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What do you guys think about replacing WMV with H.264

When our first site launched back in 2002, WMV was state of the art. Now, however, it’s an old format that doesn’t play well on non-Windows devices and compresses poorly.

So I was wondering what issues you guys would have if we dropped WMV. And before you say “wait, the biggest files are WMV so they’re the highest quality”, be aware that file size and file quality are two different things.

Specifically, our 640×480 H.264 files are 3-4 times smaller than our DVD resolution WMV, but they’re comparable in quality (both formats exhibit their own compression artifacts).

Are there other reasons you like WMV? Does H.264 not play as well for you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

Sneak Peak at Experimental “VideoBox Flow Mode”

Hi I’m Josh, one of the founders on VideoBox.

Last month, we released the beta version of VB3, and we received some feedback saying it was “cumbersome to navigate”, “complicated, all over the place”, and “requires too many clicks to do anything”.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this problem of complexity, about how every feature we add makes the entire site a little more cluttered.  And so I’ve taken a stab at creating an interface that’s as simple as possible and optimizes for one thing: a fun, immersive porn experience.

I’d love for you guys to check it out and let me know what you think.  Keep in mind:

  • It’s a streaming only experience – no downloading.
  • It requires a high-bandwidth connection, preferably a cable modem.

VideoBox Flow Mode

Try VideoBox Flow Mode

As next steps, I intend to allow content filtering by category and star names, as well as display information about the videos you click.

Do you guys have any other suggestions?



New Feature: Embed any VB scene to your site or blog!

Get more Amia Moretti pornon VideoBox



I am happy to announce that we just added the ability for you to embed any VideoBox scene to your website or blog.


To give you a taste, I have embedded above the most popular scene for this week.


Why would I use this?


Let’s say that you really like a scene. Well, if you have your blog or a website, you can now stream scenes from the VideoBox library right on your site/blog.


There are almost 40,000 scenes available to be embedded. You can embed the scene, write about it and show it to your friends.


The benefit for VideoBox is that we get potential users to click through the embedded videos and check out VideoBox.


How does it work?


To embed a scene on your website:

  • Find the scene and go to the video streaming page. Scroll down and you find the link to embed.
  • Copy the link and paste it into your web page. Or paste it in your blog. Then, save and test the page to make sure it works.

Your scene will now stream. You can even watch it full screen!


When you click on the player, you navigate to VideoBox and can see all the details about the scene, including title, performers, studio and comments.


That’s it! Let us know what you think.


One caveat: because of licensing agreements, the embed link is not available on scenes from premium channels.


Coming Soon


Anticipated additions include:


1. Ability to embed specific parts of scenes.


2. Embedded video to include more features, such as search, related scenes, and information about the video.


3. More options to customize embedded player size and styles.


Please let us know what you think of this new addition.



Top 100 most popular stars

Note: this post was burried a few hours after it appeared, so I’m reposting it.


Dean1987 (and BrownCHickenBrownCock — sorry for missing you) get the prize for guessing 4 out of the top 10 correctly.


Here are the top 100 stars, based on number of times VideoBox members added them as favorites:


