ok, well, this is topical - this just came in from a customer (not a plant):
My name's [redacted]. I used to be a member on your site and I have to say I've always been a huge fan of what you guys have done/are doing - I love how AW has brought back REAL, natural girls, presented in real, natural settings. There's something so much more appealing about what you do than the general standard that's out there...these airbrushed, hairless, plastic-y bimbos with stilettos under harsh studio lighting, wearing make-up by the pound, that we are for some reason supposed to find attractive...needless to say, yuck.
I saw an AW picture randomly the other day of a model I found out was called Carmina, just a picture of her holding an aqua-coloured jumper/sweater over herself and I thought to myself, "God, abbywinters gets this so completely right."
It often amuses me that militant PU people shout down positive reviews of our site (and other sites here) - they cannot seem to accept that not everyone agrees with their own world view ("I don;t like the site, so no one else can either!"). I reckon we should let CatSteppings have his say, and perhaps you could post your own review?
Well, you have kind of done that - you don't like our photography. You are correct that some of our shooters have been models (we find we get better results from new models that way). I (Garion Hall, owner) am responsible for their training. They may not be the best shooters in the world (though, I think they are pretty good), but they consistently produce content that our customers enjoy (seems like CatSteppings is one of them) which is what really matters in my book.
If you have some other specific feedback on the photography, I'd love to hear it - your point on depth of field is well taken, and it's a conscious decision we make. I am not always happy with the result. While we could shoot at f16 and wide angle lenses all the time (some of our competition does that - you won's see any DoF issues on inthecrack.com, for example), it's difficult to get that much light into the locations we shoot (often, the models own homes - which are small, especially in Amsterdam), and the result would be less "natural" looking images. So, we make compromises.
Of course, you don't want to hear excuses, you want RESULTS! Perhaps we have to agree that our site is not right for you - I am sure there are many sites whose content doesn't float your boat, and maybe we're one of them?
If you have other photography feedback, I'd like to hear it.
The number of updates, it's a tough issue. Of course, customers always want more, but there's a risk of "firehose of content", porn overload, where customers become complacent. We used to have more frequent updates (3-4 new items a day). When we reduced it, some people complained, but most were fine with it (others actually preferred it). As you probably know, all pay sites are dong it tough; it's difficult to compete with the tube sites. Everyone has ideas on how to do it best, and if there's one thing I've learned in the last 15 years, it's that every customer wants something different, and there's no way to win by trying to please everyone.
I see it as our job to "curate" the "abbywinters paradigm", stay clear to our vision and mission, and let customers choose if it suits them (or not). We do not aim to be "all things to all people", but we listen to feedback, and if it's in-line with our vision, we work to implement it. Indeed, a bunch of feedback has been offered here on PU, and we have implemented some of it (RagingBuddhist in particular was very vocal about some things).
I hope some members reply soon, but int he mean time, I'd like to update you. We took your feedback on board (it was not only your feedback, in fact). Over the last year, we have made a significant change in this.
I'd like to extend you an offer of a free membership for a week to see if the site meets your expectations now. If you hit me on email@example.com, I'll set it up.
Unfortunately, Maddison Yong and us did have some problems when she came to shoot with us.
Maddison's report above is accurate, though does miss out some aspects (She had several grooming issues, including a rash, an allergic reaction to sometimes). We engage models well before their shoot date to discuss how seriously we take grooming matters (several emails, and several phone calls), and make it very clear that we will not proceed with the shoot if they do not meet the standards our customers require and expect.
We do this, because we do not allow models to wear makeup (our customers tell us again and again, they want no makeup), and we never photoshop images (to remove blemishes). Ms Young alluded that in her previous work with other companies, makeup and post-production work had solved these problems, and she was mystified as to why we could not use the same tools. We explained that this was one of our selling points, but she was not satisified with that.
We prefer to simply wait until the model is looking her best. Most of our models appreciate this, and let us know in advance if they have any issues (for example, by texting us the night before, or emailing pictues of the affected area from their phone).
Unfortunately, Ms Young had a pressing schedule, and was unable to wait a few days for the blemishes to go away.
In our emails to her, we apologised for our harsh rules, reminded her that we did make this very clear that it was a condition of working with us, complimented her on the excellent shoots she did do for us, and invited her to return to do more shoots at her convenience. That invitation is still open.
We have shot around 1500 models over the last 12 years, and never had a model so upset about our grooming requirements as Ms Young was. We reviewed our procedures in several meetings afterwards, to idnentify where we "went wrong", with a view to improving our processes, and identified that we made every reasonable effort to communicate clearly.
At the end, we resolved that we just "rubbed eachother the wrong way".
