Q&A: Chaturbate Reflects on Community, 10 Years of Growth

Q&A: Chaturbate Reflects on Community, 10 Years of Growth

Chaturbate has skyrocketed in 10 years to become not only one of the most globally recognized camming brands, but one of the most-visited sites in adult, rivaling titanic tube sites with sheer volume. But what its visionary COO Shirley Lara most celebrates as she reflects on their landmark decade anniversary, is the power of community.

Since inception, Chaturbate has focused on fostering a sex-positive, body-positive and all-inclusive community of friendly broadcasters, placing them front and center as the shining star around which the entire company orbits.

We always put our community first and strive to make Chaturbate a platform all genders, races, nationalities, sexualities, abilities and body types can enjoy.

It is the talent themselves, with their hopes and dreams for financial freedom, their sexual expression and their creative ingenuity, who are the platform’s beating heart.

From inception, rather than making the affiliate side of the market their primary focus, Chaturbate took the reverse approach: by catering to broadcasters first and foremost, they were confident quality traffic and organic growth would come naturally. Rather than chasing views and eyeballs for the sake of it, they relished quality, they appreciated earnest engagement and they won over a legion of fans in the process.

As they scaled in size, Chaturbate did not merely rest on its laurels either, instead keeping a very visible hand in the market and making continuous technological improvements to their site. Server stability was as vital as being seen at physical trade shows, from consumer-facing expos to B2B conferences, as the booming creator economy made business-savvy entrepreneurs of cam models.

Even just this past year, with pandemic lockdowns sending traffic levels spiking, Chaturbate empowered its broadcasters and their fans to come together as one. They debuted several SFW series on YouTube like “Sex Tales,” tapping into the increasingly massive traffic that can be leveraged outside of adult to expand brand awareness via compelling must-watch content, and also held a vibrant 10-year anniversary award show, “A Decade with Chaturbate.”

To chronicle the rise of such a prominent camming giant, XBIZ spoke with Lara about the company’s biggest history-making milestones, present passion projects and future ambitions.

XBIZ: Looking back on the past 10 years, what were a few of the biggest milestones Chaturbate achieved in terms of growth and brand recognition?

LARA: Chaturbate has hit some remarkable achievements since the platform first launched 10 years ago. I remember the excitement when we first hit 100 broadcasters on the site and now Chaturbate has grown to hundreds of thousands of broadcasters from around the world and millions of visitors to the site daily.

One of the bigger milestones Chaturbate has hit in terms of growth is when we first hit the top 50 most visited websites in the U.S. and globally in 2019. Today, Chaturbate is the 23rd most visited website in the United States and 49th globally. For the site to have more traffic than Twitter, Hulu and other large mainstream platforms is a huge accomplishment for our team and shows the global reach Chaturbate really has.

Another big milestone for Chaturbate was when our first broadcaster hit 1 million followers on the platform, which Caylin accomplished in July 2019. Having a broadcaster reach this amount of followers on the platform was definitely a growth milestone we were proud of.

Today, we have numerous broadcasters with 300K-plus followers and even more with over 500K followers. Being able to provide a platform for users to build up a community, find financial freedom and freely express themselves online has been a wonderful milestone for Chaturbate.

XBIZ: As one of the highest-ranked adult sites according to SimilarWeb, up there traffic-wise with tube titans, how have you attained such global reach?

LARA: Chaturbate is a community-centric platform dedicated to providing an accepting space for users to explore themselves and their sexuality. We always put our community first and strive to make Chaturbate a platform all genders, races, nationalities, sexualities, abilities and body types can enjoy. Not only is Chaturbate the most inclusive cam site in the world, but we are also a technology leader. Our unparalleled streaming technology is what keeps users and broadcasters coming back to our site. Our team is continuously building money-making features for broadcasters while still enhancing the user experience.

XBIZ: Which models have been with you since the very beginning, who continue to thrive and champion the brand after a decade?

LARA: After 10 years of Chaturbating, it's amazing to say we still have broadcasters on the platform who have been with us since the beginning. Just to name a few, Lovelyanne aka Hot_ Babes_Live, CherryCrush, MelodyKush and Hot_Milfy_Mom are broadcasters that have been with us since the beginning and are still broadcasting on Chaturbate today.

XBIZ: How do you juggle the bird's-eye view decision-making of a chief exec while keeping your hand on the pulse of the community?

LARA: Having a great team around me is what helps me keep a pulse on the community while also making strategic, overarching decisions for the company. Chaturbate has a very collaborative company culture where everyone’s ideas and options are heard.

