OK, so as I prepare to venture forth and leave the 3rd World for the beautiful land downunder, I was asked to do an article for AVN. You guys get the first (well second) look !!!
As one attends the many conventions and forums that are available to us professionals in the adult industry, one gets many opportunities to attend workshops or seminars with the subject of “Gay Traffic” in its many guises.
One can also be sure on occasion to hear that fundamentally flawed assumption that you must be gay to successfully market gay.
In simplified terms, that is a load of bollocks.
I am a straight guy. I manage the affiliates and business development for our program, CuriousCash.com, one of the larger gay/bi/curious programs on the net today, and we seem to do pretty damn well given our alleged “handicap” of having a straight guy (and a big, bald and ugly one at that!) being one of the key public faces of our program.
There is no secret, there is no magic bullet, and it is ALL about understanding your product and understanding your market.
And that is a fundamental BUSINESS problem, no matter what business you may be in.
Gay pays Baby, Gay Pays.
No one can deny the fact it does HELP to be part of the market to which you are pushing your product, it is NOT a mandatory pre-requisite to success.
There is no doubt that, if you can develop the traffic, gay pays.
That only requires a simple understanding of the market you seek.
Mainstream business long ago recognized that the gay marketplace has a few key advantages:
- Higher disposable income;
- More technical “savvy”;
- Less price sensitive in purchase decisions;
- More likely to be early adopters of new innovation; and
- More discerning in what they want and what they will do to get it.
As a rule of thumb, I do not think anyone doubts the fact that gay surfers spend more, retain longer and are more program loyal than the typical straight surfer. There is generally more money per capita in gay traffic then in most mainstream straight traffic.
Some will say that the traffic to some of the more highly defined straight niches is even better than the gay market, but as there is less gay traffic to be had than straight traffic, there is even MUCH less highly defined straight niche traffic than gay mainstream traffic.
It all comes down to understanding your traffic and, importantly, understanding how to apply that knowledge to sponsors to convert . Know your market; know your product remains the theme.
Do remember though, at the end of the day, whether you are marketing twinks, tits or trannies, it is your product that is the key at the end of the day – exclusive and original content is king, no question.
Gay is a Market, NOT a Niche
Gay as a “niche” became so because in the early days of the adult internet, gay sites in many instances were developed by straight programs as targets for their own and their affiliate’s gay traffic.
Sites like MenOnTheNet.com were around sure, but the acceptance factor of gay operators was mirrored by the attitudes in society generally.
Additionally, the day of the cookie-cutter site (buy some content, put up a site, sell it, etc) has long gone by the wayside. Our net consumers today are smarter and more understanding in the main than were those of recent yesteryear.
CuriousCash.com, and many of our “sister” programs, focus on gay and closely related markets because we produce our own product. We shoot our own models to produce our own content and we do NOT sell it around, lease it out or otherwise share it out. Enough traffic will produce joins on ANY site, but it is exclusive and original content which now retains.
Face it, gay is NOT a niche, it is a MARKET. It is a market which itself has numerous niches; from twink to bear, from uncut to oral, in fact the list of specific gay niches is as long and diverse as the straight niche list, even if the sexuality is different.
Gay traffic IS different than straight traffic, but it is the understanding and acceptance of this where the cornerstone of successfully marketing gay lies. Understand your product and understand you market. Have you heard that enough yet?
There is one interesting difference between the gay and straight markets – it IS possible to convert gay sites with straight traffic (that is the bi-curious and female markets coming to the fore), but it is equally almost impossible to convert pure gay traffic to straight sites. Notwithstanding the “fringe dweller” niches of transsexual and “bait” type sites.
The “Curious” Attitude of Webmasters
As the business models of adult internet enterprises morph and mature, more and more are clearly identifying the need to alter their business mindsets to better maximize the success and returns of their traffic.
Within the gay marketplace, some, like us at CuriousCash.com, choose to expand their range within a defined market segment (gay/bi/curious). Others provide a mechanism to convert all niches within a market (Mancheck.com and BadPuppy.com), and again others cover both gay and straight markets, but do it well – Topbucks.com comes to mind here. Opposite to the Topbucks.com example, there is even the final type of webmasters who realign their operations to concentrate on one market where they previously did both – Intensecash.com recently dropped ALL of their straight sites to focus specifically on serving the gay marketplace.
In this era of “working together” gay webmasters are more likely to work with other gay webmasters, straight webmasters and cross-over webmasters to best guarantee the returns of their respective traffic. Of course, the reverse is also true. Some of our largest affiliates at CuriousCash.com are more readily recognized in the straight marketplace, but they use us and others to maximize return on their gay and curious traffic, as we then in turn use them as targets for our own straight and niche traffic. It is fast becoming one big mutual satisfaction society.
A Softening of Attitudes and Acceptance
Gay has finally and totally “come out of the adult internet closet”, so to speak.
Building from the previously held attitudes, more and more in the business are realizing that even though we are competitors in many ways, there are many ways we can work together for mutual benefit – the synergies far outweigh any negative connotations.
Instead of the previous propensity of tacit acceptance and some attitudes of almost “tolerance”, gay programs are now embraced openly – one need just attend any of the plethora of “gay” events at webmaster shows to see the ever-increasing popularity amongst “straight” webmasters to attend these events.
In a similar vein, the gay webmaster fraternity now completely and absolutely embraces the straight webmaster community, for only a fool would not recognize that the practice of reverse discrimination itself was widely practiced in some corners for a long time also.
Visit webmaster boards like GayWideWebmasters.com, TripleXGay.com, BentBoard.com or the TheGayBoard.com to see what all the fuss is about. Straight webmasters looking to solidify their gay traffic options are welcomed with open arms.
Thankfully for us all, we can all easily understand one unassailable fact about our business today ……..
It is now totally acceptable to be an adult biz “meterosexual”!