With a decade of adult industry experience as a producer, performer and internet tech maestro, Dominic Ford has a unique perspective on what it takes to foster a thriving business in the biz.
Delving deeply into his JustFor.fans venture, Ford now aims to cultivate a one-stop shop for empowering independent creators to sell clips, merchandise, galleries, subscriptions and more.
Earlier this year I introduced a supplemental health care program, in cooperation with the Free Speech Coalition. Of all the things I did this year, this makes me the proudest.
Through his strong reputation on the gay side of the biz, the inventive founder has already inspired thousands of male artists to join his site. Now, he is setting his sights on enticing more of the straight side of the market to come and see why so many people are flourishing on JustFor.fans. And many, have already begun setting down their roots.
Given his street creds as a web pioneer (from his days of producing 3D content to his high-tech DominicFord.com site) and his performer-first philosophy (as evidenced by his commitment to securing supplemental healthcare for users by partnering with the FSC), Ford is poised to powerfully compete with other leaders in the burgeoning do-it-yourself field.
To harness the growing popularity of JustFor.fans and spotlight its many virtues, XBIZ sat down with the shrewd founder for this exclusive company profile.
XBIZ: Tell us about your career prior to creating JustFor.fans.
Ford: My career in the adult film industry started just over a decade ago when I founded DominicFord.com in 2008. Our first movie, “Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerer’s Balls,” put us on the map as we were the first and only gay porn company to produce content in 3D. I’m a tech guy, so being on the cutting edge of technology has always been a priority. Additionally, DominicFord.com was the first adult film studio (gay or straight) to stream on the iPhone, the first gay site to offer 1080p downloads and the first to offer 4K HD.
Our reality show “So You Think You Can Fuck” is one of the highlights of my career. Think “Survivor” meets gay porn. I am so proud of the success of that show, and the extremely high production values we sustained for all five seasons (check it out on SYTYCF.com).
About eight years ago, I teamed up with Peter Phinney to start a company called Porn Guardian. Porn Guardian has been the leader in anti-piracy work in the adult entertainment space since its inception in 2010, and we’ve removed over 28 million illegal copies of adult movies from the internet. Our team has helped countless studios seek monetary damages against pirates, and we’ve done our best to help studios survive against the economic hardships brought about by piracy. Visit PornGuardian.com for more info.
From 2012-2016 we published an interactive iPad Magazine called ADULT (iReadADULT.com). It was a hardcore porn magazine with interactive features like quizzes and “Whorescopes,” and we featured models from various studios. It was one of our more fun projects reaching over 40,000 readers every month.
XBIZ: What inspired you to develop the JustFor.fans platform?
Ford: I have had a constant inner struggle with the economics of studio porn: studios pay models a flat rate and then profit from their scenes or DVDs forever. Models featured in these scenes don’t get residuals the way a Hollywood star like Kate Winslet makes residuals on “Titanic” based on its sales. And it’s not possible, since users aren’t buying a movie, they are subscribing to a site.
For years, I’ve had a goal to help models earn a sustainable, safe income. So many live month to month, and many escort to supplement their income. That’s neither sustainable, safe nor reliable. Plus, models don’t have health care from within the industry. I know a model who had a leg injury and couldn’t work at all for two months, and was almost evicted because he had no money coming in. Another got a job at a fast food restaurant for the sole purpose of getting affordable insurance. That’s terrible. We need to start taking care of our own.
Starting JustFor.fans was my way of getting models a sustainable, safe, reliable income. I’m truly touched by the countless stories of how being on JFF has changed models’ lives. One model told me he was finally able to buy furniture and redo his bedroom, because for the first time he could budget based on knowing what money was coming in next month. Another model has cut down his escorting because he doesn’t have to do it for money — he can just take the clients he likes. Another told me she has less anxiety every day because she feels like she’s on a “normal” pay schedule for the first time in her life.
Earlier this year I introduced a supplemental health care program, in cooperation with the Free Speech Coalition. We have been working together since early March of 2018 to launch this program, and it finally happened toward the end of 2018. The program empowers sex workers who are on JFF to afford health benefits they haven’t been able to afford before. Of all the things I did this year, this makes me the proudest. Models can finally have recurring income and health care without looking outside of the industry. This fulfills the dream I have had for a very long time.
XBIZ: How do you recruit models and keep them happy?
Ford: Every day, I ask myself what else can I do to keep models happy, provide them more avenues for revenue and help them succeed. I think the models know that, and they offer great suggestions, many of which make it onto the site immediately. I am building a social network that has monetized content. That’s what JustFor.fans is. To that extent, JFF has a “friend” feature where models (who are verified) can friend request other verified models. This puts them on each other’s friends list, and gives them free access to each other’s pages. They can comment, like and interact with posts from the other models. No other platform gives models this kind of free access to content and community. Users can discover new models by looking at these friend lists also, which increases cross-selling and wallet share.
