Dreams of Spanking is one month old today! I'm still walking around in a state of semi-disbelief; but keeping on top of my update schedule, blogging, promotion and email while, slowly, attempting to rediscover the concept of a social life has kept me too busy to think about it.
This month has been the proof that launching an adult photo and video website is much, much more like having a baby than writing a PhD, because after you've passed the PhD you can start to think about other things, whereas once your baby's born you're busier and more involved than ever. (Anyone who has done all three is welcome to tell me I'm wrong.)
Last year, when I was still hoping to interest a corporate investor in the projest (I didn't, in the end, borrowing funds from close friends instead) I produced all the documentation relevant to such an effort. The business case, the executive summary, various plans and projections, and an estimated first year's budget. Although it didn't result in investment it was entirely a worthwhile experience, not only teaching me a lot but giving my confidence in the project a much-needed boost. Coming up with the first year's projected figures was a surreal, educational experience: on the one hand pulling numbers out of thin air, on the other doing useful research into my competitor's pricing structures and working out some best-case and worst-case scenarios for how much I'd be able to spend on shoots.
I spent nearly five years and several thousand pounds building this website on the assumption that it would be worth it, financially as well as creatively. I knew too many website owners to think I'd get rich, but being able to keep making spanking films, and perhaps earn back my expenses in the first couple of years, would be a good start.
Now that we've been up and running for a month, I have some data to set against those speculative figures I drummed up six months ago. As well as the joy of watching my baby grow, it's fascinating matching the reality against my predictions.
Here are some juicy stats for you: Since we launched on 23 December, Dreams of Spanking has welcomed 22,173 visitors on 28,882 separate occasions, adding up to a total of 205,635 pageviews. The average visitor spends four and a half minutes on the site looking at an average of at 7.12 pages. The bounce rate (people who leave the site in the first three seconds) is only 31.98% - lower than any other site I've ever managed.
The search terms by which people have reached the site are also revealing.
Visitors have found us by searching for Zoe Montana, Pandora Blake, Amelia Jane Rutherford, Adele Haze and Zille Defeu. Out of the male performers, Jimmy Holloway and Thomas Cameron are most sought after on Google.
Aside from the obvious (variants on "Dreams of Spanking", my name, or individual film names - the most searched-for so far being A Yuletide Birching and Caned in Jodhpurs), here are the other most common search terms which lead spanking enthusiasts to us:
spanked in jodhpurs
I'm pleased to discover that in almost every case, the searcher will have found something of interest. It seems like our tagging system is working well so far!
Of course, a discussion of search terms wouldn't be complete without a look at the more weird and wonderful searches which led people here. Some of my favourites:
women's sex jodhpurs - "Look, I've had them specially made with a split crotch"
a bottom being spanked - there's something delightfully innocent about the idea of someone typing this into google
after birching pink - the latest colour in the new "Dulux Spanking" range
artist makes a girl get naked and spanks her - Oooh, now you're giving me scene ideas...
bed spanking and breakfast - now THAT sounds like a fabulous business model!
birching birching - twice as painful as the regular kind
bottom red bad girl punishment whipping and spanking - oh dear, spanko tourettes must be a difficult condition to live with
cfnm trenchcoat - so, right, if he's nude, SHE must be wearing the trenchcoat? Okay, hot.
cfnm for the thinking feminist - wow, now I'M turned on. Can I have your phone number?
Even the most cursory glance over the search terms confirms my ideas about what many spanking enthusiasts are looking for - high quality male spankee films, historical scenes, M/M, stories inspired by literature, erotic consent and non-consent, scenes that blur the line between spanking and BDSM.
The sign-up rate has been higher than I ever expected - I exceeded my end-of-first-year monthly average after only two weeks, and new members have continued to join steadily since then. The percentage of female viewers is respectable, if not as high as I'd like, matching that of other spanking sites in the UK which have a female audience.
I'd like to encourage more female spanking fans to help shift the spanking and porn industries towards catering to women's fantasies, which will only happen if more women let producers know what they want, and treat themselves with the occasional site membership. Our five day subscription fee is aimed specifically at women customers, although I know the men appreciate it too. (Becoming more accessible to women is the main reason I want to offer pay-per-download for individual scenes as soon as possible, although it'll take a while to save up for the software.)
Thankyou so much to everyone who has supported our aims, left comments, sent tweets and emails, linked to the site and signed up so far. With every day that passes I receive new confirmation that I'm not alone in wanting to push the boundaries of spanking video and photography; in wanting to see arty, fairtrade spanking porn with a mix of genders. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we've received is proof that if we follow our dreams, anything is possible.