When an erotic fantasy feels close enough to touch and natural enough to experience yourself, the seductive line between reality and imagination reaches a fever pitch.
That is why amateur content and girl-next-door ingénues are always in such high demand, especially when they brim with youthful vitality.
We’ve certainly been heavily affected by the rise of free porn, but we’ve worked hard to refine our content to be better and better.
By tapping into these evergreen porn genres, with ever-evolving production processes and varied subscription models, AbbyWinters.com has thrived for 18 years in the business.
Delivering on the company mottos of “naturally delicious,” “all natural flavors” and “wholesome young amateur women alone, together and with their boyfriends,” Abby Winters founder and owner Garion Hall fosters long-term brand loyalty with devotion to what makes his brand so unique.
To learn how Abby Winters has blossomed for nearly two decades as a paysite, through all manner of seismic market shifts, XBIZ sat down with Hall for this exclusive company profile.
XBIZ: Tell us about the launch of AbbyWinters.com back in 2000. What led you to create the site?
Hall: Abby and I had the idea for the site a year before, since we were disappointed with sites that took amateur models and dressed them up to look like mainstream porn stars, totally missing what makes an amateur model appealing in the first place: that she’s amateur!
Initially, we made some shoots and tried to sell them, but the prospective buyers told us to get some high heels and makeup on the models, and maybe they’d buy our stuff.
We decided, fuck them, let’s make our own site — how hard could that be? We were three nerds in a suburban Sydney house with a poorly formed idea, and no clue about anything. It was hard.
XBIZ: Discuss the marketing campaign behind the “Abby Winters” brand during those early years, and how that publicity helped promote your unique adult content.
Hall: We really did no active marketing. We told our friends what we were doing, and word spread. In those days, what we were doing was pretty groundbreaking (and in some ways, still is today), and word spread fast. We filled a niche that was totally uncatered to — regular young women, no makeup, regular clothes and “normal” locations.
XBIZ: What have been the biggest changes to your site in the past 18 years, or has it remained pretty consistent throughout?
Hall: Stylistically, we developed, with help from a subset of devoted customers who helped us shape what we now call “the Abby Winters paradigm,” a kind of framework for making shoots. Of course, all producers have a “house style” they produce with, though not many are as highly documented as ours.
When Abby left the business in 2006, most production fell to me, and I could not maintain the shooting schedule while still running the business (in 2008, we had 45 staff across two offices, Melbourne and Sydney), so I developed training material for other shoot producers. Initially, that did not work so well, but these days it works great. I never personally produce shoots anymore, but those that do are well trained and do an amazing job.
Given the normal growing pains any business experiences growing to a peak in 2008, then shrinking down with the industry downturn, we refined many business processes over time so they run smoothly (for example, onboarding new models, media and metadata ingestion, and so on).
After operating openly in Melbourne, Australia for 9 years, in 2009, we were charged with producing media a “reasonable adult may find offensive,” and in April 2010 we were found guilty and had to close down immediately. In two months, we packed up and moved to Amsterdam, along with 12 staff and their partners and kids. We got up and running in a few months (luckily, we had content shot in the can, so website updates were unaffected).
Moving to Europe meant a lot of new opportunities, but we also lost some of our Australian “essence,” and that had a huge effect on our customers who quit. Disappointing, but understandable. Over the coming years, we refined our content, and I reckon it’s way better now than it’s ever been. We regularly make shoots of Australian models as well, though not as many as when we were based in Australia.
After living in Amsterdam for seven years, my partner and I were homesick for Australia, so we worked on plans to “decentralize” — everyone works from home, anywhere in the world, and we get to move back to our homeland. We did that in June 2018, and it’s worked well for us.
XBIZ: How have you positioned your company to thrive for so long, amidst the rise of more freely available porn?
Hall: We’ve certainly been heavily affected by the rise of free porn, but we’ve worked hard to refine our content to be better and better. We have fewer customers than we did 10 years ago, but they’re more loyal because of this. For us, it’s all about the content. We don’t do that pre-checked cross-sales shit: just a fair price for good product.
XBIZ: Considering how popular amateur and amateur-themed content is, especially with the growth of clip sites and premium Snapchats, how do you continue to capture the attention of subscribers today?
Hall: Quality content is key — ensuring every image and every second of every video is “on point.” There’s a lot of room to improve, but we have also made big strides here. Our boy/girl content is a little unusual in that we only do shoots of real-life couples, but these are our most popular scenes.
That, and making it available in ways customers want to buy. We sell full subscriptions, shoot-type subscriptions (e.g., girl/girl only), only-the-new-stuff subscriptions, pay per scene wallet and pay-per-scene micropayments.
XBIZ: On that note, why do you think amateur content continues to be a top seller in the adult industry?
Hall: I think because customers can see themselves and their girlfriends in the shoots.
XBIZ: What do your subscriber demographics look like, as far as male, female and porn preferences?
Hall: Oh, pretty typical … male, college degree, IT savvy and white collar. We say we make “human-friendly porn,” but we have very few female customers. It’s well understood that apart from a few anecdotal cases we all know, women don’t pay for porn. Apparently, the equivalent is erotic fiction.
XBIZ: Discuss your Playdates section of the site. How’s the beta going and what are your launch plans?
Hall: Playdates is our version of camming. We really did not want to build this functionality, so we approached the top 15 camming sites at the time (2015 or so) and asked to use their software. They said, sure, get your models on our platform and white label it! “No, no,” we explained, “we want to have our models on our site only.” They could not get their heads around that. We thought it was critical that we keep it selective.
So, we made our own system. We say it’s still in beta, but we should remove that, as it’s working well now! It took us a few years to get to the quality and reliability the big cam sites now have, but it’s been successful for us and for models. We only take 30 percent, and we’ve built a good customer and model-base. Now, we need to expand the project with more models, and benefit from the network effect (more models on cams means more customers, which is more appealing to more models).
XBIZ: How do you recruit performers, considering your site’s focus on amateur talent?
Hall: Models referring their friends, ads and organic searches. Models referring their friends are the main channel, and that is best for us because our models are awesome brand ambassadors. They love sharing their experiences, and their friends see how good a time they had working with us.
XBIZ: What’s next for the Abby Winters brand in 2019 and beyond?
Hall: More of the same, really. Good quality content that’s evocative and engaging.