VIVID INTERNET EXPANSION: Made of More Than Square Feet

Vivid Internet is growing by leaps and bounds - as in "city block" and "tall building in a single.... " V.P. of Internet marketing David Schlesinger started the tour of the newest jewel in the Vivid crown with a walk-through of the physical plant in Van Nuys, California.

"So basically we own most of the block," he explains. "This right here was a box cover warehouse where we stored all our discontinued boxes and whatnot; it was basically a waste of space, but in the non-digital world of years past you needed to keep that stuff. [Vivid Internet] outgrew ourselves. We were stuck in one of the little offices [in the original compound] that you walk past and don't even pay attention to. We grew into a staff of around 30 or so people, give or take; so we decided to take this building over. I'd say we're only 60 percent done getting into it, but it's our new home."

The Vivid Internet department's new space houses a conference room, a live-event studio, a hosting facility, executive offices and offices for customer service, and in the center ring - literally - the programming, HTML and design bullpen, where the nuts and bolts creation goes down.

Schlesinger provides background on the ways and means of Vivid Internet's growth:

"We have a relationship with a company called XPAYS - an exclusive agreement with Essociate, their non-adult company - they have a pretty robust marketing and Webmaster program. We take their affiliate marketing software that they use with their XPAYS network, which is basically an affiliate system-brokering network. So we've licensed their software to build our Webmaster program. It's a very intense partnership because we really work closely together; they're up in San Francisco but it's like we're one staff. They've got about six people dedicated full-time to work with Vivid on the affiliate end. You see me here as the sole salesguy/marketing guy/businessperson, but I've got a strong back-up from S.F. when it comes to that stuff. Not only do they handle the technical background, we're building our networks together.

XPAYS works as a broker, says Schlesinger, who elaborates that "you could send traffic to Vivid, iGallery, Cyberotica, all the big companies; and they have things like a sex toy store and phone sex numbers, and customized exit traffic to make it so you can kind of meld all the programs together to your liking based on your traffic. So if you have traffic that does really well with celebrity sites and teen sites, and you can't find a sponsor that has that kind of a chain going, you can kind of customize with XPAYS, send traffic through them; they pay fair market for your traffic."

As far as establishing a Vivid Internet niche goes, Schlesinger opines, "There's the Vivid site [at], which is the mother ship. That's a niche in itself. People think, 'Oh, megasite, Vivid, Vivid site,' but the Vivid Girls is a niche: Classy, glossy, bouffant porn stars. It's a look and it's been a marketing campaign and it's been a marketing animal for 15 years now, and taking it on the Internet doesn't mean, 'If you put it out there, they will come'; there's still that core group that loves the Vivid Girls, and they're gonna come and want to be members. There's also the people - they love porno but are into that fresh-off-the-bus, 18-year-old-looking girl - that don't have that Vivid appeal - so for that group we have; we have a Black site, we have an Asian site, we have an anal site, a gay site. There are smaller sites - little cookie-cutters that kind of cater to each girl individually, or teams of girls - we've got about 17 pay sites now. It's a pretty good number.

"Our latest and greatest is we've got a site called Vivid on Demand []," Schlesinger continues, "which is basically a 24-hour membership that gives access to our entire library for 10 bucks. Watch any movie as many times as you want, watch half a movie, whatever you want to do. The database is set up by girl and by film, with a little background information." Bob Johnson, V.P. of Internet creative, offers on the subject of supply and demand that "Because Vivid is such a diverse franchise, and because the Vivid Girls skirt not only the adult world but the mainstream world, we have a lot more avenues; so I don't think we're ever going to exhaust our capabilities. Right now on the boards we have designs for all kinds of sites. We're not concerned about saturation."

Schlesinger concurs: "I think that with putting out the typical niche sites - that's only to keep people in our network. I don't think the world is dying for another cumshot site; we've got a lot of really neat content, so if they're gonna come to our front door, through Vivid or through whatever, I'd like for us to be the one-stop shop for their affiliate marketing needs."

Vivid Internet material is "home-grown," says Johnson. The only exception is niche sites that provide material the company doesn't deal in as far as creating content goes. But "We do Webcast, we produce from live feed," says Johnson.

"Right now it's the still image [dominating Internet adult sites]," Johnson offers, "and, of course, the video; but live is coming. It's just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. Why? Because the medium's going to get better, the technology's going to get better, and Vivid's going to be right there."