Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Interview With Matt of Darker Pleasures (Part Two)

Just as it takes a masterful hand to deliver torture that teases & pain that pleases, it takes a master to deliver devilish digital delights. Matt, who runs Darker Pleasures, does just that.

Not only is his site first class, but so is Matt. Not many adult webmasters are so willing to share their advice & experience with another ~ let alone the webmasters with successful sites. Most ignore you, many provide rude refusals, and the others have bad advice (whether done on purpose to send you in the wrong direction, or just plain ignorance to how business is done, I can't say for certain...)

But anyway, Matt is a gem, and this interview (which started here) is full of lots of the same.

Do you run the site alone? (Any partners?)
I'm basically it. Christine Dannemont was instrumental in being our only model for the first year. I have a silent partner that owns the business and takes care of the bills, but I'm your Jack-of-all-trades.

Did you 'make' the site yourself, or hire a web designer etc?
Just little ole me. In fact, I've designed and created web sites for others I've worked with as well. Rico Tymann's now defunct "Strict Times" (defunct having nothing to do with my work, by the way) and Raven Twisted's "Terrorgasm" are examples. I've also done a couple of normal-people sites, but they'd probably rather not be mentioned here.

Do you create all the site content, stories & photos, yourself? Do you purchase any?
We did the first year and a good part of the second. Once we got some financial stability we started farming out the photographs to other photographers and models. We use Strict Times, Fantasy Modeling, Exxep Studios, and Shadowplay Imaging quite a bit, as well as others. I still did most of the writing with the help of the talented Elizabeth Faraday until mid-2002ish, at which time we started commissioning freelance writers as well. I tend to think we have some of the most talented writers in the field now, several of whom have been published in mainstream.

Oh, and I still write when time permits. I love blue moons.

How do the women models feel about the site?
Depends on the model. Some of them pretty much disavow our existence as being beneath them. That's unfortunate, but a lot of models start out in this biz and work there way into things they'd share with their families. Others are ambivalent - its work. A few really get into the scene and love it. I mentioned Raven Twisted earlier. We've also had a few others, and are looking at two more as I speak... um... type.

What is the worst aspect of your work?
That would either be the hours - I put in a whole lot of time at this, or the current political climate - our government administration doesn't care too much for what we do, and has pretty much made no bones about the fact that they're hunting. Looking over your shoulder, even when you know that you're well within legal bounds, is no fun.

What part of your work do you enjoy the most?
Writing. I love writing. If I could just write, I'd be happy as a clam. My serial novel, Families, is so much fun. I'd give an eye tooth (I'll keep my other body parts, thank you) to have time to go back and edit and expand some of my earlier stuff.

What traits do you think you have that have made the site so successful?
I like to think that the site's personality keeps people around. I inject a lot of me into the site, and I think folks like that. It doesn't hurt that we make sure both our pictures and stories are of the highest quality. I also think that we have a unique set-up that caters solely to one niche. We'll never beat out Playboy, Hustler, or Cyberpornmondowebsites of America, but we don't want to.

And which things do you find you need to improve upon or seek outside help (outsourcing etc) for?
Um... I'd love to get video clips back, but until Acacia Research is defeated and burning in Hades, that's not gonna happen. Otherwise, to be honest, I'd like to spiff up the place a little more, but I really think what we do works well. All the pros seem to think that our white backdrop is quaint (as opposed to "Porn Black") and the site simplicity lets members enjoy the stuff. Sounds good to me.

In percentages, how is your time divided on site work? For example, what percent of time is spent on marketing, subscriber help, content creation, site work like coding & design, etc?
My eyes are crossing here.

Coding and design - 30%
Marketing - 20%
Content creation - 20%
Editing - 20%
Customer service - 10%

But those numbers change as time goes on. After a while, there's only so much marketing you can do. I mainly tweak these days (marketing, not what you thought - get your mind outta the gutter). Sometimes, customer service goes way up, like when some idiot hacker manages to get hold of a list of old usernames and passwords. Hackers need to burn in Hades right next to Acacia, but that's a whole 'nother story into itself.

When you analyze the site in a business sense, what are the most critical areas? Marketing? Content creation?
Both, but without really good marketing, you'll never get anyone to come see your pretty content. Marketing gets 'em there and content keeps 'em there. These days, getting them there requires an act of Congress. Also, porn sites are a dime a dozen. The last time I read, there were something like seventy-three gazillion porn sites on the 'Net. You have to do something special. Pick a niche that hasn't been overdone and then make your site into a one-of-a-kind experience. You won't keep everyone, but the ones you keep will be there because no one else does what you do the same way you do it.

There's one more part to come!

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