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Web 2.0 leaves porn behind Options · View
nicola
Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2007 2:13:15 AM

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Quite an interesting read: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/commentary/sexdrive/2007/08/sexdrive_0809

Quote:
Web 2.0 Leaves Porn Behind
By Regina Lynn 08.10.07 | 2:00 AM
(Editor's note: Links in this story that are not safe for work are marked NSFW.)

I must hurry and catch up with the others, for I am their leader. -- My mom's T-shirt, circa 1979

Porn gets a lot of credit for pushing technology forward. You probably owe your DVD player and your video-on-demand service to dedicated porn fans with discretionary income. But as web technology evolves to support true personalization and community -- into Web 2.0 -- porn is falling further behind the curve.

Like content was king in the 1990s, in the days of Web 2.0, community is the kingdom.

Community is all about interactivity and personalization. Given the interactive nature of sex and the personal nature of porn, you'd think adult sites would be all over Web 2.0. But with a few notable exceptions, they're not. And I think this is going to bite them in the ass not too far into the future if they don't catch up.

For the porn industry, which is at least as paranoid about piracy as the Recording Industry Association of America, allowing open data formats that let users to do with content what they will does not come naturally.

But Jason Tucker of No Rivals Media (NSFW), which builds interactive sites for adult webmasters, makes a compelling business case for why adult webmasters should keep pace with the mainstream.

Tucker points to Google Images as an example. "Different people name the same images, and the computer finds the word matches. Those become tags," he says. "Think of how (useful) this is for porn."

The more webmasters let us mash up content, the more they can discover what users are tagging, sharing and checking out on their sites. Are those sections popular because of what they hold, or because of their position on the page? What are users saying on the boards, in the comments? Who is the most vocal?

Webmasters can then better serve us by providing niche content and building communities around it. They also can stop wasting resources on areas nobody visits. In effect, they have a team of volunteer helpers guiding the evolution of the site -- people who feel a part of things, and who will drive traffic that increases exponentially over time.

Traffic, of course, is money.

"The membership is constantly seeing what's hot inside the site -- which is not always the newest content, by the way," says Tucker. "And conversions (from free tours to paid subscriptions) and retentions (extending subscriptions past the first billing cycle) go up directly."

To be fair, I understand why it's hard for porn to keep pace with the changes. Community may make a website sticky, but it also requires constant daily attention if it's not going to go down in flames or bloat up with spam.

It's also a long-term investment. After you install the tools and position the moderators you still have to figure out how to attract users in the first place, as well as give us enough reason to stick around and tell our social networks about it. Word of mouth (which we now call "viral marketing") takes time to grow; there's always a chance that even though you build it, we won't come.

Viral marketing is even harder for porn to generate than for mainstream content. How often do we trade porn links and opinions compared to trading non-porn content?

But for adult sites, the greatest challenges of Web 2.0 lie beyond the technology and the expense, in the realm of law.

User-generated content is the Big Thing in the mainstream. YouTube, MySpace, Digg, Second Life -- it's all about providing a platform and letting users loose on it. Even newspapers are in on the game, handing out laptops and asking citizen journalists to file stories; the amateur gets a small fee for any story the paper publishes.

But the moment you enable users to upload adult pictures or video, you risk running into trouble with U.S. record-keeping requirements. The law continues to become stricter about who has to maintain records of what.

Imagine if every YouTube contributor had to maintain records on every piece of video, identifying everyone in the frame; now imagine that YouTube needed to maintain another set of those records. Imagine if both parties also had to make those records available in a physical location a certain number of hours a week, with a staff member on-site to assist government researchers at any time.

But look at how people are using the web today. We expect to have a say in our entertainment. If we aren't making it ourselves, we're cutting it up and pasting it back together to suit our vision through feeds and widgets and dynamic pages. We're building environments to our specifications in virtual worlds, and we're promoting content we like and voting against content we don't.

For this audience, clicking a button to play a video does not count as interactive.

Then again, video is not the only way for the adult industry to catch up to Web 2.0. The time is ripe for another Danni Ashe to come forward and show the big brands how it's done. In fact, Ashe, once the "most downloaded woman on the internet," is the precursor to porn 2.0 -- what made her 1990s site more profitable than Playboy's was not the content but the community.

Web 2.0 is nothing new. It's just come of age.

"What is the average 16-year-old doing today? Going to school, texting like mad, chatting like mad, creating profiles, sharing information, music, news, sports -- and they move together as a community," says Tucker. "When they become adult surfers wanting adult content, they are going to expect the same kind of functionality to be there. Otherwise you're too damn boring."
insomniac
Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2007 2:12:31 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 12/14/2006
Posts: 225
I can't believe it overtakes porn - I thought that's what the internet was originally designed for? d'oh! Whistle dontknow
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