XBIZ LA's Day 1 Delivers Packed Seminars, Robust Speed Networking

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — XBIZ LA brought on packed seminar rooms and a robust speed networking session at the Sofitel hotel in Los Angeles.

The first day of seminars and other events started off with XBIZ Speed Networking, sponsored by NETbilling, which produced a full house of industry attendees who quickly made new business connections.   

Internet traffic expert Brad Gosse presented the first hour seminar session, "Monetizing Promotional Content," providing insight primarily on how site operators may want to comb through existing material and "use it to lead it" on BitTorrent networks to cost effectively generate more business.

Gosse, who always offers unconventional methods for distributing free content as an advertising vehicle, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd.

"It's not like 1998, where the conversion rate is 1:43," Gosse remarked. "Depending on the content's quality, conversion rates are more like 1:1,000 or 1:1,500."

Gosse, who owns TorrentVideos.com among others, said that he follows a "Best Practices" when it comes to streaming videos on tube sites. Among them, 1) always watermark your content with logo and URLs;  2) encode videos at 600-800 kbs; 3) larger files, particularly longer scenes, are better; and 4) run your content on the faster VPS using VCN or remote desktop.

By noon, the packed crowd of XBIZ LA attendees joined together for lunch at the Sofitel hotel's Simon LA, which features culinary star Kerry Simon's seasoned American-influenced cuisine with a global flair and indoor and cabana-lined patio seating.

Seminars continued after the buffet lunch, with "A Traffic Buyer’s Guide to
Adult Advertising Networks," with reps from Reporo, Affil4you, Juicy Ads, Ero-Advertising and AdXpansion on hand.

The biggest players in adult ad networks spelled out future growth possibilities and target ad placements that deliver maximum returns. They also debated on which days see better traffic, including holidays, and weighed in on the mobile sector's growth.

"The future of adult distribution through mobile will be 50-60 percent," said AdXpansion's Christian Kreul, who recently joined the company as vice president of sales for its European division. But, he said, "speed is an important aspect; billing flow is also important."

Joey Gabra, who recently was named Affil4You's managing director, also remarked on billing in the mobile space and how processing flows need to be refined.

"Billing is going to be huge for mobile, and a good billing system is key to growth," Gabra said.

Later, Wasteland's Colin Rowntree hosted a heart-to-heart roundtable discussion of current issues with Douglas Richter of AWE, Christopher O'Connell of Saguaro Digital and attorneys Paul Cambria and Marc Randazza.

The issues ranged the gamut, including the evolving attitude toward tube sites, porn BitTorrent litigation, Manwin and Digital Playground's suit over .XXX and the shift toward adult content delivery to mobile phones.

The seminar, titled “Running With Scissors With Hair on Fire,” attracted an over-flowing crowd. Rowntree, in "Bill Maher Show" fashion, later parodied the "New Rules" of working in adult today.

Rowntree said that attitudes among adult industry peers  have changed in the past two years over tube sites and now are engrained in many operators' business models.

"It's about finding the balance, and there are all sorts of decisions to be made about [using them to gain more traffic]," he said.

But O'Connell flatly said his company believes the tubes are not consumer-friendly. "We think watching a tube is a terrible experience," he said.

On the legal front, attorney Randazza, without apology, said he has no problem with suing John Doe litigants accused with stealing porn through the torrents.

"When you are sharing on a BitTorrent, you are sharing with your closest 200,000 friends," he said.

Cambria said that the .XXX litigation brought on by two of the adult biz's largest distributors should be interesting to watch as it plays itself out in the courts.

"What we have here is that the studios say the awarding of the ICANN contract was anticompetitive, and it appears there was no competition," Cambria said. "The impact [of .XXX] is worldwide."

The "Billing: Basics and Beyond" offered expert panelists in the billing space. Reps from Epoch, CCBill, NETbilling, RedPass/Zombaio, Signature Card Services, Paxum and Webbilling joined  seminar host "Poppy" Gelvezon in a discussion over the latest news from the banks, billers and card associations.

The panelists all offered "Plan B" equations and discussed the benefits and possible pitfalls with merchant accounts and third-party billing, as why certain companies choose a billing company.

"Price shouldn't necessarily be a factor when choosing a processor," Gary from CCBill said. "You should look at tools, features and retention rates ... it drives the revenue forward."

The final seminar of the day was "Top Legal Issues of 2012 and Beyond," moderated by FSC Board Chair and adult industry attorney Jeffrey Douglas.

The four panelists — Gill Sperlein, Greg Piccionelli, Paul Cambria and Anthony Patek — all attorneys involved in defending adult entertainment companies, discussed patent trolls, evolving OSHA regulations, piracy and the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, known as SOPA.

Other discussions involved dating and chat, as well as 2257, the federal record-keeping rule.