XBIZ Summer Forum: Day 1 Seminars

LAS VEGAS — The XBIZ Summer Forum officially got underway today, highlighted by a slate of informative and entertaining educational panels, presentations and seminars.

First up was the highly anticipated discussion of modern search engine optimization and marketing techniques, "SEO 2010: Strategies, Techniques and Best Practices," which was moderated by online adult entertainment industry veteran Mark "Greenguy" Jenkins.

"As quality traffic becomes harder and more expensive for adult websites to attract, the prospect of free search engine traffic is becoming evermore important," stated the show's promoters. "At the same time, changes at leading search engines present renewed opportunities for organic SEO marketers."

This event's panelists included Kevin Godbee of Web 3.0 Internet Consulting; optimization expert SEO Don; Charles Hentrich of Wildline!; Heather Bell of ATK Cash; and Jason "J-SiN" Hart of SiN2.0, who shared the latest ways for audience members to get their own share of search engine visitors.

"Content seems to be the biggest factor in SEO today," Bell stated, kicking off the seminar and offering some practical advice for webmasters: "Tag everything so that it makes sense, so the users can find the content they want."

"Program owners have tended to leave SEO to their affiliates," Hentrich said, "But lately program owners are evaluating this stance due to keyword competition." Hentrich was referring to the practice of affiliates bidding on pay-per-click search terms that contain a program's brand names or trademarks, which puts the program in a position of competing against itself for the top rankings on its own terms.

Ranking positions are not the whole story, however.

"It's not just the position but the control of real estate on the [search results] page," SEO Don said, noting that heat mapping indicates that the top two inches or so of result listings receive the highest number of clicks, regardless of the number of links that space contains.

Godbee detailed the importance of unique, exclusive content for organically building a strong search engine presence, stating that "the majority of Google search results are based on organic rankings," and adding that "most clicks come from organic SEO," including proper on-page optimization techniques.

J-SiN advised the audience to "make sure that your keywords are in your domain name," which should be either a .com, .net or .org — and preferably all three.

"Get deep links too," J-SiN added. "Not just links to your front page."

Next up was "Social Media: Twitter & Facebook Mass Marketing Done Right."

"There is a world of opportunity in the convergence of adult marketing and social media, but the evolving technologies and restrictive rules make finding the right mix difficult," says XBIZ as it set out to provide insights into acceptable ways of leveraging the traffic and exposure of popular mainstream sites to market your adult products and services.

Moderated by Kelly Shibari of Hourglass8 Media, the panel of adult social media experts included Pete Housley of PornStarTweet.com; Terry Mundell of Kink.com; Brian Gross of BSG PR; and "XXX Jay" Quinlan of OC Cash.

Gross commented that Twitter is "beyond important" when it comes to using social media to promote adult websites.

"The challenge is how to effectively integrate it with this industry," Gross said. "You have to be creative, you can't just throw something [inappropriate] up, or [the social networks] will just take it down."

"The mistake we see is people rushing into Twitter," Housley said, discussing how many folks add social networking without proper planning, or simply as an afterthought. "At the end of the day, are you talking to the right people?"

"Facebook is the preferred contact means" for many people today, Mundell revealed, cautioning that "Facebook isn't going to do the work for you, you have to do it yourself."

Shibari focused the panel on the question of whether or not social media was an effective tool for marketing adult sites, given their audience demographics, saying, "MySpace is mainly made up of minors looking for free stuff."

"Twitter is definitely worth it, if you do it well," Quinlan said, adding, "Facebook isn't really effective for promoting a paysite, but Twitter is awesome."

The first day's final seminar looked at the latest happenings in adult tablet computing, presenting "iPad: Building Sites for a New Generation of Devices."

"Amid hopes of repeating porn's profitable popularity on the iPhone, Apple's new iPad is the latest platform to stir the imaginations of adult entertainment entrepreneurs seeking to satisfy today's tech-savvy consumers," the session description stated. "Discover the design and content considerations and explore the adult market potential of this exciting technology and its followers to come, with this timely and informative session targeted to developers and marketers alike."

Moderated by Stephen Bugbee of X2K Consulting; the panelists included Liam Collins of TopBucks; Jeff Dillon from Private/Gamelink; Colin Rowntree of Wasteland; and XBIZ' Alec Helmy, on hand to reveal how they developed adult properties for the iPad and what the future holds for tablet devices.

Much of the conversation surrounded the use of HTML5 as a means of low-cost iPad website development and adult content delivery, along with its Flash-replacing possibilities.

"The beauty of pads is that you do not need to embed videos," Rowntree, who claims a 1:28 conversion rate on his iPad formatted paysite, said. "Just provide a link and the video will play in a full screen window."

"Flash does have its limitations," Collins said, but noted that his interest in new technologies such as HTML5 centers on "scalability for devices that haven't even been built yet."

"Streaming is better [than downloading] in terms of overall performance," Dillon offered, saying that network configuration plays an important role. "We don't even bother supporting [AT&T's Edge network]."

"Eventually I see tablet devices making up well over 30 percent of surfer choices," Helmy concluded, underscoring the fact that the iPad and similar devices are still in their infancy, with plenty of room for future growth.