Innovation Lessons from Adult and Gaming Sites

Rarely acknowledged by the mainstream, adult and gaming sites collect a healthy percentage of web traffic and account for a good deal of innovation, too.

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Red Lights, Best Practices

Historically, gambling and adult sites have been more willing than their mainstream counterparts to work with startup vendors. “They’re much more willing to fund new technology,” says Hassan Kotob, CEO of North Plains Systems, a digital asset management vendor. “At the end of the day, content is all that they have so an innovative technology can go straight to the bottom line.”

“We’re looking for solutions that will allow us to improve by large margins,” says New Frontier CIO Piper. “We won’t buy faster storage arrays if they only give us 10 percent improvements. We’re looking for 50 percent or greater.” Examples of new technologies that New Frontier has invested in are high-speed network storage that allows the company to stop writing to tape because speed went up by a factor of 10, and backup systems that don’t take a storage array offline while the backup is running.

Another red light best practice is to look for vendors that use open source. Since sites are open 24/7 (late-night hours are extremely profitable on the red light Web), “if we ever run into critical issues we need them solved now, not two hours from now,” says Bodog’s Ayre, who has learned that if he wants his people to be able to fix something, they need to have access to the source code.

“We absolutely could not get a couple of our vendors to address an issue that was crippling us,” says Ayre. “Under peak loads, the entire site became nonresponsive. We had no choice but to decompile the systems in question and fix the problem ourselves. This was probably one of the biggest drivers pushing us to adopt open-source solutions for our most critical systems.”

The red light Web has all the hallmarks of a new technology incubator. It has a technology-savvy target audience, and “if someone is conservative, they’re never going to get into this business in the first place,” says Lindberg. In other words, the red light Web is a place where CIOs might be able to learn something. And that may justify an occasional trip . . . you know, for the technology.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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