Saturday, December 22, 2007

Someone Has To Say It...

Working At Home Mom posted 13 Ideas For Creating Finding Your Niche; it wouldn't be a bad list if she knew what a niche was, or at least knew a niche from a USP. This is clearly a list of USPs.

I'm sorry to sound rude about it, but I hate it when people spout about yet don't know what they are talking about ~ worse yet when they are 'educating' others. :snort:

But perhaps Working At Home Mom has unwittingly provided the real answer to the question, "Why do so many home businesses fail?"

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Monday, December 3, 2007

On The Phone Sex Thing

In The Land of MILF and mOnEy PSO Angela St. Lawrence discusses how to become a great PSO ~ and dishes on the finer points of customer service.

A must read for anyone considering being a phone sex operator or entering any area of adult performance. It wouldn't hurt anyone, at any level, in the sex biz either.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Site Sponsor Matters

Over at Cozy Frog Titmowse has an article on choosing a sponsor. Most of it I agree with, so I highly recommend it. Especially the, "Maybe the message board philosophers are correct. There is no "best" sponsor ­ there is only the "right" sponsor."

However, there are a few additional points I'd like to make.

When Titmowse discusses testing a sponsor she says, "If you market a sponsor for a couple of months with no results, find another sponsor. If you are making money with a sponsor, keep them."

I think this is too simple. It suggests that after a few months poor performance by a sponsor is 'all on the sponsor.' This may be true; but it also may not be true.

Sponsor performance also depends upon what you do.

Titmowse covers some of this in her piece Designing With Niche In Mind:
For example, say you decide to promote a BBW paysite. You think the niche is funny. So you build a point-and-laugh free site, chock full of insulting text, degrading graphics and ads for your sponsor. Your site receives all kinds of traffic but literally nobody clicks your ad banners. Why do you think that is? Do you really think that the point-and-laugh crowd is going to shell out money for a membership to a BBW paysite? Did it ever occur to you that your niche-based design insults the very people that happen to like big women and are aching to find a site where they are welcomed and appreciated? Sure, if you design a site that honors BBW models, you probably won't get as much traffic, but the traffic you get will be targeted to sell. You won't waste bandwidth on a bunch of gawking freeloaders.
Design issues aside, there are other matters such as the quality of your posts/articles, your authority, and of course, your traffic. All of this affects sponsor performance.

It's easy to blame a sponsor, go get another. But they aren't the only factor.

Your sponsor can be doing everything right, but if you don't pay attention to these matters, well, sponsor choice just doesn't matter.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stuck In The Middle With You

Part of a webmaster or blogger's duties are to market their site. Despite the world wide (web) appeal of sex, when you have an 'adult' site, your duties are not easy.

If you have a porn site, you're in an extremely competitive market; be prepared to throw lots of money and time at your site(s). But at least there's a place for you ~ the wonderful world of the adult webmaster is wide open to you, if you dare to dream and work hard.

But what if your business isn't porn? What if your business, while admittedly not for children and hence labeled 'adult,' isn't porn?

I'm not talking about the subtle, subjective definitions of porn ~ at least not completely. I'm talking about sites which deal with human sexuality, be it education or entertainment, but which are not sex films and image sites (or those selling them).

In fact, not having images can throw you out of nearly every 'adult' link directory as most require you to have a minimum number of thumbs (thumbnail photographs). So if you're peddling written erotica (personal stories in a blog, a pay story site, published books etc), sex ed and advice sites, or even health sites, no dice. You simply cannot be listed.

Review sites usually do not even have categories for these sites ~ paid or free ~ because in the world of sex, only porn sites need/warrant reviews.

I've been straddling this line for years, first with Sex Kitten and certainly here now, and little has changed in this regard. If anything, I do believe it's worsened.

For every new site which may welcome you, a dozen more are lost. Sometimes it's because they fear repercussions, either from site visitors or from the government, and sometimes these sites have literally vanished because they've faced the real consequences of being in the adult industry (personally and/or professionally) and lost.

Things like 2257 have made nearly every webmaster rethink their stance on sex, photos or not. The lack of (affordable) payment processors keeps little companies from starting or competing. Things have become so 'dirty' that there are publications which discuss sex themselves, even claim to celebrate it, but they won't let you buy ad space for your book. You can't buy ad space; nor can you host ads. Adult is synonymous with spam and so newsletters, emails, and blog comments are often just deleted.

