This article originally ran in the February 2016 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the digital edition.
MyFetishLive launched on October 23, 2015, as a new, completely independent cam site for the fetish community. Many who see a new site in a major vertical being launched without the support of deep-pocketed, well-known investors are prone to roll their eyes. What makes MyFetishLive willing to step forward and be confident it will succeed where others have failed? We sat down with site producer Michael Goldsmith to find out.
Some skeptics believe that the webcam market isn’t as wide as it once was, with many major brands now well established in the minds of consumers. That begs the question, what sets MyFetishLive apart from the other cam sites that have come before it? “There are many cam sites that try to be everything to everyone,” according to Michael Goldsmith, producer of MyFetishLive.com. “The big-box sites focus on breadth, while at MyFetishLive, we focus on depth, having rejected the standard business model and focused on becoming a boutique, niche cam site. Our models are highly trained and many are hand picked for their specific talents and interests. In short, we specialize in and cater to unique and esoteric fetishes that are oftentimes ignored, underrepresented and, in some cases, even prohibited on other cam sites. We foster and perpetuate a home for both fetish models and customers who are marginalized on other sites. That’s why at MyFetishLive we have a community of models and members alike. We’re a family and we put the fun back into dysfunctional.”
Even in its earliest stages of development, MyFetishLive has been able to gain the trust of fetish cam models by focusing on their needs and providing what they each need to succeed. “At MyFetishLive we feel that it is important to ensure that our models feel valued and supported,” explained Goldsmith. “We strive to give our models as many tools as possible to ensure their success on our site. We offer a comprehensive model coaching and kink education program for our models free of charge that empowers our models with everything they need from knowledge about basic lighting and camera techniques to the newest hottest fetishes that they want to learn about in preparation for customers asking for something they were not previously familiar with before. We are in talks with a number of companies to create strategic partnerships that will give our models access to the equipment they need below retail cost, and we are in the process of developing a healthcare stipend program for our models, to incentivize working hard and staying healthy.”
In the coming months, Goldsmith sees plenty of reason for optimism. “It has often been said that the adult industry is recession proof. This is a statement that I agree with to a large degree. Certainly the advent of tube sites has altered the face of the business and there is far less money and far more competition in the industry than there used to be. I also feel that for the vast majority of the industry, how money is made is rapidly changing as well. The money in porn isn’t made by making porn anymore. The money in porn is in advertising porn, buying and selling cheap traffic, and shuffling people around the internet screaming buy! buy! buy! at them. The content itself is becoming decreasingly consequential as time goes on, which is a very chilling thought because it devalues the art form at a fundamental level. The cause of most of this has been tube sites giving away pirated content for free. However, this is also why I’m not particularly worried for my company, specifically. Tube sites thrive on sharing recorded content. You can’t pirate live content. There will always be a demand for that live interaction, that personal connection. In fact, I only see the demand for live content increasing in the future. People crave interactivity and real-time feedback. As companies like Kiiroo and technologies like VR come into vogue, this real-time interactivity will only increase in demand.”
Toward that goal of maximizing the immersive nature of the MyFetishLive experience, the site recently integrated Lovense tip-activated toys into its offerings for customers. “As a pilot program, it has gone incredibly well, and we plan to roll out integrations with Kiiroo products in the near future, as we venture into the realm of VR. We strongly believe that interactivity is the key to continued growth and maintaining a competitive edge.”
Along with that optimism comes a full understanding that starting a new brand in 2016 isn’t as easy as it once was during the Wild West days of adult online. “New site owners are in for a bumpy ride. It’s incredibly challenging to get started in this industry. There is no shortage of competition that you will be immediately compared to and it doesn’t matter that your site has only been live for six weeks. Why don’t you have 5,000 models online at any given time? If you’re running a white label for another platform, that issue doesn’t quite matter as much. But it does offer some insight for new indie site owners who do not rely on existing platforms. I would also like to let a prospective site owner know that it is an incredible amount of work, and no matter how well you prepare, something will sneak up and surprise you.”
As to webcam performers Goldsmith is even more bullish on the future of cam content monetization. “For new cam models, my advice is very different. Find a site that really fits you. Do your due diligence. Create a member account on the site first and learn the site culture. What is it like for models and members on that platform? Get an idea for how the software works from a model’s perspective. Is the site restrictive in their rules or do you have the freedom to do the shows you want? Be sure that you are compensated fairly for the site you work on. Invest in good lighting equipment. It doesn’t have to be expensive gear, but make sure that the quality of your feed is as good as possible. Always go into your show with a game plan. Your members will laugh at the concept, and the room will go in the direction it chooses, but it’s still good to have a direction to go in—and finally, remember a ‘call to action.’ Give your members something to do, and you’ll make money.”
Running a lean operation and pushing forward with the kind of elbow grease that has always been the main ingredient of independent operations, Goldsmith is already talking about expanding. “To date, I am the only full-time employee of MyFetishLive, though we are planning on expanding in the near future. We are currently based in Lebanon, N.J., with the cam site at MyFetishLive.com and our affiliate program at MyFetishMoney.com for interested traffic partners.”
Companies, affiliates and performers interested in seeing what is now independently available in the live fetish niche should take a look at this interesting new product to get in on the ground floor.