Entrepreneur eyes profits swinging on the internet

Entrepreneur eyes profits swinging on the internet


Al Lewis, New York
January 12, 2008

SWINGERS. There, I just had to break the ice.

Today, I’m writing about a successful internet entrepreneur who is
tapping an affluent demographic. But the demographic happens to be
people who frequently swap spouses.

I learned about this from a news release on the PRNewswire, which
was automatically picked up by several news organisations’ websites
including Forbes, Reuters, Los Angeles Times and even The Denver Post. It read:

"In the United States alone, the number of people involved in the
swinging lifestyle is estimated to be as high as 8 million; the
majority being highly educated and affluent young white-collar
professionals. Yet swinging … has had a decided lack of accurate PR,
and most Americans’ views on the subject remain steeped in stereotypes
and moral judgements."

I haven’t been a swinger since preschool, when I rather impulsively
switched to monkey bars. It’s likely I have some misperceptions, too.

"The swinging lifestyle is really not about sex," the news release said. "It’s about sexuality and it’s about friendship."

I still didn’t get it. So I called Scott Purcell, 47, who put out the release.

He works from an office in Denver and has been involved in several internet start-ups.

In 1994, he founded Epoch Networks in California. It was among the
first big internet service providers, and grew to 300 employees before
venture-capital investors bought out his interests in 1999.

In 2002, he launched a specialised web browser called Browsercast. "I call it the world’s smallest Google," he said.

In 2006, Purcell launched WebBiographies.com, a site that allows
users to write autobiographies. It now has 20,000 members, but that’s
not big enough.

"It’s not going as well as I had hoped," Purcell said. "I can’t keep
throwing money at it because the masses haven’t taken to it as I had
hoped."

So now he’s launching an online magazine called Kasidie.com.

It’s a resource for people who wanted to learn about swinging, and a
place where swingers could gather, said Purcell, who is co-publisher
with his wife, Nicoleta.

"In five years, I’d love to be the Playboy of the swinging world," he said.

Purcell said he was not looking for venture capital or angel investors. And if he is successful, the potential is huge.

Last month, Penthouse Media Group announced a $US500 million ($A560
million) deal to acquire Various Inc, operator of
adultfriendfinder.com. The deal, reportedly, will add $US300 million to
Penthouse’s revenues.

Purcell has only put out the first edition of Kasidie, but he’s already particular about who can advertise.

No tobacco companies, except for cigar makers. Why? "That’s
personal," Purcell said. "I can’t stand smoking. But cigars can be
classy."

He’s also not interested in ads from deep discounters.

"I have all the respect in the world for Wal-Mart as a financial
company, and as a member of the Dow, but it’s not who we want as an
advertiser," he said. "I’d rather see Tiffany’s."

I clicked through Kasidie in preparing this column.

"What the f— are you looking at?" one of my co-workers cried. "It’s research," I explained.

I read an article that raised the question of whether big-breasted
women were less intelligent than their small-breasted counterparts.
Then I read a product review for the "Love Swing", learning that I
wasn’t so misinformed about this niche, after all. They really do ride
swings.

They are also of varying political and religious persuasions. I
clicked through a photo profile of a woman who described herself as "a
sex ninja for the revolution". I also read a piece called, "Praying
& Playing, the Life of a Christian Swinger".

"In biblical times, adultery was defined as having sex with another
man’s wife or concubine without his permission, not as having sex
outside of marriage."

Then I read a piece called "100 signs that you might be a swinger".

■ No. 4: "You have over 100,000 frequent flyer miles on Air Jamaica."

■ No. 45: "The employees fight to take your order at the One Hour Photo."

■ No. 78: "All the men bring their wives to your bachelor party."

■ No. 94: "On Monday, you are glad to go back to work so you can get some rest."

 

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