Q&A: FameDollars and BurningAngel Talk About Teamwork

This article originally ran in the January 2013 issue of AVN magazine. Pictured: Joanna Angel, left, and FameDollars' Magalie Rheault, right.

Gamma Entertainment subsidiary FameDollars and industry trailblazer Joanna Angel recently announced the launch of a long-term partnership involving the marketing and development of the BurningAngel.com suite of websites—JoannaAngel.com, CumOnMyTattoo.com, BigBoobsAreCool.com, PunkPorn.com, PunkSchoolGirls.com, FuckMeInTheBathroom.com, HeavyMetalPussyParty.com and POVPunx.com.

This joint venture between one of the industry’s premier affiliate networks and a performer/entrepreneur whose exemplary success over the years can be attributed to the quality of her work and the consistency with which she has branded herself and her sites is not only a great story but illustrates in many ways the changing face of the adult paysite model.

We thought the news was so noteworthy, in fact, that it demanded an interview with the amazing women who made it happen—BurningAngel founder Joanna Angel and FameDollars Director of Product and Development Magalie Rheault.

How did this deal come about? Who approached whom? 

Magalie: It was actually from a mutual friend of our two companies. He was talking with BurningAngel, discussing membership, and BurningAngel asked whom he would recommend for handling the marketing and development of their official sites. He pointed them to our direction and we opened discussions about a possible partnership, which resulted to an actual deal that we’re both super excited about!

Joanna: I’ve been toying with the idea of entering a partnership of this nature for a bit. In a conversation with a friend in common, Gamma was mentioned and introductions were made. I was looking to expand our web marketing and our affiliate program; I knew FameDollars were experts in this area, so we talked on the phone and discussed how our companies could benefit one another.

Can you explain the structure of this partnership, what exactly FameDollars will be doing?

Magalie: FameDollars is already known for partnering with content producers who don’t have the technology backend or resources to make it all happen. It takes a lot of time and effort and it’s difficult to be great at everything. In other words, partnering with Gamma/FameDollars will give them the chance to focus on what they do best—producing awesome content and branding themselves—and we do what we excel in, which is developing their new revamped official website, marketing it, integrating their brand under our affiliate program, etc. We will basically handle their whole website, in collaboration with them.

Joanna:The beauty of this deal is that we are going to keep doing exactly what we were doing, but FameDollars is going to do all the things that we never had the time or resources to devote much energy into. So, they are going to take over affiliate program duties, web marketing and programming of our websites while we focus on our content and branding. I feel as though we will really be able to expand the company with this deal and be better and stronger at all the things we do, since we spread ourselves pretty thin. For the past 10 years, the BurningAngel team has had a crew of three or four people working on what should be the job of 30 people. Being able to use the FameDollars’ team and resources will fill in the gaps and truly help us succeed in the areas we lack.

How hands on will Joanna be with the site going forward? Will the consumer have any idea that anything is different? 

Magalie: I expect Joanna and her team to be pretty hands on during the development phase. When we enter into a partnership, I know what’s crucial for them to preserve the whole brand that they have created from scratch that represents them; from their content to their style and image. I want to make sure we are able to really grasp their style and by working closely with them, and I am confident we will achieve it. It’s also very important that she remain involved in the social aspect of her site as much as she is now. This should give her more time to focus on the branding, her appearances and shooting exclusive content for her site now that we will handle the websites. BurningAngel is a unique brand and their sites also have a “community’’ approach that we want to maintain. Of course, we want the consumers to know that the site is different and that we aim to bring them more value for what they get, so in the end it will be win-win.

Joanna: I don’t want the consumer to feel anything different other than that the sites are easier to navigate and offer a better content-viewing experience. We are going to work closely with the FameDollars team to make sure the sites maintain the same and our branding does not change.

Will BurningAngel be marketed differently than it is now? If so, in what way, and what are the expectations in terms of greater exposure or increased traffic/sales?

Magalie: At FameDollars, we benefit from being part of a bigger group and our parent company, Gamma Entertainment. So being partners with us means that you get access to a huge user base and web technology capabilities, hence having more visibility. Also, integrating the BurningAngel sites under FameDollars will bring BurningAngel more exposure as we create new promo tools and have a big pool of active affiliates who pushes our products and with whom we connect weekly. We also incorporate business data intelligence that analyzes user experience to provide us with invaluable insights when we create different tours to convert more customers. Moreover, we have internal projects that can push lots of traffic to the sites via mailings, one-click upgrades, cross-network promotion, media buying, etc.

Joanna: On my end, our content will remain the same and the personality and style with which we market our brand will not change. However, Gamma will be able to get our name out to so many more people. I’m excited for more eyes to be on our girls and video content that we work so hard and passionately to produce. There was only so much we could do running the affiliate program ourselves and we were only able to work with a small amount of webmasters. I’m excited to have new tools and a program webmasters are familiar and comfortable with. We’ve always been very strong with our press and offline marketing and I will continue to work on that aspect of the brand while FameDollars focuses on online marketing.

