Learn about the IAFD: The Basics

Got a comment on another article that wasn’t about the article, but it asked some general questions about the site; and tho we’ve been here at iafd.com since 1999 (and elsewhere since 1995 or so), perhaps you haven’t been, so here we go.  (For a general look at our history, Wikipedia has a good telling of our story.  Peter tells it as well.)

1) is IAFD becoming profitable or still has to rely on volunteers

One really has nothing to do with the other.

The site incurs very real costs like bandwidth and servers and co-location fees and Video-on-Demand accounts, and we’re able to cover those costs via a modest amount of advertising on the site and commissions on sales made through the “buy this movie” links; but everyone involved has day jobs; and we’ve always preferred it that way.

I mean, if we were really looking to “maximize revenue” there’d be banners and come-ons all over the goddamned place, and there’s not.

We are staffed by volunteers just like Wikipedia or your local service club is staffed by volunteers.  We rely on volunteers because they’re the best workers for the task at hand.  If you’re punching a clock, your work will eventually suffer once you figure how much work you can get away with not doing but still collect a check.  So, to avoid that, we rely on volunteers.  Want to slack off all day?  Knock yourself out.  Go outside, read a book, froggy go a-courting, whatever.  The awesome bunch of guys and gals who make up our editorial staff derive their satisfaction out of helping out an hour or two a day.  The work (and being part of something larger than yourself) is its own reward.

And mostly, keeping it low-key allows us to focus on providing the best data possible, instead of having to focus on running a business. :-)

2) is IAFD able to keep up with the huge numbers of new releases and do you get much or any help from the studios themselves? do they send you emails with data or copies of the vids?

The number of releases is staggering, and it’s very difficult to keep up. Some studios help, most don’t.  We get very few emails on any regular basis with data.  We don’t get copies of the vids since we’re all spread out over the world.  We have editors in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.  Managing screeners is difficult, so we don’t bother.  We watch a LOT of Video-on-Demand.  We have accounts at all the major VOD sites (Adult DVD Empire, HotMovies, AEBN, VideoBox, Gamelink) which allows us all to check on titles and the like without the hassle of having to ship physicals discs around the world.

We rely a lot on what the review sites do; they help us prioritize what is “new” and “interesting.”

Because there’s so much out there, we don’t do much in the area of comp tapes.  We don’t go out of our way to list comps, because there just aren’t that many hours in the day.  So if you send in a correction saying we don’t list “Best of So-and-So” and we don’t add it in our usual quickfooted fashion, that’s likely why.

3) do you co-operate with sites like videobox, videosz, etc to get the data correct?

We use whatever resources we can to verify our data.  What gets tricky is sometimes making a mistake and then seeing that mistake go ricocheting all over the Internet.

Growing up, my Mom would be skeptical when my friends and I would come home with a story of some sort and proclaim “One lies, and the others swear to it!”  We find this all the time.  it’s rarely malicious, but the adult industry is so filled with deception its hard to tell the truth sometimes.

The one story that comes to mind most recently surrounds performer Echo Valley who just passed away.  We listed her as having been born in 1970, which we had gotten as a “submit corrections” submission.  When her obituary came out, it was shown she was born in 1954.  We changed her record right away, but if you look around the internet, that 1970 year has some traction and will be there for years to come… and I am sure we’ll get a correction saying “1954 is wrong, this site says 1970!”

So, when we lack better information on biographical matters, we’ll generally take a submitter’s word for it (unless the submitter has proven himself unreliable).  We’re not usually privy to 2257 records, so we’ve got nothing concrete to go on.

Do we give info to the other sites?  Not directly, but I have no doubt they use us as a resource, just as we use them.

4) what do you see as the future of IAFD? will there be co-operation with the euro sites like EGAFD etc.? (or maybe there already is?)

We’re friendly with the guys over at BGAFD/EGAFD and one of our editors sat (or still sits, I can’t recall) on their editorial board as well.  We use them as a resource as they do us, but there’s no wholesale data sharing going on.

Peter (our founder) mostly focussed on American titles when he built his database, so for the longest time, that’s what we did.  Sometime in 2009-2010 we decided we’d open the IAFD to Euro titles, and we have a couple guys on staff who really know their stuff and work on getting the MASSIVE job of backfilling done.  It’s a slow process.

