XBIZ Summit Day 1 Seminars Educate, Inform

Stephen Yagielowicz

MIAMI — The educational component of the 2012 XBIZ Summit, presented by AWEmpire, got underway Wednesday at the Shelborne Hotel on Miami’s world famous South Beach.

Sponsored by Epoch, WhiteLabelDating.com, PornHub, Affil4You, CCBill, GTBill, OrbitalPay, NETbilling, MojoHost, ExoClick, CECash, Sex Entertain, Sofort, Humboldt Merchant Services, Saboom, Pay4 and PussyCash, among others, the XBIZ Summit runs from May 15-18, offering a range of networking and learning opportunities for attendees.

The event’s informative seminar series kicked off with a look at the lifeblood of all websites: traffic — a vital commodity increasingly bought and sold via advertising services. Seeking to teach attendees how to boost their website’s traffic, while maximizing revenues, “Ad Networks: The Mechanics of Buying and Selling Traffic,” set out a roadmap for success.

“Increasing the quality of your website's traffic supply is one way in which merchants can improve their sales ratios — while offering these premium prospects to other site owners provides a reliable revenue stream for publishers,” states the show’s promoter, noting that online advertising networks are a vital part of this marketing equation.

Moderated by XBIZ’ Stephen Yagielowicz, the experienced group of panelists included DJ Neawedde of Juicy Ads, Nigel Williams from AdXpansion, Geoffrey Bonnechere of ExoClick and Sebastien Galina from Traffic Junky.

Exploring strategies for buying and selling online ads and detailing current methods of measuring advertising campaign effectiveness, this valuable session revealed the latest ad types favored by adult website marketers, and offered moneymaking tips for adult website traffic buyers and sellers of all sizes.

Commitment to your campaigns and communication with networks were the two main takeaways.

“You need to be dedicated to it. If you’re not committed, don’t bother buying traffic from an ad network,” Williams said. “It’s not as simple as placing an order and watching the sales come in.”

As for budgeting for ad buys, both Galina and Bonnechere agree that there is no magic dollar figure that a person needs to set aside to start an Internet ad campaign.

“It depends how committed you are,” Galina said.

Neawedde and Willliams echoed the need for an honest and open dialog between ad buyers and the networks they use.

“The No. 1 thing I recommend is that you get in contact with your ad network,” Williams offered. “Communicate. Let your intentions be known.”

The complexity of the ad buying and selling process should not be underestimated, as working with ad networks can become a fulltime job, when maximizing profitability is your goal — a message that this session’s attendees took to heart — even if they were dismayed by the reality of that truthful message.

Extending the mobile traffic theme, the XBIZ seminar series’ next presentation was a timely look at “Mobile 360: Content Delivery, Promotion, Billing and Beyond.”

Calling it “a huge and shifting market with many interesting facets,” the event’s promoters and perceptive panelists believe online marketers can no longer treat the mobile arena as an afterthought.

“Given the rapidly rising rate of mobile device access, including Android-powered devices, iPhones, iPads and other tablets and emerging devices boasting capabilities that rival much larger platforms, it makes sense to unlock the unique keys to reaching this audience on the go,” stated the show preview. “From the most profitable adult content types, to the most usable formats; challenges and opportunities of mobile billing; social issues, age verification and more, will be tackled by this session's expert panel.”

As always, XBIZ delivered.

Moderated by Chris O'Connell of Mikandi/FastTCP, the panelists included Chi Lee of Reporo, Joey Gabra of Affil4You / Wister, Gian Carlo Scalisi of BrokerBabe, Daniela Gannick of iTelebill and Geoffrey Bonnechere from ExoClick.

Noting that more than 6 billion consumers (over 85 percent of the world’s population) has a mobile device, many offering some form of Internet access, O'Connell set the stage for this thought-provoking session that left attendees with a renewed vision of the adult entertainment marketplace today.

Lee commented that while many traditional affiliates and other adult marketers focus on the credit card enabled societies such as the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, other markets are more profitable. Such as South Africa, which makes more money for some adult promoters than does the U.S., due to the former country’s better mobile billing solutions and its use of mobile devices as the consumer’s primary window upon the world.

Gabra added that the Kenyan market is surprisingly strong, while Gannick underscored the need to look beyond credit cards if you have international traffic, while advising attendees that the Mexican and Latin American markets are quite profitable despite the huge charges imposed by the nations’ telecoms.

Canada is also a worthwhile market, due to its recent adoption of carrier-based billing and growing adoption of 4G technologies.

“There is a gigantic opportunity in marketing to feature phones, due to lower traffic costs,” Lee said; with O'Connell explaining that feature phones, while more advanced than basic “dumb phones,” are not a general purpose computing device, like Smartphones.

Also discussed was Microsoft’s recent major push of its Windows Phone 7 platform, which while full of promise, may not yet be ready for prime time.

On the topic of dealing with devices, Bonnechere underscored the importance of traffic purchases targeted to specific platforms, noting that in-app advertising aimed at selling other apps worked better than web-to-web or web-to-app offers.

