Netbilling: On the Move

In tighter economic times, webmasters are looking for new ways to maximize their revenue and increase their efficiency. While new ideas are being put into service throughout the industry, some of the most exciting opportunities are being formed in the payment processing segment of the market.

During the last 11 years NetBilling has become the largest payment gateway provider in the adult industry for businesses utilizing their own merchant accounts. An exciting new virtual processing tool is now aimed at making the next 11 years even more successful for the company and its clients.

During the early dial-up days, Mitch Farber, future president of NetBilling, was laid off from a job where he had been providing Macintosh technical support. In February of 1997 he and his wife started a couple of paysites together, and things took off pretty quickly. Their early formative experience of launching and managing successful websites allowed NetBilling to become a processing company that is capable of seeing things from the webmaster point of view.

“Back then we were using a billing company called Lancelot, which was one of the original third-party processors, and they were charging us 18 or 20 percent of each transaction,” Farber said.

“That experience is what caused us to start NetBilling in 1998. From there, things seemed to evolve naturally and NetBilling grew very quickly,“ Farber continued. “We never went out and looked for some disconnected opportunity; we just kept ourselves open to fresh ideas and leveraged our effort and experience to provide services we knew people wanted. This same thinking holds true today, and I do not think anyone will disagree that I am very hands-on in the day-to-day operations of our company. Our clients really admire that.”

During the last decade, Farber’s enterprise grew to support more than 20 processing back-end systems and dozens of shopping-cart systems. The processor now has established relationships with many banks domestically as well as internationally. NetBilling currently employs more than 60 people in its in-house call center, and the company has expanded its services to include 24/7/365 customer support for merchants and their customers.

Many of the largest companies in the adult industry rely on NetBilling’s well-trained staff and proprietary systems for their processing, fraud scrubbing and call-center service needs. The company’s dedicated and talented employees have been key to the company’s success since it first started.

“No matter what else you do well, no company will accomplish much without a strong reputation for being honest. Working with a quality staff of dedicated and talented people that share our company vision is very important,” Farber said. “We work hard to make our clients happy, and I am a firm believer that the dedication we have put into NetBilling has allowed us to maintain the essential direct connection between NetBilling ownership and every aspect of our business.”

This year in particular the industry faces numerous challenges, but Farber also has a strong belief that there’s a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. “I am concerned about some merchants who try to take advantage of the consumer to such an extent that it comes back to bite them or gives the industry a bad name.

The result of that sort of behavior can be stricter rules from the card associations that negatively impact all business owners. Self-regulation is needed, and having a long-term vision of the industry is even more important. I think that lack of vision these days is going to be an issue for some companies in the future. However, the clever innovation I see in this industry never ceases to amaze me, and most of it is definitely very positive.”

NetBilling typically adds dozens of new features and enhancements each year. The newest feature is mobile related. Many merchants who sell a combination of subscriptions, services and tangible goods will be excited about the new proprietary iPhone processing app that NetBilling is offering its clients. The new app (available in the iTunes App Store) allows clients to process transactions by using their iPhones as a virtual terminal from anywhere that they have cell phone or WiFi access with their mobile device. It may become a huge timesaver for webmasters wishing to easily process transactions on the road.

This new feature provides important functionality for webmasters seeking to expand their business interests, but perhaps even more significantly, it demonstrates that NetBilling is still looking for innovative methods to assist existing clients and potential new customers today the same way they have more than a decade already.

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of AVN.