XBIZ EU's Day 1 Offers Lively Seminars, Debate

LONDON -- XBIZ EU's first day offered attendees standing-room-only crowds that listened to an array of seminars on traffic strategies, cams and dating, billing in Europe and the adult mobile space, as well as a lively debate on .XXX.

The inaugural event in London at the Radisson Bloomsbury Hotel, attended by hundreds of adult operators, offered an impressive roster of the top U.S. and European leaders who all offered insider tips on what does and doesn't work to maximize revenue in certain sectors of the space.

But the debate on .XXX created the most spark during the first of three days at XBIZ EU.

Day 1 also featured a packed XBIZ Speed Networking, sponsored by NETbilling, and a lavish buffet lunch, sponsored by private label solution Dating Factory. And after dark, the London show had a Porn at the Pub mixer sponsored by Epoch, Gamma Entertainment and Hustler Cash, as well as the XBIZ London Opening Bash at 33 Portland Place, a Georgian house that offered numerous rooms to hang out and network.

The Traffic Strategies seminar, which focused on generation, acquisition and affiliate marketing, offered tips from Joel Drappeau of Gamma Entertainment, Kim Nielsen of ATKingdom and Sebastian Garel-Jones of Adultmoda. Alec Helmy, president of XBIZ, hosted the panel's seminar.

Nielsen told attendees that his company mainly builds its traffic in-house these days and that "because the industry is so competitive the price to acquire traffic is somewhat prohibitive."

While gaining traffic from tours is "far more successful," Nielsen abstains from traffic gained from tube sites because of ethical reasons.

"You have to be picky and choose the ways to build traffic," he said.

"But watch out for traffic fraud when you acquire traffic: There is a time lag, and you want to detect fraud through patterns on sign up," Nielsen noted.

The Cams and Dating seminar included lively questions from moderator Marc Jarrett of MyPhoneSite Ltd. and commentary by three industry notables, Yuval Kijel of PussyCash and Mark Harrison of Dating Factory.

Following that, Billing Europe offered  a taste of what really works to maximize sales conversions in Europe. Moderated by Oystein Wright of Mansion, the seminar featured takes on doing business in non-U.S. countries  by Harmik Gharapetian of Epoch, Ines Peterson of Webbilling, Mitch Farber of NETbilling, Bjorn Skarlen of CommerceGate, Sacha Winkler of Payment Network AG and Daniela Ganick of Itelebill.

European billing is quite different, panelists noted, and often includes SMS billing, as well as direct debit billing. The session detailed the preferred payment methods through geo-targeting, regional pricing and other means in the various countries.

"Every country is different in the ways they do billing, U.K. is different, France is different and Germany is really, really different," Winkler said.

Farber said: "There are tons of billers out there : Dont just look at price ... you can't just pick companies that charge the least. You have to do your homework and networking is essential."

The adult mobile panel, hosted by Jarvis Todd of World Telemedia, focused on the rapidly expanding adult mobile space, and featured panelists Kristin Winters of Pink Visual, Christoph Hermes of  Pink Adventure AG, Christian Kreul of Displayboy and Kieran O'Keefe of Reporo.

The .XXX Special Debate, moderated by XBIZ's Don Parret, queried Stuart Lawley of ICM Registry, the operator of .XXX, and Diane Duke of the Free Speech Coalition, about the sponsored top-level domain that received the green light earlier this year and still is a hot-potato issue for many in the biz.

Discussion between the two became contentious at times over some of the details of .XXX's offering, and numbers over the rollout, now in its two-part Sunrise period, were elusive. Lawley responded to Parret's request for stats on actual registration sales in percentages but not in whole numbers.

Lawley, however, said that ICM had signed up 35 Founder members including a number of rebrands like iFriends and Strictly Broadband.  

But the .XXX seminar, intended to give attendees a forward-looking look at the key issues, did rehash some of the past debate prior to its approval.

Duke took issue with Lawley's take that the sTLD wouldn't ghettoize the industry and placed doubt that ICM Registry is determined to prevent industry "ghettoization."

She also placed doubt on the independence of IFFOR, the policy-making board of .XXX, saying that Lawley isn't separate from the board and that "ICM wants the industry to believe that IFFOR is separate from ICM."

When asked about the high price of .XXX domains, Lawley said that like any other business, ICM could take a look down the road to altering the price if need be.