In many ways, the online adult industry can trace its genesis to indie paysites back in the 1990s and early 2000s. After all, even the big-name studios started off small before scaling up to a robust size.
Independent producers and niche-oriented creators have also shown the most resilience to shifting trends and disruption over the decades. From tube sites upending the game with freely available content, to the explosion of third-party content platforms offering low-maintenance distribution and monetization capabilities, they have weathered the storms and remained viable.
Before, only big-name companies dominated the industry and options were pretty limited for independent producers who wanted their own paysite, because it was so expensive.
Now, with a steady stream of fans eager to snatch up daily videos, peruse pay-to-view feeds on premium social media, order customs and interact via livestreaming or direct messaging, many talent who have mastered the tools of the trade and become full-fledged small business operators are looking to take their company to the next level.
While the convenience of third-party platforms and freedom from traditional studio-agency dynamics are enticing, a number of indie creators have also become veritable mom-and-pop businesses, hiring a small team of photographers, videographers, editors, behind-the-scenes marketing crews, lawyers, accountants and more. This has allowed them to have their cake and eat it too, continuing to earn revenue from platforms or seek out fame and unique traffic shooting for big-name studios, while exploiting the entrepreneurial value proposition of their own fully-owned and -operated paysite destination, one that is much more than just a multilink landing page. The truly successful sometimes go on to create their own networks of paysites, combining organic and affiliate-driven traffic.
There is also an entire ecosystem of ancillary service providers ready to design, build and manage indie paysites, with numerous time-saving tools that help facilitate content streaming and sales. So if ever there was a time for talent to elevate their game with paysite partners and achieve greater independence than ever, the current market is ripe for a harvest.
To better understand how creators, networks and services are tapping into a resurgent indie paysite market, XBIZ reached out to several stars and execs working hard to usher in a golden age of small businesses in adult.
The Creator Economy Has Reignited Demand for a Classic Business Model
How has the indie paysite game changed over the years in the estimation of longtime observers and content producers? What features do clients request most? What are the hallmarks of truly successful indie paysites as far as their approach to content, marketing and subscriber perks?
“The indie paysite game is experiencing fantastic growth thanks to the rise of the creator platforms,” said Kenny B. of YourPaysitePartner. “Content creators that would never have entered the industry through the traditional ways are now fully entrenched in the adult industry and realize they are their own brand.
“With the uncertainty of the third-party platforms that control all of the customer data, plus ever-changing rules and policies, having a paysite is more important than ever,” he continued. “We are here to support the serious performers and build their brand, together with top-notch paysites custom-built to suit their needs and look.”
Kenny B. explained that one of the most common requests from site partners is to help their site stand out from more template-based cookie-cutter sites. To that end, beyond standard services like hosting, billing, affiliate marketing support and payouts, he has seen an uptick in site partners wanting the ability to offer podcasts, pay-per-scene and pay-per-message.
“Our licensing department works with content partners to release their content on DVD,” he said. “In addition to monetizing their content offline through broadcast and DVD sales, it also allows them to be considered for a range of industry awards.”
No matter the wealth of tools available to creators, Kenny B. underscored, like most things in life, folks get out what they put in. If talent invest in great content, and spend time interacting with and polling paying customers, he says, their business will grow.
“Money being left on the table is something that plagues too many in this industry,” he concluded. “When someone goes to see a movie, the ticket cost is the price of entry. Then you have food, candy, drinks, games and merchandise. The same thing holds true for paysites with cross sales, up sales, cams, customs and merch all being ways to boost the average spend per customer.”
Another top-tier player in the services space is AJ Hall of Elevated X, a content management solutions company catering to performers of every stripe.
“Indie paysites have always existed, but over the last several years they’ve morphed into an adult market segment all their own,” Hall stated. “We used to call them ‘amateur’ sites, which were often solo model sites or lifestyle sites run by husband-and-wife or partner teams.
