Rick Latona controls one of if not the largest shock/gore websites on the net, Consumption Junction. It survives on bookmarks and doesn't need trades or feeder traffic to boost it's numbers. His partners and himself have created an aura around them that leads one to believe that not only are they savy businessmen but these guys really enjoy what they do. Present at most major webmaster gatherings, Rick hangs with the big boys in the industry not because he's looking to move up but because they are his peers.

Pictures complements of Fubar - check it out the photo archive of all webmaster events!

___ ___ ___
___ ___ ___

GFY Ambush Interview thread on Rick Latona

Question #1
Just how did CJ get as big as it is today? Where does the traffic come from? Where did it originally come from?

I'm glad this was the first question you asked. I'm often guilty of not giving my business partners Paul Dinin and Marc Womack the credit they rightly deserve. Marc started the site as his personal site in early 1999. Originally it was pictures of his friends and nothing more. One of his friends had a house in Alabama that they would party at; the house was nicknamed Consumption Junction. Time went by and he just started posting on the site the fucked up things people email each other around the net. It just so happens that no matter how old you are or what your background is, sending and receiving images, pictures and video clips with your friends is usually the first fun thing you learn how to do on the web. He had stumbled into a huge market. Because Marc is Marc he focused mostly on sex, humor and violence which certainly gave the site an edge. In the summer of 2000 I was assigned all of Europe by Interland where Marc, Paul and I all worked. I had to go there and put a team together to conquer the continent (an impossible task for a 28 year-old I might add) and I was allowed to bring one person from each department in the States. I took Marc from sales because he was the best. So, Marc took Paul and Mike (Mike has long since left the building) in as partners to run the site so he could focus on sales with me. Enter Paul Dinin. Paul had spent the previous years either fucking with Interland's routers (check http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_22/b3683144.htm and find him) or sitting at home consuming a book every couple of days. I suppose it was his lifetime love of literature and strong intellect that turned him into such a great writer. He added a new twist and life to the site with his witty titles and home page editorials like this early one posted in 2000; http://web.archive.org/web/20001018...stproposal1.asp. It wasn't until late 2001 when the Internet bubble burst that I entered the scene. Our EU operations were being shut down so Marc and I came home. Howard Stern was regularly talking about CJ on his show and the site was taking off. I was fortunate that Paul and Marc took me in as a partner. To answer the rest of your question, the traffic comes from word of mouth. The site is viral. However, it is Paul and Marc that got it to be as big as it is today.

Question #2
How many women in the industry have you had sex with?

Only because you didn't ask me about DigiPawn, iWebmasters, Domains or any other business, I am going to boycott answering this question. Tit for tat, as they say.

Question #3
Why do you smoke?

Clearly there is no good answer to this question. I suppose I could blame it on the cigarette companies but I won't. I'm certainly addicted and I've tried many times to quit but I keep failing. Usually when I try to quit I ruin a relationship, fire a few employees and basically just go on a rampage until I start smoking again. What's screwy is that you always here people say, "oh, you'll quit when you are truly ready". Bullshit. I've been ready for years. Recently I heard you can get an injection that makes you sick if you smoke. I have my assistant looking into it for me.

Question #4
Why is Lakeland, Fl refered to as the "asshole of the planet"?

Because it stinks.

Question #5
Why were you an angry adolescent?

If I knew that I'd be a professional psychologist. I always had a distaste for authority, schools, parents and everything else. Call it a fierce yearning for independence.

Question #6
Is there anything that you consider going too far on CJ and won't post?

What? Like a burning cat? I suppose CJ is the most interesting property to talk about so here we go again. We will not post anything that we know is illegal or boring. People want to fuck, laugh and watch things die. We are an entertainment company and have a responsibility to give our end users what they want. We make no moral decisions. We have nearly 20 people working on that one site alone. Our hosting bills are through the roof. It takes an incredible amount of effort to keep it running and on top so yes, we will post damn near anything that will bring in traffic and satisfy the fans. I'll make no more excuses. Anyone that has a problem with it, can go the way the cat did.

Question #7
How many paysites do you run?

We have 10 pay sites in www.cjbucks.com and we have a few ready to go live but we are holding off for a bit. We pay 30-35 dollars on 1 dollar trials and provide free hosted galleries or just open free hosting accounts. It's tough to be profitable with that model but we are because we offer a great product to consumers. We've been working hard and long towards a v.2 of CJ Bucks which you will all see soon enough. We have had v.1 live for a long time now and haven't released a v.2 because we want it to be revolutionary. A revolution we've learned needs to come in the form of content not bullshit processing tricks and the like. To give you guys an idea of just a few things we are working on I offer to you a preview of an original Hentai production. This is NOT free content, only a preview. It's 3 acts that will play in sequence. The first is the worst so stick with it. 12 minutes in length: http://Broadlines.com/from_broadlin..._preloader.html.

