It would take quite some doing, and one jumbo-sized ball of cosmic string, but if space and time could be bent enough to gather E-Group's ten worldwide offices all beneath the same roof, there would be 260 brightly smiling employees representing 18 nationalities.
All right, all right, so they would more likely be sporting puzzled looks than smiles in this case, but the point is that the company's composition reflects its international focus.
Electronic Group Interactive, or E-Group for short, specializes in offering Web services and billing solutions to Internet companies looking to expand their businesses to reach foreign shores. The company operates in seven different major languages including German, French, Italian, Dutch, English, Japanese, and Spanish.
Bjorn Skarlen, E-Group's Director of Business Development, describes his company as "young, highly educated, and ready to provide only the best in service and support." Notably, the average employee at E-Group is only 22 years old, but Skarlen is quick to point out that the founders bring more than 20 years' of experience in the premium rates billing market to the table, and, he says, "Our depth gives us the expertise to successfully localize our products.
"We work to provide the highest-quality service to our clients by focusing on the needs of our end users, without forgetting the importance of our webmasters," says Skarlen. "We want to continuously pursue the best content and the most innovative products, and run it all on straightforward, robust technology.
"It's an approach that has paid off and we expect to share this year's $120 million turnover with the more than 5,000 active Webmasters currently working with us. We're proud to be able to supply stable results and reliable payouts. Our sites receive 60 million unique visitors each month, leading to 50,000 minutes billed daily - and that's more than 180 million minutes billed annually.
"To make our Webmasters' lives easy, we have a highly efficient payment system in place; our clients all know they will always get paid in full and on time. By focusing on achieving these customer-oriented goals, we have built excellent long-term relationships with our webmasters, and have been able to pay out millions of US dollars to date."
Dialling for Dollars
E-Group's flagship product, NoCreditCard.com (aka sex-explorer.com), boasts over 160 girls ready to provide live performances and has "the largest and most exclusive member's area available on the 'Net," says Skarlen, who also points out that "Nielson/Netrating has NoCreditCard.com ranked as the 125th most-visited site worldwide."
Of course, it probably doesn't hurt NoCreditCard's reputation that over two-dozen of the site's models have married their clients.
In keeping with the site's name, users don't need a credit card to access the content. All that's needed is an Internet connection; whether by DSL, LAN, ISDN, or modem. Even oddballs using WebTV can access the site's content. Of course, the site wouldn't want to turn anyone away, and understandably accepts credit card payments also.
The original NoCreditCard dialer is a small 22kb download that automatically detects a user's browser and operating system. It is compatible with Windows 95/98/2000/NT and works with all browsers, even AOL. Easy-to-follow instructions in multiple languages are included.
E-Group assures its Webmasters that each of its dialers adheres to the telecom rules for the country the dialer was downloaded from and that E-Group operates several solutions within each country, partnering with the largest telecom companies to ensure continuity.
Another billing option made to appeal to broadband users is Phone2enter, "the only global broadband solution available on the market. It is the best billing option for the LAN, cable, and WebTV connected," says Skarlen. How it works: End users access a Webmaster's billing page and select the Phone2enter option, the consumer receives a phone number to call and receive a password, and then accesses the membership area using that password.
Other products the company offers include StripPlayer.com, a personal live show player where streaming images and live chat provide a one-on-one live show experience, and SexyCall.com, a product E-Group believes is the first of its kind in offering live telephone sex combined with live one-on-one video.
Two particularly interesting non-adult products that E-group offers seem to target younger, techno-groupie type adults. The first, VideoParty.com, is like an interactive version of online personals where web cam technology intersects with chatting and dating.
The second product, called MobileParty, offers scads off hip images and ring tones to download to cell phones. (And I'm sure I'm not the only one imaging a breathy Catherine Zeta-Jones saying "Get more." No lawsuits, please.)
Interested Webmasters can check out all of Electronic Group's offerings, including a few not mentioned in this article, at www.cash-explorer.com.
"We take a long-term approach to relationships with our webmasters and with our end-users," says Skarlen, "and this means our team has to be one hundred percent focused on providing high-quality solutions and customer service. No matter where in the world our customers are when they find us, they stick with us."