Posted at 10:15 on 17 Jun 2014 by Pandora Blake
Cheap cameras and free online tools have democratised porn. Now anyone - performers, their friends, even you - can control the means of production and make and sell videos online. As far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier. The more people produce their own erotic material, expressing their own sexuality and fantasies, the more diverse and representative porn will be. I think that do-it-yourself porn is our best chance of weakening the restrictive, sexist narratives which are all too familiar from mainstream productions. This is the first of a series of blogposts offering tutorials on how to get started selling your own porn online.
Clips4Sale.com is a video on demand distributor which specialises in fetish content from independent producers, often made by the performers themselves. They let you sell video online without paying any upfront fees, avoiding the commitment in terms of time and expense involved in running an adult membership site. Unlike other VOD sites, they let the customer buy the film by downloading the video file to their hard drive, rather than renting it by making it available to stream for a limited time.
When you sign up for a Clips4Sale merchant account, they provide you with a storefront (http://yourname.clips4sale.com), file hosting for your video clips, and secure credit card processing, in exchange for 40% of every sale. It's a large cut, and their content management system is a pain to use, but there are advantages. Not only is it free to get started, and lets you sell video without needing to learn any programming skills, but Clips4Sale have a large regular user base, and they will drive traffic to your store beyond what you would be able to attract by yourself.
You need ten videos to get started, and you can choose the preview image and write the blurb for each one yourself. Although the layout of every Clips4Sale store is the same boxy, 1990s design, you can customise it to some extent by adding HTML to the top and bottom of the page, and adding some styles to the header. This can let you set the background colour/image of your page, choose fonts and colours, and add image banners and text to the header and footer if you wish. Check out my clips store to get an idea of the sort of thing you can do.
You can also use Clips4Sale to accept donations using their "tribute button". They take the same cut - 40% - but they don't really mind what you use it for, and it's the only donate button I've found which includes adult sites in its acceptable use policy (unlike, famously, Paypal).
Clips4Sale provide other services too: they offer a camming service and a membership site autogenerated from your clips store which you can then customise further, although I haven't used either of these. You can also sell photosets (in zip format) through Images4Sale and DVDs through Videos4Sale, but I find the traffic on these sites is very low, and I don't make enough sales for it to be worth keeping my photo and DVD stores regularly updated.
Clips4Sale's primary focus is fetish material. I've said before that everyone should read the Clips4Sale category list at least once in their life, and I mean it: especially if you are considering setting up shop, you will discover fetish genres you never knew there was an audience for, a lot of which can be shot cheaply as solo scenes at home. In my store, I find that male submissive videos are the most popular; on average my best sellers are M/M films, then F/M.
The key things you need to know about making money on Clips4Sale are:
- Update your store regularly. Each time you publish a new video your store link is pushed onto the Clips4Sale homepage, giving you more visitors and more sales. I put a new clip live every week on Friday evenings, but if you can update more regularly than that, do so. Space your updates out - there's no point putting two clips live on the same day when you could bump your store to the homepage two days that week instead of one.
- I get the impression that cheap and cheerful clips sell best. Most customers are looking for a quick fix, a few minutes at most, a video that leads straight into the action and won't break the bank. I don't actually do this - I'm too busy to re-edit custom Clips4Sale versions of all my videos, so I put up each film exactly as it appears on Dreams of Spanking - including intro, credits, plot, build up and so on. But if you have time to edit your film down to a quick and dirty five minute piece that doesn't waste time on long intros and cuts straight to the chase, you'll probably find you'll sell more copies.
- Some people generate more updates by publishing the same video multiple times in different file formats, but personally I think this looks tacky. One good idea is to offer different lengths of each video - perhaps a full-length version, an abridged version, or a compilation of all the films in a series. Other producers split videos into multiple clips and offer each one for sale separately, although as a consumer I dislike this approach, so it's not something I do myself.
- Spend time on your previews. Good copy makes a big difference. Clips4Sale won't let you upload your own video trailers (it offers an automated one consisting of the first 30 seconds of your video, which isn't any use if you have an intro sequence or opening credits), so I make animated gifs for each clip and upload those. The images are all hard-resized to 400px x 226px by Clips4Sale, so create them at that size to avoid them appearing distorted.
- Link to your store from as many places as possible. Social media is a good place to start - I tweet links to new clips (there's an option to do this automatically in the Clips4Sale interface, but it doesn't always work). I also drive traffic from my membership website by adding a "Buy now" VOD button for each film, which provide an option for non-members to buy individual films using the Clips4Sale payment processor.
Spanking Library offers a similar service - here's my store with them - and has the advantage of being connected to SpankingTube. You will have the same login across both sites, and when you upload free videos to SpankingTube (I post all my trailers), the site automatically adds a banner link to your SpankingLibrary store. So that's good for exposure, but I find that the sales volume is consistently lower than through Clips4Sale - perhaps a quarter of the volume - and the payouts are less regular as well, with late payments being a fairly frequent occurrence. Female submissive material is the bestseller on SpankingLibrary, so if most of your content is M/F, F/F or solo-F, you might find it's more worthwhile.
I've heard a number of producers saying that the membership/subscription model of selling porn is reaching the end of its viability. Paul Kennedy suggests in this podcast that most customers don't want that level of commitment - having to spend a certain amount of time downloading and watching videos in order to get their money's worth - and recommends that new producers embrace the video-on-demand model, selling individual clips instead of site memberships. Feminist porn is moving away from downloads and memberships and towards streaming and video-on-demand, such as with the new VOD site PinkLabel.TV.
Have you tried producing and selling your own clips? Are there any other video on demand sites you would recommend? If you have any tips to add, questions to ask, or disagree with anything I've written here, feel free to add them in the comments!