Reading Booking Codes and Assessing Risk

independent camgirl with pink hair posing

Knowledge is Power: The Vital Importance of Booking Codes in Assessing Risk

I wanted to write a post about reading booking/transaction codes and assessing risk levels of new potential clients, due to some questions I’ve been receiving lately about booking declines and how to assess and mitigate chargeback (cb) risk without turning away legitimate clients.

While every processor will occasionally decline the odd legit client, for the most part declines are an indy chica’s best friend, in that they help ensure that you won’t do work you won’t get paid for.

As independent camgirls it’s vital for each of us to know how to read declines, in the interests of  both minimizing our risk and easing any fears of chargebacks that one may experience when interacting with new clients.

Declines are generally pretty rare, but when they occur they generally occur for one of the following reasons:

1) insufficient funds on the debit or credit card

2) no CCV data, which means the user has no access to the back of the
card-meaning the highest risk of cb

It’s really important for all indy cam girls to become accustomed to reading decline codes, as no matter what independent listing site you work the same codes still apply. If you receive a decline with a Transaction ID NSF 51 that means your client needs to use a new card as he’s over his limit on that card, whereas if you receive a Transaction code N7 that means he likely doesn’t have the card in hand (meaning a HUGE cb risk as there’s a good likelihood that the card data is stolen).

For those who are interested in a chart on decline codes, this: https://stats.slimcd.com/documentation/Error%20Codes_full.htm is the best I’ve found, and can really help you guide clients towards making successful payments and avoid the thieves. In all honesty if you want to do skype shows the above should be your bible.

If the decline is simply a matter of an NSF card you can ask your client to switch to another card. However, if he can’t provide a CCV number (the 3-4 digit number on the back of the credit card) tread with extreme caution, as chances are the card info is stolen and he doesn’t have access to the actual plastic held by the legit owner.

 

Risk Level in Not Tied to Booking Amount

Unlike many independent camgirls I’m not afraid of large sum bookings, as I’ve set my scrubbing system up to catch the losers no matter how much (or how little) they spend. If anything I’ve found that cb’s tend to be tied to lower-volume bookings, and that high-volume regs are the least likely to chargeback.

 

Independent Camming is Lower Risk Than Other Adult Niches

Regarding the risk of cb’s, avoiding them successfully is in large part due to a diligent scrutinizing of your bookings, but there are also a few factors that make independent camming far lower risk than other forms of adult entertainment that I’d like to explore below:

First off, please don’t stress out about cb’s too much, as indy is actually very low risk. The main reason why is that with our payment systems the funds are taken from the credit card before the show begins. With many pay per min cam sites the funds are only deducted at a later date, meaning many cb’s are actually card declines. Every now and then you’ll encounter a declined payment from a client with a ‘do not honor’ code, which simply means that the card is either closed or the client is over his limit. That’s a good thing, as an upfront decline means you won’t end up doing work you won’t get paid for like you would on a network cam site that doesn’t cover cb’s. On a site like IMLive for example, that NSF payment for a cam show would result in a cb.

Indy is also less high risk than porn membership sites, in that much of the fraud there is guys signing up with stolen cards to steal the members are material to sell on file locker sites for their own profit. Since there are tons of cam girls performing sex shows in free chat there’s no incentive for guys to use a stolen card to record a skype
show-they can get that for free already all over the net.

 

Main Red Flags for Indy Cam Girls

The main risk factors are female names (indicating either a stolen card or a mom/gf/wife’s card-and she WILL charge back once it’s discovered because her coward partner/son will deny it was him) and disposable email
accounts; beyond that it’s about trusting your gut and knowing how to read the booking info for each transaction notification you receive. Another successful strategy involving geo-blocking nations associated with high fraud risk. In almost 6 years as an indy camgirl I’ve had 4 cb’s worth less than $200 in total, pennies when considering my overall booking volumes. In sum, cb risk is something to pay attention to, but not stress over.

Knowledge is power, and learning how to read transaction/booking codes is a vital tool in both protecting yourself from fraud and in enjoying your new clients as you grow your own independent cam business.