Access types also play a role, with Wi-Fi being the preferred channel.

“If I am on Wi-Fi, I’ll buy whatever is best,” Gabra stated. “If not, I’ll buy whatever loads fastest.”

Having an easy to navigate, lightweight and user-friendly design is key to success, the panel agreed.

Piracy and profits was next, with mobile apps being more resistant to unauthorized access than websites are, while the typically lower transaction prices for mobile products is mitigated by using more frequent recurring billing cycles.

“We don’t charge less, but we charge weekly, not monthly, so it seems less,” Scilasi said. “At the end of the day, you make more money from mobile.”

With no chargebacks, double the retention rate and up to 10 times the conversion rate of standard websites, many developers are sure to expand their mobile offerings.

For those attendees wanting to learn how to profit from consumers’ desire for real and virtual sexual encounters, the third session, “Lust Sells: Profiting From Live Cams and Adult Dating,” fit the bill.

According to XBIZ, promoting adult webcam and dating sites built upon serving one person’s need to “connect” with another person, takes adult entertainment to its most intimate level, allowing the tease and please of sexual interaction to lead to dollars from desire.

“Learn about the various segments of these dynamic markets, as well as the various legal challenges surrounding profile authenticity and member / website moderation — along with other proven ways to leverage consumer connections,” the show’s promoters promised — a promise that they delivered on.

Featured speakers included Frank Piluso from Ashley Madison, Adam S. of PussyCash/IMLive, Douglas Richter of AWEmpire, Joel from SexDateCash and Matthew Pitt of White Label Dating, with the wisdom of Joe D. from NetCash guiding the session.

Much of the discussion centered on the use of white label sites as an easy way to enter the market.

“All you need to do is create a branded landing page and you’re in business,” Pitt stated. “If you want to make money, the support, backend and member database you need to compete in 2012 is just something you can’t do yourself.”

That member database is vital: it must be fresh, active and contain real people, especially if you want to have recurring members.

Richter added that for webmasters using sub-domains, even the relatively minor expense of a new domain name is avoidable; providing incredible cost savings over typical do it yourself approaches.

“Go with the people that have already done it,” Joel said. “If you have a unique idea, approach one of the bigger guys with it.”

Adam offered that for some folks, promoting webcams is easier than marketing adult dating sites. For example, performers often drive traffic to their cam sessions via their Twitter and other social media accounts, further boosting the personal appeal of this profitable market segment.

Affiliates should promote a company’s flagship site, along with their own white label, for multiple chances to make a sale to the same visitor, the panel advised, noting that setting up such a strategy is easy when aided by the help of the sponsor’s affiliate managers and support staff.

“At Ashley Madison, we work with our guys on a one on one basis,” Piluso stated, adding that this level of service is what helped the site’s app become a top download on iTunes.

The panel also went into detail about the changes influencing the affiliate market, such as the recent outlawing of tracking cookies in Europe — a privacy-boosting move that could spread to other regions, but that could also cost many affiliates as much as 50 percent of their sales. Domain based tracking and other means will often overcome this issue, making tracking methods an important consideration when weighing a new sponsor or white label provider.

Next, attendees enjoyed the event’s most controversial (and perhaps most productive) session.

In an XBIZ Summit exclusive, Chris Smith of industry giant Manwin’s flagship tube site, PornHub, revealed details of its Content Partner Program, in an executive session entitled, “PornHub: Feeding and Profiting From the World’s #1 Tube Site.”

The PornHub session included a PowerPoint presentation on how content producers can make the most of the company's services, which according to Smith reaches more than 70 million daily users that enjoy more than 450 million daily page views.

Discussing how adult content owners and studios can earn money through PornHub, the Manwin rep detailed ways of optimizing free ad spaces (including banners and text links) based upon CTR and conversion ratios. Also on the list was a look at the optimal length for video clips; editing techniques and ways of optimizing video titles and tags for better click-through rates; how to build brand recognition; plus methods of boosting video ratings and more.

Smith began with an overview of PornHub, illustrating how users can upload photos and videos, create their own profiles (and subscribe to and view the profiles of other users) and use community engagement and social media tools to promote their clips.

Smith then moved on to the subject of optimizing your content, advising attendees to tell a story with their videos, including a beginning, middle and end.

“Showcase your best content, highlight the best parts and focus on niches you understand, Smith said, adding that 10-12 minute clips are best. “Longer clips get more views and better ratings.”

Since higher rated videos appear on more pages, the added exposure results in more sales for those posting the clips, he stated, adding that the frequency and consistency of updates are also important.

“Consistency builds trust,” Smith explained. “Whether it’s one clip a day or one clip a week, make each clip count.”

Other tips included the use of five-second pre- and post-roll advertisements that include a URL, slogan and logo, along with a click-boosting technique: put the video’s model on the post-roll, telling viewers to “click the link below.”

Smith then went through the process of uploading clips, including tips for specifying titles and tags, categories, porn star names and more. He advised attendees to tell a story with their preview thumbs, putting a picture to the clip’s title and using bright, clear, well-framed and sharply focused images for maximum click through rates.