All because you dare to deal in products for or matters of human sexuality. But I digress. You all know of these problems, right?

So what can you do to find directories, link swaps, and other promotional opportunities... Well, for starters, check the sidebar. And make sure you've subscribed to the newsletter (also right there on the sidebar) because that's the next issue.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Marketing In Communities: To Join or Not To Join

I dislike the term "Web 2.0" because it's a really cold term covering what technology does rather than what people want. For example, people don't want "Web 2.0" they want conversations; they do not want "social networking" as a industry folks call it, but a means to connect to people. (If escorting taught me anything, it's that the human desire for connection is very strong.)

So if you've been following my rants, my blither and my blather, by now we should be clear on what I think Web 2.0 is ~ better tools for communities. And communities are nothing new, nor new to the web; and the tools aren't revolutionary, just a bit evolutionary.

Don't get me wrong; I agree that communities are powerful and those dubbed social networks are a very important part of individual lives. In fact, this is my point! Communities are made of members who are there for their own reasons ~ which probably don't include being sold a bunch of stuff.

If you want to reach these community members you're going to have to join them in their communities.

You don't really make friends by adding one to your profile, and you don't make sales simply by having an account or profile. You're really going to have to join the community and become a participating member.

Like joining the church, you're going to have to play by their rules, go to all their functions, pay your dues and yes, actually convert. In fact, while in some faiths you may confess your sins and be forgiven, there's really no equivalent in social networking. Sure, you can make another account, take on another ID, but when all is said and done your previous damage is real (leaving you with one hell of a PR problem) and anything that remotely smells of your old self and your company/product is likely to have a very difficult time of it.

If you're going to join, you'll need to play all their reindeer games. This means you're going to have to read what other members post, participate in conversations that (at least sales wise) will seem to go nowhere, and in general know and care about who is there and what's going on there. I don't mean to sound like a jaded cynical bitch; but joining a community online isn't any different than joining one offline. Heaven help you if you join and are discovered to be a shill.

Sincerity, interest and integrity cannot be faked, so the only real way to survive this all is to join communities you'll enjoy participating in. This is easy if you really like your market and your product.

The double-bind comes in when you evaluate your potential communities in terms of your target market.

Spending your time in places you like, with people you like is fun; but if your goal is to market (yourself, your product or company) then you'd better be spending all those hours in places which matter. (And fun or not, this is going to be a huge investment of your time.)

To identify if a community is good for you, I always recommend lurking first. And not just one day. And even if it means registering to do so. Lurking lets you learn the unspoken rules and get a feel for the place. Better to lurk and leave than really step in it.

While lurking you are looking to see if:

The community seems worthy of your time. Is your target market really there?

As mentioned before, the hot spots for erotica authors aren't always where the (potential) book buyers are. In fact, one of the largest mistakes I see in marketing via communities are when folks gravitate towards groups which are very interesting, but do not contain their target market.

One of the best examples of these are entrepreneurial sites.

These and WHAM (Work At Home Moms) groups can be some of the most active communities, but think about it... Here's a group of people all trying to 'make it big,' trying to sell to one another. Most of the time, each member has less money than the next. Aside from the "I'll buy from you, you buy from me," at holiday time, what chance of sales do you have? Unless you're selling B2B, are offering a legit business opportunity, or want link swaps, I wouldn't bother. (Not to mention anyone with 'adult' products is likely not going to get a warm welcome.) Even adult webmaster boards fall into this category. (Sure, go, and learn; but be careful how much time you spend there and don't bother whoring yourself to the other whores.)

Think you see your target market there? Really? If so, you should be able to identify specific members who are part of your target market.

If you can't, then you need to do more research.

If you can, then you've likely identified influencers ~ those community members who are not only part of your target audience, but those who have the most authority and influence over others too.

The community (or your target market population within it) is large enough to warrant your time. Do the active member numbers support your investment in time?

The community is interesting enough, possibly enjoyable even, for you to honestly join and participate. In all the posts you're reading, have you found any which you would be willing/able to comment on?

I do not mean one or two, but several ~ and for heaven's sake, don't post until you're evaluation period is over ~ one-post-wonders are considered spammers.

The participation level is within your time constraints. How much time would being an active member require? And do you have it?

Slower or quieter communities may not be a bad thing. Depending upon your available time, it may be the only way you can really be an active member, or it may mean you can sneak one more community into your schedule.