1 Jenna Haze
2 Sasha Grey
3 Eva Angelina
4 Gianna Michaels
5 Bree Olsen
6 Lexi Belle
7 Rachel Starr
8 Tory Lane
9 Alexis Texas
10 Micah Moore
11 Amy Reid
12 Taylor Rain
13 Lela Star
14 Allie Sin
15 Dani Woodward
16 Naomi 
17 Sativa Rose
18 Cody Lane
19 Angel Dark
20 Teagan Presley
21 Rebecca Linares
22 Eve Lawrence
23 Belladonna 
24 Sunny Lane
25 Gauge 
26 Cytherea 
27 Tera Patrick
28 Carmella Bing
29 Haley Paige
30 Monica Sweetheart
31 Keri Sable
32 Lanny Barbie
33 Lily Thai
34 Penny Flame
35 Brianna Love
36 Shy Love
37 Nautica Thorn
38 Jenaveve Jolie
39 Brooke Banner
40 Katie Morgan
41 Aurora Snow
42 Riley Mason
43 Courtney Simpson
44 Vanessa Lane
45 Michelle B.
46 Daisy Marie
47 Kaylynn 
48 Sammie Rhodes
49 Ashlynn Brooke
50 Brittney Skye
51 Hillary Scott
52 Jane Darling
53 Nina Hartley
54 Alexis Love
55 Sandra Romain
56 Natasha Nice
57 Paulina James
58 Velicity Von
59 Brandy Talore
60 Briana Banks
61 Lezley Zen
62 Presley Maddox
63 Jenna Presley
64 Ava Devine
65 Ashley Jensen
66 Faye Valentine
67 Sara Stone
68 Tiffany Taylor
69 Bobbi Starr
70 Brigitta Bui
71 Leah Luv
72 Silvia Saint
73 Jordana James
74 Tiffany Holiday
75 Evelyn Lin
76 Mia Rose
77 Jada Fire
78 Stephanie Cane
79 Katsumi 
80 Courtney Cummz
81 Claire Dames
82 Veronique Vega
83 Tia Tanaka
84 Shyla Stylez
85 Sophie Dee
86 Cherokee 
87 Katja Kassin
88 Avy Scott
89 Rita Faltoyano
90 Mindy Main
91 Luci Thai
92 Alektra Blue
93 Harmony Rose
94 Hailey Young
95 Carmen McCarthy
96 Lorena Sanchez
97 Roxy Jezel
98 Jasmine Byrne
99 Carmen Kinsley
100 Adrianna Faust

Guess the top 10 stars

It’s been over a week since we launched the “Favorite Stars” feature, and almost 3000 members have created lists of their favorite stars.


Can anyone guess who the top 10 most favorited stars are?


I’ll let you know the answer in a couple days 🙂

New Feature: Favorite Stars

We just added the ability for you to add stars to your favorites.


Why use favorite stars?


Let’s say there are several girls you really like.  Favorite stars lets you see all their videos in one place.


Also, every time you visit VideoBox, you can quickly check to see if there are any new updates from your favorite stars.


How does it work?


To add a star to your favorites

  • Click on a star’s name anywhere (like on the DVD details page, or a search results page)
  • You’ll now go to a page listing all the videos of that star
  • On this page, you’ll see a button that says “Add Star to Favorites”
  • Just click that button


And from the VideoBox home page, you’ll see a new link in the “Quick Links” section called “My Favorite Stars”.  Click there and you’ll see all the videos from your favorite stars.


Finaly, you can edit this list under the “My VideoBox==>MyFavorite Stars” tab.


Coming Soon


Some anticipated features include

  • Alerts whenever we add a video from your favorite stars (RSS or email)
  • Recommendations for favorite stars
  • Star pages with comments, profile information, and related stars


Please let us know what you think of this new feature.





Favorite Website content

Right now, we only have porn that’s pressed onto DVDs. But there’s a much wider world of content out there, and I’d like to bring it into VideoBox.


Which website’s content do you like the most? Would you like to see reality content, amateur, foreign videos, fetishes, or weird niches on VideoBox?


If you give me names of specific websites, we can contact them and try to work out a licensing deal.


Note: how we pay for the content is still an open question. I may be able to flat out license it and mix it into the main VideoBox area. Maybe the sites would be willing to license a subset of their videos in exchange for our traffic. Maybe I’ll have to put it into a “premium” section. For now, I’m interested in what sites you’d like us to get.



Ins and Outs of Content Licensing

For all of you interested in the breadth of human sexuality and/or intellectual property issues, here are some fun facts about content on VB 🙂

Tranny is Our Most Popular Request


People’s sexual tastes are wide… and specific. One person likes blond girls getting their toes licked. Another gets off on two older women playing with a double headed dildo. We try our best to make people happy with our updates, but the unavoidable fact is most people will not like whatever we put up.


And, yes, the most popular category request we get is transsexual.


