Instead of Steering Clear, This Israeli Ad Agency Wants You to Advertise on Porn Sites

Internet traffic in the adult world is 'greater than that of Netflix, Amazon and Twitter,' says CEO of Israel's ReachEffect, one of five biggest players in the adult ad market

Diesel's campaign on PornHub. The list of other companies that decided to advertise on adult sites also includes Groupon and Marc Jacobs.
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Despite the broad consensus among the vast majority of companies that advertisement on adult websites is out of bounds, some brands actually see the adult content world as a business opportunity. While important advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola and Toyota were angered last year to discover that their ads were funding unsuitable content, other companies are interested precisely in such exposure.

The list of companies that decided to advertise on adult sites includes already some major brands such as Groupon, Marc Jacobs and Diesel - which in the past had a specific campaign for advertising on adult sites and on Tinder, which appeared among other on the most popular porn site in the world, PornHub.

Proud of our product

This growing demand and the vacuum left by the intermediary and advertising companies, gave rise to the creation of ad agencies that offer advertisers cheap spaces on adult sites. Israeli company ReachEffect is one of the five biggest players in the adult advertising market. “We’re in a niche that Google and Facebook didn’t want to touch, and simply pushed aside,” explains founder and CEO Eran Goldshmid. “They want to stay clean, they gave up a huge market, but there are big players there who make lots of money. The traffic in the adult world is greater than that on Netflix, Amazon and Twitter.”

Goldschmid says that ReachEffect, which he started together with Eyal Skiba five years ago, caters to two types of content providers: The first is entertainment, and includes ads for apps and games – and the second is adult content. “We don’t deal with the content itself, but more with the technology. We realized over time that most of the money comes from there, and not from the mainstream, and we decided to put our efforts into that world. We’ve made quite a lot of money that way. We’re very proud of our product; we have no competitors in the industry.”

Illustration: An internet user.
AP

Why does it pay to advertise specifically on adult websites?

“The price of the traffic we sell is significantly lower, by thousands of percentage points. The cost of a click or for exposure is low – if we sell traffic today in the mainstream world for 30 cents, in the adult world it will sell for 0.0004 cents.”

Today there are many network companies that provide mediation for advertisers and advertising platforms. In the advertising space those networks use a model of offering the lowest cost possible, in order to gain as much profit as possible from the budget determined by the advertiser.

“It also becomes attractive because the target audience is large. In 2016 there were 91 billion downloads of adult content – a huge amount of international traffic and exposure. Slowly but surely it is becoming a more acceptable and mainstream world. It’s not only porn content, but that’s apparently the sensitive point. This world has huge potential. In my opinion, more mainstream products and companies will start to sell on the adult sites.”

The advertising industry claims that it’s highly probably that the huge traffic figures on these sites are fraudulent.

“We built filtering systems for the bots and we improve them regularly by studying our users and analyzing the data that accumulates in our system. We’re talking only about users’ clicks, we monitor it regularly in order to ensure that our advertisers are not paying for empty clicks.”

An active cooperation with rape

But the controversy surrounding advertising on porn sites is of course not only a question of the legality of the services offered on them. “Porn is a very exploitative industry, like prostitution, like stripping,” says Noga Cohen, a gender researcher and feminist writer. “For the most part these are women who go there due to distress, whether it’s a sexual assault in the past or financial distress or a pimp. This is not a profession that people choose in order to enjoy it. The women in this industry experience sexual assault, and in effect what happens there is rape and physical attacks. We know that many of the porn films are violent, and it isn’t staged. Many of the women go downhill to drugs and prostitution, because these are related industries.”

Therefore, Cohen doesn’t accept it that large companies choose to advertise on porn sites. “Cooperating with that, even if it doesn’t mean that they actually shoot porn films or employ the actresses, means actively cooperating with their rape,” she says. “It’s shocking. They channel money into a violent and exploitative industry that encourages rape and violence against women. There’s no amount of money in the world that can justify such a thing.”