“Since 2006, we’ve launched hundreds of them, and we’ve seen big performers create their own brands, but ‘indie’ truly means just that: independent,” he illumined. “This means no studio relationships or major production experience and few resources, financial or otherwise.”
Hall compared today’s indie creators with garage operations, achieving studio quality with no budget and minimal equipment.
“It’s difficult to believe, but a lot of it is shot on smartphones and edited by the same people who are shooting and performing in the videos,” he pointed out. “This is by far the most exciting part of our modern business at Elevated X. The resourcefulness is impressive, as is the creativity and the willingness to collaborate.”
Unlike his big studio brand clients and popular stars who mainly interface with Elevated X as their technology provider, indie website clients seek input and involvement.
“They’ve really embraced us and our company culture,” Hall said. “It’s almost become a family environment, which was evident at the January trade shows and with everyone adorning our ‘punk rock’ booth wall with stickers and autographing it at the X3 Expo.”
For this group, Hall explained, it is not about emulating others, but expressing individuality and breaking norms in ways that resonate with those who have similar interests and curiosities.
“The sites we’re building for emerging indie brands are more like visual extensions of their owners than online business ventures,” he elaborated. “We didn’t intentionally plan to take our company in this direction, but working with this next generation of producers has been the most enjoyable part of my entire adult career and I think I probably appreciate them more than they appreciate me.”
Laurel Hertz of ARLCash, another noted multipronged facilitator and business accelerator, outlined the areas where companies like hers can provide value to indie creators.
“It’s great to see models crushing the peer-to-peer platforms, but scaling beyond that business model still gets overwhelming with marketing, billing optimization and affiliates,” she said. “Content producers want to make their art, and not deal with the grind. Plus, porn piracy is still everywhere. You still have to find the right niche to get the paying traffic.”
Hertz noted that it really comes down to due diligence. The producer invests a lot of time and emotional labor into making the content and they want to see that content handled with reciprocal effort on the business side.
“There’s no weird tricks to making that happen without doing the actual work that’s needed,” she underlined. “It’s important to focus on niche vs. making performer-based content. A performer focus draws their fans, but niche content has a broader appeal.
“You have to be creative to keep the user juices flowing, but also not veer off brand,” she detailed. “It’s a delicate balance.”
She cited one of her company’s best clients, PascalsSubsluts.com, as an example of an indie paysite that does well partly because of Pascal White’s celebrity status, but also because the focus is really on the niche and how models relate to it.
Another longtime player, both behind the camera and in front of it, is tech-savvy and business multi-hyphenate Lucy Hart, who manages the PervOut network of sites.
“The tools are pretty much the same, but more people know how to do it now,” she said. “When I started, I had to pay to travel to all the conventions, flirt with the right people, sleep with some of the right people and collect favors … just to figure out how to build my site and make it make money. It’s great that now people can skip all that if they want and just pull the trigger when they’re ready.”
Suzanne Ferrari, who runs SlutInspection.com with husband Dan Ferrari on the FPN Network, opined, “I think social media has helped indie sites evolve and grow their audience. Posting clips on social media makes it easier to get our content in front of tens of thousands of people, and it’s great because fans post as well, extending our reach. Porn customers have also changed with the expansion of premium social media; many are looking for very specific niches or categories, like the ones we offer on Slut Inspection.
“Being able to promote on multiple platforms like clips sites has also helped to drive traffic to the site,” she added. “There are also great resources like ModelCentro and Elevated X that provide templates that make it very easy for a beginner to design and start a site.”
Another couple-driven business is MySweetApple, who both star in content and showcase other performers on their own third-party platform accounts as well as their own indie paysite.
“When we started doing indie porn, the first thing we did was buy the domain MySweetApple.com,” they shared. “In the beginning, we would only use it as a showroom that directed to other platforms, sort of like a Linktree but more personalized and with the option to request customized content, panties, sexting, etc. It was all made by us and we could only dream of having our own site with a payment gateway.”
