Category Archives: Industry Insights

Wasteland.com Nominated for Best Niche Website

CYBERSPACE—In the beginning of BDSM online, there was Wasteland.com, the ancestor of all kinky web and mobile sites. After 17 years of providing perversion to its members, the site has been nominated for a YNOT Award for Best Niche Website.

The hardcore fetish site and online community has been the leader in genuine top-quality content for nearly two decades, creating high-end artistic images within a safe, unique and visually groundbreaking virtual network for the BDSM collective.

“I am delighted with this nomination, especially as I have a very fond place in my pornographic heart for YNOT,” says Colin Rowntree, founder of Wasteland.com. “Back in 1995 when we were getting Wasteland.com going, the very first webmaster discussion board came online, YNOT Network, operated by Rick Muenyong. The first batch of members was a group of 11 or 12 of us that were the pioneers of online adult. Just after that, the first tradeshow came to be – Cybernet Expo – run by the “grandmother” of online adult shows, Faye Sharp. Between those two entities, the foundations of Python, Silvercash, CyberErotica, Naughty.com, Wasteland and others helped each other figure out how to put porn on the internet and make if vastly profitable in those early days. Several years later, Faye retired from the tradeshow scene and YNOT under the new helm of YNOT Bob, and later, Jay and Connor, took it over.”

Rowntree continues, “I am thrilled to see how the new YNOT has carefully grown and is now flourishing. YNOT is one of the cornerstones of the adult industry online. Yes, I am honored to get the nomination from them (heck, we got the Peoples Choice award from them in 1997!) and look forward to watching YNOT continue to hold its stature as possibly the adult B2B portal that has a consistent track record of 16 years of integrity and service to the adult webmaster community.”

In addition to the YNOT Award nomination, other Wasteland.com achievements include winning AVN’s Best Fetish Site for two years, receiving the XBIZ 2010 Excellence in Alternative Erotica / Best Specialty Site of the Year and being presented Cybernet Expo’s People’s Choice Award.

The YNOT Awards will take place during the European Summit inPragueon September 21, 2011.

How Wasteland.com Dragged One of Mankind’s Oldest Obsessions Into the 21st Century

CYBERSPACE – Colin and Angie Rowntree had no idea what to expect when they launched their fledgling website, Wasteland.com, in 1994. The internet was a veritable question mark at the time – but 17 years later, their lonely corner of the virtual universe has become a leading light in the online adult pantheon of perversion.

Like so many successful projects, this one might easily have never happened. The Rowntrees have faithfully nurtured the fetish destination and a plethora of other enticingly niche-out websites, was producing a mail-order catalogue that featured kinky clothing when he started the site quite by accident, more as a lark than anything else.

“I threw some naughty photos up to see if they would stick. Little did I know that I was building one of the first internet adult paysites on the web, much less one devoted to the kinkier arts,” mused the veteran webmaster. “I mean, I had a feeling we were starting something new and special, but to see how much we’ve been able to accomplish comes as a little bit of a shock to me, to tell you the truth. It’s all sped by so quickly.”

Besides its longevity, there are other equally compelling reasons why international media and entertainment outlets like the BBC, Wired and HBO have sung the praises of Wasteland over the years. The outfit not only offers a truly authentic experience for members of the BDSM community — a community that has existed for centuries in diverse societies around the world — but it also has managed to maintain that authenticity while embracing a myriad of technological innovations. It’s the old cliché about porn being a tech leader — with a decidedly kinky flourish!

Today, the Wasteland universe is as expansive as the human imagination. Its network of niche properties focus on hardcore BDSM, erotica by and for women, Japanese underground bondage, alternative Hentai, vintage 90s teen content, FemDom reality and BBW-focused BDSM site. Other websites are AmishBondage.com and other viral sites, including InsideWasteland.com, which offers behind-the-scenes footage, trailers, bloopers and interviews from Wasteland-produced films;KinkForKindle.com, which gives away free 19th-century classic S&M eBooks branded with Wasteland original photography; wastelandmobile.com, the first BDSM premium site for smart phones and mobile devices; and Wasteland’s EroticVision Channel on Roku IPTV.

Wasteland clearly spans the ages, with one foot in an ancient world of primitive urges and the other in an exciting universe of anything-goes electronics. Comfortable in either setting, Rowntree insists that the bleeding-edge technologies he loves to play around with have only invigorated the works of Wasteland and further engaged the senses of his loyal members.

“It turns out that people who buy Kindles and Nook and who read sado-masochistic novels also collect gadgets and can be pretty easily convinced that they need to buy a Roku IPTV box to watch Wasteland S&M movies in high definition on their living room television for a mere $34.95 a month! Who knew? The end result is edifying. I get to edit the works of de Sade and some of the great 19th-century British S&M novels, sprinkle them full of Wasteland erotic photography, put them on our domain KinkForKindle.com … and make them available for free!”

