CMS for Paysite Automation

Stephen Yagielowicz
Of all the types of online adult entertainment venues being marketed to consumers today, perhaps none requires as much time, money, creativity and associated overhead in order to be successful as a paysite does. This stands to reason as consumers tend to hold content that they are paying for to a higher standard — both as to its quality and exclusivity, as well as its timeliness and presentation — than they do any material that they might otherwise obtain for free.

Not only is meeting these elevated expectations burdensome to webmasters on many levels, but the potential profitability of paysites, even in an arguably declining market hampered by the glut of free porn, causes further complications through the added dimension of an extreme degree of competition. These factors combine to drive webmasters to seek every "edge" available to them, including technological solutions such as the employment of Content Management Systems to streamline the storage, organization, maintenance and display of their content offerings.

I first began looking at CMSs some five years ago when I became aware of PHPNuke, an open-source CMS that boasted support for multiple languages. As I had been experimenting with language translation software as a means of better reaching my website's non-English-speaking visitors, rumors of a site-building tool that would automatically display textual content in dozens of user-selected languages were impossible to ignore. While the intervening years have left me with an ongoing love/hate relationship with this particular CMS, which has found its way into many an adult-oriented website, other tools specifically targeting the needs of adult paysite owners have emerged — and have become refined to a high level of suitability to the tasks at hand.

While a detailed examination of any particular CMS is well beyond the scope of this article, a quick look at the industry leaders will help to illustrate the myriad benefits that using a CMS can impart to a paysite operation — benefits, I might add, that will escalate exponentially with an increase in the amount of content to be managed and the number of websites that it is to be displayed upon. In other words, the larger the operation, the more beneficial the use of a CMS becomes.

In addition to my flirtations with PHP-Nuke, I have spent the past several months learning the intricacies of Mansion Productions' Members Area System (MAS). This high-end CMS is arguably the industry leader and in use by some of the largest and best known sponsor programs, such as Adult Lounge and Nichewealth. MAS isn't alone in this market space, however. Around since 2002 and recently updated to version 5.0, Adultwebware is reportedly in use on more than 450 paysites and boasts a large number of customizable features as well as a members area security package powered by Strongboxxx. Other leading CMS offerings include SiteDepth and Content God.

From automated gallery building to video streaming capabilities and related content set association, to easy navigation inclusion and nearly limitless feature sets, today's CMS provide near total control over the layout and operation of the sites they drive. I tend to be a fan of the ultimate control and Zen-like experience one gets from writing HTML by hand in a plain text editor such as Windows Notepad, eschewing the code mangling influences of visual HTML editors. But here most CMS's shine, enabling multiple templates and the use of "includes" to control the look and feel of a site, integrating page output with any existing design.

Using a CMS makes the building of adult site networks a simple feat. Huge "content blowout" offerings are now commonplace and provide an inexpensive source for, say, 100,000 images. Dump these pictures into your CMS with descriptions and associated categories and generate a dozen websites with the push of a button. Surely out of those 100,000 images there's enough material to build any number of niche-based front ends, all of which share the same content pool backend. Doing this manually would be an enormous undertaking, but using a CMS will make it nearly effortless.

Market Resistance?
Given all of the benefits of using CMS, one might logically wonder why even more operations do not employ them. While flexibility in terms of file naming conventions, page layout and display methods is always a concern, especially for operations with vast existing content holdings and/or those that make extensive use of leased content feeds on outside domains, most current CMS' provide customizable templates to control HTML and CSS options, as well as measures that accommodate different file structures and other features that should alleviate such concerns.

Another factor that may hinder CMS adoption is less talked about, however. With medium to large operations — those most suited to CMS deployment — there often are dedicated staff members devoted to manual content management.

When decision makers contemplate the adoption of a CMS, they tend to naturally entrust the evaluation process to these staff members — who might rightfully fear the lessening of a need for their position if the CMS was employed. No one wants to be downsized as a result of automation and as such, principals may not necessarily be provided with a totally clear picture of the power and value of these systems.

In the final analysis, CMS implementation provides a time and cost-saving platform from which a network of online properties can more easily be managed.

Through automation, webmasters can leverage their time and energy, devoting more time to tasks that will grow their business and less time to the mundane chores needed to maintain it. Regardless of the present size of your operation, or the size that you hope it will grow to, employing an effective CMS will be a move you won't regret.