They recalled how every year they would try to update their website, adding more features with very limited resources, but it was only after the boom of OnlyFans that they felt confident enough to pursue the creation of their own full-fledged subscription and PPV website.
“If we reached thousands of subscribers and made them happy every day with our content on OnlyFans, why wouldn’t more people join our own project?” MySweetApple said. “Of course, OnlyFans is massive and getting bigger, but we have a solid fan base who have followed us and our content for many years, and we know how to give them a better, more intimate experience now, so we give them the option to try it. I think many other models must have taken this route these last few years.”
The rise of indie paysites has also aided producers such as Harry Sparks of Sparks Entertainment, which has become known for its story-driven and fantastical content.
“Before, only big-name companies dominated the industry and options were pretty limited for independent producers who wanted their own paysite, because it was so expensive,” he shared. “Now, however, there is more of a level playing field. The number of platforms has grown over the years and now there are more opportunities for independent producers.”
Measuring Success and Marketing Content for Multifaceted Monetization
Once an indie paysite is alive and chugging along nicely, how do operators measure the success of content, incorporating fan feedback into fulfilling unique visions to produce consistently well-received releases?
Ricky Johnson, acclaimed performer and recent winner of the 2023 XBIZ Award for Best New Site, emphasized the value of authenticity and palpable chemistry above all.
“I like to have the nucleus of a RickysRoom.com scene be ‘great sex,’” he shared. “I think great sex lasts forever online. Fans can tell if their favorite performer is having a good time, and they want to continue to see that. I like to make sure there is some chemistry in each scene. I also like to check out the tubes and see my RickysRoom videos with a significant amount of views. When you work with the RickysRoom brand, I want to make sure you’re comfortable and have a good time. The rest is easy.”
He lauded YourPaysitePartner, with whom he works to power his site, for equipping him with a team beyond the RickysRoom.com crew.
“I’m in my head for all the preproduction, then the crew helps with production and YourPaysitePartner helps with post-production,” he explained. “We have private Slack channels and we are in constant communication. I suggest any performer looking to make a paysite collab with YPP. They’re extremely helpful and capable.”
He praised the service for being a big help with running his exhibitor booths at Exxxotica and X3, as well as with hosting the site, discussing future site renovations and advising him on how to stay on top of things and be in the “now.”
“I plan to make three more sites in the next couple of years to have a little network, and who better to help with that than the team at YourPaysitePartner?” he mused.
For Lucy Hart of PervOut, success came down to exploring the niche market, spending years learning about her customers and potential customers and what they wanted to see that they could not easily find.
“Out of that I picked out stuff that I knew I could do well or get really good eventually at producing,” she said. “I grew from there. I’ve had over 120 paysites since I started, some with big-name porn stars doing really hot stuff, but the only sites that made good money focused on niche content. The trick is picking the right-sized niches. If it’s too niche, there aren’t enough customers.
“Marketingwise, the old tricks work best for me,” she added. “I focus on my affiliate program, letting the affiliates and cross sales do my marketing for me. I’ve never gotten many sales out of social media. Email blasts work. Sales work. Cross sales work. Getting one or two good affiliates a month over time will pay off.”
Pascal White noted that fans offer very specific feedback, and that even negative comments are good because they are a form of engagement.
“So keep those channels open to consistently get feedback and scene requests,” he recommended. “Pay close attention to how models feel about the content; they want to look good too. If your site facilitates their brand, the in-demand models come through.”
Due to working with ARLCash, White said, he gets to focus more on delivering his vision for Pascal’s Subsluts and recruiting submissive models that want to test their limits in a safe environment.
Measuring success is also about buzz. MySweetApple views an upcoming release as successful when they spot people talking about it on social media even before the release.
“The biggest measure is of course sales and subscriptions, but they must match the amount of interactions, likes and comments; people are very verbal when they like a video, they want you to know that they like it and they want more of it already,” they explained. “We always listen to our fans, we even allow them to direct some of the content too. It’s fun reaching an agreement between thousands of people, but the result is always amazing.”