Question #8
What's your opinion on popups? Dialers? Installs/downloads?

Popups don't harm people, they are just annoying. I know that most large TGPs don't allow consoles on any pay site promoted on them but we do. Going from 40 dollar payouts to 25 dollar payouts is a big hit to take. We do just as much traffic as them without link trades or any other trick and I'll tell you why. On your standard TGP like sleazydream.com (don't look too much into my use of the term standard) it is the paysites that are the content. On Consumption Junction the paysites are the advertisers and we are the content. We also cater to a savvy group of Internet users that for the most part no how to stop popups if they want to. It depends how a dialer is used. We use a dialer as a payment method for our paysites. I never understood the concept of sending traffic TO a dialer. When someone says send traffic to my dialer it sounds like they are talking about a fucking modem bank. Companies like SexMoney.com promote their international solution better. They realize that it is about language, content and your sales pitch. A dialer is only one of multiple payment solutions. Now the guys that are doing dialer scams can also go the way of the cat. All of these guys can go the way of the cat. The crazy thing is that there have been times in our office where we have seriously considered getting into this business because it is so lucrative. However, we always end up backing out of it. We have just never had the guts to sell our soul. We've left a ton of money on the table in the process but at least we have clean corporate conscious.

Question #9
Talk about your first job.

top secret information or some panzy job

Question #10
What's the deal with peepholes?

I'll answer these together. My first job that I ever had was selling coupon books door to door. I used to concentrate on my pose and presence before they answered the door to hear my pitch. In doing so, I would be looking to see if they had a peep hole where they could see me contorting my face and changing arm positions. I started noticing how many doors didn't have peepholes so I went to the store and bought 100 of them. I took the peepholes, measuring tape, a drill and a 1 inch bit and knocked on my first door as my first day as an entrepreneur. I was 15. That first person opened the door and I said, "Hello my name is Ricky and I'm a door to door salesman. You would have known that, had you had a peephole. You've probably always wanted one and for 20 dollars I'll install this right now and leave." I sold 4 that day and went home feeling like the richest kid in the world.

Question #11
Why did you drop out of school?

It wasn't long after my 16th birthday when I quit school. It was a dumb decision but I got lucky in the chain of events that followed which will be covered in the rest of this interview. Why did I do it? It's funny how time can change a memory. It really is tough to pinpoint the exact reason. I do remember that I made the decision one day and quit the next. I don't remember exactly why but I remember being worried that I was making the wrong decision. When everyone told me that I was stupid and a loser I knew I had to quit out of spite. Damn, I was an angry, stupid kid.

Question #12
How many languages do you speak? Discuss.

I'm almost fluent in English. Damn this is a tough language. I'm sure I've made grammatical mistakes in this interview. It's funny how no one is perfect in their native language. I speak good Spanish after years of training but I'd hardly call myself fluent. I also speak a bit of a few other languages but not enough to brag about. In language science they say you can only tell if someone has 100% fluency in 2 languages if you put them in a room that is also 100% fluent in both languages, watch them have a conversation, ask them what language they were talking in and them not remember. Languages are a bet project of mine. They absolutely fascinate me. I send my kids to International schools where their classes are all in Spanish to make sure they become completely fluent. Doing that is more important than anything else they could ever learn. Language effect the way the brain works. Nearly everything you can say in one language has a completely different literal meaning in another. Just pick a sentence. It can be something simple like "I am hungry" in English translated as "Yo tengo hambre (I have hunger) in Spanish. One you are the other you have. When you compare a complete thought or conversation with the literal translations side by side you notice immense psychological differences. Bilingual people use the language best served for communicating an emotion. English is a Germanic language and in this language group there are more descriptive words than in any other languages. Is it a coincidence that we have the broad thinkers like Sigmund Freud and Shakespeare? Spanish is a Latin or romance language that is rhythmic and poetic. Asian languages are mathematic. All these things affect the brain. I can't believe I just lectured you all on this, here at GFY. I'll stop now because you are getting bored.

Question #13
How long does it take to sell a used car?

