Interview With Karen From Purple
1. My standard first interview question,
how and when did you get involved in the online adult industry?
I got involved mid 2000 when working as a freelance
journalist. I was writing an article for a magazine called Australian
Women’s Forum about what porn for women was available online,
and there wasn’t much to speak of. After talking to a few
webmasters I decided to have a go at making a free site –
Grandma Scrotum was one of my first (www.grandmascrotum.com). I
made a few costly mistakes, and I was learning web design from scratch,
but it didn’t take long for me to be hooked, both on the creative
process, and the whole “fishing” thing – putting
my websites out into the stream and seeing what I could catch.
2. Tell us a little bit more about your
program Purpledollars.com as well as your website http://www.forthegirls.com.
For The Girls is an adult website for women that
offers erotic content as well as an entire women’s magazine.
We’ve got the standard selection of naked men, and male strippers,
but also a range of couples and hardcore content that is better
tailored to the tastes of women. The ezine has feature articles,
interviews and columns, mostly dealing with sex and women’s
issues. It’s a kind of Cosmo without the diets and the guilt.
We add new articles and content every week. The site was launched
in June, and it’s performed very well so far. The rate of
members recurring is particularly good; I think our written content
is an important factor with that.
Purple Dollars is the affiliate program for For
The Girls. We offer a 50% revshare partnership through CCBill and
hosted galleries. We’re looking to expand in the coming months
and add a couple more sites, which will be exciting. Purple Dollars
is run by myself and Debbiejr. We’ve both been making websites
and marketing to women for at least 3 years.
3. How does your 4-women site differ from
other websites in the same niche?
For a start, we’re completely focussed on
female surfers. Our site isn’t just a quickie site tacked
onto a larger mainstream program because someone figured they’d
better cover all bases. We’re genuinely interested in offering
women an alternative option to what’s out there, and making
sure our female surfers get an honest deal for their money.
It’s a core value for us – offering
value for money and not ripping the surfer off. Especially in the
light of Visa’s new chargeback rules. The magazine aspect
of FTG is an essential part of that, and it’s also something
that sets us apart from the others. We’re looking to keep
women entertained long after they’ve put the vibrator away.
As well, we’re women! So we’re offering
content that we ourselves would like to see, and it allows us to
better understand what other women want. And we’re both passionate
about the whole idea of erotica for women. We want to see a better
balance in porn, and an industry that treats women better, both
as customers and as content. This pro-sex, pro-women attitude is
an important aspect our site, and our business.
Oh, and did I mention that we don’t have
gay content on our site? That alone sets us apart from a number
of other 4women sites. :)
4. Do you find that there are any obstacles
for women in this male-dominated industry?
I personally have encountered very little in the
way of male-created obstacles, although from the beginning I have
associated mainly with female webmasters. I also know plenty of
male webmasters who are fabulous. For me the bigger obstacle has
been distance – I’m Australian so I’m cut off
from others in terms of personal contact and face-to-face networking.
At the same time I think women can have a harder
time of it in this business, at least when it comes to being taken
seriously. I’ve heard stories from industry conventions where
the standard assumption is that you are content with nothing more
to add, and I’ve seen plenty of comments on boards where opinions
have been dismissed as being merely the ramblings of a chick with
PMS. And then there are those webmaster competitions where you can
win a weekend with 16 naked women… Nonetheless, I think things
are improving. Associations like Women In Adult are useful, and
awareness is growing that female webmasters are out there doing
business with the best of them.
5. Now, I know that you feel that there
is a lot of stereotyping when it comes to the 4-women niche. Why
do you think this is?
A lot of assumptions are made in this industry
about what surfers want. No large-scale product research really
occurs. On top of that, the industry tends to build on what has
been done before (even if it does go occasionally go in new directions,
like reality porn). This is why so many porn films follow the same
conventions – the money shot, the woman keeping her shoes
on etc. The view is, it works, so why change it?
