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Webmaster Access : Cancun 2004

Stephen Yagielowicz

[ CHECK OUT THE PICS ]

Online adult industry event newcomer Webmaster Access recently wrapped up their 2004 "getaway" trip to Cancun, Mexico. Dawn and I were able to attend this intimate gathering; and for those who were not there with us, the following will show you a little of what you missed – and why you should go next year!

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Webmaster Access is a new series of "regional" adult industry events brought to you by the good folks behind adult.com and two-time XBiz Award winner "GFY" among others. Sponsored by Playboy Cash, Top Bucks, Epoch, Silver Cash, and ePassporte, a special Webmaster Access "Getaway" was held March 10th - 13th, 2004 in Cancun, Mexico.

With their inaugural event which was recently held in Los Angeles behind them, and a growing schedule of dates ahead of them, it was time for the Webmaster Access crew to try something a bit different. While a 'typical' adult industry gathering might feature a 'show floor' with exhibitor booths and displays, as well as a selection of seminars designed to deliver current, cutting edge industry information – all capped off with numerous parties and other networking opportunities – this special 'getaway' trip dropped all of the usual trappings in favor of a unique, relaxed networking environment. Yep, we were all there to play on the beach...

A Little Perspective
I've attended Internext since it was ia2000 at the Monte Carlo, and have taken in a couple of Sharpie's great "Cybernet Expo" shows, as well as The Phoenix Forum and Host4Porn's Toronto Networking Event; so this was not my first experience with a Webmaster gathering.

Networking and relationship building was the order of the day, and if it revolved around 'waverunners' and Jeep adventures, snorkeling in cenote's, parasailing or "the donkey show" – then so much the better. But I kept asking myself (and everyone else) – "Is it worth it?" Everyone agreed: of course it is!

Whenever an adult industry event is discussed, comparisons to the Vegas' Internext are inevitable. While the 'Show of Shows' boasts non-stop marketing with frenzied sales types and clique cruisers alike working the 5,000 plus attendees at a dizzying pace, the Cancun getaway offered relaxation with a hundred plus industry players and operatives.

In either case, the name of the game is "Let's Make A Deal" – the difference is that the deal is easier to make when it is with someone whom you've had a chance to develop a relationship with, rather than when you are confronted by an anonymous "clerk," order book in hand – especially if you happen to already be lost in the sea of distraction that a few days on the Vegas show floor provides. While we can't live without Vegas, there's a lot to be said about trading cross-sells and exit traffic over a hand of poker on a white sand beach...

While the rest of the dates on the Webmaster Access calendar will involve a much more typical newbie-friendly 'show' environment set in easy to reach locations, the 'exclusivity' of this event helped focus who would be there – and who wouldn't. Many of the better known personalities and show 'regulars' that have been on the front lines and in the trenches of this business for years were there: and these are folks that you can do business with. While Larry Flynt didn't make an appearance, there weren't crowds of noobs saying "I'm thinking of starting a Website..." either. This focus on dealing with enablers rather than distractions means that things can actually get done. Rather than having 2 minutes of simply swapping business cards, you can spend 2 hours dealing in details if you like.

As with all things in life, you get back what you put in, and in Cancun, you had plenty of opportunities to "put it in." With only a nightly cocktail party – including a nice sunset sail – "officially" scheduled, it was up to attendees to find their own fun, which wasn't hard to do!

Here's a few of the pics I took:

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My wife Dawn really enjoyed the "Cancun Connection" – and even though she swears that she will never touch another drop of tequila, I think she found this to be an enjoyable and worthwhile event. Here's a bit of what she had to say about it:

"My first time in Cancun was an amazing experience; the views and the ocean were breathtaking and the Mexican's spirit and the love for their little piece of Heaven was everywhere. This trip was made even more special by being able to enjoy it with some of our oldest (and newest) friends in this industry. Sometimes our busy lifestyle doesn't really allow for bonding with those special few that can easily slip through the cracks or be lost in the crowd – but that wasn't the case during this 'Spring Break' getaway."

"Webmaster Access quickly revealed to me just how important it is in this intense business to have a place for peers to get together and relax, play, eat, share adventures and feel a sense of belonging. It also creates closer connections with those long-time friends that you've made in this industry that you rarely have time for at a larger show, simply because business usually comes before pleasure. What made this gathering so unique is that the pleasure makes the business work; so the work then becomes a pleasure..."

So, in the final analysis, is there a place for a networking event such as the Webmaster Access Getaway – and is it "worth it?" The answer is a resounding "YES!" We'll see you there next time! ~ Stephen

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