The scent of muddled mint filled the air as Mojitos mixed with marketing in the Miami moonlight — accompanied by strains of hard rock guitar, wailing in wanton abandonment. But this was only one small scene from a week of wining, dining and workshops, highlighting this year’s XBIZ Summit event — the annual east coast get together for the adult entertainment industry’s power players.
Held from May 14-17, the event saw early arrivals and late departures as attendees extended their partying and professional time to make the most of this elite event — staged for the first time in the comfort and class of the Mayfair Hotel & Spa in Coconut Grove, Florida — mere moments away from the sandy shore of beautiful Biscayne Bay.
From the opening golf tournament to the closing farewell toast and awarding of prizes in the adult industry’s first gamified event, to the range of private events beyond, the XBIZ Summit brought barons of bawdiness to the peak of networking and information sharing, in order to better their businesses.
Although some observers may have felt the attendance to be a bit sparse in comparison to their expectations, the people you wanted to talk to as well as the people you needed to talk to were all there — it is just a tale of the times: the players are still playing and the posers have moved on.
Do not take that as a sign of industrial stagnation, however, when it is a sign of market maturity. Indeed, a number of new companies and new entrepreneurs attended the 2013 XBIZ Summit event — mixing, meeting and taking notes in preparation for their turn at the wheel.
In the latter case, these were not yesteryear’s newbies: simple, star struck and suckered into dreams of easy riches in the porn biz. These were obviously educated and responsible professionals performing due diligence while working on their business plans — seeking sourcing and insider information needed to succeed, rather than just jumping in blindly and hoping for the best...
It is the way business is done in the real world, but a way that has not always been seen in adult, and not necessarily indicative of the practices of most porn purveyors.
Things are changing, however, as the strong grow incrementally stronger in a renaissance of profitability — albeit on a smaller scale for many organizations, reflective of the current marketplace. This is seen at today’s trade shows, where many of the same companies are represented as in years past — but often by a smaller staff presence — with more owners, but fewer mid-level reps in attendance.
In this regard, I like to think of the XBIZ Summit show as an example of having quality over quantity.
Consider the name and nature of the event itself: a summit is the top point or pinnacle of a triangle, with a wide base supporting it. It is not an upside down triangle, where the emphasis is on the common masses, but a proper triangle where the cream has risen to the top — so of course there are far fewer examples of participants in this exclusive arena than are found at the bottom of the heap.
It’s a matter of the position you want to occupy in this pyramid of success: the top or the bottom.
Consider an example from AWE’s Douglas Richter at the workshop he held on profiting from the live interactive sex arena. In it he described the extent to which some top white label promoters customize their sites to avoid a “me too” appearance — including hand selecting the individual models allowed to appear in the cam site’s performer listings. This involves manually reviewing thousands upon thousands of live cam previews and pre-recorded sex shows in order to find just the right material for their content conscious customers.
It is a lot of work but the rewards can be substantial. Despite the benefits, however, it is a process that few affiliates bother to engage in, as most white label operators rely on default displays, models and meta data, then cry about the poor performance they reap as a reward.
Think back to our pyramid of success, where the masses take the easy route and struggle with a lack of sales, while the successful sit at the summit, working for the riches they want to achieve and rising to the top of the heap.
As Richter pointed out, “you get out of it what you put into it.”
It is not just a sentiment applicable to white label websites, but to the adult industry as a whole and to life in general — sit on the sidelines or sweat your way to the summit, where the view is much nicer…
There are many events in many locations, but only one where you are really at the top of the game, and that is the annual XBIZ Summit — I hope to see you at next year’s event. In the meantime, join your fellow XBIZ.net members at XBIZ’ other industry gatherings, such as the upcoming XBIZ EU and XBIZ LA events as well as our regional networking gatherings — and you could be on your way to the Summit, too!