Thursday, August 6, 2009

xxxTube shares YouTube flaws

About 1½ years ago, I quoted an article that user generated content was displacing professional content in porn. (Porn had played a central role in the early adoption of VHS, DVD, cable and satellite TV.)

On Wednesday, Oliver Chiang of Forbesreported:

"Tube sites"--adult content Web sites that mimic YouTube in hosting everything from professionally made videos to user-generated clips--have quickly risen in popularity since they came onto the scene a few years ago, and rank among the highest traffic-getters globally.
However, such sites have the same problems as YouTube — lack of a business model and copyright issues.

Not surprisingly, there’s a much smaller list of potential advertisers for XXX-rated sites. On the other hand, the sites are having limited success in their freemium business model — conversion rates from free to paid of 1:200 to 1:10,000 (the self-reported numbers are suspect). I doubt even Hulu will reach this ratio of success.

Chiang notes that the piracy problem is even worse:
Ali Joone, founder of the porn studio Digital Playground, estimates that as much as 99% of content on some tube sites is pirated, much of it uploaded by the tube- site owners themselves.

"They let you believe that there are all these users that are uploading the pirated clips," says Joone of the tube sites. "It's not them, it's the owners."
I’m not an expert in this particular online segment, but I think this suggests that problems of Internet business models (especially freemium) generalize beyond just the few highly-publicized examples of Web 2.0 businesses.

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