As to the future?  We’re struggling with tracking DVDs in a world that moving on-line.  We have no capacity right now for really keeping tabs on the large web-only content producers – the Naughty Americas, the Brazzers, the Reality Kings — beyond what they release on DVD.  That is probably the biggest thing we’re wrestling with.  That and introducing some new design elements to get our look and feel up to 2003 at least. ;-)

5) have you thought about putting out a software program that uses the IAFD database to catalogue a porn users’ downloaded scenes and videos?

Have we thought about it?  No. It’s a lot of work being an independent software publisher, and we’ve got enough on our plate being an independent website. I know there are programs out there that scrape our pages to populate their own DVD cataloging databases, so a need is being filled; we just don’t have anything to do with it.  We’re not a fan of that practice (scraping is against our TOS, but in reality we don’t do much about it at this time. If it had some huge impact on traffic, we’d be tougher on it… but there’s too much else to do, really.

How The IAFD Works, And Why Some People Don’t Like Us For It

Recently, we’ve been under some criticism from the Twitterverse via @LezFemmez for shortcomings in our site.  He posted a snarky blog article on the subject — My Beef with IAFD.COM — and I figured I’d address his complaints here, in an effort to start a dialog.  (There’s only so much productive back and forth you can do in 140 characters.)

The biggest issue I have is the “LezOnly” marking. Why for fuck’s sake don’t they mark every G/G appearance by a girl in a particular movie? Now that would really be super helpful, but of course it would be a lot of work, so that sure ain’t gonna happen.

The LezOnly tag was designed by our esteemed founder to let visitors know that a girl ONLY did g/g in a movie.  In other words, she only did it with other girls in the movie.

Now, this may be an awesome thing — “Yes! I don’t have to see Nikki Rhodes swallow cock in Fuck the World!” — or it may be a bad thing — “Shit!  I was hoping Nikki Dial did more than just munch box in Rump Humpers 2” — but in either event, you know not to get that movie for one reason or another.

Now, we admit, there may be a place for the tag that LezFemmez is looking for, sort of a LezToo tag — which is to say she both gobbles knob and eats a girl out.  He’s also right in saying it’s some work to implement it — maybe not as much as he might think — we can certainly make some assumptions based on scene breakdowns and auto-generate the tags that way.

Also, LezFemmez seems to imply we’re not interested in doing any work (“…so that sure ain’t gonna happen“).  Somehow, in the last year,  data on over 10,000 movies happened… and it was a fair amount of work.  We’re not afraid of work — but we do like to prioritize so we can make sure we’re working smart.

The next worst problem is that obviously some people working for IAFD don’t really get what is a G/G scene and what is not. Admittedly, things in those 70s movies can get a little fuzzy, but two women talking to each other with a little groping involved does not qualify as a lez scene you need to write down in the database. Something unfortunately happening all too often, which leaves you with a profound longing to hurt somebody because once again you relied on the assessment of this one person who thinks that was a G/G scene.

Tomato, tomato on this one.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, etc.

What are the guidelines for a g/g scene?  Is a kiss enough?  Not enough?  Do we have to have fingering?  Full nudity?  Ice dildoes? Is there an empirical

Data on the older movies is a tough nut to manage because so many of the movies are out of print and if they’re in print, it’s very possible they’re in a different cut than they were when the database entry was generated.

This database has been in existence since 1982 or so, when Peter first started compiling the data for it.  So, the data from these older movies may be 20 years old and who knows how many versions ago.

So, while YOUR copy may have some conversation and a little groping, it’s very possible that there was an awesome fisting scene that was cut — or maybe only released in Europe — that we saw which is why it was tagged that way.  Sadly, we can’t ask Peter for clarification, since he’s no longer with us… but we do tend to defer to his data on the older stuff.

To explain further, in my mind,  Raw Talent includes a scene where Jerry Butler fucks a turkey carcass, cums on it and then serves the cummy sandwich to a difficult customer.  However, to the modern viewer, Jerry Butler walks into the kitchen, grumbles and then delivers a sandwich to a difficult customer.

So, what should the database reflect?  (Let’s assume the turkey in this case was an actual tracked performer.)  Does it reflect the original movie or the version currently available?