If all your lurking research is favorable, then proceed slowly and according to the group rules (as stated and as witnessed).

If any answer is, "No," that doesn't mean your time is wasted. For one, you've saved yourself some future time on participating in a community which is not for you. And you've also likely spared yourself a PR problem. But you've also learned a few things ~ maybe even who the influencers are? If you have, perhaps you're best off contacting them to see if they'll post a review for you?

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Missed Niche?

Sorry for the silence ~ I've been working on projects, yes; but also a HUGE series on social networking sites (which began with 2 simple points, but based on the topic and client discussions has mushroomed into a large tangle).

While you wait for me, and I hope you do, here's something to think about regarding adult collectibles:
When you think about it, this is one area of business that the adult industry has not been a leader in ;) Perhaps this is due to the 'tarnished image' thing -- but look at them flock to events to get items signed!
I must admit I'm a huge collector of naughty and risque things (some for their historical value, others for their hysterical value, and others because they just plain rock) and while I've bitched often about eBay as a sales platform, I've not put much thought into this as an industry itself. Shame on me.

I've rather thought of it as a cottage industry of lone sellers with basements full of vintage men's mags etc. and never compared this to collector associations... Other than a Playboy collector's club, I can't think of any adult collector groups (with publications, dues, etc.) Hmmm...

What do you all think of A) Silent Porn Star's question from her post and B) of this niche of collectibles?

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sexuality and Fetish Blogging and Webmastering

The fabulous Richard Evans Lee has resurrected and kids, it's all about sexuality and fetish blogging and webmastering. If you don't already know Richard, read my interview; chances are you've been to his blogs many times but just didn't know his name. He's got a wealth of info & experience to share, so I'm adding 'him' to the sidebar.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Blog Field Trip: Niche & Audience

I had quite a few emails regarding my last post, Don't Be A Blog Playa, so I'll be going over a few of these here & in the newsletter.

These were some of the questions:

But what if one post seems really popular, shouldn't I then write/post more about that?

What if I really have several genuine interests?

Why would having many interests ruin readership or be a trust-breaker?

These questions made it really clear that there are a few areas, niche and audience, which I need to clarify before we move onto anything else with blogs. Blogger Slip of a Girl has kindly allowed her blog, A Slip Of A Girl, for use a a 'field trip' to illustrate some points about all of this.

First of all, her blog has a niche: lingerie. She has lingerie news, sales alerts, personal thoughts (and 'ranties') on lingerie trends and news, erotic stories with lingerie themes, photos of lingerie models, etc.

Second, it clearly has a targeted audience: lingerie lovers. Written for 'everyday women,' with some posts as advice for men, she clearly knows her audience ~ however, this wasn't always the case.

"At first, I was very tentative with my writing," she says. "I was unsure of what to say -- a case of nerves, I guess" she laughs. "Eventually, I just came out and said what I wanted to say -- as if talking to other women as idiotic as I over lingerie." She found her voice.

Voice is extremely important when blogging. Opinions, strong opinions, get more notice than kind milk-toast ones ~ but that doesn't mean you need to be shocking or mean. An opinion-less post isn't always going to capture interest, especially if it's just a 'this is on sale,' or 'look at this pretty pair of panties.' Some news sites can get away with that sort of a thing because the very nature of the story may be controversial or result in a reader having strong opinions. But a blog with just posts to coupon codes and new bras isn't going to get much notice.

And what happens when you get noticed?

As Slip found out, the comments and emails may be surprising. "The first avid adopters of my blog, the ones who communicated with me, were cross dressers. At first I was just glad that someone liked 'me' and happy to connect with other lingerie lovers -- but then I began to worry... What if they thought I was a cross dresser? Not because I have a problem with it at all, but I'm not a man. I didn't want people dismissing me and my opinions as those of a man when I am a woman. And I was nearly phobic that I would be taken as some authentic voice on CD when I knew very little about it. Now, of course, I know much more, but I still don't want to pose as some CD expert. Which is ironic as you now have me writing pieces for your book on cross dressers," she laughed, "but you know what I mean."

She worried that 'everyone' would be skeptical of her blog. Slip worried that by paying attention to the cross dressers that her non-CD readers would lose interest or that those in the cross dressing community would call her a fake. "I even thought that posting that I am a woman would be seen as 'protesting too much.' But I just decided to carry on. Being welcoming to those who have an interest in CD, but not catering so exclusively to them that I'd make 'regular lingerie lovers' feel left out. I guess the best way to put it is that I just carried on. It seems to have worked because my stats are higher and no one questions my status as a woman -- or my acceptance of CD and other 'kink'."

