Meet Jim Austin, head of business development for Stripchat and xHamsterLive. Austin helps run the two free online communities where amateur models — women, men, couples and transgender folk — perform live, interactive shows. All of the models streamed from both sites do their camming from their own homes.
XBIZ recently checked in with Austin to find out why the Stripchat and xHamsterLive platforms are gaining speed and finding wider audiences.
Our users come to the site and interact with the models because our platform gives them a very comfortable way to do so, that is not available to them in more “traditional” adult entertainment environments.
XBIZ: Give us a rundown of Stripchat and xHamsterLive?
Jim Austin: Stripchat is a brand-new interactive cam site that was built using all the latest tools and technology available to live cams. The interface is extremely user friendly but also packed with cool new features.
xHamsterLive is a white label of Stripchat and replaces the old xHamster/cams, which was being used by xHamster users. These users now have a brand-new live cam site, with all their favorite models and the feel and look of xHamster.
XBIZ: What's going on in the Stripchat community?
Austin: Models and studios are signing up every day, and we are actively recruiting new performers. Now is a great time to join the Stripchat community because of the rapid growth of the site. Talented models can shoot straight to the top with the help of our community managers and loyal fan base who are always looking for hot, new performers. It's really an exciting time for us now.
XBIZ: What’s the “magic” with tokens for both users and models? It seems to be the popular way to go.
Austin: I think it's because the meaning of the word “token” represents something of value but at the same time is one step removed from a traditional currency.
Our users come to the site and interact with the models because our platform gives them a very comfortable way to do so, that is not available to them in more “traditional” adult entertainment environments. Because of this it would feel very strange for users to send tips in some sort of recognized currency, it would take away the excitement of the experience and the use of imagination.
On the site, our message to users is that they can tip as a way to show appreciation to the models for their shows, and tokens are the best way to do this; it's a natural association. Because of this association, our users and models have embraced the use of tokens and that has helped drive our success.
XBIZ: Does Stripchat have any rules about social media and models?
Austin: Social media is the real game-changer of the live cam industry. It has helped propel models to super popularity practically overnight and given their loyal users the ability to remain actively engaged even when the model is not performing.
Another great outcome of social media is that it allows the models to develop and take control of their own brand when they do achieve success. Because of this we allow our models to use their social media accounts to help promote themselves and build their loyal fan base.
XBIZ: Are you considering offering virtual reality or augmented reality features to the site?
Austin: Absolutely. I get so many questions about VR and AR at shows and conferences, and that's because of the excitement and anticipation that these technologies are creating among users and models. I believe that VR and AR are going to be great tools for our models to enhance their live cam shows and will provide the users with a more intimate experience.
At the same time, I always stress to our models that they should use these technologies as tools and not as a replacement for the relationship between model and user. The success of the live cam industry has been, and always will be about the personal relationship between model and user.
XBIZ: How about new platform tools for 2017. Can you reveal what’s coming ahead?
Austin: We're working on tools and games that will help make the shows more interactive and fun.
Users come to the site to be entertained, and that's what we are trying to provide. I don't want to disclose too much but 2017 will be even more social, fun, mobile and interactive.
XBIZ: What’s the long-term future of the cam industry?
Austin: The future of the cam industry is limitless, and that is why we decided to build Stripchat. New technologies, new toys and greater bandwidth speeds will change the way users interact with models and eventually provide a completely customizable experience that will take live cams to a new level.