Charlie Ferrari and Saboom: Thinking Outside the Box


Charlie Ferrari

By M.Christian

YNOT EUROPE – As anyone in the business world knows all too well, innovation is the key to rising above the competition — whether your products are industrial widgets or explicit adult content. That is why it’s essential not just to think creatively on your own, but also to watch others’ experiments.

Which brings us to a chat with Charles Ferrari. Charlie, to his friends, has been working on the edge of things — both in the U.S. and Europe — not only thinking outside the box in the present but also looking to the future. Ferrari is one of the key points of contact at adult website Saboom.com and its affiliate program, Partnercash. Based in Austria, Saboom’s interactive porn offers users an uncommonly immersive, choose-your-own-adventure approach to online adult entertainment.

Ferrari clued us in to some of his thoughts.

YNOT: Please tell us a bit about yourself, Partnercash and Saboom.

Charles Ferrari: I’ve been working with Partnercash.com for almost four years now. Before that, I came from the IT sector, as a sysadmin, and was searching for a new challenge. For the first three years I’ve been key account manager for almost 7,000 German affiliates, managing our domain-parking service and served as sales guy for our hosting department. Last year I switched to the international affiliate system to boost the international sales team and promote Saboom.

Saboom is our first step into the international market. What makes Saboom so unique is that it allows the customer to pick his own porn adventures. Users can watch the video, and at different cue points, questions will pop up with multiple answers and ways to continue with the adventure. The users can then build their own porn adventure, using our Porndirector feature, by adding these scenes to a timeline. Once they are finished, they can then save the movie they’ve created and share it with a community with other users, where they can discuss what they’ve created.

The Interactive Button also gives users the possibility of getting an overview of all the scenes and to skip several scenes. Another awesome feature is Point of View, which allows the user to switch to another camera angle.

Saboom was developed as a solution to monetize tube site traffic, allowing us to offer interactive content without losing any advertising spaces or places. With Saboom, tube sites can offer interactive content — content that can’t be copied, so customers are more willing to purchase a membership.

What are the biggest differences — and similarities — between the adult business environments in the U.S. and Europe?

There are some differences regarding content, number of competitors, mentality, traffic, prices, as well as affiliate commission models and payment options for consumers. In Europe, content differs from country to country: for example the French market is quite similar to the U.S. market: glamorous and high quality. The German customers, though, are more attracted to natural — what Americans would consider amateur — content, and they don’t seem to want high-quality content like the French or U.S. users.

European countries, too, prefer products in their own languages. So it’s not that easy to convert German users on French sites and vice-versa. Consequently, there aren’t as many competitors as in the U.S.

Also, in Germany most customers pay their memberships via direct debit, while in France they prefer mobile payment options. So Europe can’t be seen as one market like the U.S. The U.S. has a higher population with more or less the same language and preferences regarding content, payment options and so on, but in Europe each country is different.

Another difference is pricing. Because of the higher number of competitors in the U.S., businesses have had to beat down the price of memberships to be competitive. Additionally, the U.S. has much more well known brands like Playboy, Hustler, Brazzers and a lot of high traffic tube sites that don’t really exist in Europe … for the moment.

Where do you see adult entertainment going in the next few years? What can people in the industry do to prepare?

Well, the industry has changed a lot in the past few years, from the gold-digger times when you could make money out of practically nothing to a time when search engines and free sites came to rule the net. In my opinion, there is a current boom in free internet porn, driven by market and world crises. A lot of users aren’t disposed to spend their hard-earned money on pay sites when they could get free content — which gets back to my prior statement regarding the huge growth of tube sites.

For sure there are products and sites that aren’t free, such as live-cam and dating sites and amateur sites. In the future, I think there will be a focus on high-quality and unique content, which will become keystones for successful products. But these sites won’t work without knowing the users, how they consume content and over which devices — mobile, TV, etc.

It will be more important than ever not to oversleep on trends, which is why we created Saboom.com. We’re also working on several new ways to bring Saboom’s content to customers. When we created Saboom, we developed a new way to deliver video content to consumers, bringing them a new experience that also makes them pull out their wallets to pay for porn video entertainment. There are more delivery methods to explore.

What are the most successful strategies you see adult enterprises undertaking?

It used to be that the most profitable strategy was to gain fast money and screw the users. That has changed. Now it’s more important than ever to bring the user the best experience and to give him the content he wants or needs.

The most successful strategies I see adult enterprises undertaking right now involve focusing on high-quality and unique content and products. Another part of this is to focus on creating high-traffic sites with free content, or to collaborate with these kinds of sites. In other words, if a market tends towards free content, you’d rather be the first one to go that way. If you combine all this with a quality product, no matter which genre, and the coverage of all devices — desktop, tablets, mobiles, TV, etc. — then you have prepared the foundation for success in the future.

The right strategy is also a function of the size of your company. If I’m able to spread my product portfolio, I’ll be able to employ a wide variety of tactics. For a smaller company, it may be better to create a unique part in the whole business cycle — such as building the best Tranny site in the world or creating a good premium local market and building partnerships with the ones who create the best premium video, live-cam or dating product.

Whatever you do, it’s important to keep your eyes open and to stay connected with how others are innovating. Be original, and don’t be afraid to innovate.

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