The Casting Room.net (1)
Was a member approx. 1 month prior to this review.
||+ Lots and lots of existing content - thousands of videos
+ Very hot guys, many believably straight
+ Sleazy, amateur feel
+ Some hot bonus "extras" spice things up
+ Bills with Verotel
+ No DRM
+ Updates about 2 - 3 times per week
+ All exclusive content
||- Very expensive
- Messy and confusing site navigation
- Extra $1.95 "processing fee" added when you join - unsure if this recurs also
- Intrusive, moving watermarks on videos
- Limited search function
- Older videos and pics are pretty poor quality
- Bonus content is great, but only one section of it updates very infrequently
- Content gets rather "samey" and repetitive
- Slow downloads (though files not huge)
||I last reviewed this site a long while ago now, when it used to be called "First Auditions" - you'll still see the old watermark on their early videos and pics.
Since then it's had a mild makeover and one new "bonus" series to replace an old one, but it's pretty much the same site with a new name and colour scheme - the layout and core content is identical.
The basic idea of this site is an "first audition" site - they are casting unknown first-timers, usually heterosexual, into porn, with the hope that they'll go on to gay porn - and indeed you do see some of their stars go on to do work, mainly on their own "sister" sites.
They've been doing this for a long time and the experience shows. Each guy makes three brief movies - the initial (clothed) interview asking why they're doing this and what their sexual experience is, then an examination where they are stripped naked, measured, weighed and made to pose in various positions, and finally a masturbation video where they have to masturbate and ejaculate for the camera.
The guys are hot - mainly British but with a fair amount from Europe and occasional North American, and the interviewers are generally very good at questioning them and making them pose. It's all got a very rough, amateur feel, filmed in the same run-down looking industrial unit. Sadly they have started to use a new interviewer who I do not care for - his East European accent is not always as clear and he doesn't seem as natural as the British interviewer they usually use.
The video quality is decent on later videos - mainly WMV files, 540 x 960 at 25 frames per second and bitrate around 2000. Not amazing, but decent enough. They have an lower-quality option, but I think their higher-quality is actually the lowest I would accept. They do seem to have some "iPhone friendly" MP4 files, but these seem to be rather limited and hidden away in a different section. Older files are showing their age - 640 x 360 and 900k bitrate mean they have to be very hot to be worth downloading. Pictures are nothing special - 1200 x 675 is a decent size, but they're watermarked and the viewer is poor - no zipped downloads either. I found download speeds slow, so it's just as well the movies are generally short and so the files not too big.
This brings me neatly on to the site design, which is a mess. The site is confusing, with little logic to it and hardly any search functions - they'd added a facility to search for a model by country but other than that it's a simple list of updates by date. They do show you what work some of the models went on to do on their other sites though, which is useful.
The site has some "bonus" content which is not based around the basic theme. This varies in value - a handful of movies from sister site CMNM.net, some "Groping Hands" movies which they spun off their "Groping Hands" site from - you'd be better off joining this site for that footage now as they have the vast majority of that stuff still here.
One bonus feature I love is "Second Auditions", where they pair a nervous straight model with an experienced model, sometimes who once appeared on the site themselves, and get them to have their first-ever gay sex. This is INCREDIBLY hot - they capture their inexperience and nerves perfectly and show raw, sexy sex between men. It's actually the main reason I rejoined the site - but sadly there are only eight of these longer movies as they only update them once every three months.
One real shame is that with the site revamp they added incredibly annoying watermarks to videos which are not only quite large, but move - they begin at the top left of the screen then slowly move down and then up the right side of the screen. These are the most distracting, annoying watermarks I've yet seen and caused me to drop the site score several points - it probably would have scored 80+ without it.
Overall this is a sexy site which sticks to its central promise well and has a lot of content. However, ultimately it gets all a little bit boring and repetitive - however sexy the guys are, ultimately you get no more action than masturbation and the same old format of interview, strip and masturbate starts to get a little dull after a while. It's certainly a site worth joining, but not one I tend to keep a regular subscription to, despite the regular updates.
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