Looks like VB Dipped into the Bargain Bin Again


We have a handful of studios that consistently release good DVDs (Red Light District, Platinum X, Combat Zone, DVSX, Lethal Hardcore, and a few others). So why doesn’t every update come from one of these studios?


It’s not because we’re cheap. It’s because they don’t release 5 DVDs per day. Most studios release only a handful of titles per month. We put 150 per month on our site, and that’s a significant portion of America’s porn production.


Cost vs Quality


For the most part, the cost of content has little to do with its quality. The two main factors that go into content cost are


1) The quality of the content, as perceived by its owner, and

2) The owner’s financial pressures


We’re always hunting for good content deals. That’s how we’re able to keep the price of VB relatively low. Our reputation in the content licensing world is that we’re predatory, but we pay our bills on time.


Nonetheless, we can only license a small fraction of the world’s porn with our existing payment structure. We could have 10x the amount of content on VB if we adopted a revenue sharing model. But our margins are so low that we’re be in the red if we paid for content through revenue sharing.


So rev share only works if we can attach it to an additional income stream, which is the thinking behind the premium channels.


2 Hours to the Next DVD


Another factor that goes into our content strategy is our site navigation. Specifically, the dominant feature of our home page is the latest DVD, and most of our clicks go to new DVDs.


That’s all fine if we stick to mainstream LA porn, but it doesn’t work so well if we want to expand into a wide variety of niches. Let’s say we want to add 1000 DVDs of girls getting spanked. Some members will like this content, but most will not, and they won’t appreciate seeing a new spanking DVD a day for 3 years.


In the future, it would be nice to use the home page real estate for something more relevant than the latest DVDs. It could be “scenes we think you’d like”, for instance. But such a change would affect most of our member’s usage pattern, so it’s a big deal.

Update on Premium Channels

Just so you know, I do read all your comments. The one principle that guided me through the 6 year history of VideoBox is to always improve customer value. So listening to you guys is important.

First, to set some expectations: there’s little we can do quickly. Our site – and its relationship with our affiliates and billers – is complicated. Adding premium channels was a six month project, with the UI changes being a very minor part.

So, to answer some questions:


How Much Does the Damn Thing Cost?

We charge the minimum our contracts allow, which is roughly equal to your base VideoBox subscription. We don’t give an explicit price because there are lots of different prices for a base VideoBox subscription, depending on whether you have DVD or non-DVD resolution, and the month duration of your subscription.


But there’s an easy way to see your price: click on the UPGRADE button. You won’t be charged, and you’ll see how much it costs.


You may see something about your first payment being “prorated”. That means you’ll be charged a partial amount between today and when your subscription rebills. So if you’re 10 days away from your next rebill cycle, you’ll be charged 1/3 of your monthly price today.



Can You Make It Cheaper?

I agree that these channels should be cheaper. After all, you don’t pay the same for HBO as you do for basic cable. I’m working on it, but realistically it will take some time to convince Evil Angel and Vivid to change their pricing structure.


VideoBox is a small percentage of Evil Angel and Vivid’s overall content distribution, and they don’t want their other distribution channels to charge less.



Other Billing Issues

We still can’t process upgrades for Epoch. We can’t charge upgrades on multi month memberships at monthly increments.


Overall, this project has exposed severe limitations of Epoch and CCBill. The only way we’re going to have the flexibility we want is to do our own billing (which we’re currently investigating).



Subscriptions vs Tokens vs Just Say No

Several thousand members have upgraded to premium content, so it wouldn’t be fair to remove it entirely.


That said, I agree that the majority of members who have no interest in upgrading shouldn’t have to see it all over the place. You should be able to enjoy VB without feeling like we’re upselling you constantly.


I’m working with the engineering team to hide premium content from the main VideoBox pages. I think we should still display premium content in certain narrow cases, such as if you click on a star name and we happen to have more scenes with her on the premium channels.


But for general browsing, you shouldn’t be exposed to content you have to pay more for.

What Do You Think Is a Fair Price To Pay?

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.