Tomjones and I exchanged several emails, and cleared up his concerns. He did join on a rebilling account (perhaps accidentally), he did forget to cancel his rebills (assuming he had not signed up on a rebilling account).
We credit his account with the un-used time he had paid for (~150 days). As he only has occasional access to broadband, we advised him of our ability to suspend and un-suspend his account, so it's only active when he has broadband access (we do this for folks in the armed forces quite often).
We agreed to disagree on rebilling account plans. As others have suggested, it's the norm (ironically, we get more complaints from customers whose rebills have filed (eg, expired card) than we do for having rebills in the first place!
We did miss one of Tomjones' emails, and that's what caused a lot of these problems. He seems satisfied now, as are we!
Garion Hall here, Owner of AW and GMBill.com. I'm trying to ignore the editorials and understand the facts. From what you have posted, it seems that:
(1) You joined AW on a rebilling sub
(2) You did not cancel rebills
(3) You were rebilled
(4) You asked for a refund for the rebill, and were denied
In principle, that's pretty much our policy, but we are flexible in some circumstances. Note that we notify you in four separate emails after joining, on each page of the join process, AND on every page on the site when your next rebill date is (if you have not yet cancelled rebills), AND we make it simpler than pretty much any site in the world to cancel your rebills (no need to go to the billing provider, you can do it from AW itself).
As to changing the policy for automatic rebills, that's fair criticism, but unlikely to change for us. As other posters have mentioned, it's just "how it's done" - everyone understands it, and we don't get complaints about it. It provides an incentive for us to keep updating the site (thus keeping members), and for members to view the site (and keep rebilling).
Your example of "main street shops" does not hold water. Consider a subscription to a magazine or a gym - they have MUCH more strict rebilling policies than porn sites.
If you'd care to notify me (off-list if you prefer, on firstname.lastname@example.org) with your SubID so I can look into the specifics, I'd like the opportunity to do that, so I can post back here our stance as it relates to your circumstances, and explain to you the case (or, if an error was made, correct it).
cap, we had a phase pf poor lighting a few years back that was fixed up pretty quickly. You can see a fair bit as a non-member from this page if you want to see for yourself: http://www.abbywinters.com/members
The TBP discount is in place on our end - usually, TBP lists a coupon code, but I cannot see it on our review page on TBP?
We have a permanent deal for returning members. We can look you up in several ways (username, first+last name, email address), and we have records back to 2003, so please email email@example.com.
capn, in the past, we have had shoots that have had poor lighting and dark shadows, but these are non-existant on the bulk of our shoots, and all our new shoots. I'd encourage you to give us another go, if you like our content.
If you have concerns about technical image quality (as opposed to lighting of a shoot), we'd like to hear more detail, as I responded to the original poster.
We're surprised to get this feedback, I don't think we have ever got feedback like this, to be honest (we have had feedback about the depth of field being too shallow, but that's not really what you're commenting on, I think?). We get a heck of a lot of OTHER feedback from customers on every little detail (here, on our boards, and by email), and I cannot remember the last time this came up.
So, I'm intrigued!
You said you're not sure what we do to our images, so let me tell you: Our images are shot on Canon 1dmk3 cameras as RAW. We use only Canon L series lenses. We lightly process in Adobe LightRoom to balance colours and add the watermark. We resize and output with a moderate JPG compression, resulting in file sizes of 150kb to 600kb (for "regular" sized images - "XL" images are 800kb to 1200kb). We use calibrated good quality monitors, and the shoots are reviwed by at least two people as a "sanity check" before being released on the site.
I'm not sure if you're exaggerating for effect when you say "every image", but we'd very much like to hear from you an example of an AW shoot that is good, and another that is bad, to see if we can identify what you're seeing. If you did not say that other sites images look great, I'd assume you're using a really bad monitor, or display settings, but that cannot be the case (you ARE looking at these other sites ont he same monitor, right?).
Have you tried looking at our images on any other computer screen? I cannot imagine that a screen could make our images look bad and everyone elses look good, but I suppose it's possible? You sound like you know a fair bit about image quality - if you're interested, we'd like to send you a RAW image for you to process so it looks good for you, and send it back to us to see how it looks on our end (please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to do this).
If you like our content (which you seem to, apart from this image quality problem), we'd like the opportunity to work with you to fix it.
We're bemused, and would love to hear back. Either way, thanks for trying us out and being a member.
Actually, since that five months ago, we have significantly "shaken things up", largely due to the feedback offered here on these forums (but also on our forums). The original poster, above, selected a shoot that was shot 1.5 years ago.
If you look at the more recently-shot shoots (some examples include kelly_r, masie, rachel_e, anna_l_2, elisabeta, nichole, and gretchen) you'll see we've changed a fair bit.
