LOS ANGELES, Calif. - It's the second day of the Erotica LA convention and amid a rolling sea of fans pouring through the aisles of the convention floor, Nina Mercedez and Sophia Santi stand out like a pair of industry stars at Mercedez' booth. It's the third year in a row Nina has been nominated for Favorite Breasts at the annual F.A.M.E. Awards (to be held later this evening at the convention) and in her low-cut top it's obvious as to why.
But Mercedez' breasts are far from the only asset that has the industry talking. Her business acumen has been raising eyebrows ever since she left her Vivid contract two years ago and forged ahead with her own company, Heartbreaker Films, which was immediately scooped up for distribution by LFP. Now, Heartbreaker is poised to make a big splash on the Internet this summer.
Taking a break from signing autographs, Nina and her husband Raymond Balboa sit down to discuss their plans to expand their business on the 'Net - and their expansion includes other name brands like former contract girls Sophia Santi and Devon.
"Our affiliate program is XXXSexCash.com," explains Balboa. "That's the program that runs the other websites. Nina's website is NinaMercedezXXX.com and everything is going great with that - in fact it was the perfect way to test out the affiliate program before we decided to expand. At the end of June, we're going to be launching our re-designed HeartbreakerFilms.com as a mega site, with over a terabyte of video and a terabyte of photos - much of which will be exclusive."
In addition to NinaMercedezXXX.com and HeartbreakerFilms.com, they will be launching sites for Sophia Santi (SophiaSanti.com) and Devon (DevonXXX.com) later this summer, both of which will be linked to the other sites through their affiliate program.
"Sophia is very one-on-one with her fans," says Mercedez. "And we just signed Devon who will be doing boy/girl scenes and cam shows for her site. We tell the girls that they can retire off of their websites one day and that's both Sophia and Devon's plans. They're in it for the long haul."
And that means constant updates.
"Between the four sites, we update daily," adds Balboa. "If it's not a video set, it's a photo set; if it's not a photo set then it's a diary entry."
But perhaps most noteworthy is that both Mercedez and Balboa are the only webmasters. They code the sites, they update the sites, they answer the customer emails and the webmaster emails.
"It's very time-consuming," Balboa notes. "A lot of people say they run their own websites, but we are actually the ones running it from day to day."
How do they even have time left to shoot new content?
"Our goal is to shoot in one day, but make it look like it took five days to shoot," Balboa says. Heartbreaker Films' latest DVD release Thrust (which earned 4A's in the July issue of AVN) was completed in just one day. But the couple notes that their main focus is producing content for the Internet.
"Everybody wants to download," says Balboa, "especially with the release of the iPhone. I now have a computer in my pocket. The DVD market is a great way to get your name out, but the Internet is the market of the future."
"The Internet market is stable and it's getting better," Mercedez notes. And when dealing with the Internet market, plenty of content can be generated in just one day. "Sophia recently did thirteen video and photo sets in one day."
Balboa adds, "I believe one day libraries will be in museums."