January 23, 2003 02:00am
Porn Strategy: Share and Snare
Source: Wired News
by: Steve Friess
The porn industry is learning a lesson the music industry refuses to hear: Piracy doesn't have to be a dirty word.
As recording industry officials sing dirges over a 2002 music-business sales slump and press ahead with lawsuits against file-sharing network platforms such as Kazaa, pornographers see an opening.
"You can't beat them, so you ought to join them," said Exploit Systems Ceo Scott Hunter. "These are your most valued customers, the people who come specifically into your arena and say they want X, Y and Z. This is the most inquisitive, most important community possibly in the history of business."
Hunter's company has developed software that helps content providers put their legitimate versions of material being pirated onto the file-share networks in such a way that it overwhelms the pirated versions of the same material.
The software also influences the search engines of Kazaa, Gnutella and Limewire so that if a user searches certain keywords, they'll be more likely to find the legitimate version of the file they're seeking and download that.
When users try to open up the legitimate editions, though, they may be forced to pay for it and be sent to the porn company's homepage, or they may be allowed to watch it for free provided they ask for identifying information the company can use later for marketing purposes.
"If 15 percent of the roughly 150 million people on these networks are willing to pay for the content, that's 20 million customers," Hunter said. "It's foolish of any business to deny themselves the opportunity to make that sale."
FalconFoto Ceo Gail Harris sees the wisdom of this approach.
"We're willing to give away a few images, and then if you're interested in more, we have a whole archive of hundreds of thousands of images that you can subscribe to see," says Harris, whose company provides photos of naked people to several porn magazines including High Society and Barely Legal, and boasts an online library of more than 1 million adult images.
"What we have is a captive audience of people we know are interested in our product because they went out seeking it themselves. Many of them are willing to pay for it, too."
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