Empire Building: Rick Muenyong Adds AmateurRanks to His Impressive Stable of Sites

Rick Muenyong is poised to build an adult Web empire. Again. First, there was the YNOT network, started when Muenyong was an 18-year-old newbie with a gleam in his eye. After three years building YNOT into a superb adult resource kiosk, Muenyong left the company, collecting his cash and taking a break from the adult biz. Earlier this year, he unveiled Ranks.com, a simply designed Web directory focused on mainstream sites, built to appeal to middle-of-the-road Web surfers looking for basic information.

But February of 2001 wasn't the right time for such a venture, and when the "money dried out," Muenyong returned to his roots, expanding the adult section of Ranks. Soon, Erotic- Ranks.com (http://erotic.ranks.com/index.html) was born, looking much like the original Ranks, but featuring sites that might not be referenced for elementary schoolchildren's homework. After EroticRanks proved to be a hit, AmateurRanks.com (http://amateur.ranks.com/index.html) joined the family.

AmateurRanks combines the premise of Ranks with adult content. The clean design lets surfers easily find sites with content they can appreciate, and, like Ranks, listings are pre-screened to make sure they fit into specific categories. Sites must also comply with some basic rules, such as limiting the number of exit consoles, being relatively easy to navigate, and minimizing annoying advertisements. "I'm not trying to tell people how to run their Websites," says Muenyong, "just basically trying to get a high-quality list of sites in the directory."

The easy-to-use listings are categorized in a number of ways - bust size, hair color, gender, and more - and attributes can be combined and searched to find the perfect amateur to visit. Easy Pete, the cutesy cartoon mascot from the original Ranks site, leads the way, trying on bras in the "browse by bust size" section, and stepping on a scale in "browse by weight."

Individual listings participating in the Ranks Exchange program - sending traffic back to the Ranks network - will garner extra special status on the site with prominent placement, photos, and a "hot" tag. Because Ranks is not a "top 50"-style site, Muenyong claims these "strategic ways to promote the site" will generate plenty of traffic for the amateur Webmasters, while still looking like a directory.

To further promote the amateur market, Muenyong's AmateurMasters.com chatroom provides an open forum where amateur Webmasters can share advice and information. "What YNOT is for adult Webmasters," says Muenyong, "AmateurMasters is for amateur Webmasters. The amateur community is a little behind, based on resources that they had. So we're targeting to that industry. Hopefully this will be a chance for everybody to get together and establish a strong community."

Like all of the sites in the Ranks family, the chatroom is elegantly simple and very user-friendly. Amazingly coherent posts appear alongside a headshot, and visitors can easily leave one-click "quick responses" to other messages.

Further building on the Ranks branding, Muenyong plans to unveil even more sites by the end of 2001. VIPLounge.com will be an adult Webmaster portal, a one-stop site bringing together news and information from a variety of online sources; and RanksCounter, "a full-blown counter and stat service." Like the other Ranks sites, both VIP Lounge and RanksCounter will be smartly designed, easy to use, with minimal graphics, a super clean interface, and superb organization. The counter's sophisticated stats can be accessed in real-time, and Webmasters can find out tons of information about how their site is being grazed. "Once the counter is out," says Muenyong, "all five components will send traffic in a circle and become one of the biggest networks in the adult business."