CyberAge Dave and Jack Guiragosian originally ran Tri-Tech out of the garage of their one-bedroom apartment, sometime after getting dumped by their girlfriends.
"It took a year, a year and a half, to make a single payment," Dave remembers. "We just hung in there. There were a lot of negative people saying, 'You're wasting your time.' It was a long stressful road, but we didn't give up."
That was in 1996. Since then, Tri-Tech Internet Services, Inc. (www.tritech.org) has become a leader in the design, development and marketing of Internet-based businesses. Offered are a variety of services, including Web hosting, Website design, Web marketing and Website protection.
"We started out as Tri-Tech Entertainment," says Dave. "We had the name and we thought we'd launch a video site." Instead, the entrepreneurs - who learned Web basics from the pages of Internet for Dummies - decided to go the adult verification system route instead. "[With] Tri-Tech, we were going through the [existing] companies - and there weren't that many out there. We wanted a company that would offer a lot more."
With that goal in mind, Dave and Jack started doing it for themselves.
"The primary [goal for an AVS] is protection," Dave says. "Like most, we were charging per year and providing a password to sites. But we were the first to offer a click-through program, and we were the first providers of adult Web hosting - free. Still, today, we don't charge anybody, as long as the Webmaster uses one of our AVSes on their site."
Director of marketing Bonnie Moss informs that the hub for Webmasters is the company's CyberSex Network (http://avs.cybersexnetwork.com).
These days, CyberSex Network's draw is a 100 percent payout.
"We're doing a company rewrite for CyberAge, giving it another major facelift. We have a lot of programs coming in. We still offer free hosting, free content; if people need help, we have tech support there.
"We've built a new resource site," he adds, "AVSPrograms.com [www.avsprograms.com], designed to keep our Webmasters in one loop. They can go there to find out [for instance], 'What's the difference between CyberAge and UGAS?'
"AVSPrograms.com is the one-stop. People can come in, ask questions; there's live chat, a page being built called 'Meet the Staff,' where you can see the person you're dealing with, click on a bio, an ICQ. More interaction," Dave says.
CyberAge and UGAS are designed to encourage newer Webmasters, with click-through payouts and middle page payouts. All the AVSes have members' areas, which serve to keep Webmasters communicating, integrated and happy (according to Dave, retention is high). Chat and active message boards round out the sites.
"We have over 300,000 sites in the CyberAge Network. It's doing really well," Moss says.
Lately, Dave says, additions and changes have been keeping the now-70-member staff busy. "We've been launching NastyCash.com [www.nastycash.com], a straight up click-through program. We have 36 high-quality pay sites; we'll pay 10 to 18 cents a click. Everything's hosted on our end. There are real-time stats, updated by the minute."
Another project is a credit card that has been in the making for about two years, under the auspices of Cyber New World Business (www.cnwb.com). CNWB provides the Internet's first and only secured online credit card. Applying patent-pending technological innovations to online credit card transactions, the CyberCredit Card enhances online security by embedding and encrypting age information or other variables, thereby guaranteeing that only authorized transactions are processed.
"This is mainstream," Dave explains. "It's going to be good for [those with] children, actually. A parent can provide a credit card for, say, a kid in college, and can moderate where they shop - exactly. If a kid takes that credit card and tries to sign up for [an adult site], they'll get a message saying, 'Sorry, you can't shop here. You have to go buy a book.'"
"There's a lot of control," Moss adds. "The parent gets a message very time the kid makes a purchase."
"We're looking to have, like, a Nickelodeon card," Dave says, "or Yahoo! will have their own card. We've been working with Playboy, they have their own card. It's been a long process."
Plans include the availability of both credit and debit cards.
ClearCard (www.clearcard.com) is a payment processor. A fast, scalable, and adaptable Internet payment platform, it enables companies to authorize, process, and manage multiple payment types: credit cards, debit cards, ACH and electronic checks.
Moss believes ClearCard is "something the adult industry will get really excited about. They're going to be able to process [transactions] through ClearCard, with all sorts of security and authorization built in" to serve particular needs.
ClearCard came out of complaints among adult industry players that there "had to be something better out there," says Moss, "to reduce chargebacks and eliminate fraud."
"We're one of the best at fraud scrubbing," Dave informs.
Moss concludes, "It's for both mainstream and adult [markets], but it's a no-brainer for the adult market, because there's such a need for it." Therein, Moss feels, is the key to Tri-Tech's success: "Both Dave and Jack have always been there for the Webmasters."
Responding to gripes, needs, compliments, and criticism is how the company involves Webmasters. "They feel like they're part of our team," Moss continues. "Even though they don't work 'for' us, they're like our employees, in that we're always there for them."
Tri-Tech's network of businesses provide a wide scope of services, information and products, in order to guarantee that customers would not need to go anywhere else for anything Internet.
Tri-Tech approaches the Internet and the Internet-oriented business as fast-paced, demanding quick and consistent resolution to problems as soon as they arise. With this in mind, Tri-Tech prides itself on having one of the Internet's premier Customer Service teams, available seven days a week to answer any questions and address any concerns.
"I think our focus is to give all we can to our Webmasters," Moss says. "We haven't put that much effort into branding CyberAge, [for instance]; we're always trying to promote our Webmasters' sites, the sites in our network. We buy expensive advertising on search engines, we direct traffic to participating sites."
In the words of CyberAge Dave, "We believe the Webmasters make the company."