They noted that most of their followers found them through their most risky public sex videos and via content that features threesomes, foursomes and orgies.
“We like adding new people to our sex life,” they said. “Since day one, our followers have known we’re not really porn actors, just a couple who likes having sex in front of the camera. So every time we film content with other people, whether men, women or couples, our followers go crazy and love it.”
Beyond posting on social media and tube sites for marketing, the majority of their efforts are focused on creating quality content and being consistent.
“This way, people will talk about us, invite us to be interviewed, make memes, post stories and just spread what we created,” they said. “As for monetization of content, platforms really fluctuate a lot and people have different preferences too, so we upload our content to a variety of places. People can choose where to buy it and we don’t have all our eggs in one basket; that’s always the most important, because we’re the ones who have the content.”
Harry Sparks prizes fan excitement and can tell when his new releases have struck a chord because fans will say so on social media.
“It’s difficult to measure success in terms of awards or accolades because for the most part, with some exceptions, the big studios still dominate in that area,” he said. “So the best way to really measure success for the independent producer is the fans telling you directly that they liked your work.”
His approach to marketing is teasing fans with a trailer and images weeks before release, getting them excited about what is to come. This includes an SFW version that can be more broadly marketed across social media.
“The ‘sell the sizzle, not the steak’ approach works best,” Sparks elucidated. “If you show too much, then people may feel that they’ve seen all you have to offer.”
When it comes to monetization and marketing, Little Caprice and partner Marcello Bravo of LittleCaprice-Dreams.com underscored the value of fulfilling their genuine desires, as that will translate on film.
“First of all, we shoot our vision and produce movies according to what we like; we will never produce content that we don’t like or just for the money!” they explained. “Of course, we track clicks from trailers, models and series. On our website, we are directly in contact with our members, and the last few years we had many nominations for different events which means it looks like we are on the right path.”
Marketing in their case means releasing a trailer on Monday, a photoset on Wednesday and then a full movie that weekend, building anticipation for each video.
“During this week, we post and share Bitly links, post promotional softcore content and a hardcore trailer on different platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and our website,” they said. “Of course, we try to get some news on platforms like XBIZ and Venus Berlin.”
Alan X of SheSeducedMe.com, which partners with Elevated X, measures the success of his website in terms of its ability to sustain itself and the people working on it.
“It’s not always going to be a situation where the money floods in right when the site is launched,” he emphasized. “Sometimes it takes years to build an audience. Even with the performers shooting in exchange for ownership of the content instead of cash payment, I still operated the site at a loss for a really long time given what I was spending on talented film crews, nice locations and talented editors.
“This is not a bug; in fact, this is a feature,” he said. “The measure of the success of the site is if it can sustain the people working on it. The people working on that content all got to feed their families. Performers got to utilize the content with their OnlyFans subscribers and on other platforms and support themselves. That’s the value.”
Eventually, he pointed out, a site will generate more and more revenue as the library and audience grow over time. As such, he has focused on fielding the best team, working with the best performers and delivering the very best content he can to subscribers.
“As more money comes in, the budget will increase and the quality of the content will get even better, maybe eventually reaching parity with the big corporate sites,” he shared. “I know it’s probably never going to be possible to get to the level of income that these huge corporate sites have due to their control over the traffic, but at least we all got to make the movies that we wanted to make. At least everyone was able to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads the whole time while doing it. That’s value.”
Remarking on his work with Elevated X, Alan X lauded the company for “providing a really amazing service to the industry,” since in the past, the development costs to start a website would have been prohibitively expensive to someone without significant financial backing. Now, he says, creators can get a professional-quality site that they own — and that is a game changer.
“Elevated X allows creators to focus on creating, not on constant technical issues,” he said. “I also love the fact that Elevated X acknowledges that creators don’t just own their content, they own their customer data also.”
He enjoys the ability to keep control of the billing and underscored that anyone who has ever been kicked off of a platform can attest to how damaging it can be to their business if they do not have access to their own customer data. “You’re back to square one,” he noted.
