EXPANSION Marks the Progress of BT Productions

Partner Jimmy Gross reveals that growing Phoenix-based ISP BT Productions started out of a home office. "Then we bought an office building two years ago," he says, "actually, an old house that we converted into office space - it was cheaper. Now we're moving out of this building because we have a 6,000-square-foot collocation. So I'm in the process of renting out cubicle space."

The physical moving up and out is a direct reflection of the cyber growth BT is experiencing. As explained on their homepage, "BT Productions is a Website-hosting company that specializes in adult content sites. We provide a wide range of services, from DSL and dial-up connections to hosting packages for any budget."

"Jimmy and I own another company, which is a computer networking company," says partner Eric Constantino, adding that the mainstay business has been around for seven years. "And we had a lot of our clients - we would get requests to do Web hosting and Web design, so we started to do that. Then we had people start to contact us about whether we would be open to adult content sites, designing and hosting them.

"We sat down and said, 'Well, you know, we're going to try to keep this separate from the rest of the business,' since we do Web hosting and things for churches and mainstream companies. We decided to go ahead and open BT Productions as a separate company for the adult community."

Right now, energies are focused on getting out the word about the company. "We went to the last Internext show, and started passing out our cards, and it just started to grow from there. I think November of last year is when we started registering our own adult domains; we have 21 domains registered. At this point we have seven sites plus our Web mall, that all the sites tie into."

BT Productions offers original art, videos, and photographs, as well as adult toys, from their Web-based "supermall."

"For the Web mall, we find photographers who are looking for somebody to sell photo CDs of their models for them. For video companies, like Allan Alan Pictures, we re-sell their videos. We have an artist from Oregon who does graphite drawings. We have an artist in California who does sand-blasted erotic sculpture, so we sell those. It's not your typical adult store."

BT is working with the Robert Bane Gallery, offering all the artists' work online in the Web mall, which can be found at www.yngmen.com.

"It's very slick, it's very high tech," Constantino says.

Constantino's explored a few other ideas for setting BT apart. "We find our own models and take pictures, and do some of our own original content for our own site, so we also have some original photo CDs that we sell. We give the models a really big split. We don't pay them anything up front, but frankly, it's one of these things where they're looking for the exposure.

"I've done a lot of research," he continues. "I've gone out and looked at other Websites that are selling photo CDs, and tried to take the best of what I saw out there as far as ideas and format, and the worst of what I saw as far as pricing, and tried to strike a balance. It gives photographers and models a good venue for getting their names and their faces and product out there. Same with the artists. A lot of them have their own Websites, but that's just one Website."

Personal contact is a BT keystone. "We try to speak with each of our vendors in person," Constantino says, "At least by telephone, if only to say, 'Hey, we're going to be at this particular function, or this particular show, if you're going to be there,' so we can sit down, take them out to dinner, whatever. [We like to] put a face and a handshake with the service, talk philosophy, where we're at, what we will and won't use as far as products from them, and we try to keep it very personable. We do a lot of e-mail, a lot of faxes, a lot of keeping in touch. I'm forever blasting out e-mails."

BT is invested in hosting adult content responsibly. Constantino elaborates, "Visitors absolutely have to have a UGAS [United Gay Adult Sites] password to get in.

"We've got one straight adult content site. They use AdultCheck, and we'll be putting that on the page with UGAS also."

Furthermore, "We've been talking with Fred Lane, author of Obscene Profits," Constantino says, "and [1st Amendment Attorney] David Wasserman, and some other attorneys about getting involved - we're developing an Adult Webmasters Council that we're promoting from each of our sites. We have a mission statement up on btproductions.com that limits the type of content of the site, what will and will not be shown in front of the AVS [Age Verification System] page - we're trying to get that started as a self-policing organization. The companies that want to know that they're going to be on the bottom of the list for the government to look at host with us or join the Adult Webmasters Council and follow its rules, and feel fairly confident."

The intentions for the Web Council as posted on the site describe a "voluntary, self-regulating Council for Webmasters and hosting companies of Adult content sites. It is our hope that all responsible Webmasters and hosts will join us in trying to make the Web a safer place for those under 18 years of age."

Finally, their mission statement sums up their m.o.: "BT Productions is dedicated to hosting and developing only the highest quality adult sites."