Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
The recipe for Yanks’ success has followed a straight line over its 15 years — the adult entertainment portal provides real girls and real orgasms. Plain and simple.
It’s really hard to categorize what our members like the most because we shoot all kinds of women, teens to GILFs at times, all nationalities and body types, hairy and hairless. So, there is someone for everyone.
Leading that charge is Billie Miller who, along with life partner Todd Spaits, took a risk and built an adult brand from the ground up and is now taking Yanks into a new frontier — the immersive world.
Yes, experiencing those real girls and real orgasms in virtual reality is the ticket, and Miller knows it. “There are so many VR opportunities that we have some fun brainstorming ideas at times,” she told XBIZ.
XBIZ recently spoke with Miller, this month’s WIA Woman of the Month, to learn more about how she, along with Spaits, have found the necessary creative elements to lift and satisfy their fans who point their cursor to Yanks.com and YanksVR.com.
XBIZ: With the Yanks’ philosophy, real girls and no rules equals real orgasms. The unscripted and gonzo nature of Yanks videos leaves a lot left to the imagination of the viewer. How do the ideas for a scene come about, and what kinds of shoots are more popular and appealing to your members than others?
Miller: Our scenes are always about real orgasms, and we do whatever is going to allow each girl to have an actual orgasm. We have each of our models fill out a masturbation/sex biography where we ask them questions about their sexual (solo and other) experiences, how they like to get off, the things they fantasize about, etc.
So, if a girl says she likes to use knives, we ask her to bring a knife (true story). If she’s a squirter, we have her bring her g-spot toy or Hitachi. The girls are our primary source of information about what is going to create the best scene involving them and we just really allow them to do whatever they’d do if they were having some private time.
It’s really hard to categorize what our members like the most because we shoot all kinds of women, teens to GILFs at times, all nationalities and body types, hairy and hairless. So, there is someone for everyone. We see diehard fans for all types.
Of course, our lesbian content is quite popular, because who doesn’t love lesbians?
XBIZ: What are the key ingredients needed to make sure that productions get done and on-schedule?
Miller: Simple — our producers are great women who are invested in our vision and keep our productions rolling along reliably. We only have female and sex-positive producers working with us who make our models feel safe and empowered.
We get a lot of word-of-mouth referrals from models who genuinely had a great time at our shoots and then refer their friends. I think respecting our models and continuing to ensure that our reputation amongst models remains elevated allows us to grow our talent pool, which keeps our shoots fresh and frequent. It also allows us to shoot a lot of first-timers and girls only seen at our sites.
XBIZ: What’s coming up for Yanks and YanksVR in 2018?
Miller: The base recipe for success for Yanks has been pretty constant since 2002, and we will continue on the path of real girls and real orgasms. I do see us pivoting towards more lesbian content at both Yanks and YanksVR.
We have also been discussing moving towards some feature-length cosplay scenes in the virtual reality space. There are so many VR opportunities that we have some fun brain-storming ideas at times.
XBIZ: Who inspires you in this industry, or alternatively, what adult company or companies inspire you?
Miller: Off the top of my head are a number of paysites. It is a tough environment these days to have a successful paysite with tubes, dwindling affiliates and the multitude of other factors working against content producers.
I find Blacked.com to be quite inspiring right now. They came into the adult space with phenomenal, high-quality content at a time when I’m sure they were repeatedly told that it wouldn’t work or paysites were dead. I love that they saw an opportunity for success amongst the naysayers and have had such great success with their incredibly gorgeous productions.
XBIZ: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating adult entertainment?
Miller: I think that I would send someone new to the adult industry towards VR. I think it is inevitable that VR and augmented reality (AR) are going to be the next frontier for adult entertainment, and I believe that when consumers experience this technology and uptake the hardware at a greater pace, adult will see great growth in these areas.
Hopefully, adult will be a tech leader as it was in the early days of the internet again.
I would tell them to make the best quality content they could. Content is key.
XBIZ: Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?
Miller: It is definitely harder to keep going. In the early days of the online adult business, it was a build-it-and-they-will-come reality. You could earn money without really trying. Now, a formal and professional approach as well as a lot more business acumen is an absolute requirement.
To keep going, we had to conquer the financial disaster of 2008. Prior to that time, I think the belief was that we were recession-proof, which was proven absolutely false.
In the present and future, I think to keep going, collectively as the adult community, we are going to need to figure out how to fairly compensate the content producers for their (our) product.
I believe that at this time there is an almost absolute disregard for content producers in the adult community, and it is content that is what is at the heart of almost every business model.
Tubes want more and more content, sometimes yielding only single-digit profit sharing. Any affiliate program attempting these one-sided payouts in the past would have been blacklisted.
Regardless of payout specifics, it is insanity to expect the content producers to be able to continue to produce their content with the requisite costs with this one-sided approach.
The content producers are truly the golden geese of the industry and they (we) are going to continue to die off if a sensible, reasonable and fair approach isn’t taken. It is simply an unsustainable situation for content producers who are expected to give away their content and the content that is supporting the industry for pennies.
XBIZ: Yanks gives back with its philanthropic effort with its Call to Safety partnership, delivering to the group some proceeds of sales. Very few adult companies go the extra mile and formally offer help to the community (in this case, the community of women). Why is this important for your company?
Miller: Yanks has always focused on female empowerment. Women who are in abusive situations need to be empowered more than anyone and the platform of Call to Safety was a perfect fit for us.
Additionally, my partner, Todd, and I both grew up in single-mother homes and experienced domestic violence firsthand at various time periods. We are honored to be able to help these women and families who we so closely relate to.
XBIZ: What do you like to do when you’re not focused on business?
Miller: I love to travel. We moved to Spain in 2014, and so exploring Europe has been a focus for the last few years as there is so much history and diversity here.
The various adult shows in Europe have been a great excuse to discover some new cities as well. We always stay a few extra days when travel is work-focused to discover the city in a more relaxed fashion. I have also been working on my Spanish language skills when I’m not working. My goal is to be completely fluent. Next on the list is French.
XBIZ: What’s your favorite quote, and why?
Miller: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time.” — Maya Angelou.
It isn’t one of those rah-rah inspirational quotes, but is incredibly relevant in business and personal life. Reflecting on this quote has surely saved me a great deal of exasperation at the very minimum.
XBIZ: What’s your meal to die for?
Miller: This is possibly the hardest question you’ve asked. It seems that all of my best memories have food and drink at their center. My favorite cities and trips all have some memorable or exquisite meal associated with it.
I think that my absolute favorite meal is one that happens at a teppanyaki table. You generally only find these restaurants in vacation locales, so for the most part everyone is pretty happy. The food is tasty and healthy, and it always involves Japanese beer and some delicious sake.