While she occasionally goes off on a tangent, such as the DIY/craft projects, this is rather limited and does not confuse the reader. She maintains her focus of lingerie even with the 'outside' posts because of the following:

Posts are tagged/labeled so that a reader may skip (or find) such posts as they so choose.

Posts are still in her niche (of girly related goodness) and speak to her audience.

These posts are sprinkled, like seasoning, so a reader isn't lost or left wondering if this is the same blog they visited last time.

Slip says, "Even if I write these crafty entries at the same time, I typically do not publish them all at once -- I spread them out so that they are there, included, but not leaving a visitor to conclude this is a crafting blog."

Overall, Slip does a fine job of working her niche and speaking to her audience. Do you?

Have questions? Ask them. As a conversation, this blog is participatory. I expect to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and even your comments which contradict what I have said ~ not every one's experience is the same and debate is healthy.

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Friday, February 2, 2007

Don't Be A Blog Playa

Blogging is often treated like dating, where folks fall in love with setting it up, posting some ramblings, and when no one gushes and fawns all over them, they move onto the next one. Surely someone will spot how wonderful they are instantly and they'll hook-up. Like the poser in the bar, if the readers don't make a stampede they move onto the next bar thinking there will be better fishing there.

This points to several problems for these bloggers (as well as those who date like this). Having a relationship and even just getting laid are a lot like making a sale &/or building a fan base. If you're having problems with your blog, here are some lessons.

One: the problem isn't location. There is no lucky bar stool granting you certain powers of seduction. Likewise, there isn't some magical corner to blog on. No matter what your location, how fancy your template or graphics, you are going to have to do something worthy of attention. If you've tried several blogs with the same unhappy results, perhaps you need to face facts that it isn't 'them'; it really is YOU.

Two: the problem is you. (Yeah, it bears repeating.) What have you given besides a facade or template? Have you tried engaging conversation? Sure, it's a blog and you may feel like you're supposed to do all the talking, but are you only talking about yourself? No one, not potential dates or blog readers, wants to hear all about you and only you. They want to know something of you, yes; they want to know what you have to offer them. But what they really want is a relationship with you. Can they trust you? Are you interesting, compatible? You have to talk to show them you are worthy of trust, that your opinion is valuable. You talk so they can evaluate you and that may take some time... Which brings us to the third issue. How committed are you?

There are several way to display your commitment issues.

Commitment issue one: Fishing for better fish. This shows when you are in a conversation with one woman yet are scanning the crowd for your ex, or to see if someone prettier enters the room; in blogging, it's the topic.

For example, you begin a blog about softcore art nudes but then you read that there's 'big affiliate money' in hardcore group orgies, so you switch to posts about that scene. Like the first woman you are talking to, your softcore fans notice. So do the orgy people. The result: you lose your credibility on all fronts and go home alone. You can't successfully be all things to all people. Pick a theme, niche, topic and stick with it.

Another example is replicating yourself. Lacking any real confidence in yourself, you give yourself a different personality, pose, or even a different name, pending which bar you're in. You are willing to be anyone but yourself to catch the masses; it's not sincere, and people notice. You 'get' no one. Bloggers make the same mistake.

Lacking any real confidence in their product, they cover all their bases by entering many niches. And not just at one blog either.

You've been out & about on the Internet, so I know you've seen those cookie-cutter blogs ~ the ones where it's clearly the same blogger, same template, same set of links, maybe even the same content posted. Sure, the title and URL are different, and maybe the template color changes, but there's nothing new here. These bloggers think they have The Formula; they'll recreate it everywhere and rake the money in. But it doesn't work.

Like a bar full of Madonnas in the 80's there's nothing special about any of them. Those blogs only compete against themselves ~ which is why smart women always ask what their friends are wearing; if they don't stand out, somehow, they are passed over. On the web, being passed over is a click 'back' away from the site. This is an obvious commitment issue. It's clear with this repetition that you the blogger aren't interested in focusing on anything or anyone. And you're so busy trying to stuff content into the blog you aren't doing any real talking or sharing which builds trust. Like the corny guy at the bar with tired old lines, folks don't trust you enough to go home with you. In the case of a blog, visitors aren't about to waste their time reading your tired bullshit when there's an engaging blog waiting for them.

