When looking up at one of the tallest trees in the forest, and then down at the tiny axe that's been provided to do a chopping good job, it's easy to get discouraged. Luckily enough, I had FlyntDigital's (www.flyntdigital.com) Bruce Benevento as a fall guy.
Recognizing that adult Internet empires built on stacks of girlie magazines have proven as fitful as they have fruitful, it's easy to take that first swing at Flynt; have they banked too much on Hustler?
"A magazine company should not move to the Net," begins Benevento, "unless they have a full understanding of the online adult industry - as well as the tools and staff to support such a venture. It's a different beast that requires adult Webmaster expertise to run successfully."
After all, LFP, Inc.'s interests include not only magazines and Internet ventures, but videos, retail stores, strip clubs, and a casino. Benevento says, "Our strategy has been to leverage the Hustler brand name in all areas of adult entertainment and so far, this strategy has worked very well."
Magazine sales have declined industry-wide, but Benevento feels Hustler and its sister publications have fared better than most companies, "due to our strong distribution, and continued focus on quality adult content."
The difference, he believes, between HUSTLER.com and some of the other well-publicized flounderings of big blue mags going online is in how they develop a presence on the Web.
"Magazine-based companies fail on the Net because they do not understand the dynamics of adult surfers, adult Webmasters, and the need to continuously bring unique content and quality services to the online adult industry.
"The adult Webmaster community is a close-knit group. It does not matter how large a company may be offline - if they do not present themselves properly in the online community, they will fail. By establishing key partnerships and listening to Webmasters, FlyntDigital has managed to build a large Webmaster base in a fairly short period of time, which is the key to our success."
Benevento explains that FlyntDigital offers adult Webmasters a variety of money-making options. "We give them the opportunity to promote the hottest names in adult entertainment by providing top-quality adult sites, killer conversion rates, reliable payouts, and a paycheck with Larry Flynt's signature on it - now who else can say that?" he laughs.
FlyntDigital is responsible for everything related to the Internet for LFP, Inc. They handle site design, marketing, content, Webmaster support, and hosting, among other services. Their primary business has been building and marketing adult Websites, and they plan to begin offering exclusive Hustler content to other adult Websites soon.
Benevento has a hard time picking out his favorite part of the Hustler site: "There is so much awesome content within the member's area that it's difficult... Some cool features are our exclusive full motion XXX movie theaters, the thousands of fresh girls in never-before-seen pictorials; overall, my favorite part is that everywhere you go within HUSTLER.com you find a personal touch, like the girls are jumping out of the screen and into your lap."
As a case in point, he offers one of HUSTLER.com's exclusive features, the Hustler Hot Letters. "Not only will you never see these anywhere else on the Internet, we've even stepped them up a notch and offer them with Audio-Flash animation. These Hot Letters stories come to life with hot nasty ladies sharing their most intimate secrets through triple-X Hustler exclusive slide shows, hands-free."
The company is always working on improving. "Being an online company means that you can never be satisfied with the way things are," Benevento says, "no matter how well things are going. The Net is ever-changing, and if you stand still for a minute you run the risk of missing out on being a part of - or creating - the next great thing."
FlyntDigital invites Webmasters to check them out. "Our strong brand name translates into amazing sales ratios," Benevento says. "In addition, we listen to our Webmasters. Tell us what you would like to see, and we'll do our best to deliver."
Existing affiliates get a lot of praise from Benevento, who recognizes that "without them, we would not be as successful online as we are today." He says keeping an open door to communication distinguishes FlyntDigital - "We always welcome questions, comments, ideas and feedback."
Upcoming is a revenue share option for affiliates, 60 percent recurring commissions on the life of constant members, a "Hustler4Life option, where Webmasters will be able to promote a Lifetime Membership to a new Hustler site we are building," as well as "several hot new Websites in the works to add to the FlyntDigital lineup!"