We choose the original movie, and we’ll add some explanatory comments;  unless there have been such significant cuts that the movie is then entered a second time (we’re looking at you, Traci Lords) …  For instance, we list both the Traci version of Talk Dirty to Me 3 and the re-released version that had Lisa DeLeeuw in her place - Talk Dirty to Me 3 (new).

IMDB has the superior ability to track “Alternate Versions” and we don’t have a very good way to do that.  We can just link the two together and try to add something to the comments field.

Another thing would be the search option. Why for fuck’s sake isn’t it possible to search for any words? No, it has to be the exact title, otherwise that freakin’ site doesn’t find a thing. Every other site, database or not, is featuring that, but no, not IAFD. Here’s an example: if you’re searching for the movie “The Best Little Whorehouse in San Francisco” you actually have to enter either one word alone or the exact title, but without the “the” in front of course (another superbly annoying feature). But of course “Whorehouse San Francisco” leaves you with nothing. So what the fucking fuck?

We feel your pain.  We do.  And we haven’t done anything about it because we’re (likely mistakenly) afraid of breaking with our own traditions.  (Seriously.)

I will say this, searching for “The Best Little” DOES bring up the title you’re looking for.  As a style guide, we drop the leading THE and A articles from titles.  That’s how Peter did it, so that’s how we do it.  It might not be right, but it’s the path we went down.  The search engine is smart enough to know to drop the leading “THE ” from a search term.

If you search for “whorehouse” you get 12 titles; if you search for “san francisco” you get 43 titles.

Now seems as good time as any to talk about this:

How Our Search Engine Works

It’s stupid.  It’s frightfully, frightfully stupid and oh so 1996.  It is. I can’t defend it as cutting edge, because it’s not — but it does work, if you know how to use it.

We don’t use Full-Text Searching because we’ve found it to be less successful and less precise than substring searching.

In our experience, typing in a small part of your title (“whorehouse”) will get you a better set of results than typing in “whorehouse San Fransisco” since the Fulltext engine is going to shoot back more titles than the substring search will.

How does this 1996 logic work in a 2010 world?

If you know the secret, works well enough.  If you don’t, you can find yourself pissed off and fast.  That’s why we offer the searching tips.

When I say it works well enough, I am leaving out its dirty little secret: It’s Fucking Slow Sometimes.

We know it.  You know it.  Substring searches are the slowest types of searches.  What they gain in accuracy, they lose in speed.  This wasn’t so bad when we were a small site, but as we’ve grown, it’s becoming all too apparent that it doesn’t scale so well.

Clicking around link to link is usually pretty speedy, but searching will occasionally (!!!) take longer than is comfortable.

So, FullText searching as the default way of searching is probably in our not-too-distant future, anyway…

Oh, and please don’t let yourself distract from eventual “BJOnly” markings, because there’s always a good chance the girl also has a G/G scene in that movie. Yah well, IAFD is not an exact science, more of a guessing game, which is really “helpful” on a database.

BJOnly tags are meant to be just that — the gal (or guy, if you’re interested in the gay titles) just blows someone in the movie; they have no other sexual activity.  If she has a G/G scene with someone else, there shouldn’t be a BJOnly tag.  If there is, it’s obviously a mistake, and you should let us know about it — we’ll remove the incorrect tag.  The scene breakdowns should make it pretty clear (but not always).

The tags were intended to let the visitor make informed buying/rental decisions.  If you’re a fan of someone but not a fan of G/G, buying a movie where she’s tagged [LezOnly] won’t satisfy you.  If you want to see someone fucked in the ass ([Anal]) or Peed On ([GoldShower]) you’d look for those tags.  If you want to see someone get fucked, you’ll ignore their [NonSex] or [BJOnly] tagged movies.  If you want to get everything they’ve ever done, you’ll avoid the [Clip] tags.  You might have to read a little deeper to see if the [DVDOnly] tag is new or old footage…

Hopefully this has given a little insight into how we do things.  We’re not above criticism.  Believe me, our editorial forum is a hotbed of self-criticism, sometimes to the point of near-paralysis as an issue is debated and re-debated.

We’re looking to make some changes in the coming year to address some of these criticisms, and I hope as we move forward you’ll all let us know how we’re doing.