A number of our members are surprised when they write to firstname.lastname@example.org with an issue, and I reply. But in a tiny, bootstrapping startup we are all customer support. I need and want to see what issues you encounter, and to help solve them for you as quickly as possible.
Every day, we get at least one MLNP.tv member writing to us saying, ‘I’m having trouble setting up my credit card details.’ Every few days, we get at least one member asking, ‘Why don’t you work with PayPal?’ A number of you write to us and say, ‘I set up my account fine but I don’t seem to be able to rent?’
Every time we get one of those emails, we die a little inside. Because we know we’re not delivering the experience you deserve.
Any one of our members work for a payment processor?
Every one of you is a pioneer. You believe, as we do, in helping to create a more open healthy dialogue around #realworldsex. You see the value in what we’re doing. In a world where the received wisdom is ‘Nobody pays for porn’, you’re paying for #realworldsex. And you’re also writing to us and telling us how much you love what we’re doing and to please keep on doing it.
The world of payment processing, and business in general, is short on pioneers.
We fight a battle every single day to build MLNP.tv. Every piece of business infrastructure every other venture can take for granted, we can’t, because the small print always says, ‘No adult content’.
We would love to work with PayPal; they refuse to work with ‘adult content’. We work with Dwolla instead, and love them to death, but they are as of now only available to our US-based members. We couldn’t find any US-based mainstream payment processors prepared to work with us; we work with Sankyu in Europe. The Sankyu team are terrific and big believers in our mission, but all the workarounds we have to do to process your payments result in many more glitches and hiccups than if we were able to use the same payment systems as every other e-commerce business.
The XXX guys don’t get it
We’re asked regularly, ‘But what do the adult industry use? Can’t you work with them?’
The two important things about any business partner we work with: they have to get what we’re doing, believe in it, support it, and want to help make it happen – and it has to support our business model.
When we talk to adult industry-specific payment processors, their attitude tends to be, ‘Yeah, yeah, social mission, social values blah blah blah….you’re porn like all the rest.’ That’s not a good foundation for the kind of productive, close working relationships we like to build. Plus, because the adult industry has nowhere else to go, the rates are extortionate. Our revenue-sharing business model splits all #realworldsex video rental income 50/50 with our MakeLoveNotPornstars net a small amount to cover hosting and transaction fees – so we need to keep those fees as low as possible, at mainstream level.
We want to be transparent with all of you about our difficulties, because we know that for every one of you who writes to us saying, ‘I’m having a problem…’ three of you have probably thrown up your hands in despair and decided it’s not worth the effort to keep trying. Which we completely understand.
Don’t block porn – disrupt it
That’s why we are fighting this battle very publicly, as per this recent interview with me in Nerve. Here’s the irony: the answer to everything that worries people about porn and its impact on sex is not to block it, in the way that David Cameron wants to – it’s to disrupt it. Don’t shut down, censor, repress – open up the dialogue; open up the ability for entrepreneurs like us, who want to change the world of sex and porn for the better, to be able to do business on the same terms and conditions as everyone else.
Silicon Valley welcomes disruption and innovation in every other area of life and business except this one – the one that needs it most. We believe it’s possible to change the world through sex, to make sex better for all of us; the world of tech and business is doing everything it possibly can to stop us. Where’s the sense in that?
We’re working to make it easier to take your money!
That’s why we seem to make it so difficult for you to pay. We can’t apologize enough. Please, whenever you encounter a problem on the site, do email us at email@example.com and we will do our absolute damnedest to sort it out for you. If you would like to support us beyond renting videos, you can do so here. If you would like to be able to use PayPal on MLNP.tv, please email the president of PayPal, Dan Schulman, at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask him to work with us. We are determined to make this venture work against all odds, because every obstacle we encounter is precisely why we must, and we are so grateful for your patience and forbearance. We are constantly looking for better and easier payment solutions, and we hope one day we’ll find them.