The cultural assumption with regard to women is
that they aren’t visually stimulated. This is mainly due to
50 year old Kinsey research, and ignores numerous recent clinical
studies which prove otherwise. Add to that the fact that nobody’s
done much porn for women in the past, and everyone concludes that
women aren’t visual and it’s a dud market.
The other stereotype is that porn for women must
mean naked men. It’s based on a simple role-reversal –
naked chicks in Playboy, naked men in Playgirl, simple, right? Unfortunately
this ignores the fact that a lot of women don’t find naked
men arousing, perhaps because until recently society didn’t
really teach women to admire the male form. The focus, on TV, in
advertising, in movies, is that only women’s bodies are intrinsically
sexy, so getting turned on by naked men is something of a learned
reaction for a lot of women.
The fact is that the more women I talk to, the
more diverse their tastes are. Certainly plenty of them are getting
off to hardcore, not to mention lesbian, fetish, amateurs…
I think the real challenge in offering a site for women is to better
articulate female fantasies, and to present a more female-friendly
point of view. We’re trying to do that at FTG, and with our
other 4women sites as well.
6. What do you think of the recent statistics
put out by Neilson, that one in three visitors to adult entertainment
websites are in fact women?
I’m not surprised by it at all, and I find
it extremely heartening to see my own marketing experiences borne
out in major surveys. Obviously they’re not using porn in
the same numbers as men, and there are a large number of reasons
for that, the topmost being that women are not “trained”
to use porn the way that men are, but it’s still an impressive
statistic. The challenge here is to see if the industry can better
cater to these “hidden” surfers.
7. What suggestions would you give to a Webmaster of a mainstream
sex site in order to capitalize on their female traffic?
One option is to outsource the traffic to a 4women-specific
site such as For The Girls through a “Ladies, click here!”
link and make money from the affiliate sales. You won’t be
surprised to hear me say I recommend this option ;)
8. How do you feel women’s desires
and turn-ons differ from that of men?
Research done recently at Northwestern University
revealed that women are actually very wide ranging in their turn-ons.
When shown porn films of hetero sex, gay sex and lesbian sex, women
(of all orientations) found them ALL arousing, whereas the gay men
only got off on the gay porn, and the hetero men went for the hetero
stuff (and the lesbians… of course). The researchers said
that women were less “target specific” compared to men.
What this says to me is that women have the capacity to be turned
on by anything!
I also think it suggests that women may be responding
to more than just the mechanics of sex; I’m sure there’s
an emotional connection that spurs on arousal, and the test subjects
couldn’t help but to respond to the various depictions of
human intimacy and the relationships they implied. So, I think it’s
reasonable to hypothesise that women do prefer some emotional depiction
in their porn, be that kissing, hugs, afterglow, or simply the fact
that the participants are looking at each other (and that doesn’t
happen much in mainstream porn). And this emotional connection is
often more present in erotic fiction, which tends to be popular
with women as well.
9. What do women typically look for in
a 4-women paysite?
I think it’s fair to say women look for
content, value for money, respect, and security – pretty much
the same as any porn surfer. If the site is offering content they
want to see, and in quantities that are equivalent to the amount
they paid, they’ll like it. And they need to know that they
won’t be overcharged, and that “Godzilla Penis”
won’t appear on their bill. Actually, I’m finding a
lot of women really distrust adult sites, probably because there’ve
been so many dodgy operators in this industry. Gaining trust is
very important, I think. And respect, of course. They don’t
want to be called a slut for joining a site, or treated like an
10. Last question. What would you like to see
change for the 4-women niche in this industry?
I’d like to see a far more diverse
range of content, so that I can use pics that are actually created
for the female viewer, rather than adapting mainstream or gay content.
I’d also like to see a far better delineation between 4women
and gay content and sites, just so women can find the stuff they
want to see easily and quickly. The sooner that happens, the more
women will buy.
Originally published at Webmaster Vault,