The standard adult web site disclaimer goes something like this: "This site contains adult material. If you are under 21 years of age, or if it is illegal to view adult material in your community, or if adult material offends you, please do not enter this site!" In a similar spirit, if you are uninterested in making money from advertising on adult sites, or if this subject offends you, please simply skip this chapter.
However, adult content is an interesting business because it is undoubtedly the Web's most lucrative fee-based content area. The exact figures are controversial and murky, but there's no doubt that subscription and per-item fees for adult content are in the billions of dollars in the aggregate. This compares favorably, from a business perspective, with other kinds of content on the Web, where the attitude is often that "information wants to be free," and it is hard to get consumers to pay for content from even the most prestigious institutions.
The popularity of adult content on the Web means that:
In other words, it's possible for small, or solo, entrepreneurs to make money advertising adult content provided they can draw traffic interested in adult content to their site.
The adult-content industry on the Web in many ways works the same way as the rest of the world on the Web. Just as with nonadult web sites, to make money from advertising on your adult site you need to:
Many, but not all, aspects of constructing, making money from, and driving traffic to a site that involves adult content are the same as when adult content is not involved. After all, HTML is HTML is HTML.
However, there are some considerable differences in how each of the steps towards making money from advertising is achieved when adult content is involved. Some mechanisms are simply not available for sites in the adult-entertainment orbit. For example, Google's AdSense program will not accept adult sites, and mainstream press release services will not accept press releases that include references to adult content. The good news for operators of sites related to adult content is the willingness of users to pay for content; this creates opportunities not available elsewhere.
In effect, the adult-content industry on the Web is a vast parallel universe: to some extent it is part of the Web in general, but in some significant ways it operates according to its own rules. To a large degree the adult Web is omitted from conventional search engines and uses its own portals. Much of the adult Web has a homespun feel to it, although it is also true that new web technologies are often deployed by the adult industry before these technologies migrate to conventional content areas.
This chapter explains how the adult industry operates on the Web, what the options for monetizing content via advertising are, and how to get traffic to a site that features adult advertisements.