PUEBLO, Colo. — Online ad network TrafficDude has closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. For many in the adult industry, it's heartbreaking news, as the company stood for integrity, always placing people above technology and trends.
TrafficDude co-founder Scott Rabinowitz confirmed to AVN.com that a letter from lawyer Mac Gallegos notified clients about the company's closure, the end of services and a liquidation of both business and personal assets.
This month marked nine years for the firm as one of the adult industry's most prominent traffic brokers. While the bankruptcy process is already running its course, Rabinowitz, true to his reputation in the industry, is most concerned that everyone's taken care of -- his staff and clients.
"The most important thing is for it to be closed properly. That's the main priority," he said.
The current state of the economy, which has hit the adult industry just as in the mainstream, most certainly played a part in shutting the company's doors, though Rabinowitz said it was a combination of factors.
"I would say the speed by which client-vendor relations go financially has slowed down and we're not the only one that have experienced this, but we're the first established service company to have it go all the way through," he said.
Rabinowitz notes that in past years, it was easier for adult companies to not look deeply beneath a surface level of success, where one might find problems.
"The impression I get is most people think we're the first of many to make such an announcement," he said. "In the better, old days, so to speak, people didn't have to be as analytical about how a company was doing as opposed to a specific product."
Rabinowitz said the company will not restructure, nor re-open under a new name as some firms do coming out bankruptcy. In-house counsel will be maintained as things come to a close.
"We want to ensure that staff, vendors and clients will be able to go on, and make sure clients and vendors can keep working together," he said. "As things wind down, we want any and all resources we have to use for the betterment of others."
Rabinowitz's comments reflect the high standards that have been a hallmark of his business.
"We've always tried to maintain a certain standard of doing things. We basically made it a top priority to maintain it higher than average; we didn't sell bulk mail, we didn't sell adware," he said. "We didn't grab the 'low-hanging fruit' associated with traffic sales, even down to logistics and organization and how the staff was handled. We had employees instead of contractors, spending extra money other folks wouldn't have seen as necessary. Our operation hasn't been technology-driven and has required a more administrative approach and I think that's going to be important for companies going forward in any industry."
For Rabinowitz and TrafficDude, the priority was always people as opposed to technology, as well as integrity and service admired throughout the adult industry.
"Most people come into the industry, not expecting much or not thinking too much about the reality of labor and over time, recruiting, properly compensating, and seeing the proper jelling between labor and your company," he told AVN.com. "It was critical for us, as a service company. Human assets are your most important assets and what it takes to support people in your group.
"So, definitely, the economy is a major part of it, but I would say, in hindsight, embracing people assets over technology assets, some might say that was a mistake. But all the way to the end, I think people were our vest best assets," Rabinowitz said. "Perhaps a better marriage of tech and people might have led to a different outcome of circumstances. But it's always of great importance to make sure clients and staff were taken care of."
The crushing weight of the situation makes it difficult to find perspective, though Rabinowitz believes in a few months, he'll be able to reflect on things to a greater degree.
"We are all optimists; we want it to work. Some try and fail, some will not try that hard and succeed," he continued. "There are 'new newbies' that have been talked about, coming in with business plans, capital. They're well-educated and definitely going to give a run for their money to incumbents that are not as seasoned. There's a difference between having a good product and running a company."
For now, Rabinowitz hopes to link up TrafficDude clients and vendors, with introductions made for them to continue business.
"We had great people who worked here, fantastic publishers and advertisers," he said. "There have been ups and downs, but we know we generated good income, good quality and service for a vast number of people."