Q&A: Elevated X Equips Creators, Brands With All-Inclusive CMS Services

Q&A: Elevated X Equips Creators, Brands With All-Inclusive CMS Services

After 17 years as an enterprise software company, Elevated X runs a well-oiled operation when it comes to building and managing adult websites, especially since the majority of its core team has worked together nearly since inception.

Providing content creators with everything they need to run a stand-alone site of their own that isn’t tied to a platform, Elevated X has powered many noteworthy brands over the years, as well as the official sites of numerous top stars.

Our goal is to allow people to use software they own, on a website they own themselves 100% and provide them tools not available on platforms.

Since 2018, the company has quietly begun expanding into the indie market, targeting creators with ELX Complete, a percentage-based website setup solution talent can harness to have more ownership and control of their brand.

XBIZ sat down with AJ Hall, co-founder and CEO of Elevated X, to discuss the company’s history, current projects and new features on the horizon.

XBIZ: As a long-running software company powering over 2,000 sites, what have been the biggest company milestones over the past 15 years?

HALL: When we first started the company, things like automated web-based video encoding were a new concept. Introducing an automated method for watermarking, cutting videos into clips and encoding them into other sizes and formats was our first big claim to fame. Then, in 2008, with smartphones in their infancy, we introduced mobile site versions. A few years later we developed a VOD system that works like iTunes and allows people to do things like sell clips, pay-per-view and online video rental on their own sites.

Since then, we’ve added store features and in the last few weeks released a paid direct messaging system and reworked the system to include any gender or sexuality identifier someone chooses so that models can specify their own preferred labels and terminology.

XBIZ: What are the latest trends in the CMS market and how have you innovated to stay ahead of the curve?

HALL: Speed, simplicity and ease of use has become more important than ever as new generations who grew up with mobile technology and apps require different things. Today’s software has to be designed with efficiency and shorter attention spans in mind.

We’ve been putting a lot of our resources into making things faster and easier without removing functionality or options. Our goal is to allow people to use software they own, on a website they own themselves 100% and provide them tools not available on platforms — but make it as quick and easy to use as the simplest platform or social app.

XBIZ: As the creator economy gains momentum, discuss ELX Complete and why talent should consider adopting it.

HALL: With ELX Complete, we have created what we think is the perfect all-inclusive solution for performers, producers and creators who want to own their own website and have total control of their brand. It’s a percentage-based total website setup with no fees involved, and gives creators a standalone website they own 100%. We provide the same website setup all the biggest brands use, which offers much more long-term security and stability than using platforms alone.

XBIZ: Which performers are already working with you and what has their feedback been like?

HALL: We started ELXC quietly in 2018 and since then the results, feedback and website growth has exceeded our expectations. We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the industry’s most incredible people. Top star clients like Riley Reid, Lauren Philips, Lisa Ann, Ashley Sinclair, Ariel X and personality-based creators like Meana Wolf, Candy Glitter and Xev Bellringer have steered the direction of things and everything we do is based on user feedback and results.

XBIZ: Tell us about the team at Elevated X. How do you interface and delegate? 

HALL: At this point, the core people have been the same for about 15 of our 17 years in business, so we operate much like a well-organized family unit. Things are split into three main areas, with one of us overseeing most of the front-end development and client account administration, one handling most of the back-end stuff and another handling most of the software installations and general customer support.

From there, we work with outside designers and developers as needed and people overlap roles internally or externally to fill in gaps. We are a busy crew. Between servicing our hundreds of large-scale adult brands, helping build and launch an average of two new sites a week for ELX Complete, and constant new feature development, we work almost nonstop.

XBIZ: Discuss your approach to marketing, blending behind-the-scenes dealmaking with more visible forms of advertising.

HALL: Besides an occasional awareness campaign to promote something new, we don’t do much advertising. Most of our clients come from word of mouth. Even with high-profile websites we power, we’ve never done press releases for site launches or awards or put our logo at the footers. Often people have no idea which websites are Elevated-X-run properties. We don’t piggyback deals with marketing a whole lot. It’s important to us that our clients know who’s providing them the various components: web hosting from MojoHost, designs done as collaborations with Zuzana Designs, payment processing from Segpay and Epoch, user agreements and policies done by the law office of Corey Silverstein and so on.

We only utilize the best in A-tier, 100% U.S.- based services for our clients and only look to make mutually beneficial deals with others who have the same interests in mind: client satisfaction and proven results.

XBIZ: What are the unique needs of traditional webmasters vs. today's indie content creators, and how do you balance your resources to amply serve both kinds of clients?

HALL: This is a tough one — I can’t lie. The answer to this question could literally be its own entire article. The needs of a traditional webmaster are drastically different.

Take a company like Jules Jordan for example. The same exact website technology we provide them is also used by ELXC and the creator/indie sites, but the business model and features are almost polar opposites. One type of site is entirely about consumable content showcasing, presentation and delivery; the other is about interaction and personalization as the “content.”

We’ve had to streamline a lot and add a lot of conditional functionality so we can use the same big engine for anyone, whether they’re a huge company or a cam star’s first website, but have them work in different ways. Each is its own thing, so we juggle both and work on both concurrently.

XBIZ: Are there any new features or products you're ramping up for, or ready to tease?

HALL: We’re working on implementing an entirely new website theme for ELX Complete in collaboration with Zuzana Designs where they’re doing all the graphics and I’m doing all the template coding myself personally, something I haven’t done in more than a decade. It’s going to give creators a hybrid website format that’s never existed before.

We are also working on adding more payment features and will be releasing a powerful set of marketing tools that surpasses anything that’s ever been made available within the adult space. Lots of good stuff is in the works here leading into 2022.

XBIZ: Talk about your overarching goals for 2022 and beyond.

HALL: Our plan is to remain as a boutique company versus aiming to create a platform or bring on 5,000 creators. We plan to remain talent-focused and continue to seek out highly creative, innovative, passionate producers and indie content creators to work with. The goal is to maintain the same level of hands-on service and create long-term business relationships with everyone we work with.

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