What is the benefit to having BurningAngel join the FameDollars family?

Magalie: When we choose a partner, I look at their content and the potential. Within our web of networks, we don’t have a brand like BurningAngel and nothing comes close to their style. It is a natural fit as it really complements our roster of stars and studios and doesn’t cannibalize any of our other brands. I’m very proud of having them partnered with us and I think they are an amazing fit with their brand and personalities.

Joanna: I’m starting to sound a bit redundant, but I hope that we will be able to gain a lot more exposure to people we wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. The FameDollars crew seems to really enjoy our content and the potential it has, which can only lead to great things working together. I also hope that this will give us more time to make our content even better and free up time to work on other offline projects, like our clothing line and a few secret projects that have been sitting in my brain.

Will content production for the site stay the same, increase or decrease? Any changes planned for content on the site? 

Magalie: For now, the plan is to maintain regular production. In time, we’ll be able to better evaluate what the consumer really wants backed up with data intelligence so they can produce more of the most popular content. We will have more exclusive material on the site after the launch and we’ll really focus on what works best.

Joanna: We plan on keeping production the same for now, but will up production if necessary!

BurningAngel targets a pretty distinct type of consumer. How confident are you two that FameDollars will “get” the community, and how closely will you work together? 

Magalie: As mentioned previously, I intend to work very closely with Joanna and her team to make this project successful. We have already looked at a few options for the BurningAngel portal and we are on the same page for the first development phases. It’s as important to Joanna as it is for me to really understand the product, target the right consumers with the right approach. It’s also important to acknowledge our challenges and work together to solve them. I think Joanna, myself and our respective teams really understand the importance of collaboration on this project. The brand that she created is very strong and her personality is in it in every aspect and it’s imperative that it remains this way for the success of our partnership. She will bring more of the look and feel that defines her so well, and we’ll have the technical expertise to make it happen and optimize it so that we reach our common goal: creating websites that are true to their roots and that offer content and functionalities that the members really want and love.

Joanna: I feel like a lot of people think BurningAngel has only one type of fan and this really isn’t the case. We shoot “alternative” looking girls but that doesn’t mean that only alternative people want to jerk off to them. I can’t tell you how many times I have read reviews about our stuff that say “whether or not you like tattooed girls, check this movie out. The sex is really hot and the production is really well done.”

We got nominated for the same awards that most of the big mainstream people get nominated for. ... We’re not quite as specific of a niche as people think we are. We don’t shoot any particular kind of sexual fetish that only one type of person would like. I’m quite confident that once our content gets put out there through FameDollars, people will be quite happy. I think that a good amount of people out there aren’t watching our porn because they simply haven heard of it yet, not because they are turned off by our content.

Our traffic is generated from all the press and events we do, and we will continue to do that. So, my marketing and branding toward a more specific group will now be paired up with a more mainstream push, and I’m curious to see what happens!

I do know that FameDollars is amazing with all their research and testing and they will quickly learn where our content sticks and where it doesn’t.

Joanna, why did you decide to do this? Do you have any trepidation at all, not about FameDollars per se, but about letting your baby be handled by another ... mom? 

Joanna: I started BurningAngel with nothing, literally nothing! My college roommate and I had an idea and we made it happen with a few nights of my waitressing money. Over the course of the past 10 years, I have turned this little project into a real company and a real brand. I know that with some help from the right people, we can take what I have done and grow it exponentially. It’s frustrating at times to know we have so much potential to go much further but lack the resources to take us there, and that is where Gamma will come in. I will admit I was nervous about this deal at first, but I have spent the past six months voicing all my concerns to Magalie (I would like to point out that Skype will disconnect your call every 45 minutes on the dot) and we ironed everything out despite of that. I didn’t sign the deal until I was 100 percent confident about it.

I don’t feel like my baby is going to be handled by a different mom; I feel more like our baby is ready to step outside its stroller and learn to walk.

Magalie, what about BurningAngel excites you? What is special about the site, Joanna and her crew? 

Magalie: I got to know Joanna and her team and first off, we really got along easily. Their personalities and style are a natural good fit with us. I’ve worked with many porn stars and studios who are very specific about their brands and how it should be presented, and while some people might find it a bit restraining, I love it! I totally understand where they come from and have the biggest respect for that, especially when you market a brand that has so much personality as BurningAngel does. The originality and creativity of their content is also a strong factor. I believe that creating unique content nowadays has become even more paramount in this era of ‘’free’’ content found all over the web. If you have exclusive material and it’s well-shot, well-branded and caters specifically to the community you are targeting, you have a winning model. Those are big reasons why I think it would work really well between us, not to mention that their involvement is vital to our success.