It takes time and work to build a blog, just as it does to build a relationship. You can easily face burn-out the way it is without having to run around doing blogs (or people) you have no interest in ~ wouldn't you rather be exhausted doing something or someone you love or at least like?

Commitment issue two is rather like the first; it's the other side of the coin. If you pose, pander or otherwise act like a playa you aren't only showing a lack of concern for others but for yourself. You don't care who you get if you don't care about yourself. You are one desperate mother-fucker.

If you like big butts and you cannot lie, then blog about it. Don't worry if that's so last decade, not cool enough for the trendy hipsters, or limited with sites and products to sell, just blog it. Your sincere passion is in itself a truth ~ and bonding point between you and all the other big booty lovers. Committing to yourself and your love of round ass is saying both, "It's OK to love big booty," and, "You, with the big bum, come over here!" Isn't that point? Pretending to like skinny bony ass isn't going to get you readers. And if you're blogging to sell (your books, affiliate programs, your own big ass) isn't it the point to connect with these people?

It takes time, effort, and the balls (or ovaries) to believe in yourself. No one dates a whiny insecure person ~ at least not for long. No one does business with a waffling company, and no one reads a whiny insecure blogger.

Blog like you are dating. Be confident of who you are and project 'you' at all times. Stay and talk to who is interested in you ~ no matter the size of your audience. Stay in the same place so they know where to find you and show up when you say you will.

The bottom line: Don't be a blog playa.

Have questions? Comments? Post them or email The Whore.

Have you signed up for the Marketing Whore Newsletter yet? It's free, won't create spam or spread disease, and the issue to be sent next week has a special subscribers only offer...

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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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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Gently Scratching Your Niche

Continuing our talk, let's talk about how to scratch, gently, but vigorously!

When you have a niche site, you are tailoring a site to one specific market. This means a narrower target, but don't think that is 'bad.' On the contrary, I think it is a sure fire hit. By narrowing your target, you need not take aim at everything and anything; you are allowed to be precise in your aim!

We covered how you need not link-up with everyone & anyone. Not only does this mean you provide 'good matches' for your site to be found, but you also limit those you offer on your site. Your links pages are smaller, meaning less reason for visitors to leave. And you may refuse to swap or partner easily, and gently, with a simple reply of, "Thank you, but it is not our client base." (Usually this is enough to rid you of unwanted requests too, if you state your policy clearly.)

Now, let's think about where you do want to be, and who you want to be swapping links with...

Let's say you have a site about 'big black booty' ~ which is all any lover of black female ass could want. You know you shouldn't be on 'big knockers' or 'oral cum shots,' but where do you want to be?

Well, likely any female booty site will be a start. And sites with black models in general. But what is the fantasy really about?

Is it for white men, who have not yet dared to touch black booty in real life? Is it the fantasy of black women looking for more black women? Is it just because they like big butts & they cannot lie? Maybe it is all of the above. Then you have the opportunity to link, partner, and swap with sites that are similar in fantasy.

But let's say, your site is all about an even smaller niche... You are a 'big black booty bondage site.' You rope 'em, tie 'em, and even spank 'em. Then you may wish to narrow your partnerships & marketing to sites that are bondage themed, and black themed, and other 'big butt' sites, but thinking carefully about the types within these sites...

If your site is classy, with more art type photos, then model sites are still a good bet. Probably a better bet than amateur ones.

If your site is all about the rough sex and not-so-much the 'art' quality, then look for sites with the same edge.

Is your site heavy with written erotica? Then look for other sites that offer the same. Erotic readers are more likely to want more erotic stories than just pic sites, so remember that in your partnerships.

Now, all of this applies to your scratching on your site as well.

Keywords are any text on your site, so what you write there to describe your site accurately will be keyword rich. Again, don't use 'blonde white amateur teens' if you are a 'big black booty bondage' site. Number one, don't mislead your paying customers! Number two, it won't bring in who you want.

Using any popular words just to get traffic or paying customers is scratching yourself to bleed.

Yes, bleed. It will only hurt you. If you have to refund, or even end your site because the word is out that you lie about your offerings, you are in trouble deep. Besides, surfers who find you for those non-existent blondes *do* cost your something. Time, yes. Refunds, maybe. But what about your bandwidth costs? Your word-of-mouth advertising? Oh, yes, and the fact that you are not really focusing on the customer you do want? How are they to believe you really are the 'big black booty bondage site' if they see 'blonde teens' written everywhere (or even anywhere)?