The site also has a “Model Finder” in which verified models can search for other models by location. So if a model is traveling to Paris, for example, and wants to shoot content with other models, they can see what other models are in Paris. Models also have a forum on the site in which they can ask other models questions in an open setting.
Users have their own forum too.
Furthermore, models can share movies with other models. For example, if two models (let’s call them Jennifer and Jamal) film a scene together, Jennifer can edit it and upload it to JFF. Then she can share it with Jamal so Jamal can post it too. No more struggling to get footage to each other. We take care of it.
As far as recruitment, I am doing my best to get the JFF brand out there as much as possible. We are sponsoring the XBIZ Lingerie Party in L.A., because a lot of women are still unfamiliar with our brand. Since I have been in gay porn for 10 years, it’s been a lot easier and immediate to bring guys to the site, as I am much more of a known entity on the gay side than the straight side. But JFF is for everyone: straight, gay, trans, non-binary ... models anywhere on the spectrum who have content to share. And we’re starting to see significant results from outreach to female models.
We also heavily cross-sell models on the site to help them supplement their own traffic. We feature “spotlighted” models daily via a long-form interview that appears on the major pages of the site, and allow users to browse models many different ways. I want all models to have an equal shot at making a sale: whether you are the most famous porn star on the planet, or an 18-year-old in Nebraska just starting out. So users can sort by most frequent posters, posters with the longest videos, etc. And anyone can be at the top of those lists. Everyone has an equal footing and can control how they rank on the site.
XBIZ: Discuss your strategy for attracting fans to the platform.
Ford: JFF offers the best user experience of any of the current platforms out there. That alone makes customers loyal to us, and they write this to me on a daily basis. Movies stream quickly and smoothly, and the site has never gone down. Once they use JFF they rarely want to go back to our competitors. Additionally, we offer discounts to those who subscribe to several models. Plus, our customer support is almost instantaneous, which sets both customers and models at ease, as they know there is a real person (me) waiting on the other end of our on-site chat to make sure they are okay.
We also do our best to always provide value to customers. Instead of auto-tweeting a generic image on Twitter, announcing that a model posted something, we will auto-generate a video preview from the video the model uploaded and tweet that preview. I view every interaction with a customer (or prospect) as an opportunity to “surprise and delight” them. Even our FAQ page is a funny read. I try not to miss any opportunity to make our community of users and models smile and feel like they are part of something larger than just their page or their favorite model.
When Tumblr dropped porn, we launched a number of Tumblr-like features on JFF, like reblogging. Users now have their own pages, like models. They can’t upload content, but their page shows the posts from our models that they have reblogged. And users can follow other users (for free). Models can also auto-import their Tumblr feeds onto JFF. We launched a “Free Posts” page that shows all the free posts in the system. So those folks coming from Tumblr can watch free content on JFF. The difference is that all of our posts lead back to the model’s pages and can be monetized.
Our “Free Previews” page shows free previews of every movie that is uploaded to the site. So there is an endless amount of free content users can access. We also auto-post every preview to Twitter via @JFFMen, @JFFWomen and @JFFTrans.
XBIZ: What are the various revenue sources that JustFor.fans models can pursue?
Ford: My goal has been to make every business model possible available to models under one platform, and let them choose which ones are right for their brands. At the moment, models sell subscriptions to their feed of streaming videos and photos. They can also sell downloadable versions of the movies. We have a store in which they can sell hard goods (like a shirt, or a signed photo). They can even sell Snapchat memberships. We keep track of expiration dates for the users, making it easy for models to manage these external subscriptions.
We have a sexting platform: we give models their own phone number that they can use to text privately with users and exchange videos and photos — getting paid for each interaction. Models can also send private videos, photos or photo galleries to members, for a fee or for free. Models even have the option to attach products to a video (like the socks worn in the video) so that every time the video appears anywhere, the products appear underneath the video and can be purchased.
The subscription-based service is also robust in how it works. Models can choose time-based pricing and offer users discounts on 1/3/6 month options, or they can choose Patreon-style tiered pricing. In the tiered-pricing model, models can set “Bronze,” “Silver” and “Gold” tiers (they can call them whatever they want), and offer different perks for each tier. For example, maybe the Bronze membership only unlocks the model’s photos on her feed. The silver level unlocks solo videos, and the gold level unlocks hardcore videos. Models can select an audience for each post, which tier they want to have access to said post, or if the post is completely public (free).
We will be rolling out even more revenue models in the coming months. I never stop asking myself how I can help models make more money.
XBIZ: How do you partner with models to help them develop winning strategies?
Ford: We only succeed if a model succeeds. Our models are our No. 1 asset, and our most important partners. I am in constant contact with our models to make sure the site is fulfilling their needs. Every day, models ask for more categories to be added, and for more features. And I do my best to build out whatever makes sense and whatever will help models generate revenue.
