Over the years, I have dabbled in promoting adult (translation: porn) websites. They have never been anything more than a minor source of supplementary income, enough to pay my phone bills, web hosting, and maybe take the lady out for a nice dinner or two. I think I have a solid basic grasp of the industry, I know how to sell surfers, but quite frankly, it’s way too much work in comparison to selling mainstream niches. 75% of my income comes from direct products sales on my mainstream sites, 20% from mainstream affiliate programs, and maybe 5% from adult. Of that 75% direct product sales, only half of my orders come through my shopping cart, I get the other half over the phone.
However, I think those of us in the mainstream can learn a thing or two from our Adult brethren. The entire mainstream webmaster community seems to consider the only source of traffic to be search engines, where as the adult industry has a far better grasp on generating traffic via other sources.
One major component is networking with other adult webmasters and building a rock solid reputation. This could be why my adult income is only supplemental: I tend to be an “anti-social webmaster”, I don’t participate much in discussion forums, and I don’t associate with too many other webmasters.
Additionally, adult webmasters seem to have a better grasp of copyright issues regarding stolen content. Unethical webmasters are frequently outed and blacklisted when they have screwed someone over, where as shady characters in the mainstream can set up shop with a new identity and little recourse.
While I spend little time working on my adult sites, I frequently read adult resource sites such as PornResource. A good example of the quality of articles and writers you will find there is Marie, who seems to have a wonderful grasp on both mainstream and adult trends.