The day’s sessions kicked off with the highly anticipated look ahead at the future of adult virtual reality, which explored live cams and prerecorded video, production techniques and technology, the social implications of VR and more, while revealing how today’s top adult companies are betting big on the success of VR and enabling new players to enter the market.
Moderated by yours truly, the session’s panelists included RubyVR’s Kevin Parker, Pletra’s Michael Rapoport, Todd Spaits from YanksVR, CAM4’s Ela Darling, Anna Lee from HoloGirlsVR.com, Naughty America’s Ian Paul, Andy Alvarez from Webmaster Central, and VixenVR’s Jimmy Hess.
The standing-room-only audience was treated to a dynamic discussion that offered a glimpse of how improvements can be made in VR, where advancements in technology will take it in the next year, and if this growth rate is meeting expectations. The value of VR brand strength, the power of web-based VR for driving adoption, and different marketplace options was on tap, as was the science of resource scaling, new advertising and monetization opportunities in the VR space, and the latest camera and headset technology — along with insider tips on production and distribution techniques.
The importance of ensuring that consumers’ first exposure to VR is a positive one was also emphasized, with the panelists noting that site owners can easily add top-quality VR content and services for an attractive price.
Next up, a team of top experts in online payment processing, including CCBill’s Gary Jackson, SegPay’s Cathy Beardsley, Epoch’s Frank Gannon, OrbitalPay’s Karen Campbell, Webbilling’s Christina Schneeman, Mobius Payments’ Matthew Mund, and NETbilling’s Mitch Farber, with moderation by XBIZ’s Stephen Yagielowicz, tackled the topic of billing’s best practices for 2017.
From profiting from paysites to accepting tips from cam customers around the world, to the latest in mobile payment strategies, alternative payment techniques, and must-know regulatory changes, this A-list panel of adult’s best billing professionals educated attendees about the newest ways to convert customers into cash while abiding by the law and banking policies.
Key topics were ways that merchants can dial in their fraud scrubbing tools to avoid chargebacks and friendly fraud, as well as the benefits of adding live chat for customer service, phone ordering, cancellation upsells, membership extensions and various other moneymaking opportunities using call centers. Using U.S. versus foreign based billing support, and the complexities of paying the worldwide base of affiliates, cam models, and more, along with the impact of VISA EU regulatory changes, merchant location rules, and the current needs of merchants, was also spotlighted.
The ever-popular State of the Industry panel, moderated by ICM Registry’s charismatic Stephen Winyard, and featuring industry leaders such as MojoHost’s Brad Mitchell, Joey Gabra from SMSText, Todd Spaits from YanksVR, Utherverse’s Brian Shuster, Shirley Lara from Chaturbate, Adult AdWorld’s Daniel Rand, and NETbilling’s Mitch Farber, who explored the most up-to-the-minute factors and trends shaping the business today.
Among the hot-button topics discussed was the move to mandatory online age verification, and the need for increased leadership within the adult industry — with Winyard admonishing the panelists that advocacy and trade groups such as the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) and the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) should not have to pass around a “begging bowl” to fund their vital missions.
Financial considerations continued with the panelists discussing the industry’s overall annual revenues (which they estimated to be in the neighborhood of $25 billion in 2017) — although Shuster was quick to note that the number depends on how wide the net is cast as well as variances in top- and bottom-line revenue. For example, the revenue figure may include the vast money paid to web hosts, billing, content and traffic companies, which might then also be double-counted into the overall estimate.
Also noted was the fact that perhaps 10 companies account for 90 percent of this revenue.
Another interesting discussion revolved around the glut of industry trade events, often with overlapping or too-close-for-comfort dates, as well as the need to draw more affiliates back into the mix as well as the move to reach out to the mainstream for new marketers.
The message was clear: there is still opportunity in adult — and that opportunity is growing.
Altogether, XBIZ Miami’s second-day seminars continued the legacy of educational value for attendees, providing a pathway to profit and long-term success that will benefit everyone.