Other examples are describing features you offer.

If you don't offer chat, don't mention it. If you do have message boards to meet members &/or models, mention it; if not, do NOT.

Simple, right?

Ok, now look at other parts of your site... Aside from your true content, what else do you offer? Links, we discussed. But what of affiliate programs? Special offers? Promotions? All of these should be tailored to your niche customer as well.

Only offer items that will be of interest to your real customer. Don't offer them videos on gay men if your big black bound booties are not male. Don't offer a special discount on your other site about Brittany Spears look-alikes.

Not only does it mean nothing to your big black booty bound lovers, but it detracts from keywords etc.

Always, *always* think about what they want more of, and you will scratch the niche, nicely.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Scratching Your Niche

So you have your niche, and you are ready to scratch it. How do you do that?

It's pretty simple, really.

People have an itch, they do what? They scratch it, right? Or they apply a lotion, salve other what-not. But only to the affected areas. If they have an itch on their left shoulder, they don't scratch themselves red all over. Nor do they do it until they bleed.

The same applies to your niche site.

If you have a niche site, you don't "scratch it" everywhere. If your site is dedicated to white teen amateur girls, you don't promote as 'lonely housewives,' 'gay gang bangs,' or 'big black booty.' That means you won't use those above keywords ~ even if someone said those are the 'ultra hot keywords' that bring him 40000 uniques a day. Those words won't help you reach who you want.

The same is true with those you trade links with, message boards you post at (always with permission, of course!), and places you buy ads with. You are scratchin' everywhere, wasting your time, leaving yourself red all-over, with nothing good to show for it.

You want to find folks who itch on the left shoulder, not some folks with an itch on their big toe, their nose or elsewhere. Just those who itch where you have a niche.

Now, there is obviously a lot more to scratching your niche. This is merely part one. But Gracie started with this first as she wants you to remember one thing, and one thing only: Focus on your niche & that is all.

Go ahead & read as much as you can, always thinking how that trick will work for you & your site. But don't let some fool sell you some package that is not in your niche, or convince you that you can't make money unless your site uses these 3 magic keywords ~ or whatever crap they tell you.

Just repeat after Gracie: "I will scratch my own niche, thank you."

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Think Niche, Bitch

Often on adult webmaster sites that have message boards, you will find a newbie post that goes something like this:

"I've been making some decent money as a webcam performer but I really want to open my own paysite. The thing is, I'm afraid to put money into this as I don't have big breasts. More than one person has told me that I need to get implants in order to sell subscriptions. Do you think a girl with small tits can have paysite success?"

Whenever I read questions like this, I want to scream, "Think niche!"

A niche site is one with a specific audience. Generally, the market for this site is smaller. But don't let that bother you. If you work it right it is much easier to make a name for yourself, and plenty of money too. It's like being a big fish in a small pond.

Using the example post above, that woman should milk her small tits. Even if she can't physically do that, she can make them her 'bit,' you know?

In fact, the odder/freakier you are, the better your chances. A woman with a set of boobs on her back, or a the ability to fist her second pussy would make money hand-over-fist. You get the idea: With niche sites, you take a 'flaw' and make it your money maker.


Well, simply put, you'll have less competition. How many Big Boobie sites are there? How many gay paysites? Each vying for the consumer's dollars, each trying to compete with each other... Put in those common words & see how many listings you get? But if you put in a specific thrill, the list is less.

Unlike the mainstream society where there is a set standard, adult business can capitalize on anything different. Why do you think amateur sites are so popular? Perhaps the glossy magazine types aren't as exciting as you think... After all, there are plenty of places to see that. And the world isn't made of men & women who all fall for that standard either. Anything different is an instant fetish!

OK, so you don't have a rack on your back, and the second pussy thing isn't a reality either, but you can still find your niche.

Believe Gracie, she has seen lots of 'unusuals' make big bucks. She has worked the phones, when all sorts of requests come in... My point is, don't try to do what everyone else is doing.

Do what you like, what you dig, no matter if others think your audience is too small. (Though, if a very small niche, consider the amount of work and money invested and weigh it against returns; perhaps modifying features, costs etc until you reach a tipping point of income.) You're going to be spending huge amounts of your life working this niche, so you might as well be 'a natural' with your freaky fetish ~ or at least doing something fun and natural to you. So, find your niche.