It's ok if YOU don't like the new shoots, or AW in general, or me, or the models, or whatever - this site is designed to let people air their views. But it's not cool to bitch about people DO like the site. They have an opinion, and it's just as valid as yours.
Gareth emailed me, re-stating his concern that there are not enough GG shoots (I presume he's referring to what we call "girl-girl hardcore" or "T3" shoots).
It ends up being a chicken-and-egg situation - people want more shoots, which cost more to produce, but people are generally not willing to PAY for more shoots, so there's a balance to be had. We're a business - not a charity - and we're out to make a modest and reasonable profit, without letting the quality take a hit.
We're looking at other options to make this work for everyone - an "Overload" pod, where we can add more shoots, but only people who want more will have to pay for them, or a pay-per-view plan, where people can choose to only download what they want, rather than a subscription based plan. Of course, we'd keep the regular subscription based plans as well.
There's a fair bit of back-end work to making this happen, and we're not convinced it's necessary (or, more to the point, worthwhile).
For people in Gareth's situation, we recommend you dip in and out - subscribe for a month every six months or so, catch up on all the stuff you missed, cancel rebills, and repeat again in six months time. This allows our customers to try other sites as well as ours (and I'll be the first to admit that we're not all things to all people!), spread the love amongst our very worthy peers, and keep maximum variety for you.
Sorry to hear you received no response - that's one of the things we're very careful on, replying to every message we receive. Perhaps you could email it to me personally on email@example.com?
We think the quality of models is improving, but as you say, that may be a taste-based thing.
Garion Hall here, CEO of abbywinters.com. We are indeed looking at discontinuing MPG videos, but at this stage, we're still gathering feedback from our members. MPG is a particularly bad format in many ways, and only has one minor redeeming feature, AND causes us some technical headaches on our back end. If MPG is hugely popular, we'll deal with the problem, but if it turns out few people use MPG, it's a candidate for discontinuing.
We regularly look at all the formats we offer, consider what other sites are doing, what the adult industry trends are, what the internet trends are, what our customers tell us they want, and what our business capacities are.
WMV is technically "next on our list" (as in, it's the next-oldest, and second-worst format we offer). We use WMV9 at the moment, which is not an especially good codec, but is quite popular. It's unlikely we'd stop WMV9 any time in the next 12 months, but it is safe to say, WMV9 is not going to be around forever. WMV10 has some significant improvements, for example, and HTML5 is also becoming an increasingly strong candidate (and necessary if we want to have our customers view our site on Apple devices, whihc we do).
So, no one is "losing" anything - no need to panic! If you're an AW members, please participate on our furums, so you can be sure your opinion is heard.
We're due for a re-review around the fitst of Jan 2010. We're just about to release an entire new front (and back) end, which will HUGELY improve the site for users (the content stays the same, for better or worse!), so we're going to ask the folks at TBP to delay our review by a week or two, so their rteview will include our new design.
As always, thanks for your feedback. It's cutting, clear and honest, which is always good... but it's not entirely fair.
We went through a phase in the middle of this year where our shooters neglected to get some of the most obvious best stuff - lotsa nudity - in favour of other stuff. There is a lag from when we shoot stuff, to when it appears on the site (So, the shoots that are appearing now, were shot in that "dark" period).
We have since fixed that problem, and luckily we're now nearing the end. All the shoots we have shot since are much better, and are already appearing on the site. Soon, we'll be entirely rid of the shoots that lack nudity (of course, then we'll get the equally-agressive feedback that the shoots have too much nudity, an can-we-tone-it-down-a-little-please).
Of course, most of your quotes there select out particular models who do not have much nudity (or more), but totally ignores the other models who have plenty. Our recent "dark period" definitely lowered our average some, but it's not like every single shoot has NO nudity!
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all models are up for the more revealing poses. We respect their choice in this. We try to maintain a mix of explicitness in the updates where ever possible, and historically have a very even balance.
As for model-attractiveness, that's always a a tricky one. We log how much positive and negative feedback we get on models we add to the site, to make sure we're not totally insane. We get consistant results (for example, Mary gets a +1 and a -1). The average is pretty much 0 or higher over any period of time (ie, models get as many positive comments as they do negative. Sometimes a model will get a more positive than negative, other times, a model will get more negative than positive, but mostly, it's 1-for-1, or more positive).
One of the things we do - what our whole site is based on - is to shoot models who are a little left-of-the-middle. We freely admit that not every model will be your personal cup of tea, but we also have a heck of a lot of models - 1000 or so, and at least two newbies each week.
Hope this clears some up, and please always keep the feedback coming - it never falls on deaf ears, and we respond to every email we receive.
*Message rows highlighted in light orange are replies to replies.
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