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AdultWhosWho.com

John Scura
Derek Meklir loves to travel. That's a good thing, because he's on the road constantly for his role as vice president of marketing for SK Intertainment. His most recent junket took him to the XBIZ Hollywood '07 Industry Conference, which was held at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and got him out of frigid Chicago for a few days in the warm Los Angeles sun.

"I'm sitting at the pool in a bathing suit with no shirt on, scaring all the other people at the pool who must be saying, 'That's the whitest, hairiest man ever,'" Meklir muses. "I love to travel. But Chicago is a great city, despite the fact that it's negative 5 degrees right now."

Meklir is a road warrior mainly because he is the driving force behind SK Intertainment's phenomenally successful website, AdultWhosWho.com. Intended originally as a tool to profile all of the players in adult entertainment, the site has morphed into a major venue for networking in the business, and an irreplaceable aid in maximizing adult trade shows all over the world.

AdultWhosWho launched in December 2005, but Meklir and his cohorts at SK Intertainment saw the potential of the site immediately, and within seven months, they turned it into a sort of MySpace for everyone in adult entertainment.

Website's Beginnings
The inspiration for AdultWhosWho was as simple as a bad memory.

"I was at one of the shows, discussing with some people how I keep forgetting names," Meklir recalls. "I wanted a good way to put people's names to their faces, because I see people at all the shows, and I wanted a way to help my memory. So I thought we should put together a site that does that for everybody. Then we thought about making it a business version of MySpace that's really for networking purposes. We thought it would help the industry if you could say beforehand who's going to be at certain shows."

And help it has. Meklir has received an extraordinary amount of good feedback about his website from people in adult, particularly from those in the selling end of the business.

"Salespeople especially have told me that they use the site every day to go after leads, and they say it's the greatest thing ever," Meklir says. "Other people say: 'Hey, it's a great tool. I only use it once a week.' There's a wide range of people using it. Some people only use it before the shows to see who's going to be attending. So far, I haven't had any complaints about the site."

Meklir is not likely to get any complaints in the future, either, because AdultWhosWho was designed by him to maximize the success of trade show business from the very outset.

He kicked off the site by contacting about 300 people — all of them industry mainstays and personal friends — to provide profile information and photos of themselves. From there, Meklir added a few features to make the site more user friendly.

"We don't allow search engines to list our website," he says, "so that people who worry about their names getting out on the Internet know that it's not going to happen through us. We also set it up so that people can network with each other and get more business done, and it worked out nicely in that way."

Listees Control Profiles
The profiles are completely under the control of the individual. In other words, anyone who is listed on AdultWhosWho writes their own profile and provides their own photos.

"It allows people to write their own little biographies and say what shows they'll be attending in the future," Meklir says. "You can also add blog entries about what's happening with your company."

At the outset, Meklir had to contact people in the industry and urge them to contribute this information, but increasingly, the people in adult have been coming at him. And Meklir's constant presence at the major trade shows makes him easy to reach.

"I go to shows and give out about 1,000 business cards to people in the trade," he explains. "I don't hand any cards to consumers because we don't want consumer traffic. I talk to people in the trade, and they're always psyched about the idea of being able to do a lot more networking between themselves and all the other businesses in the industry.

"Now we can have people sign up for an account [with the website] at the shows, and it's free. We basically verify that the person works in adult — that they at least have something going on in adult. We profile affiliates, program owners, billers, performers, and all kinds of people in the industry. And if people aren't active in the industry, we just remove them from the site. So far, our goal is to keep the site all about business, and it seems to be working."

Meklir's insistence on placing trade shows as a centerpiece of the site is what makes AdultWhosWho an industry success story. In just over a year, his creation has become a key adjunct to shows all over the world. Of course, this was no accident.

"We work with a lot of the shows to be their directory, letting people know who's going to what shows," Meklir says. "Our database becomes their database so we can network with people before the show happens, instead of trying to do everything at the shows. We also archive who attended the shows after they're done, which accomplishes a couple of things. One is that it allows you to remember people whose names you might not recall after that fourth tequila shot. It also allows you to view what shows you should be going to in the upcoming year. So it helps the shows out a lot, too."

Getting AdultWhosWho up and running was no simple task, but Meklir's background made things a bit easier. A graduate in computer engineering from the University of Michigan, Meklir cut his teeth in the working world as a technician with Globex, the New York-based Internet service provider. After several years, he moved to Chicago and joined SK Intertainment, the parent company of MrSkin.com, which specializes in celebrity nudity in film. When he had the inspiration for AdultWhosWho, it was just a matter of rallying the troops at SK Intertainment.

"The tech guys at SK Intertainment are geniuses," he insists. "Our company is always excited to try out a new product, and they really went above and beyond the call of duty with all of the features they added [to the site]. A few of those features I didn't think were possible, but they came out very nicely. For instance, if you take pictures at one of the shows, you can upload them as a zip file to our site. You can put your own watermark on them, and the site processes all of your pictures and makes a gallery out of them. This tells people who uploaded a picture and basically allows you to use your pictures to promote your company. On top of that, if you look at a picture in the photo gallery, you can add people to the picture. You can put yourself in it. The picture can be added to your profile page, as well. It's pretty ingenious."

Part of the reason behind these achievements is the agreeable work environment at SK Intertainment. According to Meklir, most of the recent hirings are friends or relatives of longtime SK Intertainment employees, boosting the staff to an easy-to-manage total of 40 people. The Chicago-based company isn't resting on its laurels, however.

"There are going to be updates to the site, and we'll be adding new features," Meklir reveals. "We also have some new projects on the horizon, using sort of the same structure of AdultWhosWho for other industries. We're also doing some new websites for MrSkinCash [the affiliate program for MrSkin.com]. We're constantly updating MrSkin.com because that's our bread and butter." Meklir's true passion is for travel, and he's constantly on the road to attend all the important adult trade shows. His bachelor status gives him freedom of movement, for which he is thankful.

"I don't have any children, so far as I know," he jokes.

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