Later, we'll discuss how to scratch that niche.

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Interview With Matt of Darker Pleasures (Part One)

If you are a follower of Gracie, God bless your lusty little heart, you know that there is the occasional talk of issues that fall into the BDSM area. On more than one opportunity the name of has popped up as well.

Darker Pleasures is an adult website worthy of Gracie's repeated recommendations, both in it’s singular status as The breast bondage & torture erotica site, & it's spectacular display of class. (Yes, kiddos, you can be a classy porn site, and even a classy torture site.)

Matt was one of the first adult webmasters to befriend lil' ol' Gracie, which is a nice way of saying that Matt is patient with a newbie ~ and generous with his time. Matt is a reminder that real, decent humans with integrity can be found in the world of adult entertainment. My heartfelt thanks to him for all his respect, kindness, and generosity.

Gracie figures a few of you have questions about "what kind of person runs a website like that?" and "who would deliberately seek such entertainment?" So, let's ask Matt, who runs the site...

How do you best define your site?

Surfer dudes: We're the Mecca of breast bondage and tit torture. It doesn't get any more original or comprehensive than this if breast punishment is your thing.

Business types: Darker Pleasures specializes in nothing but original and comprehensive breast bondage and torture erotica. We're the only site of its kind on the Internet, unless there's one lurking in a dark corner we haven't found.

What was the driving force behind your creation of the site?

Ah... That would be money. I know that's not as glamorous as "We wished to make the world safer for breast torture for future generations," but honesty's the best policy. Oh, and I was enamored with Christine Dannemont's breasts and was more than happy to have a chance to spend more time with them on an intimate basis...

How long has the site been around? How long has it been a pay membership site?

We began researching and prepping DP in mid-1999. We went live on April 28, 2000. We've been a members site since dayimus oneimus (that's Latin for "Day One"), and haven't raised our price a red cent since.

How many subscribers?

At the moment we have around 600ish members, give or take a couple, and with the exception of the occasional "Google has mucked up their search engine algorithm" period, have been steadily growing since conception (that's an adult web site pun, by the way.) We've been through several thousand. Such is the way of adult sites.

Mostly male subscribers?

Um... I'd say about 3/4 of them. We have quite a few ladies, and the number's growing the more that knowledge of our story quality gets out. They're definitely our most loyal fans. Go figure.

Let's talk about fantasy for a minute... Obviously much of your content is fantasy. Most of your visitors are interested in the subject, but how many do you think are 'living it?'

Now this is completely subjective here, but I'd say no more than 10% actually live it. There are a lot of dabblers, and a whole lot more that'd give an eye tooth (or left nut, depending on your level of crudity) to be able to do it. If response to my Breast Punishment Primer is any indication, it's a growing pastime.

I know that you have taken some 'hits' as far as content on your site. Some people think this type of content is 'too much' etc. How do you respond?

Snuff is too much. Non-consensual brutal rape is too much. What we do is fantasy. You'd be amazed at the number of people on both sides of the gender barrier that either do, or fantasize about what we do, all the time. It goes without saying that 99.99934672 percent of men (as determined by an unofficial poll just taken in the last thirteen seconds with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent) would love their significant other to play this way, or at least in some way similar. How many women have fantasies about being bound and "had?"

Heck, we don't even show the pink bits. Seriously... umm... just a sec, what I was about to say is covered in the next question.

Do you feel it has violent consequences for women in the 'real world,' or promotes hating women? (I know it doesn't but sheesh, I gotta ask it!)

OK, now... Seriously, I don't believe that what we do endangers women. We have far too many women that love what we do, and the way we do it, for that to be the case. We are adamantly opposed to non-consensual stuff, and we have articles ~ Ramblings (that's my monthly editorial - an unabashed plug) and disclaimers all over the place that make that perfectly clear.

That is not to say that I think all porn is safe for human consumption. There comes a time when saying it's just fantasy is a poor excuse. I've mentioned snuff and brutal rape scenarios already. Child porn and bestiality are also sick. Some things harken back to primal nature, such as bondage and rough play, and can be safe, sane, and fun. Others should transcend human nature and are simply criminal. It takes an enlightened mind to understand the difference. Unfortunately, there are many out there who are incapable of being enlightened.

Wow, that was a soap box, huh?

Stay tuned ~ there's more from Matt to come!

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