LONDON — XBIZ EU’s first full day of seminar sessions, events and business networking on Friday drew a large and enthusiastic crowd of international business leaders in the online adult entertainment space.
The Hilton London Metropole Hotel set the scene for the most extensive conference program since XBIZ EU’s inception four years ago.
Friday’s set of events and seminars included a keynote speech by JT, “the YouPorn Guy,” who delivered his address to a standing-room-only crowd.
JT, who was chiefly responsible for guiding YouPorn.com to its user base that grew to hundreds of millions of monthly visitors, spoke about his personal history, his start in the industry, and how he handled the meteoric rise of YouPorn.com and developed a brand-new portfolio of paysites under the Really Useful Cash network.
JT spoke on how he sold the YouPorn property to Manwin and about his interest with .xxx domains and other gTLDs, including his Orgasms.xxx site and his newest on the way — Teen.porn, when the gTLD makes its debut.
“The reason why I am such a prolific buyer of the .xxx domains is that I missed out when the best .coms were available,” he said. “At the time, I was in my 20s and didn’t have the money to purchase them."
Of course, times have changed for JT, he said, and his empire keeps growing, including his next project, which will have him going back to his roots — a tube site.
Seminars of the day included sessions on age verification and billing, as well as two panels on U.K. policy and lobbying bodies.
The afternoon panels were preceded by XBIZ Speed Networking, providing industry professionals with the opportunity to launch their business connections into overdrive with a 90-minute session.
XBIZ' s popular Mix & Meet offered a casual networking exhibition, with those in attendance enjoying free drinks and finding out about the latest products and services from some of the business’ top blue-chip brands.
The “Age Verification: The Pros and Cons Debate” panel participants included Chris Ratcliff of TVX, Rob Johnson of Telecom2, Rasmus Groth of Veridu, Michael Post of Intelligent ID, Vince Charlton of ASACP and Stephen Winyard of ICM Registry. Jerry Barnett of Sex & Censorship moderated the seminar.
The billing seminar, titled “E-billing: Best Practices, Stability and Throughput," comprised panelists Mitch Farber of NETbilling, Frank Gannon of Epoch, Gary Jackson of CCBill and Chris Rodgers of Payze. Joey Gabra of Affil4You.com moderated the seminar.
The “Adult Provider Network Meeting,” moderated by Barnett, discussed the impact of regulation of on-demand services by ATVOD, as well as a number of real-case scenarios of what the regulator looks for with U.K. online adult companies that stream content.
The Adult Provider Network is a support network and policy voice for web-based adult programming.
Another U.K. adult entertainment group, the U.K. Adult Producers, also known as UKAP, offered a discussion on what the group’s role has worked on in recent years, as well as what the group stands for. The panel discussion included participants Terry Stephens, Paul Taylor and Ben Yates.
The group has had better days with its membership ranks (at its height it had about 30 members), according to Stephens, but is looking to expand its ranks by adding more than just porn industry members.
UKAP, Stephens said, is a “hub for people in the business to meet each other and share that information to the membership.” He said the group in the past has allied itself with Sex & Censorship and Ethical Porn, as well as any group that fights for adult entertainment industry rights.
“But we are looking to get our membership numbers bigger,” Stephens said. “And we want to keep the organization a going concern by expanding the principal membership to those in the general sex industry. It will be instrumental for the organization. And if we don’t expand our world we will not achieve anything.”
Friday night, the London Underground Party, which coincided with XBIZ EU, offered UKAP’s annual industry awards program. The party, open only to XBIZ EU- and UKAP-affiliated members, took place in a refurbished Victorian loft space west of Central London.
Awards presenters and adult performers Sofia Rae, Daisy Rock, Stella Cox, Kiki Minaj and Jessica Jensen dazzled the packed crowd with their enthusiasm and congratulated winners.
JT won kudos with the Producer/Studio of the Year award with the FakeTaxi.com site and brand; Stella Cox won the Pervlens-sponsored Newcomer of the Year award; Tina Kay won Female Performer of the Year; and Danny D earned the Male Performer of the Year award.
In addition, Cherry Delainey won the Top of the Babes award; Down on Abby won the Your Choice Best Selling DVD 2014; and Lexi Lowe received the Your Choice Girl of the Year 2014.
In a special tribute, the UKAP award for Services to the Industry went to Barnett for his work with Sex & Censorship, which co-sponsored the event.
Saturday's XBIZ EU offerings include more seminars, networking and events, as well as the Juicy Ads Grand Union Happy Hour and Spearmint Rhino Party.