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Summary:

The adult entertainment industry is known to push the envelope and innovate online. But can it reinvent crowdfunding? That’s what Offbeatr is trying to do with its Kickstarter for porn site, which actually has a few good ideas worth checking out.

porn money

Smart watches, game consoles and… porn movies? Crowdfunding will officially enter the world of adult entertainment Thursday with the launch of Offbeatr, the first Kickstarter-like site for triple-X fare. The site is most definitely not safe for work; but anyone interested in Kickstarter and crowdfunding (and over the age of 18, obviously) should take notice anyway, because Offbeatr may just have figured out a few ways to deal with some of crowdfunding’s pitfalls.

The basic idea behind Offbeatr is simple, and may sound familiar to anyone who has ever visited Kickstarter. Creators of adult-themed movies, books, art installations and similar fare can post their projects on the site, complete with a funding goal. Users can then pledge donations and will only be charged if a project is completely funded.

Still, there are a few key differences from Kickstarter. First of all, projects have to be approved to raise funds on the site. Creators post their projects on the site, and the Offbeatr team will then select the more serious proposals. However, it also uses crowdsourcing for curation, as the site’s co-founder and CEO Ben Tao explained in the launch press release:

“We realized we might miss projects that have a supportive community. Putting in a public voting phase helps identify good projects we might have missed and gives project creators feedback to improve their projects so they can be successful.”

That’s a really interesting idea, and one that might help a site like Kickstarter to improve its success rate. Currently, around 44 percent of all Kickstarter projects successfully secure funding on the site. A voting phase before the actual fundraising begins could help creators to fine-tune their campaigns and improve their odds.

But that’s not all: Offbeatr is also allowing creators to sell digital content on the site, regardless of whether they’re achieving their goal or not. This can help creators secure some bridge funding even if they fall short of their goal, and it could also turn a site like Kickstarter from a one-off crowdfunding platform into something more like a digital marketplace. Imagine, for example, a digital photo magazine that sells back issues through the site, and then asks readers to commit to the funding of the next issue.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that either the sale of digital downloads or the voting mechanism will make for a better crowdfunding experience, but it’s worth a try – and Kickstarter and its competitors should watch Offbeatr closely.

Offbeatr was launched by Extra Lunch Money, a Los Angeles based adult entertainment startup that also runs what it calls the “social adult marketplace” of the same name. Extralunchmoney.com (also not safe for work) launched in April 2011, and has since attracted 11,000 registered users, including several thousand verified sellers, according to Tao. The company consists of a team of five and is completely bootstrapped.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Rob Boudon.

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  1. Selling content on the platform makes sense, not sure about the crowdfunding part yet

  2. Thanks for this great, thoughtful coverage. As both Ben and I can tell you, every obstacle an entrepreneur with a tech startup encounters – have a tech startup dealing with sex, TRIPLE them. We’ve been helping each other with our struggles to put a payments infrastructure in place – in my case, for https://www.makelovenotporn.tv/ This is an area with huge opportunity for innovation, social benefit and financial returns – but we cannot get funded, and we cannot take payments. Offbeatr is a terrific initiative for precisely that reason: in the adult world, it’s really difficult to innovate and disrupt when funding is so hard to obtain. I am lobbying NewYorkTechMeetup to schedule one of their monthly demo meetups around this vertical – where Ben could demo Offbeatr, I could demo MLNPTV and the other young tech entrepreneurs I know who have great ideas in this area but no one to invest and help make them happen, could show the tech community why we need to break down this last ridiculous puritan barrier, to build a better world for sex.

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