In fact, Wasteland has been such a consistent innovator over the years that it has taken home numerous accolades for its work, including Best Fetish Site two years in a row from AVN, the XBIZ 2010 Excellence in Alternative Erotica award and Best Specialty Site of the Year and Cybernet Expo’s Peoples Choice Award. Rowntree also is an AVN Hall of Fame inductee, Founders Division, and received the Free Speech Coalition Leadership Award in 2011.

“Watching the library of movies I have directed for Wasteland over the years suddenly light up in high def on my living room TV over Roku IPTV and then, at the other end of the size scale, watch them light up on IPhone, iPads and Androids, I find myself eagerly anticipating the same pleasurable reaction when we go on The Cloud next month, making our movies stream faster and more ‘dominant’ all over the world,” said Rowntree, adding, “After so many years, the perverse pleasure remains. Forget about porn addiction. I am addicted to the freedom to quickly come up with new ideas, put them into action to see if they work; and if they do, being able to deliver sacks of new BDSM and fetish goodies to consumers around the world, and bags of money to our affiliates. When it all clicks, I can literally feel the pleasure centers in my brain explode.”

It is a sensation that can be shared at Wasteland.com and its associated properties.

Sssh.com: Feeding Women’s Spirits and Libidos

LOS ANGELES—Sssh.com, the erotica and sexuality website designed and maintained for women by women, is expert at feeding women’s sensual appetites. But as women, the staff, contributors and members realize the distaff side of humanity is much more than the sum of erogenous zones. That’s why Sssh.com has embarked upon a new philanthropic initiative to help women feed their hearts and souls, as well.

Beginning in August, Sssh.com will donate a percentage of monthly revenue to charitable organizations serving worthy causes worldwide. Each organization will be chosen based on a commitment to excellence, accomplishment of stated goals and ratio of funds distribution (direct application to the cause vs. administrative expense). The list of potential beneficiaries includes social, medical and environmental charities that get little attention and deserve so much more. Some are large associations known for touching lives in positive ways. Others are small but cutting-edge research foundations determined to cure debilitating diseases. Still others are cultural and community outreach programs devoted to enriching lives.

Sssh.com’s members will select each month’s beneficiary, giving women a voice in ensuring dollars go where they will do the most good.

“There’s nothing that feeds the spirit quite as much as offering assistance and comfort where we can, in whatever form we can. Here at Sssh.com, we believe in supporting worthy causes and invite the members of our community to participate in helping us choose the charity we support each month,” said founder and owner Angie Rowntree.

Each month, the Sssh.com staff will select one charity in each of five categories: Arts and Culture, Medical and Health Research, Animal Advocacy and Protection, Community and Social Outreach, and Environmental Research and Protection. Votes from the Sssh.com community will determine the charity to receive that month’s donation. The following month, five new charitable organizations will be submitted for members’ votes. August’s nominees, respectively, are the Australian Ballet, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (U.S.), the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Doctors Without Borders (headquartered in France) and Andigena (Venezuela).

“As Sssh.com has members from all over the world, we’ve included charities from many of the countries where our members reside,” Rowntree said. “We’re always interested in hearing about causes not already on our list. Organizations and foundations that would like to be included may email us at editor@sssh.com.”

Each month’s beneficiary will be announced at the beginning of the following month.

Wasteland Speaks Out Against Dot-XXX Domain

Dot XXX — The Movie!

From a September 1st XBiz Blog posting by Wasteland Founder, Colin Rowntree.

Wasteland Founder speaks out against dot-xxx sTLD

I had the pleasure to participate in a satire film project written by adult entertainment industry writer and pundit, Darklady recently which has culminated in a short film about the Dot-XXX story from an adult industry perspective.

Using the tried and true Saturday Night Live format for satire, the film is a truly collaborative effort, with cameo appearances by Larry Flynt, John Stagliano, Joanna Angel, Q Boyer, Allison Vivas, Peter Acworth of Kink, Ron Cadwell of CCBill, Mitch Farber of NETbilling and a cast of other adult entertainment luminaries, all of whom contributed their time, creativity and film crews to lend their voice about this issue.

Take a look at it on YouTube before you read on to give you some context.

