opinion

Success Breeds Success

Stephen Yagielowicz

No strangers to controversy, XBIZ events have always featured a wide variety of informative and thought provoking speakers that provide viewpoints that could be considered “beyond the norm” for much of the adult entertainment industry.

From the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Federal Trade Commission; from lighting rods of controversy such as ICM’s Stuart Lawley, to zealous guardians of free speech rights, such as Hustler mogul Larry Flynt; to outspoken observers such as veteran producers Colin Rowntree and Mike South — a wide range of opinions are available to XBIZ event attendees.

XBIZ does not just tell you what you want to hear, it tells you what you need to hear…

While there is no shortage of “preaching to the choir” at our or any other industry events, the highly dynamic range of learning opportunities that XBIZ presents may sometimes be met with resistance by those who avoid change in a vain attempt to preserve the past.

The recent XBIZ Summit in Miami was no exception.

A case in point is a pair of presentations conducted by perhaps the two largest players in the online adult entertainment space today: Adult Webmaster Empire (AWE) and Manwin — both of which endure a level of controversy proportionate to their levels of success.

In the case of AWE, Douglas and Marcus detailed how performers and adult website operators could profit from the company’s advanced white label webcam system, while hecklers in the audience tried to disrupt portions of their presentation with criticisms of the company’s aggressive marketing techniques.

Likewise, Manwin rep Chris Smith laid out an impressive, systematic tutorial on how adult content producers can monetize their wares through PornHub and its Content Partner Program. As some of you may imagine, not everyone in the audience was receptive to his message — blaming the speaker and his company for the death of the old-school adult Internet through its perceived support of content piracy — an attitude often based upon a misunderstanding of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and its regulation of user-generated content (UGC) websites.

Claims of rampant bastardry aside, anyone paying attention to these two sessions walked away with everything they needed to know about how to make money on the adult Internet in 2012 and beyond — and isn’t that the point of attending moneymaking business seminars?

Even if you do not like the message or the messenger, the information could boost your bottom line.

I am not callous or unsympathetic to the dramatic changes that have occurred within our industry, but the reality is that the industry HAS changed — it is now up to each of you to change with it, or find something else to do. Unfortunately, some in the latter category will do nothing more than complain, resorting to hand wringing and board bitching in lieu of growing their skill sets and knowledge base.

For me, online adult has always represented opportunity. Sure, there have been major sea changes that affected the profits of established players along the way, such as the move from print magazines to videos, to the Internet and beyond — and now perhaps the biggest challenge — the move from paid to free access (a move currently being echoed across all digital media types); but the opportunities remain.

I will offer an analogy from the past to provide insight into the situation today: Consider the plight of horse-drawn carriage makers faced with the growing adoption of automobiles. 

Do you think they would have welcomed Henry Ford to their annual buggy producer’s symposium, even if he wanted to discuss how mass-production techniques and integrated assembly lines could make them more money? They would have booed him off the stage; but the Ford Motor Company is still here, and the coach makers nearly extinct.

Have business owners become smarter over the intervening years?

Certainly some have, but just as certainly, some coach makers spent their remaining days lamenting the loss of their businesses — rather than adapting to the relentless march of progress — advancements that enjoyed overwhelming consumer appeal, even as they closed the doors of the past power players.

A line has been drawn — you can either move forward or look back, blaming others for your failures — the choice is up to you. There's one thing you can count on, however: you'll learn both sides of the story at an XBIZ event.

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