Monday, October 20, 2008

Website Review: Spanking Online

1999 was the year when I got my first internet connection. Before that, I had only sporadically surfed the web from (vanilla) friends' places - not a convenient environment to search for kinky porn. So I guess '99 marks the real start of my still ongoing corruption process. It was also the year when Spanking Online was founded, which became one of the first CP paysites I ever subscribed to.

Today, "Spanking Online" is still around, now going on its tenth anniversary. It has expanded into the Xerotics network, which also includes sites like Spanking Digital, Spank My Bottom and Spanked Schoolgirl. "Spanking Online" or SOL underwent several different layouts over the years and remains one of Xerotics' main flagships. Time for me to take another look and find out how it holds up against the much larger competition in this day and age.

Like all the sites in the network, SOL sports a rather flashy, colourful design. This is true not only for the previews, but also for the members area - after logging in, the first page features a list of the most recent updates as well as half a dozen advertising banners for other spanking paysites. As a result, the entry page has a cluttered, somewhat "spammy" look that may not be to everyone's taste. The site's content can be accessed via the updates list or with the help of a navigation bar at the top of the main members page.

Basically, there are five major video areas: two separate "Archives" with material dating back to the early days of SOL, a section simply titled "Movies", another one with "Full Movies 2007", and a recently added page with "HD Movies" (high definition). With the exception of the last two, all of these areas are further divided into thematic subsections like "School Girl", "Domestic", "OTK" or "Severe". Overall, SOL offers one of the largest spanking movie archives on the net.

While the wealth of material is commendable, it is not always laid out in the most user-friendly manner. Especially in the older archives, where scenes are often broken up across different subsections - you might find one segment of a session under "Hand Punishment Movies" and other parts of it in the "Velocity Zone". It must be said, though, that the newer sections are more coherent and easier to navigate. Basically, you can retrace the evolution of the SOL members area as it grew bigger and more diverse over the years. New subscribers will take a few minutes to find their way around and discover all the different corners, but that is not a major complaint. Actually, the historian in me finds the "spanning the ages" layout rather entertaining in its way.

The technical quality of the videos also varies considerably. The ancient ones are in .rm format at 320 x 240 pixels, the most recent high definition .wmv's have an impressive resolution of 1280 x 720. Most of the content falls between the two extremes. The movies are split into several parts, but the newer ones are often available as a single download as well.

Most of the action is straightforward CP without much buildup or backstory. There is a fair bit of chatter in many of the sessions, though. Hand, strap and cane are the most common implements, but I also saw the tawse, the slipper and the hairbrush being used. The severity ranges from light and playful to pretty hard in some of the "high velocity" clips (I like that term). Not all videos are complete or exclusive to SOL - some are previews of full movies from other Xerotics sites like Fetish Flixx or Spanking Vids. Actually, "Spanking Online" feels like a hub for the rest of the network at times.

As expected for a site of this age, the cast is pretty enormous. There are male tops, female tops and dozens of different victims, including well-known faces like Pandora Blake, Sarah Collins, Catherine Corbet, Niki Flynn, Elizabeth Simpson and Amber Pixie Wells. One SOL girl I liked a lot is Isis aka Tara, a dark-haired, exotic beauty with a gorgeous bottom and interesting reactions. Her "Schoolgirl Returns" caning scene alone is worth the price of a one-month subscription.

In addition to the movie sections, the members area also includes picture galleries and an Ezine archive going back to 2002. The Ezines contain readers letters, model interviews and some extra movies. I thought it was an interesting little feature, but it was discontinued in mid-2006. Nowadays, there is a free Spanking Online Blog with various previews, though.

All things considered, SOL isn't quite the juggernaut one might expect after such a long history, but a reasonably good site. It would benefit from a facelift to clean up the design and streamline the navigation. On the plus side, there are tons of content and most of it is quite enjoyable. You can purchase a regular SOL membership or, alternatively, a deal at Spank Pass that includes three other sites. For the real Xerotics addicts, there is also a 14 sites for 1 year offer.

No comments: