Interview with KimmyKim

I wrote an article recently on the new payment solutions that are gaining popularity is the wake of PayPal ceasing to process for adult products, and one of the solutions that I talked about was ePassporte. I was able to interview a very well known and admired member of our industry, KimmyKim, who has the marketing contract for ePassporte. Here is what she had to say about ePassporte, the state of the industry, and one of her other endeavors,

Muffy: My standard first interview question – How long have you been working in the online adult industry and how did you get your start?
KimmyKim: Gosh I feel like Ive been online since time began at this point ;) Though in reality I started on the net in 96 - NOT in adult -- had one of the original online furniture stores and a design business. One of my clients picked up a copy of the now infamous Industry Standard with Danni on the cover that was lying on my desk and asked me if I could build adult sites. I said sure (no clue what I was in for) and a couple months after I started tinkering with it, ended up on the Condom Project board. Fortunately, Tommy (Tommys Bookmarks) and Nick (the devil that owned Ilynx so to speak) took the time to tell me just how BADLY I was doing things and yelled at me enough to get me in the right direction, and a lot of other people helped me out along the way. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Muffy: You work for ePassporte, which is a new solution for webmasters who felt the burn from PayPal. Can you tell us a little bit about what exactly ePassporte is?
KimmyKim: I have the marketing contract for ePassporte, and its truly an innovative solution for a lot of problematic areas, as well as being a product with so much potential. It competes with PayPal on some levels but also offers a much more broad functionality in its acceptable uses - adult products being one of them. Every ePassporte account holder is assigned a Virtual Visa for online use, replete with CVV2 number, immediately upon activation. There is also the account-to-account transfer ability within the system and if the accountholder wishes to purchase the Electron, or hard, Visa branded card, the ability to withdraw money at ATMs worldwide instantly and to make POS PIN transactions at compliant terminals becomes available as well.

ePassporte also offers merchants payment solutions for their goods and services, including integrated shopping cart technology, while on the flip side, affiliate programs have a method to pay their resellers securely and on any schedule they choose for income earned in any given period. There really are no limitations on the product at the moment, except for the recurring billing method, which is in careful development in order to be compliant with the new Visa regulations.

The fees associated with ePassporte are more than those some of the competing solutions offer, and more than some of the no longer competing solutions offer, but you do tend to get what you pay for, and the technical management behind ePassporte in the areas that really count -- fraud control being the primary one -- are second to none. One of PayPals biggest problems was fraud control, and this was a primary reason that American Express stopped processing for high risk adult as well -- ePassporte is engineered and adjusted by a group that has managed fraud control in adult transaction processing for more than 6 years now and they have a core understanding of what it takes to not just stay afloat but to stay ahead in the business. The ePassporte group has the luxury of dealing with both the issuing and the acquiring side of the business and is well informed when it comes to regulation changes and structural re-engineering with the card companies.

Muffy: I know that ePassporte is still in the birth stage so to speak. What kind of additional features or services will you be adding in the future? 
KimmyKim: Recurring subscription acceptance is an immediate priority, but one we are taking carefully. Its rare, at this point in the evolution of an industry, that you have the chance to analyze the core technical process and refine it to such a point, but the ePassporte group is doing just that. Instead of resting on existing technology, we are looking at ways to create an expandable system in many areas and for many different types of product offerings.

The reseller program, similar to PayPals, launches before Internext as well, and people should be pleased with that. There are some other surprises in the works, very pleasant ones, but until the backend systems are completely ready to go, Im going to stay mum about them.

Muffy: In addition to working for ePassporte, you also have, which is a traffic solution for webmasters. Can you tell us a little bit more about it and what you offer?
KimmyKim: I can tell you I work too much ;). Just kidding, actually Backov ( and I own SpotBrokers jointly; we launched it in January of this year and added our Bannerclix program to it in the spring. The original program is designed to move gallery traffic from sellers to buyers, with our service carefully filtering and doing an extensive preliminary fraud screening on the traffic. It works well for most people, not everyone, but then that is to be expected - no one thing works for everyone or there would only be one of everything... The Bannerclix program is really unique -- the seller tells us what banner space and size and category they have available in specific locations on their site, and then we inventory the buyers’ banners and match those up with the spots. Its technically a LOT more complex than that, but I am certainly not the technical half of the business, were VERY lucky in that respect. We host the banners, we make sure the advertisers maintain certain productivity rates and the sellers are paid on a percentage basis for the clicks, since all buyer purchasing is done with a bidding system. Its one of the easiest ways to come in, decide how much and what kind of traffic you want, and what you think its worth. For the sellers, its so simple, we take the guesswork out of it and they collect a payment every other Monday.