Sometimes it can take all day but the car business is the only legal business I know of where you can walk onto a lot you've never been to, in a city you just moved to with no sales pipeline, meet someone and sell them a car in 30 minutes flat for 20,000 dollars. I sold cars for 4 years and it was the best negotiating training I've ever had. I also learned to always form and stick to a sales formula with a product. The used car industry is an interesting place. I can pick out an industry veteran in a crowded bus. If you go from a dealership in Florida to one in California everyone will use the same terminology, same techniques and follow the same rules of the game. They figured out a long time ago the best way to maximize the sale and price point and they stick to it. You have to have a process and methodology.

Question #14
How much money can I get for my old Movado watch?

What year and model is it? Condition? How much is the least you can get by with since you only need the money for a taxi to go get your real paycheck? Yes I was in the Pawn Business. Our current traffic manager than many of you know, Ryan Hogrefe, was also in the business with me. There are so many stories to tell from those days, I wouldn't know where to start. It's a crazy business dealing with crazy desperate people all day. The one thing that I learned more than anything else was that desperate people do desperate things. Never trust someone who is desperate because their ethical and moral values will not stop them from screwing you if they have to for survival.

Question #15
What's Interland? Discuss.

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #16
Why do you consider yourself a dotcommer?

I'll have to answer these two together as well. Interland is a hosting company that specializes in the small to medium business market. It was started in 1997 and grew to be the largest with over 600,000 hosting clients. Between 1997 and 2000 I ran sales and it was probably the most exciting time of my life. Being a dotcommer meant that you were part of the whole scene including the good, the bad and the ugly. The good: I used to have to deal with large venture capital firms on a near daily basis. They would always ask the tough questions like "What are you going to do that will fundamentally change the way your industry does business?" It was quite an educational experience to say the least. Daily interaction with "smart money" meant you had to do things right (or what we thought was right at the time) or you weren't going to go anywhere. To have every aspect of your business under constant scrutiny really teaches you the way that things should be done. The bad: The irony is that we were all in a state of haze, even the "smart money". We believed in the stock prices. I was so caught up in it that I actually gave speeches and pounded the podium on how the Internet was going to change the world and stop all wars. Humanity would be better off! I remember board meetings where we would vote unanimously that spending 20 million dollars on advertising was bound to do at least 5 million dollars in business so we should do it. In those days all that mattered was your revenue increase, regardless of your losses. Companies were trading at 100-1000 times annual revenues! The ugly: On IPO day I was in Amsterdam and we setup a projector with a live streaming feed of the stock quote so the entire staff could watch. That was in June 2000 right after the bubble started to burst. The stock came out at 12 and closed at 7 and change. Watching that price drop my heart nearly exploded. I knew that I should say something motivating to my staff but couldn't. I just went in my office and stared at the wall. My options like the other executives had a 6 month lock up period after the IPO. My stock lost 20,000-100,000 dollars in value each trading day until they had dwindled from a ridiculous figure to nearly nothing. What's a dotcommer? A dotcommer is someone that at one point on paper was wealthier than God and lost it all. You have to be one to know what it feels like.

Question #17
How much traffic does CJ get in a day? Uniques?

Last month on CJ we averaged 710,349 daily visitors. These were all bookmarkers as we do no link trades and don't advertise. For a complete list of last month's numbers across all of our free sites visit http://www.cjtraffic.com/traffic.html. We didn't know shit about the industry when we first started so we thought CJ Traffic would mean Consumption Junction traffic. We didn't even know circle jerk was a term in the traffic game. We wanted our site to sound like the best traffic but named it after the worst traffic by accident. Oh, the irony continues to go on and on and onů

Question #18
Where do you live now? Why? Where are your partners?

I live in Atlanta now but hopefully for not longer than one more year. I'm only staying that long because I've already paid '05/'06 tuition year at my kids' school. I came to Atlanta originally and started with Interland, then went off to Amsterdam. After Interland I went to Miami and then partnered up with Marc and had to come back to Atlanta. I've been trying to get out of here ever since. It's a cool town and all, just not the best in the world and staying here is choosing it above everywhere else. Marc lives in San Diego and appears to be a changed man since he left. Last time I saw him he was skinny, dressed well and you couldn't pry the smile off his face with a crow bar. Paul lives in Manila keeping and eye over our operations out there.

Question #19
What ethnic background are you?

Sicilian. Do you have a fucking problem with that?

Question #20
What's the one thing you wish you didn't post on CJ?

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #21
Have you ever been in legal or governemental trouble due to CJ? Investigated? Searched?

