Wasteland.com Celebrates 25 Years in Bondage

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Wasteland.com Celebrates 25 Years in Bondage

CYBERSPACEWhen online adult entertainment pioneer Colin Rowntree launched Wasteland.com in 1994, the internet was a very different place than it is today.

Online videos, to the extent there were any, were choppy, slideshow-like affairs, displayed at roughly the size of a postage stamp. Photos, which at the time were the mainstay of early adult sites like Rowntree’s, required excruciating waits while downloads completed. Still, Rowntree saw the internet’s potential as a force multiplier for the adult entertainment industry—a place where curious consumers could explore their sexuality anonymously and away from the prying eyes of anyone who might disapprove.

“Prior to launching Wasteland, I operated catalog sites, one of which offered a lot of ‘fetish gear’—leather apparel, handcuffs, spanking paddles, that sort of thing,” Rowntree recalls. “What I noticed was that we were getting a whole lot more hits to and downloads of the catalog images than we were sales of the items they depicted. This set off a lightbulb in my head: If I put up a site which sells access to images like these, there might be more money in that than what I’m doing now.”

Rowntree’s hunch proved to be prescient—and profitable. Before long, Wasteland.com was generating significantly more revenue than the catalog sites from which it evolved.

In the 25 years since its launch, Wasteland has served hundreds of thousands of paying customers, garnering multiple adult industry awards—and, more importantly to Rowntree, copious plaudits from its customers, as well as the performers who appear in the movies he has produced.

“Awards and recognition are nice and all, but none of it would mean a thing without Wasteland’s members and the performers,” Rowntree said. “They’re the ones who have enabled me to enjoy this wild, wonderful industry and given me the opportunity to be my own boss and to be creative on my own terms.”

While Rowntree foresaw the potential for Wasteland to strike a chord online with fans of BDSM, it’s less likely that anyone who knew him prior to the launch of the site would have guessed he’d someday spend a quarter-century operating an adult website.

“Once upon a time, I was a Fulbright scholar who earned a PhD in music,” Rowntree said, grinning at the highly unlikely arc of his entertainment career. “I’ve led orchestras, waved my baton around the pit at operas—hell, I even conducted Annie on Broadway. Nowadays, I’m more likely to be directing a movie in which Annie gets flogged in a dungeon beneath Broadway.”

To mark the occasion of Wastelands 25th anniversary, Rowntree is planning a party in New York City, complete with live BDSM performances, body artists, special guest appearances by some of Wasteland’s most popular performers and much more.

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