purpose. Personally, I've always been interested in Latin girls since I was a teenager. Latin girls have a passion to them. A lot of them in South America don't have as much as we have here, but they seem happier than we are. It's a different kind of culture, and it's really refreshing to hang out with them. Plus, Latinas have fire. Anybody who's been in bed with a Latina knows that. These girls know how to take care of their men, and as much as the men enjoy it, [the girls] might enjoy it even more. That's something I try to show in my videos. I try to capture their passion."
The customers who sign on for membership in the Latin Teen Cash sites are a testament to the universal appeal of Pacino's Latina models, because they're from all over the world. He believes it's because Latinas come in many shades of color, from the lightest to the darkest, enabling them to represent most of the world's women. In fact, Pacino believes his performers are the chief factor that sets him apart from the competition.
"It's the quality of the girls," he said. "When people visit my sites, they wonder how we get these girls to do the things they're doing. That's because they look like the kind of girls you'd see in a mall or a college campus. I think I have some of the most beautiful women in any program. The quality of the content I shoot is also pretty high, and it's something that gets better every year."
All Latin Teen Cash sites are membership venues, which allow customers to access videos for a fee. There are no streaming videos, so customers can download them and watch at their leisure. The company may get into the DVD market later this year, according to Pacino.
Another major change planned for 2008 will be the addition of NATS (Next- Generation Administration and Tracking Software) to the firm's cash program. Up to now, Latin Teen Cash has billed solely through CCBill, so the addition of NATS will give affiliates another billing option and open the door to a greater number of affiliates who will push the company's websites.
Pacino is deservedly proud of his company's growth. He admits he fell into it completely by accident, after spending time trying to make it as an actor in New York. He'd been studying at the HB Studios in Greenwich Village as Antonio Patts, before assuming the name of his idol, Al Pacino, as an Internet nickname.
"I did the mainstream thing into my early 20s," he said. "I wasn't a photographer but I had a camera, and I started using it by trial and error. I just knew a lot of pretty girls, and I started taking their pictures. I didn't know what I was going to do with all those pictures because I just took them for fun. Later, I wondered if I might have something with those pictures, so I started researching the Internet. I learned a lot by just reading posts on GFY and other message boards in the business."
A native of Philadelphia, Pacino still resides there, although he travels to South America every month to find new faces and shoot content. It's become a seven-day per week job, because Pacino is active in every phase from design to marketing. But he points out that Latin Teen Cash has been a team effort since the beginning, with his webmasters Matt and Kellie in Arizona, and his head of marketing Donnie in far away Romania. Donnie's arrival with the firm was just as accidental as Pacino's. He'd been working for another topless Latina site that was in direct competition with Latin Teen Cash, but wound up hating his boss. He met Pacino at the Florida Internext show, did some designs for him, and, according to Donnie, finally said yes when Pacino asked, "Hey, dude, can you come to work for me full time in marketing and affiliate management?"
"It's a great team to work for," Donnie said. "Pacino is a great boss. He's not only a boss, but he's a great friend. Everything has worked out well since I've been here." And Pacino is proud of his team.
"Without the help of my people, Donnie, Kellie and Matt, Latin Teen Cash wouldn't be where it is today," he said.
And where his company is today represents a phenomenal success story.
Not bad for a guy who claims he didn't have a clue.