XBiz Forum And Awards: Us v. Them

Gram Ponante
The XBiz Hollywood Forum was a success for the content it squeezed into two brief days of parties, seminars, and mingling. Webmasters spend double-digit hours in front of their computers each day, and even when they drive their car a block to the local Quizno's, they still carry a pager to be alerted if a server goes down. Conventions convince them they're still part of the world.

As with award shows, adult conferences seem to be self-perpetuating. While doubtless all the information passed around at the XBiz conference was helpful, such as how to behave during an FBI raid, that you should know your niche market, if changing your website's background color is a good idea, the most important thing, it seems, at these proliferating coventions is attaching faces to ICQ numbers.

Topping this story is Ashley Fires. She shares my Best Dressed honors with Casey Parker. I think Fires, Angie Savage, and Parker should live here at Gram Ponante Towers, Buffet, Heliport, Cloisters, and Dojo and I should teach them, I don't know, French.

I was on a panel discussing viral marketing, and I felt the need to define it in as many ways as were relevant. Jeff Mullen pointed out that the "Britney Rears" movies he marketed might not necessarily be good but everyone knew about them.

Jeff Mullen writes:

I didn’t remember saying that BR movies might not be good, I said they didn’t have to be good for our campaign to work. There is a big difference because I think Britney Rears 3 is good and ranks right up their with Gone With the Wind, The Godfather Parts 1 & 2 and Goodfellas.

(See? I'm writing about Britney Rears again.)

Sunny Lane said that there was no such thing as bad advertising in porn but, truth be told, she didn't seem to address viral marketing as much as self-promotion.

"I'm a product," she said, "and a damned good one."

Lane is indeed an excellent product, and while she did not seem clear on the concept of viral marketing, her presence on the panel was instructive: the better your viral marketing is, the less you have to self-promote.

I disagreed with other panelists that the product being marketed virally needed to be a quality product. I believe that, with any marketing, the strength of the product is incidental. It helps if the product is worthwhile, but products ranging from Paris Hilton to George W. Bush prove that great marketing campaigns can be draped on flimsy frames.

"I will talk about Strokahontas," I argued, "until I die. That doesn't mean she's worth talking about."

View a video of the animated Sunny Lane, apparently shot by Abraham Zapruder.

I talked about Adult Swim's hoax devices. Several people in the audience missed out on quality marital aids who failed to find the packages I'd left under their seats. Oh well.

I mentioned to Mullen that the coverage I provided "Britney Rears" was mostly about how much marketing had been done. In that way I became part of the viral marketing chain.

I sat in a chair for three hours in the Roosevelt's Marilyn Monroe suite and drank. A succession of people dropped by my drinking table. The suite had been provided by Barcelona's Private Media Group. I liked the Private people, an international group whose products I have a hard time getting because they lack competent stateside marketing. An executive noted that Private's efforts in the United States were limited by international performers' difficulty in getting visas for promotional trips.

"They keep getting detained at airports," he said.

I met the dominatrix Kali Kane and the aspiring porn performer Rebecca Rhinestone, both from Portland, OR. This picture does neither of them justice, but at that point in my intoxication, had I stood to get better light, I would have blown a gyroscope.

Kane had a strong handshake. And thighs. These are appropriate for dominatrices. Shaking a domme's hand like a dead fish is a sign that she will never gain your respect and must be avoided. I lost my respect for Lord Master Damien and thus never found his opinions compelling.

Rebecca Rhinestone was delightful, despite having no website. I asked how she got her name.

"I am sparkly and cheap," she said. "I am a chubby girl who loves to fuck." You can visit her several times a month at the Moonlite Bunnyranch.

Also in attendance at the suite were some Eurotools. A man approached me and said, "I am looking for a man who gave a speech who looks like an overweight John Lennon."

I guess it would be hypocritical to take offense at comments concerning physical characteristics when I want to fly jets off Nicole Austin's ass.

The XBiz Awards were a little unruly, less orderly than last year. They were hosted by Tera Patrick, who handled the duties well, and Hustler's Jim Henley, who admirably maintained enthusiasm throughout an affair that he pointed out needed to be "gotten through".

Henley articulated, sometimes shrilly, a recurrent theme throughout the the XBiz Forum and Awards. Not only did there seem to be a clear distinction between the Internet and Video sides of the adult industry, with video people often patronizingly explaining DVDs to Internet people (which was oddd because the Internet makes more money), but Henley and others referred often to the outside world as enemies.

"2007 is the year when people learn you can't fuck with the adult industry," he said.

When in doubt, a good way to identify video and Internet people is to ask them their names. The standard Internet Naming Convention is company name + first name, so XFanz Vito, Lightspeed Norbert, and Goateecash Hyman. Also, Internet users shy away from needless Xs, so you know that Naomi Banxxx works in video.

Cousin Stevie of Pussy Party fame (if he were a webmaster he would be Pussy Party Stevie) also put a fine point on Internet vs. Video and Porn vs. the world. Presenting an award, he prefaced it with a plea for help for the ailing Nikki Hunter, observng (correctly) that many people in the room might not be aware of who she was.

Then he said that helping Hunter would show the outside world that porn people could be virtuous. He tried once to get the crowd to quiet down, much like the XRCO Awards, but he persevered without rancor, unlike the XRCO Awards. When he finished, he said, "I'm done. Let's give out this goddamn trophy." He's a cool dude, that Cousin Stevie.

One of the paradoxes of the adult industry is that as much as it craves mainstream attention (why else would each awards show have a Crossover Star award?), it also speaks of a constant threat from outsiders who would "make our decisions for us", from federal oversight beyond 2257 regulations to someone other than, say, me making money off the sale of .xxx domains.

Henley said that this year would see an unprecedented banding together of the adult industry. I don't know if this was a dream he had or if plans were already being made in Porn's shadowy back rooms. If the latter, of course, it is an internal example of someone making decisions for the rest of us.

Previously: Thursdays with Lurk; An inconvenient truth; Gram Ponante steps up viral marketing

See also: Viral Marketing from A to Z (xbiz.com)

More Articles


Tasha Reign, Mia Li Take Charge of APAC's Mission

Melissa Santana ·

WIA Profile: Bree Mills

Women In Adult ·

Adult Film Producers Discuss Enduring Appeal of DVDs

Alex Henderson ·

Adult Stars Share Tips, Secrets for Career Success

Melissa Santana ·

On the Set: Kay Brandt Blazes Trails in 'Naked'

Shawn Alff ·

2017 XBIZ Trans Performer of the Year Reigns Supreme

Shawn Alff ·
Show More