Prime Internet Network (www.primeinternet.net) CEO and President Ray Vanpraag's come a long way from the minors: "My introduction to networks was when I was 12. I hacked CompuServe." He copped free access for almost two years, using the cyberJurassic-era Commodore 64 with one of "those huge, shoebox-type baud boxes." Not a daunting task in today's high-tech market, but "in those days computers were little more than typewriters with monitors and no special software," recalls Vanpraag.
From this illustrious starting point, Vanpraag decided upon the long way home, graduating, ironically enough, from a Sheriff's academy in '91 to pursue a life in law enforcement.
"It turned out to be really an unrewarding career for me," the one-time teen cyber-security menace reveals. "I started doing network stuff on the side, and I transitioned into doing it full time within two years."
The result, Vanpraag's successful Prime Internet Network and Wild Web Sites (www.wildwebsites.com), not only owns and operates its own private OC-12 data center, but also offers complete hosting, dedicated servers, co-location, site development and design, reseller/partnership programs, and complete support of servers and administration... all of this under one roof. "A one-stop shop," says Vanpraag.
Available package prices and descriptions vary widely, as Vanpraag promotes supporting sites that are unique and Webmasters with individual needs and wide-ranging ideas. Generally, dedicated servers come with complete administration and Website design packages, including initial tour pages, a main page, an image gallery, and room for streaming, stories, Web cams, chat rooms and more.
Bolstering the industry-wide move into VoD and streaming, expert Webcam development and deployment is available, with a choice of streaming from a "stream server" to users, or over HTTP for pre-recorded content only. Services in this area include 24/7 monitoring, repair, and qualified Unix and NT techs on hand.
Prime Internet is also iBill's (www.ibill.com) oldest technology partner and writes about 80 percent of its membership management software. Prime's iBill revenue share/partnership automation program, which allows Webmasters to use the iBill billing system (in which Webmasters can automate the partner tracking and payment process), can "significantly increase site profitability," the company promotes.
Vanpraag impresses upon Webmasters that price is not the only consideration when looking at these options. He recognizes that "the age-old practice of price cutting is alive and well." But you get what you pay for, he says - a battle cry he's become almost famous for.
Vanpraag delivers on his price tags by focusing on services such as "password protection, firewall management, client access control/customer service interface, and partnership programs," he says. "We really are here to help the adult Webmasters run their sites easier and faster."
Since 1995, Wild Web Sites has been running as a dedicated adult ecommerce division. The focus allows customers the freedom to interface comfortably with other professionals who understand the adult industry has more validity than the dirty little secret mainstream too often confines it to.
In the beginning, Vanpraag developed and maintained this work ethic alone. "I had a big hat rack," he jokes. These days, his duties are bigger in scope, with the same basic tenets to guide him. Does he miss the hands-on life? "No, I don't miss it at all. I have a great staff now, and they do a great job of keeping me free to develop new things."
Vanpraag recognizes fringe sites as the latest trend, and it is certainly the most recent method many Webmasters have chosen to distinguish themselves. He acknowledges they're potentially dangerous under the Ashcroft regime, but notes that in Europe, "things have loosened up," readjusting the U.S.'s cold tolerance with the more moderate WWW climate.
As far as Wild Web Sites' new developments are concerned, "One of the frontiers we're conquering here is we're going to be releasing our own set of adult feeds," Vanpraag says. Called "Lollipop Babes and Teen Interviews," its differentiating feature is the personal touch: more interviews with the girls, along with what Vanpraag calls "the porn edge. It's a lot more of - not just the porn persona, but the interviews are [long]," so a more in-depth portrait is presented of the model.
Looking ahead in the game, Vanpraag strategizes by having signed contracts with Akamai's No. 1 competitor, Speedera (www.speedera.com), and Sphera. Also, "We just finished developing and Beta testing an app that goes head-to-head with [live video software package] Webcam 32," and will be free to hosting customers, Vanpraag says, once again offering Webmasters another option.