I rely greatly on our customer service, product, data and marketing teams to help understand what our broadcasters and users need to help make Chaturbate the best platform it can be.

Additionally, staying current on mainstream trends and applying them to adult is key. It’s important to see what is working and not working in other industries and seeing how we can apply that to Chaturbate.

XBIZ: Describe a few of the most vital departments behind the scenes at Chaturbate that help drive the business. 

LARA: The entire Chaturbate team works tirelessly behind the scenes to make it the global camming platform it is today. We have amazing engineering, product, marketing, data and customer support teams.

XBIZ: What have been the biggest changes in the camming market this past decade, and how have you stayed ahead of the curve?

LARA: As a community-centric platform, we have always worked to put our broadcasters first. Chaturbate was the first camming platform to cater towards our performers rather than affiliates. We knew that if the broadcasters were happy, in turn, the affiliates would be happy. Empowering broadcasters to also be affiliates themselves helped us stay ahead of the curve and, in fact, attract more talent to the site.

Technology has also been one of the constant changes and challenges to the camming market, with new cameras, high-quality streams, new lighting, etc. We are constantly updating the site to support new technology advances, such as allowing live hentai characters to broadcast on Chaturbate.

In 2018, Chaturbate was the first cam site to let live animated hentai characters broadcast on the site. It first started with “Abby Oddly” and now we have broadcasters like Projekt Melody that have garnered over 187K followers. While we first encountered some pushback from the community, we are happy to allow a new wave of animated streamers on Chaturbate.

XBIZ: Let's talk about marketing. From organic social media campaigns to ad buys and brand ambassadors, discuss your overarching strategy.

LARA: Our overall goal is to always support and uplift the amazing broadcasters on the Chaturbate platform. We are constantly running ads, campaigns and contests to help showcase the community. We believe in empowering everyone, whether you have 10 followers or 1,000,000. We want Chaturbate to be a space for everyone to express themselves and feel like they have a community they belong to. With all of our marketing initiatives, our overarching strategy is to showcase the diversity and community that exists on Chaturbate.

XBIZ: What community-building initiatives this past year, from producing SFW interviews to your recent awards show, were a real hit?

LARA: This past year Chaturbate helped launch a SFW content platform, Camming Life, with the goal of normalizing sex work and telling some of the hilarious stories that happen behind the scenes of the adult industry. On Camming Life, we interview the biggest cam models in the industry and give you a unique window into this wild world. The YouTube channel has garnered over 44K subscribers and several videos have reached over 1 million views.

We also launched a 10-episode scripted comedy series “Cam_Girlfriend” starring Lily LaBeau that garnered recognition from adult awards shows, the Rio Webfest and NYC WebFest. We also started a podcast series “Sex Tales” hosted by Chaturbate broadcasters Melody Kush and Lana Del Bae that takes listeners behind the scenes of the adult industry with some of the top performers and insiders. With nine episodes, we wrapped up season one earlier this year and are looking to launch season two in the next few months.

Just last month we also hosted a 10-year anniversary award show “A Decade with Chaturbate.” We wanted to celebrate the Chaturbate community for 10 years of Chaturbating and what better way to do it than with awards. We hosted interactive panels with top Chaturbate broadcasters and gave out 25 awards for best broadcasters, titties, toes and apps and bots of the decade. The event was hosted by Mary Moody and Mya Malone of Blissense and featured performances by Kaileeshy, Amber la Ray and Brooke Candy. It was a wonderful event and great to see the community come together and celebrate each other and their achievements.

XBIZ: When it comes to customer service, how do you meaningfully and actively address feedback from fans and models?

LARA: We always have an ear to the ground and thoughtfully listen to what our community is saying. If we launch a feature and our community doesn’t like it, we will happily take it down or change it so it works for everybody. We have a large customer service team around the world that works 24/7 to make sure our broadcasters are taken care of and their issues are addressed.

XBIZ: What's next for Chaturbate in 2021 and where do you hope to take the brand in the next 10 years?

LARA: For the next ten years, we hope to continue to launch interesting and innovative features for broadcasters while still enhancing the user experience. We will continuously strive to be the best camming platform with unparalleled streaming technology.

We also hope over the next 10 years that camming, and sex work in general, becomes more normalized and mainstream. We would love for more broadcasters and users to join us online and feel comfortable with expressing themselves on Chaturbate. We want everyone to find a space for themselves to easily find their fantasies, kinks and connections.


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