NO! Butů We have had cops, the FBI and others ask us to remove content and most the time we don't. The most famous event was the Daniel Pearl murder. He was the Wall Street Journal reporter that got kidnapped in Pakistan. This was before the rest of the beheadings in Iraq. If you want to see just the video, go here http://www.consumptionjunction.com/...ads/cj_9833.ram. For the home page we wrote about it, go here http://www.consumptionjunction.com/...?id=191&page=18. In short, we refused to take the video down because we had every right to leave it up and ended up getting interviewed by Fox and ABC for our stand. It was all bullshit anyway. The FBI claimed they thought there were encoded terrorist messages to sleeping cells in the video. My ass...

Question #22
How tall are you? How much do you weigh? Do you usually go barebones or use a rubber?

5'10" and too much. With you Sleazy, I'd bare back it.

Question #23
What sells best on your sites?

That's a great question and best answered by marc@cjtraffic.com. All I can really tell you is that most the ads I see are from exclusive content sites, dating programs and herbal products. We have savvy surfers so show them something good. It's no different from your site, I'm sure. It's certainly a mistake to think that something should be hardcore or ultra-violent. At the end of the day we are dealing with a mass audience so pick something suitable like a great teen site. We are killing it with Lensman's new party site.

Question #24
What other traffic sites/ urls do you own other than CJ?

I currently control over 6000 domains. I also have a wide variety of companies and services. My two newest that I'm proud of are www.iWebmasters.com which provides offshore staff leasing services and www.DigiPawn.com a loan service for domains and other digital assets. I've mentioned www.SteakandCheese.com, www.Freakhole.com, www.RevengeWorld.com and some soon to be launched sites that are all part of www.TheSickFuckNetwork.com. There's the CJ Bucks sites of course. Then, there are my PPC domains. There are way too many to list and I'd rather not do it anyway.

Question #25
What happened at the Canadian border on your way to Vancouver? How did you get in?

Ha! You remember that story, eh? I got off the plane at Vancouver airport, went to the border guard and he told me I was on a list and I had to go to the "special room". I went there and they told me I had a police record and couldn't get into the country. It had to do with a bag of marijuana I got caught with 14 years ago, the case got dropped and no charges were pursued. I guess the Canadian government shares the FBI files with the U.S. so they know about everything even if you didn't get found guilty for something. Anyway, I begged them to let me in and they weren't budging. So I asked, "what are all the possible ways someone can get into Canada?". The lady told me that I had to either 1. be a citizen, which I wasn't. 2. have a visa, which is normal issued to a U.S. citizen by default but they weren't going to give me one or 3. have a temporary residence permit. I said, "Can I please have an application for a temporary resident permit" and the lady was baffled. She looked at her coworker and they both shrugged then she handed me an application. Apparently they have to let you in for a couple of days by default when you fill out an application. I accidentally stumbled into a loop hole and got in. I still have the sticker in my passport.

Question #26
Who do you admire most in business? Life? Relationships?

My father. My father. My father. My dad quit school when he was 13 and got pretty wealthy with nothing but his shear damn will. He's the best salesman that I've ever met and he has a legion of loyal sales people that will follow him anywhere. He was also very frugal and invested heavily in real estate which is paying major dividends for him at this stage in his life. Now he travels non-stop and really enjoys himself. His relationships are all tight because of that Sicilian sense of loyalty where you can't buy it or bullshit it, you have to earn it.

Question #27
If you had to start over with nothing, what would you do TODAY?

There is another excellent question. I'd probably take my time in choosing what to get into. I've learned a little bit about a hell of a lot of things over the years so I'd have a lot of options to pursue. I probably wouldn't do something that was adult but would most likely profit from adult like iWebmasters.com.

Question #28
Have you ever had any major health problems?

No. Nothing serious and interesting enough for this board. I'm sure it is only a matter of time though if I don't start taking better care of myself.

Question #29
What kind of women/man do you find attractive?

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #30
How much real estate do you own?

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #31
What kind of car(s) do you own/drive? Pics.

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #32
What are your thoughts on drugs and booze at conventions?

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #33
How many adult internet conventions do you attend a year?

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #34
What's the funniest thing that ever happened to you at an adult convention? Scariest?

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #35
Why Panima? Discuss.

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer

Question #36
Have you ever flown in a private jet?

top secret information or doesn't have the guts to answer



By Company

Webmaster Resource Sites

Site & Interviews © Ambush Interview 2005 All rights reserved