Suzanne Ferrari of SlutInspection.com measures success by how excited models are to work with the site.
“There is something magical that happens on camera when two — or three — people really want to film together and share a common goal,” she said. “Since we are the creators and the stars of the clip, we can customize the experience based on what we all enjoy the most. Everything we do is authentic, which you can see in our full-length behind-the-scenes videos.”
She also considers feedback from the fans an indicator of success, given that it demonstrates they feel content is important enough to take the time to contact the site operators.
“Fan feedback really influenced my decision to start appearing in more scenes, like on ‘SlutsPOV’ and ‘Teasing and Pleasing,’” Ferrari said. “They have really supported my journey as a director, camerawoman and now as talent.”
Authenticity is key to Slut Inspection’s marketing efforts, which include a free erotica blog Ferrari writes based on her “cuckquean” experience. She has also shared some of her stories on literary sites and has a YouTube channel where people can get to know her and the models that the site films with, in post-shoot interviews.
“It’s important to me that consumers see Slut Inspection as a regular small business; it’s literally me, my husband Dan and the models that we film with,” she explained. “We have no employees, investors or backing. Dan and I do all of the work, filming, editing, writing scene descriptions, uploading content and running our social media. There is no corporation or team — it’s just us.
“I have found that there are different customers on each different platform,” Ferrari continued. “Our Slut Inspection website members enjoy the full, all-inclusive experience of a monthly membership to all our network sites. Some fans have found buying scenes a la carte on sites like ManyVids or Clips4Sale gives them the exact content that they are looking for.”
She believes that many customers join Slut Inspection due to the value of getting an entire library of content for one low price, but values clip sites as a way for customers to sample the product. Ferrari also encourages fans to sign up for a monthly membership to get all of the benefits.
Lucas Ayres of CollectiveCorruption.com, which offers content from a collective of creators, says the site finds itself in a unique position as paysites go, since each producer focuses on shooting what moves them creatively. Rather than producing everything according to a single, unifying theme, the creators showcase what genuinely gets them off — and find that fans support the varied combo of content.
“Although all of our content is BDSM- and fetish-related, it isn’t a product of SEO, trending keywords, algorithms or market research,” Ayres observed. “We took a bit of a risk, when we launched last year, that there was a place in the industry to run a site in this manner, and that such a venture could be profitable; so far, the response has been fantastic. As long as we keep producing high-quality content that is artistically authentic to who we are, we feel that our fans will come along with us for the ride.
“Does this make it a bit more challenging for us to market to a wider audience sometimes?” he mused. “Sure! It’d be much easier to be able to say, ‘This is a latex site’ or ‘This is a femdom site’ or what have you, and then market to buyers who are specifically searching for those keywords. Instead we’re saying, ‘This is who we are, this is what we want to make.’ Being uncompromising in that way has led to our success.”
Collective Corruption, too, partners with Elevated X, which Ayres applauds for taking a risk on a collectively-owned startup that released hardcore BDSM content with a nontraditional content production and marketing model.
Yummygirl.com’s network encompasses 40 sites and 9,000 content sets. The network runs its CMS through Elevated X, with payment systems from Segpay and hosting via MojoHost.
“My entire business is based upon the feedback of my fans,” Yummygirl’s Sofie Marie shared. “Their happiness and enjoyment of my content is my primary driver. So many of my fans have followed my journey into adult, so I should trust their feedback and requests. Along with bikini content, I love making taboo, interracial, anal and group sex scenes for them.
“We always try to infuse some humor into my sex scenes, because sex is fun and — done right — can be really funny too,” she said. “I track my scene performance by soliciting comments and reviewing sales regularly. All members can access all of our sites, so we see an increase in customer retention since we offer so much variety of performers and scenes.”
Ashlynn Taylor of TMFetish.com and Jason Ninja of Xbrats.com are Elevated X clients as well, with Taylor enjoying the back-end support and personalized walk-through videos, while Ninja values the manageable learning curve and excellent support.