Good luck out there, and happy camming 🙂

My New Site For Independent Webcam Girls

independent webcam girls smoking on skype

Change is a Constant For Independent Webcam Girls

Like the adult industry in general, the field of independent camming changes rapidly, and while some changes have been amazingly positive, some of the changes have had the effect of significantly raising the bar to entry for webcam girls who wish to dive into this niche. Over the past year one of the most significant challenges for newly independent webcam girls has been the issue of payment processing, more specifically the costs associated with payment processing for skype cam sex shows. As frequent readers of this cam sex blog already know, payment processing has been a pretty significant focus of my posts, and up until now I’ve always suggested the newly independent webcam girls look into payment processing with Zombaio, as this IPSP (internet payment system provider) presents the lowest processing cost (at 9.99%-12.99% it’s less than the 15% charged by CCBill, Epoch et al.) without the yearly fees charged by Visa and Mastercard, which range between $1000 and $1500 USD per year depending upon provider.

Overall my experience with Zombaio has been a positive one, I’ve been well-treated by the company and received my payouts without issue, however in my visits to online adult webmaster forums I’ve discovered that my experience hasn’t been a universal one, that some account holders are experiencing significant and apparently frequent issues with overdue payments. This worries me on a number of levels, both personal and in terms of overall effect on our niche of the adult industry. The personal affect is obvious, as I have skype cam show bookings that are processing through Zombaio, but I also worry about what the stability of this company means for our niche, in that if Zombaio were to close or became an unreliable option the bar to entry for skype webcam girls would increase significantly.

The effect of a higher bar to entry for webcam girls who wish to become independent of the cam site concerns me because, well, I care about this niche. I want it to thrive, I want independent webcam girls to thrive, and I want us to be able to operate our own businesses on terms that our favorable to us. I am concerned that as options for independent processing narrow the indy listings sites gain more power in our mutual relationships, particularly in regards to payout terms and payout rates.

My Plan for My New Webcam Site

As I began investigating my own payment processing options I began to think about how I could create a plan that would benefit this niche, as well as myself as individual webcam girl, and I came up with a plan that I think and hope will raise the bar for skype webcam girl options within this niche. My plan is a listing site that offers competitive payment processing and promotion via a one-stop-shop for independent webcam model skype shows, videos and fetish clips and phone sex, and I’m incredibly excited about it. In creating this new site my aim is to incorporate and improve upon my favorite features of existing sites while simultaneously addressing what I feel are the drawbacks of those sites, all at a payout that is higher than existing options whilst still maintaining the highest frequency of payout at the lowest payout threshold.

In the initial stages my new site for independent webcam girls will offer a payout of 80% base and 85% for those camgirls who earn $100 per week or more via any of the features of the site (skype cam shows, videos and phone sex will all be included in the overall weekly earnings as calculated for payout rate). However, my business plan as I’ve devised it allows for a payout of 85% base and 90% reward payout for webcam girls who earn $100 or more, so I do expect to be raising payouts within the next few months. My reasons for starting out conservatively are twofold. Primarily I want to avoid the ‘bait and switch’ approach many sites seem to use during their initial stages, promising higher rewards only to backtrack after the site has become established and camgirls have invested time and effort in using the site, but also I hope that other sites will rise to meet my 80% base payout, which would mean that my site would help raise the bar across the niche for payouts within this niche. By then I’ll be raising payouts to 85% base. 🙂

Even at my current, opening payout, the independent webcam girls who join and earn $100 per week or more will receive the payout (and frequency of payout) offered by CCBill and Epoch without the additional Visa and Mastercard fees attached to these services. At the 90% reward level I have planned, the camgirls who join and earn $100 per week or more will receive the same payout as is offered by Zombaio, with a far higher frequency and lower threshold of payout than is offered by that service. All this means that with my plan and my site independent webcam girls will be able to reap the benefits of an individual IPSP merchant account without the costs involved in setting up those accounts. This is an important aspect of my new venture, as I don’t want this to be solely a profit venture. I want this directory for independent webcam girls to give something back to the niche and to the community of camgirls who operate within this niche.

