The panel, moderated by Katie Smith of Throb3ob.com, featured gay market veterans Karl Edwards, Bedfellow.com; Morgan Summer, Cybersocket; Andy Fair, Dick Magazine; and Tim Valenti, Naked Sword.
The group of industry veterans focused on the topic of providing original content as a way of surviving the ever-increasing competition in adult gay websites.
“It’s becoming incredibly more competitive and you have to know what you’re doing,” said Valenti.
Sommer, who has been indexing gay web sites for seven years, added, “I’ve seen a lot of sites come and go, and the ones that seem to stay around have moved into providing unique content.”
Fair and Edwards suggested that webmasters and site owners should focus more on satisfying the consumers than putting all of their resources into their affiliate programs and employing deceptive tactics to get sales.
“A lot of people come here to promote their affiliate program and get people to send traffic to their program, not their web sites,” said Fair. “They pump out 50–100 new sites a week and brag about it. But their customers are not happy.”
In addition to the panelist dialogue and question and answer session, this year’s seminar featured a 30-minute presentation from Edwards on finding local amateur models for exclusive content shoots.
Edwards pointed out that “models are everywhere,” but there is a definite strategy involved.
According to Edwards, there are some basic outlets to use in your model search:
Print advertising, including printed posters around universities, etc.
Advertise in gay clubs
Use previous models as talent scouts
Contact local escort services
Edwards suggested that advertising should be intriguing enough to get the model to call, but warned about offering them too much information so that they talk themselves out of it.
The next step in the process is making contact, which he said will usually happen by phone or email. Again, Edwards added, give the model just enough information to get them into the studio for a test shoot.
Once they come in for the interview, Edwards suggested starting out with a few direct questions to break the ice and get them talking, then be specific about what you need them to do. Next, give them a chance to ask questions and feel comfortable about the prospect of modeling for your websites. Finally, get an appointment for a test shoot.
“Making your own content is one way to distinguish yourself in this industry,” Edwards said.