XBIZ EU Day 1 Offers Lively Seminars, Workshops, Networking

Rhett Pardon

LONDON — XBIZ EU, presented by Adult Webmaster Empire, got off to a roaring start on Monday as the adult entertainment conference offered its first full day of lively seminars, workshops and speed networking.

On Monday, seminar and workshop rooms for all events were standing-room only and XBIZ's 90-minute speed-networking session was booked to the brim at London's Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury hotel, home of XBIZ EU.

The international digital media conference, which attracts the top adult industry players from Europe, U.S. and Canada for a mix of deal-making, education and networking, continues through Wednesday.

After a lively speed-networking session in the main hall, three seminars and a workshop were on the lineup, starting with a session on "Mobile Market: A European Perspective."

The mobile adult seminar offered top execs in the biz discussing the hot issues of the emerging business sector, including monetizing mobile traffic, the incorporation of HTML 5 in mobile devices and new opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as regulation mobile porn in the U.S.

Affil4You's Joey Gabra, Kieran O'Keefe from Reporo, Sebastian Garel-Jones from AdultModa, Geoffrey Bonnechere from Exoclick and Manwin's Yannick Ferrari took questions from audience members as well as host Julia Dimambro, who founded and owns mobile company Cherrysauce.

The panelists focused heavily on carrier billing for mobile users in Europe and how to generate more sales after hooking the customer.

"If you really want to drive credit card sales, you've got to promote additional things XXX content PC access and a phone number to authenticate you," Manwin's Ferrari said.

Other hooks, including creative ones, also can help drive revenue, Gabra said.

"You've got to be creative, find the loopholes," he said. "Less is more; you don't need to give them so many options and make it super fast and super simple.

"You can make things fun, particularly with tablets which offer a much bigger, less constraining screen."

Another seminar, moderated by Jason Maskell, a board member of adult industry trade group AITA, took a look at various executives' take on the European market.

Oystein Wright of Mansion Productions, Bonnechere from Exoclick, Julian Becker from Ben Dover Productions, Jerry Barnett of Strictly Broadband and Tom from Television X discussed the latest European billing, legal, and marketing issues the adult industry faces.

Much of the conversation included discussion of ATVOD, which regulates adult video-on-demand content in the U.K. Specifically, the discussion turned to Rule 11 over age verification.

"We've seen suffering revenue with VOD for several years, but I've had to remove my sites from the U.K. (StrictlyBroadband.xxx and Anywhere.xxx) because of these newly enforced rules," Becker said. "We've had to wind down business because of enforcement of age verification over adult content in the U.K."

"The government is also looking at filtering and that poses a threat to the adult industry as well," he said. "This isn't great news for the industry either."

A staple at most industry conventions is the discussion of payment processing techniques, the lifeblood of the business.

At "E-Billing: Strategies for Greater Profit," Mitch Farber of NETbilling, Bjorn Skarlen of CommerceGate, Harmik Gharapetian from Epoch, Karen Campbell of OrbitalPay and Gary Jackson from CCBill fielded questions by Mansion Productions’ Oystein Wright.

The discussion yielded the latest in online payment processing techniques and technology, as well as the emphasis for good customer service. Staying in compliance with the evolving slate of new MasterCard regulations also was a hot topic.

“We tell everyone these days to have two processors; everyone should have back-up redundancy,” Gharapetian said.

Towards the end of the day, AWE presented a program titled "How to Succeed With Live Interactive Content."

The workshop outlined AWE's latest update to its white-label editor solution that both AWE's Douglas Richter and Laszlo Markus called a "soup-to-nuts approach" for webmasters to profit from.

The co-branding solution is on its second version of LiveJasmin, and Richter and Markus touted it for its clean design and newly added features including icons that bridge a surfers experience on a mobile device as well as desktop.

Changes to LiveJasmin's template are aplenty, Richter said, particularly more user-friendly and quick to set up — five to 10 minutes filling out a template. It also was designed to be "what you see is what you get" and built to not include cookies.

The pair from AWE showed off a number of white labels from blue-chip companies, including WastelandLive.com and HustlerHoney.com, that use its program that capitalize on webcam consumer psychology.

"One of the nice things about the engine and LiveJasmin 2.0 is that the site remembers what you did in the last session," Richter said. "The search is incredibly advanced now because it will figure out your patterns. No more checking boxes, and it gives the users a little variety."

"If you want the future of the web, we've got it, " said Richter, who noted that AWE will custom-make websites for subdomain live cams without charge. "It's three simples steps and you have a real, live site."

Following AWE's workshop was the "Mix & Meet Market + Happy Hour," where attendees enjoyed complimentary cocktails while learning about the best and newest business solutions on the market in a one-on-one environment.

Later this evening, AWE presents the Welcome Reception at the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Hotel, followed by the XBIZ EU Opening Bash at Jewel Piccadilly, a renowned celebrity hotspot located in the heart of Piccadilly Circus.