“With my first gigs in the customer service industry, and being raised in a hospitality region, I understand that customer service will make or break a business,” Taylor shared. “The building blocks of my business are simply the customers. My initial funding never came from an individual investor or partner. Apart from my own investment, the secondary source of funds is the clients. Clients order custom videos with our scheduled models. Not only does this secure the shoot funds, but it also gives insight into the exact niches we’re producing.
“This gives us an advantage over those that do not produce custom videos,” she continued. “We take the client feedback from these videos very seriously, aiming to improve the content quality over time. Much of the content produced now has elements from prior custom video orders. This directly correlates to higher sales. Secondary to the obvious happy customer, we consistently maintain monthly and yearly goals, frequently checking analytics and traffic to ensure we’re on a positive trajectory.”
Meanwhile, Ninja sees indie paysite ownership as vital in an era of strict payment processing regulations, serving as a hedge to potential third-party platform shutdowns or disruption of service.
“When our customers feel excited enough by our content to comment or tweet about it, it makes such a huge difference moving forward towards different avenues that we are trying to dabble in,” he said. “We always try to push the envelope at Xbrats, as we have since day one, being a trailblazer in the niche we shoot in. So when we take a chance on a new approach, it is a huge deal when the fans respond, not just by buying the content but by giving us positive feedback, and that keeps us going and pushing on to bigger things. We have definitely made big business decisions in the past based purely on fan feedback.”
Chronicling Milestones and Charting Goals for the Future
As an indie paysite gets up and running, gaining momentum and acquiring subscribers, operators make sure to mark the achievements thus far and identify future goals. By looking back and reflecting on what worked or did not work, as well as innovating with their offerings, they can better position their sites for continued success.
Lucy Hart of PervOut shared that she is in the process of selling her sites outright and is glad she stuck to her guns over the years, working hard to build them.
“I have equity from them,” Hart said. “You can’t sell your OnlyFans account, but you can sell a stand-alone paysite. I have a few offers in process. Looks like I’ll be a millionaire in a few months! I’m going to take some time for myself, then most likely build more paysites.”
MySweetApple considers the launch of their website their biggest milestone, and say that going through the process of learning the ins and outs, as well as how to make the correct decisions, has been rewarding.
“In 2022, our website got nominated for an XBIZ Award; that was pretty cool!” they said. “After so much work, to be recognized like that by the industry felt nice. A goal for 2023 would be to have an award-winning website. We’re also really excited to work with some new performers this year, but I can’t say much yet! I’m already eager to create their profiles on our website.”
Jason Ninja wants to push Xbrats.com’s marketing harder to get traffic up and increase income from the site.
“If I can crack five digits a month, I would be very happy,” he said. “I had set a membership goal at the start of 2022 and we hit it reasonably fast for paying members. This year I am hoping to double that number and keep our goals realistic.”
Having just turned 50, Pascal White of Pascal’s Subsluts counts his continued good health a vital personal milestone. He thinks having his own site, making the content he wants to make and having a good network of people around him has contributed to his well-being.
“As far as 2023 goals, I have a list of models I’d like to work with, and some I’d like to see come back,” he said. “I’ve also got some mainstream porn niche hybrid projects in the planning stages. We’ll see.”
Harry Sparks of Sparks Entertainment counts the increasing number of scenes and subscribers among his most important milestones so far.
“The next milestone is getting our affiliate program going strong and that is well within reach for 2023,” he said.
The LittleCaprice-Dreams.com team counts their award nominations and wins as significant achievements, all without the aid of big investors and solely from the efforts of a very small team.
“We do everything all by ourselves, from editing to directing, organizing and uploading videos, creating profile pictures and making promotional pictures,” they said, noting that the main thing they seek outside help for is web development. “Our goals for 2023 are to keep going and pushing the business to the next level. We never want to stop!”