Some of the best features of JFF, like the digest view (showing all photos or videos) on a model’s page, have come from feature requests from models. It is important for me to make sure the models know how important they are to me, and that we are collaborating together on making the JFF community awesome.
XBIZ: Talk about what features make JustFor.fans a unique platform for models.
Ford: JustFor.fans really takes models’ needs into account and tries to make things as easy as possible, while providing advanced tools for people who want to use them. For example, we have a complete image editor on the site where models can crop, color and add stickers to photos. We have a WYSIWYG editor to help models design posts that have multiple font sizes or more advanced layouts.
We auto-generate previews of movies (models select the length) and post those previews to the site and to social media. Our “Media Center” keeps track of every photo and movie the user has uploaded.
Models love that they can text $ or # to a special JFF number and get their realtime stats texted to them. They can even text a post (with photos or videos) to that same number and the post will appear immediately on their page. I have tried to do everything possible to make using JFF easy and convenient.
Models also appreciate how fast our uploads are, how reliable our site is and how consistent our payout schedule is. I never thought saying “we actually pay our models reliably and on-time” would be a differentiating feature of our platform. But I guess it is! Respecting our models is the most important thing to me. This site is built for them, and succeeds only because of them. And being an on-screen talent myself, I interact with my own site as a model, which helps me see what can be improved as well.
We also have a section that’s just starting out called “FREE Channels.” This is my attempt to bring over content creators who have been censored on YouTube, and provide them with a place to host free shows (with a layout that looks like a YouTube episodes page, not a Twitter-like blog page). I have a number of models who want to host talk, cooking and sex toy review shows (where they can actually show how to use the toys).
XBIZ: Where is the do-it-yourself adult content and streaming market heading in the future, in your view, and how will JustFor.fans stay ahead of the curve?
Ford: I foresee a pruning, as you would see in any new industry. Not all models are cut out to be producers. And they are realizing how much work it is to set up shoots, film (while performing), edit and market themselves. It’s too much for some models. Models who thought they could upload two movies and make a million dollars will become disillusioned and give up. Some will decide porn is harder than they thought. Some will stick to studio work where they just show up, do their thing, get a check and leave. But those who can handle it are seeing the vast rewards. Our top models made over $100,000 this year just from JFF (and most of them have only been on the platform for a maximum of 6 months). It is an amazing thing to watch a model who was (barely) living month-to-month and begging studios for work start earning over $100,000 in the first half-year of being on JFF. That’s life-changing for the model.
We have also created an ecosystem where studios can also play. Many studios have JFF pages, as this is another platform (like a VOD platform) for them to reach different customers. Studio pages list all of the studio’s exclusive models (who are on JFF), and the studio gets a percent of their sales. So where studios were previously afraid of fan platforms, I have built JFF with a very keen understanding of how our industry works — many of our competitors were built by people outside of the industry with no real understanding of it. There are ways for studios, agents, managers and affiliates all to get a piece of the pie when they work with JFF. We want the entire industry to benefit from, and not be scared of, this disruptive technology.
We have so much planned for our second year (we celebrate our first anniversary on Valentine’s Day, appropriately). I think we are already way ahead of the curve when it comes to our competition. But we aren’t good at standing in one place for too long. Users and models can look forward to constant innovation this year as we roll out even more great ways for our community members to interact with each other, our models to make more money and our users to enjoy the content they love.
XBIZ: How do you foster a sense of community among the JustFor.fans models and fans?
Ford: JustFor.fans is, at its essence, a community platform. Every feature I build is weighed against our mission, which is to foster social connections (that can be monetized) between our user base of fans, models and studios. Launching the “add a friend” feature for models, the Model Finder, reblogging and on-site forums for both models and users are examples of that. It helps foster dialogue and keeps people coming back to the site.
I am very active on Twitter, and often will start Twitter threads that our models and fans can interact with. For example, I did a “who has the nicest cock on JFF” thread, and a “who has the sexiest breasts on JFF” thread on Twitter. Male models posted tons of free content to the cock thread, along with their JFF links. Women did the same on the breasts thread. I know for a fact that tons of models have met each other for the first time because of JFF, and that being on JFF has been the ice-breaker for models to meet.
XBIZ: Any major ambitions for 2019 and beyond?
Ford: I have some major development plans for 2019, but I can’t share those yet. In general, my goal is to be an uncensored Facebook/YouTube/Instagram/porn site. I want content creators who are censored on YouTube to host their free shows on JFF.
We launched Feb. 14, 2018. By Jan. 1, 2019 I can comfortably say that JFF is in the top economies in gay porn. We pay over 3200 models every week and are one of the largest sources of income for men in porn across the industry. The same is not yet true on the straight side, and my goals for 2019 include making sure people know we are here for all models regardless of gender and sexual identity, and make more inroads on the straight side of the industry. I would like to be one of largest sources of income to all models in the adult world, making sure the entire industry has safe, reliable and recurring income.