TEMPE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Forum's Day 2 provided a glimpse of just how popular this webmaster conference is – the Tempe Mission Palms hotel has been humming with activity with attendees still arriving.
“I haven't seen the numbers quite yet, but it appears that attendance is higher than last year's conference,” said a spokesman for CCBill, the show's organizer.
Seminars, a buffet lunch and the Sponsor Meet Market, where the top online adult website marketers give their pitch and lots of swag to a packed center courtyard crowd, were just part of the show today.
Much more is planned for tonight, including Phoenix Forum Poker Reloaded, sponsored by AdultCentro, CE Cash, CommerceGate and CrakRevenue.
Several suites have been taken up to provide a party atmosphere, with poker going on in the background until 4 a.m. Last night strippers showed up for the night.
And there are, of course, numerous private dinners involving a number of companies.
Also tonight, Affil4You and Juicy Ads are sponsoring a night on the town at a local club. There will be an open bar, sexy chicks and live music.
And Buddy Profits, the gay affiliate program, is sponsoring a late-night celebration.
Today's dual-track seminar series provided attendees with more wisdom and knowledge from the world's top industry owners and executives, as well as the most visible industry attorneys in the biz and billing processors.
One of the staples of the conference, the “Real vs. Hype” seminar, featured CCBill's Ron Cadwell, XBIZ's Alec Helmy, Brian Shuster of Utherverse; Allison Vivas of Pink Visual and TopBucks; Dave of FriendFinder Networks and MojoHost's Brad Mitchell.
Hot-button questions tossed to the panelists yielded interesting results. As in past shows, panelists flip their cards over to reveal whether the question is “real” or “hype.”
Tough questions brought on tough answers, particularly over the effectiveness of the Free Speech Coalition and the entry of bitcoin into the mainstream, along with questions on whether .XXX has brought upon a negative effect for the online adult biz.
Other questions asked whether the online adult industry can police itself and the likelihood that other nations could follow in the footsteps of Cyprus, whose citizens were recently asked to pony up for the nation's debt with a 10 percent bank tax for deposits more than $100,000.
The “Industry Ethics 301” seminar was moderated by Wasteland's Colin Rowntree, with panelists Tim Henning of the ASACP; Marc Randazza of the Randazza Legal Group; Kim Nielsen of ATKingdom.com; Spike Goldberg of Homegrown Video; and Dominic Ford of Porn Guardian and DominicFord.com.
Much of the discussion involved thorny issues surrounding tube sites and web hosting in relation to piracy, including whether to do business with those who could be considered co-conspirators for facilitating of theft.
Other topics at the ethics panel included spelling out the particulars when it comes to cross sells, as well as the notorious John Steele, the Chicago lawyer of Prenda Law Group.
Randazza told attendees that Steele's “flame has burned out” after a number of years making his money off porn BitTorrent defendants. The reason, Randazza said, is that federal judges around the country have gotten wind of his aggressive legal antics.
Other seminars included “Business Planning 301,” which focused on expanding revenue streams. The discussion was moderated by Douglas Richter of AWE and Bright Guys Inc. and included Kristin Wynters of Pink Visual; Kroy of Kroycom; Karen Campbell of OrbitalPay; and Harmik Gharapetian of Epoch.
MojoHost's Brad Mitchell served as moderator of the “Evolving Technologies 101” seminar, with panelists Remik Kolodziej of Red Apple Media and Christopher O'Connell of Send Faster, among others.
“Legal 101” included panelists Peter Phinney and industry attorneys J.D. Obenberger, Gill Sperlein, Larry Walters, Eric Bernstein and Corey Silverstein.
And Martin Greif, with his “Web 101” class, took a look at gaining more revenue with a fundamentals class on conversion strategies.
The EU Forum mini tradeshow is slated for Saturday, with three more seminars and XBIZ Speed Networking, as well.