For Alan X of SheSeducedMe.com, achieving the status of being revenue neutral was huge, with the site finally paying for its own operating expenses and production costs, while employing several talented people along the way.
“My goals for this upcoming year are to grow the site’s audience even more, putting more money and creativity into the site’s content,” he added. “As the budgets increase, the content will get better and better. Can’t wait to see what I’m able to accomplish in 2023.”
For Ricky Johnson of RickysRoom.com, the big highlight of his year was stepping up onto the grand XBIZ Awards stage before hundreds of applauding peers and accepting the trophy for Best New Site alongside many of the performers who starred in his scenes.
“The next goal will be to throw a big industry party on the first anniversary of RickysRoom.com at the end of May 2023,” he shared. “I also plan to do things within the industry community and have RickysRoom.com become a sponsor for certain events. Working with more male talent on RickysRoom, aside from me, is also a short-term goal. Right now, it’s around 90/10 me, and by the end of the year, I want it to be 70/30 at the least and then 50/50 the following year.
“It’s important to give other performers opportunities to shine,” he continued “I would also like to shoot a showcase for someone, maybe two showcases. I am discussing shooting some first gangbang and first DP for talent, so that’s exciting. Also, a few people want to debut their mainstream porn with the RickysRoom brand, so I’m honored by that. I want to help bring some community back to porn and help to make sure performers have a good time on set and enjoy their careers.”
Looking back on the inception of SlutInspection.com, Suzanne Ferrari celebrated how the stand-alone cuckquean site has grown into a network covering other niches, like BBW, teen and POV, all within the cuckquean theme.
“We’ve had multiple nominations as a niche paysite, which has really meant the world to us,” she said. “In 2023, our goal is to give the customers what they ask for the most, and that’s more scenes with me in them. They’ve convinced me through their unending support.
“We just launched ‘Teasing and Pleasing’ as part of the network, which will focus on me pleasuring all my beautiful friends,” Ferrari added. “It’s a clothed female/naked female assisted masturbation site, and I think it’s the first of its kind. I am excited to see the response to Teasing and Pleasing; it is more female pleasure-driven, in a gentle femdom way. I would love to see this expand more as I get more comfortable on camera; I am basically exploring my sexuality on camera for everyone to watch. I am hoping to work with more women, transmasc and nonbinary performers.”
Lucas Ayres of Collective Corruption emphasized the importance of a new business being able to cover operating costs and keep the lights on as the first hurdle, and was surprised to have achieved that early.
“We don’t have any big investors backing us and no larger company to fall back on if we needed to buy time to focus on growth, so when we launched we had very little margin for error,” he explained. “Luckily, we’re creating content for what we view as an underserved market, so the response was outstanding.”
The other element the collective focused on this year was building up a sizable content library to position the site for optimal subscriber retention and attract licensing deals.
“We actually managed to maintain a schedule of three full releases a week for much of our first year of operation, which is frankly a ridiculous amount of content, and work, for an operation our size,” he underscored. “This was on top of all of our other individual projects, fan sites, paid shoots and more. Because of the hard work we put in over the past nine months, we’ve opened up a ton of opportunities to grow the business that might otherwise have been another year or two off.”
On the creative side, CollectiveCorruption.com is aiming to make bigger narrative projects happen this coming year.
“We’ve been kicking around some ideas for a while that we haven’t had an opportunity to develop that I’m particularly excited for,” Ayres teased. “We’ll be sitting down soon to put that road map together.”
Sofie Marie of YummyGirl.com and SofieMarieXXX.com celebrated growing her site network, month over month and year over year, from the time it moved to ElevatedX up to now.
“In 2023, we are expanding our traffic and promotion to really grow the Yummygirl network,” she explained. “Along with my site, SofieMarieXXX.com, we host WillTileXXX.com for Will Tile, SeanMicheals.com and Ebony MILF RavenSwallows.com. Penthouse Pet of the Year Victoria Zdrok has just launched PlayPetVictoria.com with us as well. As a MILF, I have worked with quite a few of the ‘young guns’ in the business, and we feature Johnny Goodluck, Brad Sterling and Rion King’s sites as well. We should be launching Tee Reel’s ‘Dating Hookup’ site very soon.”
