Archive for July, 2011

Fixes to stash on VB3

Hey guys,



We’ve fixed a few bugs with VB3’s stash feature. It should be working much better now.



So please try it out and let us know if you’re still having problems.



Also, check out watching your stash in flow mode. Just go to any stash folder, and click the “Watch in Flow Mode” button. It works particularly well when you flow mode your favorite stars :)

Members to be redirected to VB3 upon login

Hey guys,



On July 20, we will start redirecting members to VB3 when they log in.



You’ll still be able to use the current site for the next few months. To get back to the current site, just click the “back to old site” link in the header.



Please let us know if you’re experiencing problems with VB3, or if there are features from the current site that you’d like to see in VB3.



Thanks, and happy surfing :)



- Josh



Edit:



I want to share some thoughts to address the negative sentiments expressed in the comments.



Man up and admit you and your team missed the mark


As much as I hate to admit it, there’s a lot of truth to this comment. But it’s not true that we “just don’t give a shit” about our users. To the contrary, I personally read every comment, and feedback is routinely circulated among the entire team. If I could rewind the clock by a year, I would have done things differently. To explain how we got here requires a little back story.



How to stand out in a sea of look-alike porn sites


The design motivation behind VB3 was to be different, to have a personality that distinguished VideoBox from all the other sites. So we created a distinct look. We started building social features, like the avatars. We added power user features, like chicklets and a preview player. We created funny parody videos with Ron Jeremy.



And then we launched, and some people really liked it. But a lot didn’t, and we realized for the most part our customers don’t want cool brand and personality. They want a simple easy-to-use site.



So then why not just throw it away?


The current VideoBox is built on an overly complex tech stack, and the code has grown over the years to be almost impossible to maintain.



VB3 was under development for about 8 months, and during this time we rewrote a lot of the code to be simpler and more flexible. We can work on it more easily, and VB3 can handle different types of content (like scenes from Kink.com that aren’t part of DVDs).



So then what is your plan?


Over the last few months, we redesigned parts of VB3 so that it’s more familiar to users of the current site. You should be able to do just about everything on VB3 that you can do on the current site, along with some new stuff (like Flow Mode and Air Play and browsing thumbnails in a liquid layout that fills up your browser).



To the extent that there are missing features, bugs, or slow performance: we can fix that.



We will likely not change the overall look and big glossy buttons any time soon. Any comprehensive redesign will take 3-6 months.



Why not just put this money into better content?


Content is a whole other topic deserving a longer treatment, but we’re actually spending about 2x per title as we did a few years ago. With the proliferation of free porn, content producers have been going out of business. There’s less being made these days.



The reason why we’ve been building “premium content channels” is they let us access new sources of content that are unavailable unless we charge more and share the revenue. We want to lower the price for premium channels, but that’s an ongoing negotiation with the content owners.



Why are you launching it now?


There are two main motivators for launching VB3:


  • We spend a lot of time maintaining the VB2 code base. We want to get everyone on to VB3 so that we can press forward with new initiatives.
  • Our licensing deals with Kink and Reality Kings are in danger of being withdrawn if we don’t launch soon.



So to recap, we took a risk with VB3 and the results fell short of expectations. We’ve taken the last few months to make the VB3 member experience better, and we will continue to do so. For engineering and licensing reasons, we want to get everyone over to VB3 as soon as possible *and then* polish the user experience so that you’re happy with it.



Thanks for reading,



- Josh