You can also see it on Darklady’s Dot-XXX News, Info and Op-Ed site,
DotXXXopposition.com

A full media story may also be found on XBiz at
DotXXXOpposition Launches With ‘.XXX — The Movie

With additional mainstream coverage at The Huffington Post

In the interest of posterity, here is the “raw version” of a recent interview I did on the topic with XBiz journalist, Rhett Pardon (he had the skill to shorten my answers for the final print version per my request to make them fit within the capacity of the human lung speaking a sentence. Yes, I tend to go on and on…):

Q. How long did the production take?
A. From the time that Darklady sent me the script to see if I could put it all together until final cut, “.XXX – The Movie” took about 3 weeks of production. (not bad for an eight-minute film going for mainstream film standards.) The shooting of the main actor was smooth and only took seven hours for three minutes of coverage. He was a real pro, with such major credits as “supportive husband” in a Vagasil national ad campaign under his belt. He was fantastic to shoot with in all respects and really is the anchor of the film (even without Vagasil motivation).

The majority of the time spent was in collecting all of the cameo video appearances which was a very fun and interactive process involving a lot of leaders in the industry that I really respect and enjoy the company of. The result is many fond memories. Such as Michael Klein sending a confused (and probably grumpy) Hustler film crew across the valley to film Larry Flynt on eight hours notice; John Stagliano standing in an elevator lobby in Detroit with a guy with a flip cam doing seven takes to “get it right”; Joanna Angel doing five takes for her contribution, each one with less and less clothing (she wanted to show her range!); Ron Cadwell. Mitch Farber and Farley Cahen shooting their comments with their iPhones in portrait mode and me trying to convince them they really could hold their phones sideways when shooting video; and the PinkVisual crew pulling out all the stops and shooting Allison and Q on greenscreen – just because they could. These are the “over the phone” director-talking-to-actor moments I will always hold dear to my heart.

The person that donated the editing time and special effects probably had the biggest job in combining everything from HD to iPhone footage, creating the Fx, Ken Burns Effect montages, greenscreen shots, and all the rest of it. But, a good time was had by all in this, a true collaborative effort where no one really did a lot more than anyone else to bring it to fruition (well, except the editor). As for “directing” it, I’m not sure that’s the word for it. It was more like being a taxi dispatcher. As for who produced it – well, kind of everyone involved. Nobody spent a dime on this and everyone pitched in. More like a bunch of hippies living in a yurt in a 1960’s worker’s collective than any sort of modern production that someone “owns”. That’s kind of cool in my opinion. Power To The People! (oh. I am dating myself here now, and this is just calling out for a Bob Dillon sing-along right now…)

Q. Do you think movement by the adult biz can topple the plan to implement .xxx?
A. I guess that really depends on how much “movement” there is. If those in the industry that are against it speak up in the form of just simple things – emails and letters to ICANN during the upcoming public comment period, there is a good chance that it will either be further delayed for more years of languishing and finally die a quiet death. Or, it will be shot down if the “sponsoring community” (us) make it clear we do not support it. But, if folks that are against it don’t speak up, ICANN can’t read their minds and the chances of .XXX becoming a reality increase significantly. If that happens, it will be a rude awaking to all, mostly in the form of spending a lot of money for no particular gain, but just to protect what is already owned.

Q. What’s been the reaction to the movie so far?
A. Thus far, reaction has been very positive from both people in the industry and mainstream media that have seen it. The producers of the Colbert Report asked for a DVD last week when they heard the buzz about it. As have other mainstream news outlets that have been following the Dot-XXX story over the past eight years (yes, Darklady is very good at RSS, Facebook, Twitter and such other modern things that the media read). This makes me smile that they even noticed our little satire film produced by the red-headed stepchildren of modern media (i.e. “adult”).

And, Rhett didn’t ask these final questions, but everyone else does, so here they are:

Q. Why did you make this movie? Don’t you have better things to do with your time?
A. Although I too am a busy, busy man: the main reason I participated in making this film was that I saw the eight years of verbal and written debate about the issue had very much become redundant and a lot of people in the industry were just glazed over from hearing about it for so long. Satire and parody have a great way of re-invigorating people and getting them to take a fresh look at important topics. Saturday Night Live is a great example of this and very much the model that this film followed. My other lure for directing the film was that Stuart Lawley presents such an interesting subject for satire. Jon Stewart and Bill Maher had an endless stockpile of material during the eight years of the Bush administration, as so with .XXX – Stuart providing a very rich and colorful source for observation, comment and satire.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish out of all of this?
For people to speak their minds. I am weary of people being glazed over or occluded on this issue and just want folks in this industry to speak up, on one side or the other.

Satire is a tool used throughout all of human civilization to show the “Emperor’s New Clothes”

I’m happy to contribute to the tradition of creating satire when someone or something calls out for it by their actions, deeds, words and attitude towards others.

And I am also happy that Darklady gave me a script that had all of the right elements.

Hope you enjoyed the show…

Pish Posh!

Colin