'Traffic Captain' Andy Wullmer Braves the High Seas as Spirited Exec

'Traffic Captain' Andy Wullmer Braves the High Seas as Spirited Exec

Andy Wullmer’s background is nothing if not eclectic. He studied economics in Germany, trained for three years to become a banker, earned a degree as a financial manager — then backpacked through South America for a year, eventually opening his own small hostel in Venezuela and operating a tour boat among the tropical islands. That’s when his “Captain” persona was born.

Upon the birth of his first son, Wullmer returned to Germany. It was 1999, and finding a job as a banker was quite challenging due to the overall economic downturn there, he recalls, so he worked as a UPS driver while diligently submitting numerous job applications, but luck was not on his side.

Instead of relying on SEO to get visitors, many affiliates are becoming media buyers or part of ad networks.

Eventually an opportunity popped up that seemed a perfect fit: a company looking for an import and export manager proficient in English and Spanish, with an economics background.

He applied and secured an interview, which to his surprise was for MMV Germany, the largest adult movie production company in the country. MMV was seeking someone to represent them at adult expos worldwide, buying and selling licenses. Impressed by Wullmer's international flair, the company hired him.

The rest is history: Wullmer networked and hobnobbed, gaining expertise in everything from ecommerce to SEO and traffic, making connections and over time rising through the ranks of several companies to become CEO of the mobile business arm of TrafficPartner. In this Executive Seat interview, he discusses his career path, how he approaches business and what goals he has for the future.

XBIZ: What lessons did you learn in those first few years after starting as a movie license dealer in 1999?

WULLMER: From the outset, international networking played a crucial role in my business, both in offline and online domains. Initially, I gained valuable insights from the evolving online business landscape in the U.S., adapting it into a European business model. This involved establishing ecommerce platforms for adult DVDs and sex toys.

Furthermore, delving into the realm of SEO taught me the significance of backlinks and, most importantly, helped me acquire knowledge on generating traffic. Additionally, I learned how to work with affiliates and ensure customer satisfaction.

XBIZ: What relationships proved most valuable over the decade that followed, as you worked for SexGoesMobile and specialized in international affiliate management?

WULLMER: I began my journey as an international affiliate manager in 2010. By 2011, I had already assumed the role of CEO, maintaining a strong commitment to traffic, affiliates and product development. As the face of the company, I represented us at events worldwide, from adult to mainstream shows.

During this time, traditional figures such as webmasters, affiliates and media buyers were pivotal contacts, and we operated on a 50/50 revenue-sharing model. We functioned as a team, sharing victories and losses in a long-term relationship.

While these contacts were important, the diverse connections made at shows also contributed to business growth and provided insights into emerging trends. Our industry, being relatively small, encouraged a collaborative environment where everyone knew someone who could assist in specific situations. Once again, that’s proof of the importance of networking in our industry.

XBIZ: Tell us how you became involved with TrafficPartner in 2017.

WULLMER: TrafficPartner was already the primary shareholder of SGM, and I had a longstanding relationship with the founders over a period of approximately 14 years. Due to new regulations in mobile payments, our dating products experienced significantly more success than our mobile products. I was helping build up the affiliate team and ended up being appointed brand ambassador for the entire TrafficPartner group.

XBIZ: How has your role with the company evolved since then?

WULLMER: Since assuming that role, I have actively engaged in more than 25 affiliate events annually worldwide, progressively shouldering additional responsibilities as a speaker and event host. I have also played a pivotal role in developing the company’s social media presence and conceptualizing events for the company group.

On Facebook, the “Captain’s Business Lounge” group that I created has served as a hub for members to access information and images from all shows, while also providing a platform for them to share their own news. Simultaneously, on YouTube, I established the “TrafficCaptain” channel, where I have conducted over 60 interviews with business professionals and models.

I assist managers within the TrafficPartner Group in networking and introduce them to individuals who could be well-suited for certain roles in the company.

XBIZ: In what ways has the traffic game changed over time?

WULLMER: The basic rules are still the same, but things are changing in the online business world. Individual webmasters are not as common, and now traffic companies are taking charge. Instead of relying on SEO to get visitors, many affiliates are becoming media buyers or part of ad networks. Social media traffic generation is also a big deal now, bringing in new people to the business.

There are many ways affiliates bring in traffic, and they’ve figured out how to track it to make sure it goes to the best advertiser. Personal connections are not as crucial as the numbers. We’re all here for the money, and having personal relationships is a bonus. Traffic comes from various sources like email, banners, pop-ups, video ads, native text ads and social media shoutouts, but conversion rates and prices can vary a lot.

XBIZ: How do you make sure TrafficPartner stays ahead of the curve?

WULLMER: I’m not sure if there’s a perfect rule to follow, but I believe three things contribute to the success of the TrafficPartner group.

Firstly, we have creative shareholders and experienced managers who bring inspiring ideas to the table. As a team, we explore many of these ideas, increasing the chance of finding something successful.

Secondly, the company consistently invests in new startups in our industry. This involves contributing money, knowledge and our network, working together to make these businesses successful.

Lastly, we actively participate in industry events. We attend panels, engage in conversations with people and provide opportunities for new minds to join and work with us.

XBIZ: What was it like hosting the 2024 XBIZ Honors?

WULLMER: Everyone who knows me is aware of my love for being onstage and having control over the microphone. The XBIZ Honors awards ceremony holds a special place in my heart because many of the nominees and winners are my friends, allowing me to add a personal touch when calling them up onstage.

I’ve been fortunate to win three awards myself: as a CEO, community figure and brand ambassador. So I know what a truly special experience it is to hear your name announced as the winner.

This year, since the show was in Hollywood, I had the opportunity to don my white captain outfit, tailored in Thailand back in December. Due to the challenging venue with an open bar and people talking in the background, I had to raise my voice to quiet them down! But even that added an element of fun for me. Teaming up with Andra was great — we made a fantastic duo. I’d love the chance to do it all over again one day.

XBIZ: What’s next for you and your business in 2024?

WULLMER: We launched in January 2023, during the XBIZ event, and it’s our new OnlyFans/fan sites ad network. Recognizing the market demand, we saw the need for a professional, user-friendly, self-service paid traffic solution for creators and agencies. As the CMO, my primary focus in 2024 is to grow the network by onboarding more creators and OnlyFans-related affiliates.

Our latest venture is, an adult creator search site. Many models face challenges promoting their fan sites on traditional platforms like Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, where they are often blocked, shadow-banned or restricted from sharing links to adult content. ModelSearcher is a social media platform that makes it easy to find top creators.

On a personal level, I’m hoping to discover more beautiful places for scuba diving!

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