IVOLT Networks stands out as a more contemporary version of the famous conglomerate that a Midwesterner named Hugh Hefner created over 40 years ago.
An intuitive feel for the needs of a specific market is key if a company wants to operate in the black. IVOLT Networks and its Website, IVOLT.com, offer a modern, attainable take on Playboy's effective lifestyle marketing campaign.
Besides the ubiquitous live video feeds, a visit to www.ivolt.com reveals a smorgasbord of delightful femmes, humor, advice, toys, and even clothing. Everything from the fantastic girls-next-door seen in 'The Girls of IVOLT," to the "Student Bodies" most often sought within the halls of academia is available for consumption.
This is all part of a grand design from Greg S. Salsburg, founder and CEO of IVOLT Networks, LLC and IVOLT.com. "I believe I've morphed the best of Maxim and Playboy into a one-stop destination online and a consistent brand offline," Salsburg says.
The former communications major is quick to make distinctions between his and the brand that inspired it. "We prefer to have our brand be more accessible in the marketplace and not have it holed up in a mansion. I think of where Playboy was back in 1957. In essence, they revolutionized the magazine industry," he says.
Believing their audience wants something original, sexy, cutting edge, and funny has allowed IVOLT Networks to bloom. For example, a click on the Website's "Position of the Week" reveals an ideal update to the Kama Sutra's ancient variations: The erotic contortions are illustrated by flesh-and-blood female models who can be best described as effervescently nubile. "The concept behind the PotW came from me hating when I'd see Websites use stick figures, copies of sketches from Kama Sutra books, or a static picture with just verbiage to describe the proper positions. We wanted to be original and shoot what we wanted to see," he says.
The realm of adult entertainment is crowded one. Bolstering his business manifesto with a historical perspective, Salsburg notes that many the greatest U.S. companies including Xerox, IBM, - and even Playboy Inc. - have never owned more than a 30 percent market share. "That allows me to cultivate the other 70 percent. I will take those odds," he says.
Microsoft Windows 2000 Advance Server is the core software powering the IVOLT Network. Flash 6, Adobe PhotoShop, iChat, and several proprietary software applications are used in tandem to create the print-quality images on the Website.
"Our 'IVOLT Anywhere' software is a custom-built interface allowing members to take IVOLT with them on the go," Salsburg says. Based on the Pocket PC platform, the "Anywhere" feature lets members access full-color photos, videos, jokes, stories, and games on their handheld devices.
The story of IVOLT Networks begins over a decade ago, with Salsburg managing a modest living within the marketing, entertainment, and financial fields. "During the height of the Internet boom, I was working with a group that wanted to purchase a famous chain of strip clubs," he says. After looking a little deeper into that venture, it became crystal clear to the entrepreneur that the Internet and the offline distribution of products should be his focus.
In the early to mid-'90s, hardcore porn was everywhere. Salsburg remembers the dearth of companies atop the softcore market and having to search even for those few. "Playboy and Danni Ashe of Danni's Hard Drive were the leaders back then, and let's just say their examples were motivation enough for me to want to enter the adult entertainment sector," Salsburg says.
But Salsburg knew he couldn't succeed on his own, so he asked his associates who they would recommend as a partner. Acting on their advice, he phoned a man he'd never met, Brendon Shah.
"Two years ago, out of the blue, I called Shah and said 'You don't know me, but I have friends who know you and they say you are talented. By the time we hang up this call, you are going to work with me on a new project.' When he did not laugh or hang up, I knew I had my guy," Salsburg says.
As IVOLT Network's COO, Shah is a trusted ally and business partner, acting as a "silent foil" to Salsburg's more active public role as the company's owner.
The duality of their relationship appears to greatly benefit IVOLT Networks. "In only six months after launch, IVOLT.com has received over three million hits and an average of 1.8 million page views per month," Salsburg says.
Perhaps fittingly for a softcore site, IVOLT.com launched on Valentine's Day.
"Every successful business in the world is labor intensive with the magic coming from the attention to the minutia. My motivation comes from the drive to create the best men's entertainment company in the world," Salsburg says. "I have made sure I surrounded myself with the best and brightest who do and who can take my visions and make them come to life."