I have to say in approaching my peers with my new site concept I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I’ve been truly blown away by the support and encouragement I’ve received. Thank you so much, I really look forward to creating with this site a vibrant, active community for independent webcam girls and customers.

If you’d like to join or are interested in learning more, visit the ‘become a model’ link at LiveCamModelShows.com


A New Option for Independent Cam Models

Happy camming y’all 🙂

Debunking Payment Processing Myths for Indy Cam Girls

indy cam girls on webcam

Recently on a camgirl forum of which I’m a member and moderator, I read a thread about payment processing for indy cam girls that contained a whole bunch of myths and incorrect information. Since evidently some of these myths and fallacies are pretty wide-spread, as judged by the comments in the forum thread, I figured I’d take a moment to debunk some of the main fallacies I encountered.

In writing this, please note I’m discussing payment processing for indy cam girls from the standpoint of someone who uses payment processing for individual, non-recurring payments from customers. Indy cam girls who run paysites have different needs and concerns (recurring monthly payments from customers, affiliate programs, etc).

Myth 1:  Indy Cam Girls and Affiliates Have the Same Needs

In discussions about different payment processing options for indy cam girls, many camgirls believe that CCBill is the best option to choose, simply because CCBill has long been a consistent leader in processing for adult porn sites. In truth, while CCBill is a great option, at 85% payout it offers one of the lowest payouts among the main processing options (CCBill, Zombaio, Epoch and Verotel) and charges $1000 per year in order to be able to accept Visa and Mastercard. The reason why CCBill has long been a leader in payment processing for adult porn sites is because affiliates who promote porn sites prefer subaccount systems wherein payments are sent directly from the processor (in this case, CCBill).  In this way, indy cam girls who use listing services and affiliates do have an interest in common, in that processing systems that allow for sub-account payouts minimize risk of losing one’s funds should the owner of the website decide to close up shop.

It was only fairly recently that Epoch, Zombaio et al. created payout systems similar to CCBill affiliate programs, meaning that until recently adult sites that paid out with CCBill offered far more protection than other options. That’s part of the reason for CCBill’s popularity. As indy cam girls who run our own websites and handle our own processing, the security aspect of CCBill affiliate systems isn’t relevant, as we handle our own payouts for ourselves.

Myth Number 2: Zombaio Decline Rates

One of the main criticisms I read about Zombaio involve the supposed sky-high decline rates characteristic of this processor. In truth, a few years back Zombaio did have an annoyingly high decline rate but that has diminished significantly over the past two years, to the point that my customer credit card decline rate is actually slightly lower than my decline rate for processors I use elsewhere. I don’t have any broad stats on Zombaio decline rates, I’m only basing this on my own personal, anecdotal experience. Please don’t take my opinion for anything more than that. That said, in the 14 months I’ve had a high and steady volume of client bookings through my own Zombaio account, and my decline rate has been incredibly low. As an added bonus, Zombaio blocks the types of fraudulent bookings other processors can let slip through, such as male customers who use female names (a HUGE warning sign for stolen credit cards) and temporary email accounts.

With Zombaio, I’ve found two types of customers may encounter issues making payments: those who use a proxy IP and those who are based in the US and don’t have their credit cards set up to allow for international billing.  That said, allowing international payments and whitelisting Zombaio with a credit card company/bank only takes a quick phone call, and again, sometimes other billers require the same sort of thing. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass for all involved, but it’s not frequent and pretty easy to solve.

I’m not trying to promote Zombaio. I have no affiliation with the company and there’s nothing ‘in it’ for me to write this, I’m simply relaying a personal experience that belies a lot of the criticism I’ve heard about this particular processor.

Myth Number 3: Indy Cam Girls With Members Sites Have the Same Concerns as Indy Girls Who Only Accept Individual Payments

While I have had a great experience with Zombaio in the 14 months thus far that I’ve had my own merchant account, if I was building a paysite I would probably investigate other options. The reason why is that many affiliates seem to have bought into the same myths about Zombaio as have indy cam girls, and beyond that for some reason Zombaio charges quite a steep fee simply to send an affiliate payout via check in  regular mail. If I was running a pay site that relied upon an affiliate program, I’d probably want to choose a processor that is most popular amongst affiliates, as a way to encourage them to promote my site. That said, indy cam girls who book only individual, non-recurring payments from our clients we don’t need to take anyone’s concerns into account other than our own.

