What distinguishes Hosts4Porn.com, a community-based site dedicated to aiding Web developers in finding adult Internet hosts, is not so much the comprehensive coverage of the subject they afford those just entering the field ... it's that they are the field.
Stephen Mayhew, one of the creators of this warehouse-of-information-at-your-fingertips dotcom, says it this way: "When people don't understand what the industry is, or exactly what we do, we describe ourselves as a trade publication - a very specialized trade publication."
Hosts4Porn's most exceptional attribute is the unique directory of Web hosting companies they provide, from which users can effect "drill-down" searches to find the adult hosting provider, co-located server or dedicated server best attuned to their needs. The site's greatest distinction is that it features detailed information on every single facet of the only money-making venture on the Internet these days, with over 100 pages of commentary and guides about adult Web hosting and using an adult Web host. Content includes company profiles, detailing what various hosts do, how they work and what they're about. There are search-and-compare functions within the directory, informative reviews and articles written by industry professionals, host test tools and advice on topics ranging from choosing a virtual server to a detailed introduction of Network Operation Centers.
"We're the resource center," Mayhew calculates. "We offer information for people new to the Net, and new to the adult industry; and we also offer information for people who already have a host who are looking to upgrade, or are looking to utilize their host more effectively."
Ensuring that Web developers find exactly what they need through independent research is the keystone goal at Hosts4Porn. They launched in June 2000, and traffic and user interest suggests they fulfill that promise.
Mayhew recalls getting started. "I presented the idea of Hosts4Porn.com to a couple of other people; they thought it was pretty interesting. It was an untapped market. With their help, I started it up. The empty niche was the most engaging thing about it."
Building the business was a step-by-step enterprise. "We got some really strong writers," Mayhew reveals, "and people within the hosting industry. We built a large bank of articles to set ourselves apart from everybody else. From there, we evolved it to include interviews and profiles on hosting companies.
"We have in-house journalists," Mayhew continues, "but our technicians are writers, too. We are comprised of people who have an interest in Web hosting, people who can put together their ideas and get them on paper, follow a logical structure, a format."
Everyone at the company is responsible for developing Hosts4Porn's user-accessible services. Other site highlights include a showcase section, which spotlights hosting companies or various projects. There's a specials section, made up of hosts offering promotions and discounts, as presented to Hosts4Porn by the different companies. There's also a newsletter that comes out every couple of weeks, based on user questions.
Hosts4Porn devotes the maximum amount of energy to gauging and staying on top of the wave. "We try to look ahead at things," Mayhew stresses, "see what's popular, as well as trying to teach people about buying properly. If you're serious about this, and you're going into this as a business, buy something that's scalable, learn about what your options are and what you can grow into. We like to teach people about all the different things that are available to them."
When asked about future trends, Mayhew says: "I see a lot of movement towards managed sites. I see a lot of - and the people who all work together as a team here - we see the price of dedicated servers dropping, and the inclusion of more managed services, more support, more hands-on attention ... basically, a lot more service. Service is what makes the difference.
As far as new developments, "we just added in a really nice little search feature in Ask the Pornhoster: a keyword search of all the content on our site, probably one of the larger banks of content you're going to find about adult hosting, and even for hosting in general."
All in all, Mayhew attributes the success of Hosts4Porn.com to the people who use it and the people who staff it. "It's phenomenal, actually, working within the adult community, in terms of the amount of word-of-mouth and references. And the people who work here; they're all crucial to anything that we've done. Allison, Adam and Liam - without them we'd still be on our original page. They've really made the difference between doing something right and not doing it at all."