If you’ve ever seen the HBO series Cathouse, you’re already familiar with the wacky world of legalized prostitution in Nevada. I happened to see a press release today announcing that the one and only Mika Tan has made her Bunny Ranch debut and is now taking clients.
It made me wonder if there are any other big-name pornstars available for purchase. The answer: of course there are! The services of girls like Sunny Lane, Audrey Bitoni, Melissa Lauren, Tiffany Mynx, Cytherea, Lacey DuValle, etc. etc etc. can all be had for a price.
I knew that escorting on the side was something that porn girls did sometimes, but it’s looked down on in the industry, so I have to admit I was surprised that so many of them are listed on these sites. To be honest, I’m not sure some of the listings are legit. I’m pretty confident that anyone listed at the Bunny Ranch will actually be there (if only because there’s a TV series filmed there), but the others seem sketchy at best.
So, anyone want to try to book Audrey Bitoni and tell me how it goes?
Archive for March, 2009
One of the biggest criticisms about the premium upgrades is they’re too expensive. We’ll talk to Evil Angel and Vivid, but first I’d like to get a sense on what pricing model would you guys find… non offensive? Of value?
Our constraint is the studios will insist on a revenue share of all their content, which means they won’t allow it to be mixed in with the general VideoBox content. It’ll have to be priced in a way that they can track it.
We could ask for cheaper subscriptions, but there are a couple downsides with that model.
1. It could get annoying as we expand into more premium studios, and include content from other paysites. You probably wouldn’t want to manage 20 subscriptions.
2. Our billers can’t handle this complexity.
A much simpler model would be something like iTunes, where we charge one token per scene to watch/download. You’d buy tokens in fixed amounts (like $20 for 20 tokens) from our billers, and we keep track of the balance. Much simpler technically.
Then we could just have one area of “premium” content, and make it less prominent. And what do you think would be a fair price to pay to watch or download a scene?
Note: under the token approach, VideoBox basic would still exist in its present form. You’d pay a subscription price for unlimited downloading of 5 DVDs per day. We would just have an additional area (which would be token-based) for higher end or niche content.
Just Say No?
And finally, we could just say “no thanks” to any content that we can’t license without revenue sharing. The downside there is VideoBox will remain fairly constricted to mainstream LA professional porn.
A friend of mine sent along this link to an artist who turns blow up dolls into jackets, which reminded me of an odd thing that happened to me a few years ago.
I was working for a company that sold sex toys online at the time and customer service received an email from a gentleman in Germany who wanted to know if we had any blow up dolls that would be large enough for him to cut open and wear as a costume. He sent along some links explaining the fetish (which is apparently referred to as rubberdolling).
I really wanted to help this customer, I called a bunch of blow up doll manufacturers and was either met with confused silence or told that dolls are supposed to be the same size as women and finding one that’s 5’10” would be nearly impossible.
In the end, I found the tallest doll I could (5’7″ or so) and suggested that perhaps he could pick up a rubber patching kit like the ones you might use to fix a tire. I have no idea whether it worked out for him (he never wrote back), but I certainly hope so. I bet he’d love one of those jackets…
I have a question… how do you use VideoBox? In other words, how do you navigate? What do you watch? What do you wish were better about the experience?
I’ll go first. I’m not a typical user, since I’ve been around from day 1 and it’s free for me 🙂 But here’s what I do:
First place I usually go is “Top Scenes This Week”. Most of the time, I see something that is new and looks good.
If not, I’ll check out the recommendations. One nice thing about recommendations is we filter out everything you’ve seen before, so you know it’s all fresh.
And sometimes I look at videos I found while at work. Since I work at one of the few places where you get yelled at for *not* looking at porn, every now and then I come across something cool and add it to My Favorites, to be watched later.
Also, I always watch Flash. I never download, unless I’m going somewhere without an Internet connection.
My Pet Peeves
There are a couple things that keep VB from being porn nirvana.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for a style of content that we just don’t have (and that’s cause we can’t license it — more on that later).
And sometimes what I’m looking for is so specific, like just the right angle and position, and there’s just no easy way to find it.
How about you guys?
I’ve read all your blog comments since the launch of premium channels. Part of me is dismayed that there are many negative reactions. But an even bigger part is thrilled that you guys care enough take the time to express yourselves.
Here are some answers to various concerns raised in your comments:
By far the biggest source of complexity in the launch of premium channels comes from our integration with our billing partners. Put simply, Epoch and CCBill are really good at processing the standard billing model (i.e., charging the same price every month), but are new at doing anything more complicated.