Ashlynn Taylor of TMFetish.com celebrated having achieved much more success than expected with her independent paysite, which currently accepts all custom video orders.
“High-risk payment processing is a hurdle for many in the industry and we’re so happy to use the website for all these transactions,” she said. “This offers encryption security and anonymity for both us and our clients. It has been an incredible solution this past year.”
While traffic generation was an initial concern, the site has managed to draw users over the past year, with memberships consistently climbing.
“Using Google Analytics has been a wonderful help and we continue to use tube sites, social media and other third-party platforms to drive even more traffic,” Taylor recounted. “With the help of Elevated X, we have an aesthetic and professional design that results in a lower bounce rate.
“Lastly, having the creative freedom to do what we please with the site has been a game changer,” Taylor added. “We run special offers when we like, send out mass messages to our users and post what we want within our discretion. This has really made the business much more seamless and stress-free. With a higher payout, and only more members to gain, the sky is the limit, and the whole experience has been very liberating.”
Advice for Up-and-Coming Indie Paysite Operators
Having grown their businesses from the ground up, the entrepreneurial creatives driving this lucrative market had some kernels of wisdom to share with newcomers looking to start their own indie paysites.
Ferrari offered, “Start with the basics, like making sure you have all your paperwork in order. Creating content can be fun and easy, but make sure to get all the legal paperwork out of the way first.”
Content distribution is not possible without having all the proper releases and IDs in order, she counseled, adding that there are several established industry attorneys who can get creators set up.
“Back up hard drives for your footage, I promise they will never go to waste,” she underlined. “Diversify where you upload; you can drive traffic to your site and monetize on lots of platforms, so make sure your watermark is your website domain.”
The LittleCaprice-Dreams team advised newcomers to really think long and hard about launching an indie paysite, because it is no easy path to success.
“You can count on having to put in 12-15 hours of work, seven days a week for the first three years if you’re doing it all by yourself; otherwise you need a lot of money upfront to invest in help,” they said. “But everything is possible if you really focus on it and make your dreams come true.”
Harry Sparks said the best advice he could give to a newcomer looking to start their own indie paysite is to do their own research about what platform might work best for them.
“And have patience,” he said. “Things will be slow in the beginning, but will grow over time. Eventually, with a lot of hard work, you will reach your goals.
MySweetApple found Lucy Hart to be a valuable resource, encouraging creators to check out Pervout.com/education/ for helpful advice.
“There are many interviews with everyone you need to talk to in order to build your website, with lots of good recommendations and even legal-related advice,” they explained. “I would start there, do my own research on each of the topics and companies and start making decisions. Also I would start organizing your content very carefully because there’s no room for being disorganized here.”
As for Lucy Hart, she sagely advised, “Don’t give up. Don’t take deals where you give someone a cut of your site. It’s better to get your own server, your own affiliate tracking software and your own merch accounts … because then you own the equity.
“Also, you won’t make any serious money without a real affiliate program,” she said. “Anyone who tells you otherwise just wants your social media pointed at them. There’s a lot of clout chasers in our business. Stay away from that. Focus on getting one new customer a day. Don’t worry about awards. Winning them is all right, but being the owner and CEO of a company that hires people who win awards is way cooler.”
From start to finish, indie paysite creators and the ancillary service providers that fuel their back-end and operations all agree that without dedicated hard work, consistent output and authentically passionate content, success is nigh impossible — and even when indie paysite operators tick all the boxes, the speed at which their businesses can become truly profitable is rarely rapid.
Still, the rewards extend well beyond revenues earned. The sense of ownership and expansive opportunities make the risks worthwhile, and the market has never been more creator-centric, abundant with collaborations and professional support, or rich with possibilities as it is today.