Smith, who discussed the various ads given to content partners, including a descriptive text link, URL watermark and a 610x60 pixel under player banner ad, detailed the process of profiting via advertising space optimization.

Explaining the difference between click-through ratios and conversion rates, Smith demonstrated how the company’s TrafficJunky.com advertising network integrates with the PornHub Content Partner Program to provide comprehensive banner management and stats, allowing users to track and modify their ads for maximum return on investment.

“The bottom line,” Smith says, is that “PornHub traffic is profitable.”

The day’s final panel tackled “Law & Order: Condoms, Piracy, Obscenity, 2257 & Beyond,” as a panel of legal experts discussed the key issues affecting adult entertainment business owners today.

“For adult entertainment business owners, 2012 is presenting a variety of legal challenges,” states the event’s promoter. “From a pending revamp of the 18 USC ‘2257 federal recordkeeping requirement, to the possible migration of the industry away from ‘Porn Valley’ due to new condom-use laws — along with a fast-changing piracy landscape, election year calls for renewed obscenity prosecutions and other factors that keep decision makers on their toes.”

To help XBIZ Summit attendees make sense of it all, a stellar panel of legal experts provided the latest information and insights to keep them running in the black, instead of running from the law.

Featured speakers included attorneys Corey Silverstein of the Law Offices of Corey D. Silverstein, P.C., along with Michael Fattorosi of Fattorosi & Associates, plus Gregory Piccionelli of Piccionelli & Sarno, J D Obenberger of J. D. Obenberger and Associates, and Paul Cambria of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP, with Diane Duke from the Free Speech Coalition graciously moderating.

Cambria was up first, discussing the current state of obscenity prosecutions, through the lens of the ongoing Isaacs case, which has recently suffered significant setbacks.

“We always thought we could win in L.A.,” Cambria said. “We were wrong.”

Cambria says that cable and satellite distribution has advantages, regarding obscenity charges.

“We get to say to a jury, ‘now the government is trying to come into your living room and regulate what you watch.’”

Cambria also warned session attendees that the federal government, as always, is concerned with extreme content. It is also targeting websites that allow access by underage viewers, authorized or not.

Silverstein touched on the issue of adequate documentation to support your business goals.

“People are making decisions more impulsively these days,” Silverstein stated, using the example of an adult content buyer.

“Just what are you buying?” he asks rhetorically. “Just because someone offers you a CD full of images, doesn’t mean that they have the right to use them or sell them to you. It is now more important than ever before to get everything in writing, including model releases, ‘2257 documents and more.”

“It’s so important now more than ever that you have your paperwork in order,” Silverstein reiterated. “The ‘handshake deal’ is not working any more. Get something in writing.”

Obenberger was next, beginning his presentation with an impassioned speech regarding the negative influence that the 18 U.S.C. ‘2257 regulations have on American rights; and the many positive benefits gained by the proactive litigation sponsored by the Free Speech Coalition.

“I wasn’t optimistic that this would go our way. The courts, however, are seeing that personal privacy issues are indeed important,” Obenberger stated. “I smell blood in the water. This is the most encouraging thing that I’ve seen about 2257.”

Despite recent successful challenges to the law, however, Obenberger warned attendees that there is no injunction and that affected parties should comply with the statute’s requirements.

“You could go to prison for five years,” Obenberger warned, “For taking a picture of your loved one’s fully clothed pubic area.”

New crowd funding initiatives based on a recently enacted law, are opening doors and paving the way for operators seeking new opportunities — a message that Piccionelli was happy to deliver with a smile — saying it was “good news for adult, for a change.”

“Using the enormous reach of the Internet to fund your projects is adult’s next big profit center,” Piccionelli stated, adding that, “While the Securities Act prevents much advertising for investments, Obama enacted changes that open up the arena.”

“This change in the law is among the most significant advancements in e-commerce since the advent of the Internet,” Piccionelli explained. “It provides the opportunity to leverage the good will of American businesses to your benefit.”

As the final panelist to speak on this panel, Fattorosi chose the most recent topics to focus on the use of condoms and film permits, even for married couples shooting amateur sex tapes in their home.

“In L.A., you’ll need to wear a condom, including if you’re a married couple,” Fattorosi stated, then explained that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is behind this stringent pro-condom lobby.

“AHF isn’t going away,” Fattorosi stated. “It hopes that what happens in adult transfers into what happens in the bedroom.”

On the subject of the filming permits now required in L.A., even for married couples performing webcam shows, Fattorosi offered one sage bit of advice: don’t let performers or others Tweet shoot locations and times, as they can be combined with mobile geo-location data to stage raids, as was recently done in Los Angeles.

Lacking a film permit is a misdemeanor criminal offense.

The legal session’s best bit of advice, however, came from FSC’s Diane Duke, who referencing the previous story opined that, “There are people in this industry calling the police on other people in this industry — don’t do that!”

At the end of a busy and informative day, these were truly words to cherish.

Stay tuned to XBIZ.com for continuing coverage.