When we planned out premium channels, we wanted to let users upgrade and downgrade their subscriptions. We didn’t realize how much difficultly Epoch and CCBill would have in implementing this functionality until we were deep into the project. In retrospect, we should have made premium channels available only to new users, and tested the upgrade/downgrade ability on small numbers of existing member until we worked out all the issues.
You can find more information on billing for premium channels on our FAQ:
Just know that we are working hard to provide a seamless upgrade and downgrade ability to all our members, regardless of biller.
Future Blog Posts
You asked lots of questions that are too broad to cover in this one post, but I’d like to discuss in more detail:
1) How we calculate star ratings
2) How we license content (strategy, legal issues)
3) Issues with content encoding (aspect ratios, splitting DVDs into groups, etc)
4) More on billing (different billing models, doing our own billing)
Here are the steps I propose for improving the premium channel integration:
1) We turn off the animation of the flash banner on the home page.
2) We massage the search results to put all “premium channel” videos at the end. I still think it’s useful to have the search results integrated in certain highly targeted cases. For instance, let’s say you like Jenna Haze. You might want to know that she has 10 scenes on Evil Angel.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions. Thanks!
In case you missed my responses in the comments section of the last post, I just wanted to say:
Thanks for your understanding.
1) We will put together an FAQ on billing prices. This is the first time CC Bill has done such a complicated upgrade/downgrade system (and Epoch can’t do it at all yet), so we don’t have precise details. Give us a couple days to work out the kinks, and we’ll post something.
2) Every now and then we have to remove some titles (like the “Big Wet Asses” series) because whoever licensed them to us didn’t have the authority to do so, and the studio requests that we take them down.
3) We just added a filter so you can see VideoBox-only content. We’ll polish it up a bit so that you can save an account setting if you never want to see premium content, but for now it should let you browse like before.
Thanks for all your comments!
Hi, I’m Josh the creator of VideoBox. I was hoping my first post would be under more positive circumstances, but the voices I hear coming from our users are so loud that I have to respond.
You are right — we did not do a good job in rolling out the premium channels. Let me first explain why we created premium channels, and then what we’re doing to fix the various issues.
Reasons for Premium Channels
We want to add as much content for you as possible. The biggest studios have more restrictions on how they’ll license content, so we had to create separate channels for them. We have not (and never will) decrease the value of a basic VideoBox membership.
We are currently working with EA and Vivid to get more flexibility in pricing. I agree that when you compare VideoBox (with 6000 DVDs + 5 per day) to a premium channel (with 100 DVDs + 3 per week), the premium channel looks expensive. From the studio’s perspective, however, their site is $29.95, so they’ve come a long way in letting us sell their content for 1/3 the price and with no DRM. Nonetheless, we are working hard to bring the prices more in line with the rest of VideoBox.
I also want to reassure everyone that we will keep up the high quality of content on VideoBox.
Things to Fix
We will add a filter on the search page to remove premium content from your results.
You know how when you click “Top Scenes This Week” and you see all premium content? That’s not spam, that’s a bug, and we will fix it.
Also, I want to apologize for the perception that adding a Vivid title for DVD #6000 was a deceptive bait and switch. Those studios have given us a very small number of titles we can add to the main area of VideoBox, and we just wanted to display one in celebration.
I want you to know that what you say is really important me. My #1 goal is to create the best porn site in the world, and your comments help me do that. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions.
Well, we have been saying there is going to be a huge change at Videobox and by now you are fully aware that you can add additional Evil Angel or Vivid movies to your membership at VideoBox.
It wasn’t an easy decsion on our part to add these additional subscriptions. We get a huge number of requests for Evil and Vivid from our members, but those studios were not interested in licensing their content. The only way to get them on board (so that we could give you guys additional content options) was a model like this.
VideoBox has been and will continue to be the best value on the net. If you look at the average price of an adult website at $29.95, $17.95 is still a pretty good deal.
I look at it like HBO. You can have basic cable, or, if you want to watch the Sopranos you can add HBO. Granted, it’s not for everyone and you don’t have to subscribe. VideoBox will still provide the same great service we have and the content will continue to be good and get better. I have no intention of rigging the Videobox queue with crappy content that doesn’t benefit anyone.
Without wanting to sound salesy, I think you should try one if they look interesting to you. If not, you can continue to enjoy VideoBox the way you always have. I am committed to continuing to bringing you the best content service at the lowest cost possible and we never intend to change that.
The site will be in maintenance mode today starting around 12:30pm PST. The changes we’re making will take somewhere between 2 and 4 hours to complete (how’s that for an estimate?), but I’ll tell you that they’re pretty major and definitely worth the wait.
While you’re here, why not check out some porn star interviews, lists of scenes where the girls finish the guys, posts from the one and only Ropeadope, or check out the list of our most popular posts of all time on the left.