There are never any guarantees in life. Major adult IPSPs (internet payment service providers) have closed in the past and it’s entirely conceivable that something horrible could happen again in the future to mimic the fall of iBill and ePassporte. For that reason I personally think it’s wise to keep one’s options open, and always have alternate payment options, even for indy cam girls who have our own merchant accounts. That said, in choosing a primary processor it helps to make choices based on careful consideration instead of rumor. If you’re an independent camgirl in the process of selecting an IPSP, I hope this post marks the beginning of your search to find the option that’s best for you, based on your own circumstances, customer base and business needs. All of the processors mentioned in this post have websites where you can check out the rates, fees and restrictions of each option.

Good luck out there and happy camming. 🙂

Skype Webcam Girls and Payment Strategy: Independent vs Sub Account

nude skype webcam girls looking cute on cam

Like all entrepreneurs, as skype webcam girls we need to employ conscious strategy when designing our independent webcam businesses. In designing our businesses, deciding how to handle payment processing is one of the most important decisions we can make, and that’s why it’s been such a frequent topic in my information for skype webcam girls blog posts.

Deciding how as skype webcam girls to handle payment processing essentially comes down to a choice between three options: independent merchant accounts, sub-accounts of payment processing companies or a combination of the two. As I’ve explored before here, amazon gift cards, gift rocket and payoneer private loads are not suitable options for skype webcam girls who are creating thriving and expanding independent businesses.

The Pros and Cons of Independent Processing For Skype Webcam Girls

Since true sub-account payment processing companies tend to be very low risk from a security-of-funds perspective, the main benefit for skype webcam girls who handle their own payment processing is financial. When I decided to go completely independent and created my own Zombaio merchant account all of a sudden I was earning an extra 15% from each skype show booking I received, and over the past year that has added up to a pretty significant sum. Strike that, I earn a massive sum of extra money simply by handling things myself. For that reason, despite the hassle of installing the Zombaio script the effort was more than worth it for me from a financial perspective. An additional benefit of having my own processing is that I can scrub my own purchases, reducing my charge back rate by paying attention to the payment codes that are provided along with each customer booking.

The main downside of handling my own processing is that I eat the cost of chargebacks, as some processors charge a fee over and above the cost of the chargeback. Luckily (knock on laptop) I’ve yet to receive a chargeback on my own processing due to my personal scrubbing system, but the risk is there for skype webcam models who use an independent merchant system.

The Pros and Cons for Skype Webcam Girls Who Use Sub Accounts For Processing

The main benefit for skype webcam girls who use sub-accounts is ease of use. There’s no hassle installing payment scripts, and you don’t even need to host your own website since most payment processor companies for skype webcam girls offer payment links hosted on their servers. An additional benefit is that, since most adult payment processors (with the exception of Zombaio) require upfront annual fees, sub accounts can actually be more financially beneficial than independent merchant accounts for skype webcam girls who are still in the process of building their businesses and do not book high steady volumes of funds. The main downside is that sub-account processing companies typically charge 20-25% (a combination of processing fees and profit), compared with independent merchant accounts that typically take 10-15% percent for processing fees alone.

Skype Webcam Girl Strategy: Combining the Two Systems

So we’ve explored the pros and cons of independent vs sub account processing for skype webcam girls, but designing a strategy can be more creative than a simple ‘one or the other’. An additional issue to keep in mind is the concept of cascading billing, which is employed by most large scale adult companies. Cascading billing involves a set-up that provides additional payment options to clients and customers that were declined by the primary biller. This system increases sales simply because it’s not uncommon for legitimate clients to be declined by one processor, only to be accepted by another. For example, my primary processor occasionally declines even some of my most frequent clients, so having additonal payment options to offer them allows them to make a payment for a webcam show even when they are declined by my primary option. While I obviously strive to keep the majority of my clients to my own independent merchant account, having additional payment options increases my income, even taking into account the additional fee charged by sub account companies.

