XSF '08: Day 1 Seminars

Ann Oui
LAS VEGAS — The first day of educational offerings at the XBIZ Summer Forum included a marketing seminar that veered into traffic, a workshop on how to write a great press release and an online advertising workshop presented by Traffic Dude, among others. Each was quite well-attended and offered abundant information to attentive audiences.

The opening seminar, Marketing in Adult V2, was deftly moderated by Colin Rowntree of Wasteland and featured an experienced panel of marketing and affiliate program veterans that included Quentin Boyer of Xmoney, Albert Lazarito of Silvercash and Silver Sinema, D-Money of MarketingFirm.com and Rainey Stricklin from Traffic Dude.

While supposedly about marketing, the panel quickly segued into a discussion of the current state of the industry in general and traffic acquisition in particular that included a further segue into tube territory. Segues notwithstanding, the thoughtful and deliberative nature of the panelists raised the discussion several notches above the norm, even if a solution to the apparent problems currently facing the industry remained elusive.

The slippery solution, Boyer implied, is a consequence of ten years during which the industry methodically and aggressively created the conditions that brought it to this state. The long view the panelists brought to the table, however, included a healthy dose of optimism regarding the future of the industry and the opportunities that are still available today.

Stricklin noted a decided industry trend toward live content such as cams, dating sites and social interaction, and Lazarito said that these and other changes brought with them a shift in the hierarchy of traffic acquisition. D-Money observed that a silver lining to the decrease in marketing expenditures by many of the bigger companies was the marketing opportunity now available to smaller or newer programs that can now get their names out there.

All the speakers agreed that the biggest marketing trend was business-to-consumer, which may sound odd to anyone who does not understand the relentless B2B focus of the affiliate network business model. All also agreed that some form of tubes was here to stay, though no agreement was to be had regarding what form or definition of tube would survive, and Boyer was adamant in his contention that the model built on stolen goods was not earmarked for survival, and good riddance.

The room was half-full for the How to Write a Great Press Release presentation by XBIZ marketing director Anne Winter, with assistance from executive editor Tom Hymes. A similar panel was presented last year and brought back by popular demand. Winter provided a handout for attendees and verbally covered all the essential dos and don’ts for either preparing a successful press release or working with a PR representative who writes and disseminates them for clients.

In addition to no-brainers such as always including contact information, which means a phone number, a few of the other points included taking an active role in the creation of the message and working to develop a relationship with people at the news outlets whose job it is to translate press releases into accurate and specific stories that generate desired results.

Scott Rabinowitz’ hour-long workshop on Achieving Better Results from Online Advertising was a detailed and concise presentation that left few advertising stones unturned. Rabinowitz, aka Traffic Dude, outlined to a packed and attentive room the measures necessary to plan and execute an effective advertising campaign.

The online advertising options available to webmasters have become so diverse and rich over the past few years that many companies increasingly utilize the targeted services of companies such as Traffic Dude to manage media buys across a spectrum of platforms.

Without leaving the audience behind in a maze of details, Rabinowitz described arcane necessities such as tracking ROI, budgeting, targeting criteria, types of acquisitions, creatives and a myriad of other things that go into a productive ad campaign.

“Do the math,” he stressed. "It may be a pain but the results will likely result in profit and joy."

Today’s educational schedule features a legal panel with a focus on obscenity, a seminar on how to create a sticky website, a targeted SEO workshop presented by Kevin Godbee and an interactive business clinic put on by XBIZ president Alec Helmy and XBIZ World managing editor Stephen Yagielowicz.