Tackling the Tubes

Stephen Yagielowicz
Recently, XBIZ World Magazine asked several industry players "How do you think the industry should deal with the tube site phenomenon?"

Here's what they had to say:

The key to tubes is you squeeze from the bottom, and then gradually roll them up as you use them. But if you mean Internet video tube sites, I think the only wrong answer is "ignore." While we work with the ones we can, we need to consider a fundamental shift in the business of adult. We are starting to see exciting new ideas in the recording industry, such as Nine Inch Nails' recent pay-what-you-can album release. The adult world will ultimately find success with similar experiments. Imagine, instead of watermarking, the actress popped up picture-in-picture style, thanking the customer for the purchase, and then urging them to PayPal some cash to her if they are viewing for free. Okay, so that's a lame idea. But it will definitely take drastic evolution to thrive in this new environment.

— Halcyon, FlashCa$h Evangelist, FlashCa$

Legitimate tube sites are here to stay. I think the problem with this debate is that no one has truly framed it properly. The illegal tube sites that people are up in arms about have existed since the dawn of the Internet. They started off as newsgroup download sites and then they moved on to torrent/ file-sharing sites and now they look like YouTube. File-sharing sites will always be around, and it's very difficult to take them down. The debate on tube sites, however, should be framed around the legitimate ones. The legitimate ones don't have illegal content up there. They've actually purchased content that's been repurposed to look like a tube site. The problem with the business is the fact that content has become commoditized. There's so much good content out there that it's rather easy to purchase quite a bit of it for cheap. It's futile to try to take action against a lot of these sites. What the industry should do is think about how to draw people away from these free tube sites and provide better quality sites that make themselves sticky for the users.

— Anh Tran, Founder,

You know, I don't know one person who is against adapting or evolving into what the next business model on the web is. What I do know is that content producers are not very happy about people — tubes — thriving on their hard work and not remitting due compensation. The M.O. for many tube owners has been to just take and not care until you're busted, then ask the owner to work with you instead of sue you. When the DMCA was written, nothing that exists today technology and media-delivery-wise was around to help guide the legislators who wrote it. If you've got content and you find it on tubes unauthorized, you absolutely should take action — content must be protected. Without content, there is no adult business. We as an industry need to protect the content to ensure our livelihoods and futures.

— Airek, "Special Agent," Shane's World

Adult tube sites are not a long-term, profitable business model. The only way that free content has ever been profitable is when it can attract mainstream advertising money. If you could wrap an adult tube site in Google Adwords, then you might be able to be profitable. But until then, the amount of revenue generated by adult tube sites falls far below the operating/bandwidth expenses and the legal risk and exposure. To this day, has never even come close to showing a profit — or even breaking even. It's a loss leader while mainstream tries to figure out how to monetize it. Sue the bastards! Our strategy has been to sue them, and thus far, it has been successful and profitable for us. Why would we partner with [a company] who bases their business model on stolen content?

— Keith Webb, Vice President, Titan Media