trends

Keeping Live Cam Customers

Stephen Yagielowicz

From LiveJasmin to MyFreeCams.com (MFC), from ImLive to VideoSecrets, Dating Gold and beyond, live cams are an integral part of today’s adult entertainment ecosystem. Live cams are a component stemming from the earliest days of amateur websites, where personal interaction and personality gave performers a distinct edge over their peers when live content joined the mix. This trend has evolved into a multibillion dollar business that is popular with consumers the world over — but it all boils down to the impact of one-on-one interaction between a fan and performer, for a profit.

Profit is the difference between income and expense, with both parties to a transaction often looking for ways to get more value out of any given deal. In this case, by taking a cam customer off of a commercial cam host platform and bringing him onto the desktop, using Skype, for example, performers may not have to split their fee with the cam host service — and can then pass the savings along to their customers — a win-win for both.

Whether you are a cam performer or promoter, there is a future for you where Skype meets sex.

These factors are driving a situation where performers are increasingly trying to move their fans away from proprietary platforms, to doing private shows on Skype.

Which seems like a better deal to you: an open-ended $6 per minute or $50 flat for 15 minutes?

In some cases, the performers may earn more while the fans pay less, by going “off network.”

One strategy employed by some MFC performers is to first chat about the requested private show’s parameters, and once agreed upon (so there are no surprises), and only after receiving the full payment for the Skype show as a tip within the cam host system, reveal their Skype user name. The chat fan’s Skype contact is often deleted after the paid show and then only re-added when another private show is requested, preventing any extra, non-paid conversations with chatty fans. This method does not rely on outside payment mechanisms — and thus may not conflict with some cam programs’ terms of service, since they still receive their cut of the transaction.

Of course, not every performer agrees with deleting Skype contacts after a single session, and rather uses that list as a marketing goldmine. Other performers note that one-time customers may become a regular source of income, hitting them up for another show when seeing their status as “online.”

As with all adult merchant endeavors, the use of PayPal for payments seems to be the thorny issue, with some performers eschewing the payment-processing platform over concerns about funds withheld due to terms of service violations. Other performers shy away from PayPal (and other mechanisms, such as Western Union), believing that fans are trying to lure them away from the chat host in order to obtain private shows with content prohibited by the chat host — such as scat shows or other unsavory fare.

Chargebacks are also an issue with PayPal, as they are with cam companies that are also not exempt from chargebacks, and which typically pass these costs on to the performers. Indeed, some “scam” boards openly discuss how to reverse PayPal transactions as a means of gaining free private shows from performers using Skype.

For those performers still seeking to embrace Skype shows, but without falling prey to the perceived pitfalls of PayPal processing, a range of options are emerging.

One company facilitating this process is Dublin based SkyPrivate (www.skyprivate.com), which offers a new payment system targeting independent cam models and studios currently using Skype for their private sex shows. According to the company, SkyPrivate uses standard Skype IDs to send and receive money and a Skype plugin for Windows to offer models a pay per minute system that enables private shows with no website or credit card processing required.

‘Moving the erotic shows from webcam sites to Skype video calls is the new trend for cam models and their clients,” says SkyPrivate Marketing Manager Alex Bluck. “Many of them prefer choosing this method, even if until now it came with a downside: models can’t charge per minute for their shows anymore and upfront payments are required.”

Bluck explains that customers are increasingly trying to find alternative ways to send their money to performers and sometimes use systems that do not allow payments for adult services or through offline systems that take a lot of time to be processed, neither of which are ideal situations.

“Members can send money directly to their favorite model’s Skype ID for prepaid shows, or to pay per minute for the shows, without revealing their credit card details or any other information than their Skype ID,” Bluck stated. “They add funds once and pay for multiple models’ shows.”

Performers use SkyPrivate’s Windows plugin to track the parameters of the Skype video/audio call, but not the conversation itself. This plugin offers users a variety of benefits, such as keeping track of the call’s start time, call duration, price per minute, and the amount earned, as well as providing automatic shutdown of the call once the member runs out of funds in his account.

One nice feature is that models are able to set their own price per minute, as well as different prices for each customer, enabling loyalty discounts and special offers for new members. A prepaid option is also available, for flat rate webcam broadcasts — with SkyPrivate enabling the real time money transfers between one Skype ID and another.

Performers earn up to 80 percent of the fee, with payouts to Paxum, Payoneer and RedPass cards, as well as to European (SEPA) and U.S. banking accounts (ACH), along with international wire transfers.

While such solutions ease the technicalities of the process, the resistance to off-site cam shows can still be a hindrance to their widespread adoption, especially given the 20-25 percent processing charges that SkyPrivate charges, which could earn performers significantly less per-show instead of using PayPal pre-pays as a method without an intermediary. Still, the pay per minute route may make it worthwhile.

While this author cannot recommend the use of Bitcoin, it could be the killer app for Skype cams and may become a commonplace application as Skype cam systems evolve.

As for what webmasters are doing on this front, check out SkyPeepShow.com for an interesting look at girls, boys, couples and transgendered live cam performers available via Skype. It is an example of how some next generation portals will appear; promising superior image quality, among other benefits, as advantages that Skype sessions have over many traditional cam sites’ technologies. While you’re at it, visit the company’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/skypelivegirls) for an intriguing idea of today’s possibilities for promoting live cams via social media.

Whether you are a cam performer or promoter, there is a future for you where Skype meets sex.

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