Muffy: What is your opinion on the Acacia situation and what do you think the outcome will be?
KimmyKim: I think that Mr. Berman and Acacia are certainly paving the way for a new kind of Internet industry, one thats not built around any sort of product but more a method of madness, laying claim to intellectual property with the sole intent of profiting retroactively from these patents. None of my personal business is in any danger of receiving paperwork from them since Ive gone a different route, but I do have friends and consulting clients that have received notice of their claims and demands for money. Whether or not Acacia has the right to make these claims and demands is ultimately going to be up to a judge and someone is going to have to pay the bill to get it before a judge at a level that will mean a real decision. I think a lot of the smaller people being served are going to settle with Acacia, since from a cost standpoint, they cant afford to do otherwise. And, perhaps some people will leave the business because of the issue, those that didnt plan ahead for emergencies and simply cannot afford to pay or defend themselves. I think that what the IMPA is doing is a good thing, though it remains to be seen how far the industry will line up behind them and support them financially and with their businesses perhaps at stake if Acacia were to win. Im not going to find fault with anyone who does what is in the best interest of their own business, this isnt a charity organization and its long been known that you might as well try to herd cats as to organize people in a call to action in this industry. At the end of the day, its just one of the many issues and challenges that come with a maturing industry that generates a huge revenue stream for the smart, and lucky, people in the business. I dont think its the most important thing out there as an obstacle but its definitely in the path.

Muffy: Do you feel that all the turmoil that has been happening this past year in the online adult business will change the industry for the better?
KimmyKim: My definition of better might not coincide with many other folks, so Id best leave this one alone for the time being. Specific issues I have no problem addressing but the overall situation in the business is like a cut stone -- so many facets that what one perspective reveals, another may obscure entirely.

Muffy: A lot has happened in the industry in the past year. What changes do you think are still to come that could affect the future of the business of online porn?
KimmyKim: Well, there is MasterCard, there is Visa, there are state and federal governments in the US, non-US governments, there are more Acacia like suits coming along, rumors of the Federal Reserve making new regulations for online checks, the entire reseller system needs an overhaul, there is no accountability in this business for anyone basically. They just walk away for enough time to be out of sight and out of mind and then they come back again, or they come back as someone new and the whole process starts again. The market is tremendously saturated and needs a spring-cleaning to say the least. The people that perpetuate the problems keep quiet and move on with their schemes and those that are clueless sit around and rant and rave about the wrong thing entirely as the problem.

Wow, didnt mean for that to come out as a rant, but its really all true. At this point, if I havent seen it all go by in person, Ive heard the details on how most of it went by, and there have been some real whoppers in the history of the adult Internet. Not naming any names that would be horribly bad form and violate several non-disclosures Ive signed over the years, but if you poke around in the annals of the Internet, you can always catch some of the history.

Personally, I think the people that have done exceedingly well in this business should be looking to cash out while they are on the right side of the law of diminishing returns. New blood comes into the business, a small percentage of them will make it, and maybe now that the frontier aspect of the whole thing is calming down, they will invest more time into building a long-term structure that can survive. Of course the other side of the coin is that some of the pioneers create a self fulfilling prophecy and the whole bloated system comes crashing down behind them as they run for the hills with their pockets stuffed full, and there is nothing left to preserve. Which might not be a bad thing; in some respects starting over might make more sense, doing it in a way that pleases all the regulators like the card companies and the patent holders and the government enforcement agencies.

Its a very challenging business to be in, always has been. I wish I were still sending out those Ms Cleo emails, I could make some prophecies ;)

Muffy: Ok, last question. What is your favorite non-adult website and why?
KimmyKim: Disgruntled Housewife. I think after reading through this interview you can figure out why!

Muffy: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! I would like to wish you the best of luck with ePassporte and and any other future endeavors.


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