The alternative paper New York Press (www.nypress.com) profiled Teleteria.com President Jay Servidio, using the custom adult turnkey Website as a prime example of how adult Websites are "recession-proof." 'Course, we know about all that - our questions were actually about Teleteria itself. Relax, read on, enjoy.
Jay Servidio, President of Teleteria.com: You're gonna let me talk about my favorite subject.
Rebecca Gray, Our Girl Friday: I could make stuff up.
JSPOT: [Pause.] Tried to get started in '92, '93 by raising $50,000 to put a piece of equipment on an island of Anguila, down south, to sell 0-1-1 termination to this island. At that time, 0-1-1 was very big in the audiotext market; audiotext, of course, meaning phone sex.
RGOGF: Uh, what is this zero-one-one?
JSPOT: 0-1-1 is an international call. For the question of 40 percent of phones in the United States becoming blocked from dialing 900 numbers, one of the answers was, get a deal with a foreign government and put a box [in their country] that answers calls and plays prerecorded messages or that answers calls and bounces the call back to the United States to play either a prerecorded message or connects with a live girl.
RGOGF: It's a brilliant loophole.
JSPOT: Yeah, well, it wasn't my idea. The original concept wasn't my idea; but the phone sex industry, how people made money, was to copy - which is what happens in any industry - copy the original model and try to make a better mousetrap.
Eventually, phone sex wore off, and we flipped over to adult Websites, and then we hired a designer and then another designer, and then we had a server connected to the Net in this guy's basement. When his wife found out what was on the server, either he or the server had to leave (this was New Canaan, CT, where I've lived for the last 11 years. A very Christian, quiet, affluent sort of church-on-every-corner kind of town... Letterman lives there) - his wife just went nuts: "If our neighbors found out" - so we moved into an online cafe and then we moved into an ISP in Baltimore, and then I hired one of their top programmers away. He put our five servers on an Amtrak train, drove them up to New York, and we have them at the Globix.com building - a cross between NASA and Fort Knox - which is where Penthouse and ICQ and all the big brokerage firms in Manhattan have their servers. Right down the street from the courthouse. Right down the street from the Federal Reserve bank, the one with all the gold. They're on the same ConEd feed as that bank. It's 24 hours a day. Under no circumstances are they down. If New York has a power failure, they've got diesel generators to back them up. Our stuff stays on. It's a very impressive facility.
RGOGF: So what exactly does Teleteria provide?
JSPOT: Teleteria's key product is a custom adult turnkey Website. If you're interested in coming into this industry, we'll provide you with a custom-designed Website where you own the domain, and the billing company name is set up in your name so you get paid on all of your revenue directly from the billing company. And your membership section taps into a library that we've amassed over the last five years of 100,000 pictures. And we buy various feeds from other companies.
The key element here is that the client receives all of the money directly from the billing company and does not - repeat not - share this profit with Teleteria. We are the only avenue through which people can come into this industry, get treated fairly, and have an opportunity to make a profit. The other companies out there act as billing companies and take a percentage of the revenue, which means there's no accountability. It's not fair for the people. We've got clients that do really really well.
Also, I teach classes for The Learning Annex in New York and in Toronto, Canada every month. "How to Get Started and Make a Profit in the Adult Internet Industry." One night, three hours. What I stress about this industry is, you have to control your money. All the revenue streams have to flow through you and through no one else.
RGOGF: Have you found that there's a basic design to adult Internet success, lucrative for everyone, that you can teach people?
JSPOT: At first, everybody needs a little hand-holding. We provide it for them. I show them how to go to adult search engines, link to adult sites, get banner trades, referral programs, how to sell their exit traffic, how to link to toy stores, how to make money off the live video revenue and the live audio revenue.
RGOGF: How big is the Teleteria crew?
JSPOT: About a dozen. We fluctuate between 10 and 14 people, depending on if we're doing a trade show. Around trade show times we get an influx of new clients. In the summer, classes and Web traffic both taper off, because the kids are out of school, everybody's outside. It's a cyclical business, like anything else.
The package we put together right now costs $10,000. It's a 10-page Website, with $80,000 worth of content in the membership section. For the average Joe coming into this business, they don't have "an extra" $10-$20,000 to buy a bunch of content to put into a Website that may or may not make money. With our package, they get a custom-designed Website with a tremendous amount of content, and they're ready to rock and roll in seven to 10 days.
RGOGF: [Silence. Intake of breath.]
JSPOT: I'm writing a book.
RGOGF: [Exhale.] Tell.
JSPOT: It's called Can You Use An Extra Couple of Grand a Month?
RGOGF: Yes. I mean, yes.
JSPOT: The book is about the class that I teach; how people can get started; my experiences and things I do to maintain myself and my company. I'm involved in karate, I train and teach karate four or five days a week. Stuff I have to do to maintain happiness and serenity in the environment of cash and sex 24 hours a day. I didn't want to get into the adult industry. Now that I'm in it, it's got very little to do with pornography for me. There was a time three years ago when my company started to really really take off, and I had a lot of disposable income, and I saw myself going into a lifestyle that was... fruitless. That's when I got back into karate. Lost weight. Got focused. There are huge rewards that keep coming into my life.