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Archive for March 2010

Mar/10

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(Re)Connecting

Lately I have been seeing a lot of old faces coming around Ebpm and it is always really cool to catch up with them and see what is new in their life.  I have formed many friendships through the site and the thousands of conversations I have participated in through the forums and chat room make up quite a large part of my life.  However, I have come to the realization that a large percentage of the people who participate daily on the site and whom I have regular communication with are all very old-school members.  Usually having been around for 6 or 7+ years.

Sure, people have always come and gone, and there are always going to be quite a share of “lurkers” about.  But, I feel that I am missing something.  The ability to connect with the people who visit your site is vital in my opinion.  When people feel a good connection is made, they are more likely to maintain it, and you get lots of valuable feedback.  It makes the whole experience of running a website a lot more fun when it becomes a collaboration between yourself and the members and models.  If you take out the community interaction, it just becomes a one way content delivery system.  Television is a one way content delivery system and we all know how old and busted TV is.

Years ago, I would have a huge pile of email every day.  I got fan mail, hate mail, and of course a lot of customer support requests.  Most emails resulted in an actual usually pleasant conversation.  Even when people were canceling a membership.  I would chat a bit with them to find out what they liked and didn’t like and find out what might make them stay longer.  Sometimes it was something as simple as “X model is my favorite.  If you get a new set of her let me know and I will sign up again.”  I would make a note of it and be sure to let them know when that happened.  Sure, the whole process was time consuming, but as far as I was concerned, it worked well.

But now,  Things seem different.  People almost never respond to my emails.  For example.  Password issues are common.  Often it is a simple problem such as they are using the wrong password, forget about case sensitivity, etc..  Sometimes there is a glitch where maybe their new account doesn’t get recorded.  They email me, I fix it, and respond nicely and ask to let me know if everything is working ok.

In the last 6 months, the only people who have responded to that email are the ones to tell me if they are still having trouble.  In previous years.  I would usually at least get a quick thank you email, especially since I tend to respond to support requests very quickly.

So what has changed?

Is it that people communicate differently now?  Might they consider that real communication takes place on facebook and twitter and email is just for spam?

Are people more cautious of who they speak to now?

Do they feel that I am not “real”?  Perhaps people do not expect actual communication because they might not experience it on other sites.

How can I better directly connect with the tens of thousands of people who visit Ebpm every month?

I am going to put together an experiment and try to reach out to a bunch of past and present users.  Both those who have paid and who have not.  My goal is 1000 to get a good sampling and then see how many I successfully communicate with.

I will report back on this.  And since I am quite a geek, expect lots of graphs and charts and such.

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Cnet is reporting that Sex.com will be going up for auction next month as part of a foreclosure.  The current owner paid $14 million for it and claimed to have grand plans for it, but nothing really happened.

Sex.com was originally registered by the founder of Match.com and in the early days was bringing in $100 million a year.  A long court battle ensued when somehow the name got transfered to a con artist and by the time it was resolved and sold, the Internet had vastly changed.

Of course a good name is important for any business, and sex.com is a short, easy to remember name.  But how many people have heard of sex.com or been to sex.com?  Not many in recent years.  In the content business, you need to have good content associated with your good name.  Otherwise, your name and website become very forgettable and the money you spent on a great name has gone to waste.

It amazes me when I look at all the sites that have sold for 6 and 7 figure numbers.  So many of them have turned into absolutely nothing.  When I cruise industry forums and I am amazed at how many people just focus on getting a shell of a website up with no real substance and then try to get as many visitors as possible to it for the least amount of money.  Just the other day I found this whole network of alt porn TGP’s where it took me at least 20 clicks before I got to an actual gallery.  Each thumbnail click led me to another TGP.  It was a giant incestuous traffic trade and everyone involved forgot they are supposed to be providing something of value to the user.

I have a hope that with the new decade and a further maturation of the Internet people will realize that the best way to make money with content is to stop spending resources on expensive names, trading junk traffic and tricking people and actually putting some effort into doing real development and coming up with creative ideas.

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