Issues For Skype Webcam Girls to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Payment Processing Company

The twin primary concerns for skype webcam girls who use payment processing companies are payout percentage and security of funds. In regards to the former, look for a company that charges no more than 20%, at maximum 25%. At 20%, you’re only losing 5-10% compared to handling payment processing independently. In regards to security, ideally skype webcam girls should choose companies that use a true sub-account system, where you have access to the ‘back end’ and receive payments directly from the processor, not the company providing you with the sub account. Having access to the back end allows skype webcam girls to ‘scrub’ their own purchases (thus reducing chargebacks) and receiving payments directly from the processing company reduces the likelihood that you’ll get ripped off if the provider of the sub account decides to close their business. Speaking as someone who had to sue my prior payment processing provider to receive the funds I’d earned through their company (happy ending, I sued and got paid back in full), security of funds is not a given when dealing with a payment processing provider. Had I been receiving payments directly from the processor when my old provider closed up shop, I would have received my funds as usual, without having to file a lawsuit.

Not many payment processing options for skype webcam girls offer true sub-account systems, so in choosing companies that handle sending out payments it’s important to select companies that send out funds weekly, with a very low payout threshold. That way, even if the worst happens and the company takes off with your funds, you’re only out at most a weeks worth of funds. Also, I would advise skype webcam girls to only select companies that offer adult-friendly payment options. Payment processors that offer skype camgirls paypal, for example, are doing you no favors. They don’t care about the security of your funds so your chargeback ratio will be sky high, and they don’t care about the sustainability of their payment system (paypal is NOT sustainable) so it’s just a matter of time until they close their businesses.

One of my top choices for skype webcam girls who don’t wish to handle their own independent processing would be CamGirlServices.com, a company that provides low cost and secure payment processing for camgirls. I’ve worked with this company for a couple of years now, and while I no longer use their processing in my cascade for my own customers (as they offer Zombaio, for which I have my own independent merchant account), I’m impressed with their system because it’s a financially optimal and secure option for skype webcam girls who don’t wish to host their own processing script on their own website server. CamgirlServices offers a true sub-account system with a 78% payout sent directly from Zombaio, meaning that security of funds is guaranteed and the cost of their service works out to $12 on every hundred earned, as compared to having one’s own independent Zombaio account. This is a great company that’s been around for quite a while, and I highly recommend ’em to anyone looking for a high percentage and zero risk payment processing option.

Update: In response to payout issues experienced by some merchants who use Zombaio, I’ve also created a payment processing option for skype webcam girls that balances high, frequent payouts with a low payout threshold. For further info please read this post.

There’s No One ‘Right’ Method For Skype Webcam Girls Designing a Payment Processing Strategy

These days it seems like everyone and their brother is offering payment processing to skype webcam girls, but out of all the options out there only a few offer secure payment processing at a low cost. While I highly recommend that established skype webcam girls with their own customer bases select independent merchant accounts, sub account payment processing companies do fill a legitimate need and can be a tremendous ally in building and maintaining successful and growing independent webcam businesses. The decision on how to handle payment processing is an individual choice each of us needs to make for ourselves (as each skype webcam girl will have her own unique business needs), so design a system that works best for your needs, think strategically and choose your partners wisely if you decide to go the sub account route.

Options for Skype Webcam Girls

CamGirlServices.com:

High payout (78%), no risk payouts (sub-account system)

PayMyShow.com:

High payout (80%), low risk payouts (immediate withdrawal of funds with no minimum), wide variety of payment processing options

LiveCamModelShows.com:

Highest payouts (80-85%), low risk (weekly withdrawal of funds with a $20 minimum, (plus I own it and I’m not about to fuck over my peers).

