XBIZ Summit Kicks Off in South Beach

MIAMI — The XBIZ Summit, presented by AWEmpire, began to find its rhythm on Wednesday as the top digital media executives in adult entertainment converged on the Shelborne Hotel in the heart of South Beach for the first full day of events.

The diverse schedule of activities included five different educational seminars, two Speed Networking sessions and a colorful lineup of poolside cabana exhibits featuring the adult industry’s leading service providers.

And no one seemed to mind the cloudy weather, not with Miami Beach literally 50 yards from the Shelborne pool deck, where dozens of online professionals kicked back and talked business.

“We’re giving away massages,” said Jo “KiwiGirl” Merlone, the owner of KiwiSourcing.com, which hosted a popular cabana that featured a professional masseuse and massage chair for its guests. “We want to take the stress out of everything. We do everything from design, to programming to media buying to consulting, to actually coordinating all the events for MojoHost.”

Speaking of MojoHost, Scooter, the VP of client development, told XBIZ that attending conferences like the XBIZ Summit is all about nurturing established relationships and making new ones.

“I think going to shows is extremely necessary because you have to build the eye-contact relationships, is what I call them,” Scooter said. 

Not surprisingly, the XBIZ Summit showed its international appeal as well on Wednesday as Europe was well represented with guys such as Alex Lecomte, an advertiser account manager for ExoClick, who made the trip from Barcelona.

“It’s great to personally see our clients in real life,” Lecomte said. “It’s easier to do some business.”

Patrick von Kinderen, aka Porno Pat, traveled 20 hours from Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to represent Theodoris Limited.

“We want to work together with pay sites,” von Kinderen said. “We are doing well and we’re looking for more partners.

Ihsan Atsu, an international account manager for Pay4 from Frankfurt, Germany, said his company is continuing its entry this year into the American market with his presence at the Summit.

Many attendees arrived early for the back-to-back Speed Networking sessions that highlighted the morning. Sponsored by Netbilling, the sessions brought together industry veterans and total newcomers for a rapid-fire meet-and-greet that set the tone for the week.

Paxum Sales Manager Ruth Blair said during the first session that her company is "constantly evolving. We’re always looking to enhance our service.”

Brett Thompson, a business development specialist for First Global Billing, told XBIZ he has been working in the adult space only for about 18 months but has found it refreshing.

“Everyone is very open and straightforward,” said Thompson, who came to Miami from Albany, N.Y. “It’s good to put a face to the voices here.”

Joey Gabra, managing director for Wister, said this week is all about “raising awareness” about the potential of mobile content.

“We want people to recognize the value of mobile and what they can do to make money in mobile, what they’re missing,” said Gabra, who has seven years of industry experience.

Erasmo Labaut, marketing director for the Miami-based Score Group, said his company is celebrating 20 years this summer. He has been there for 14, doing everything from editing to managing the website content.

“We’ve always done internal marketing but now we’re looking for some marketing partners,” said Labaut, who is a member of the board of directors at Score, which runs the popular eBoobStore.com.

The Wednesday evening activities were set to include the Official Welcome Reception hosted by Abella Anderson at the Shelborne Hotel's Pool and Sand Garden, the Cybersocket Kick-Off Party at Mangos and the Late-Night Stripdown sponsored by Top Notch Cams at Scarlett's Cabaret.