Options I’d Suggest Skype Webcam girls Avoid

ANY site that offers paypal as a payment option to customers

Skyprivate.com:

This is a relatively new addition to the payment processing scene, and while their payout is within the standard range of 75% their model contract contains some glaring issues. The contract grants the site exclusive use of one’s cam name (this is NOT standard in independent camming) and the right to sell your content commercially. This means that not only are you giving the site a percentage of each show, you’re providing the site with free content they can resell. Also know that selling adult content within the US requires that the seller provide 2257 documentation, which means your private information (ID scan, full name, etc) could be passed along to the purchaser of the content. The contract also (bizarrely) appears to prohibit ‘hard core sex shows’.
Additionally, skype camgirls who have joined this site have reported that charge-back ratios are unusually high and that receiving payments can take up to a month, which is not ideal from a security of funds perspective.
For the above reasons I’m personally quite wary of this particular site, and I haven’t been impressed by the owners refusal to respond to questions regarding his unusual contract terms.

Indy Camgirls, Gift Cards and Wishlist Issues

indy camgirls in erotic art

In my last post regarding alternative payments for webcam shows I touched on Amazon Gift Cards, which seem to be one of the most popular options used by indy camgirls who dabble in indy camming. While Gift Cards are assumed to be a risk-free payment option, I wanted to clarify how to use gift cards safely and to clear up any confusion regarding gift cards and wishlists, which are two entirely separate systems with their own respective procedures and risks.

How Indy Camgirls Use Amazon Gift Cards

In selecting any payment method, security and anonymity are vital factors. For this reason, smart indy camgirls create ‘work’ amazon accounts that don’t have their real names or addresses attached. This is because it is possible for customers to contact Amazon and inquire about the personal info of the individual to whom they sent the card. From there, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to redeem the gift card prior to performing a cam show or sending content. Up until the gift card is redeemed it can be cancelled, so waiting until a later date to redeem to gift puts you at risk of being ripped off. Receive the card, redeem it and then perform the cam show. 🙂

Many camgirls assume the it’s impossible for shady customers to chargeback gift cards, and while chargeback rates with this payment option are very low, it is possible to have a gift card refunded if a stolen credit card was used to purchase it. Know that even after redeeming the gift card there is a very slight chance you’ll have the value of the card refunded.

Amazon Wishlists and Indy Camgirls: Issues To Keep in Mind

The main thing to keep in mind when creating an Amazon wishlist is that as an indy camgirl your privacy needs to be a top concern. For that reason, smart indy camgirls set up a P.O. Box through which to receive wishlist purchases, as the wishlist system does leave quite a few holes in security of private information. The primary issue with Amazon wishlists is that many items featured on Amazon are sent via a third-party distributor, and third-party distributors tend not to uphold Amazon account privacy settings. This means it’s quite easy for customers to track down your name and address if a wishlist purchase is sent through a third party. Unfortunately even confining one’s wishlist to items delivered straight from Amazon itself isn’t a guarantee, as I’ve heard of indy camgirls who had their account information shared with purchasers when the purchase was confined to Amazon itself. For that reason, I’d suggest no indy camgirl set up an Amazon wishlist without having a P.O. Box or other anonymous address through which to receive gifts. The risks of having your address and full name revealed to any random person on the internet is just too high to take chances.

Another issue with wishlists is that they aren’t viable options for cam show payment. Up until the time an item is shipped the purchase can be easily cancelled by the purchaser, so wishlist purchases are NOT a secure payment option for skype cam shows or custom videos. If you do want to accept wishlist items as payment, wait until the item actually arrives prior to performing the skype cam show or sending the video, as up until the day it arrives at your door there is no guarantee you will actually receive the item purchased.

Amazon Gift Cards and wishlists will never replace secure and reliable payment processing for skype cam shows, but for indy camgirls who do want to avail themselves of these systems it’s important to know how to do so safely, protecting both your personal information and your time. In sum, never attach your real name and address to an Amazon account you use for indy camming customers, and always redeem gift cards as soon as you receive them, prior to completing a skype cam show or video order. Lastly, let your customers know that wishlist purchases are not a viable form of payment and never perform a cam show based on a wishlist purchase you haven’t yet received.

While I don’t accept Amazon Gift Cards and don’t have a wishlist, these are great services for indy camgirls provided they’re used appropriately. Safety first, always 🙂