MIAMI — After a whirlwind Wednesday at XBIZ Miami, filled with as many profit-boosting opportunities as there were party-hard shenanigans, Thursday upped the ante even further with supercharged camming panels.
Chaturbate aficionados Ramona Flour and Melody Kush, along with CAM4 performer coach Nikki Night, kicked off the excitement with “Social Media in the Spotlight,” followed by the multi-faceted Flour leading a “Kink & Sex Toys” panel with Perfect Fit CEO Steve Callow, Clandestine Devices director of operations Kim Faubel and Satisfyer vice president of sales Jerome Bensimon.
Flour opened the social media panel with a discussion about the importance of raising prices for customers, as content quality goes up over time.
“Think about the quality of content you’re posting, how often you’re posting, your experience and how long you’ve been around,” she noted. “I’ve personally made it my mission that, for every single year I’ve been in the adult industry, I give myself a raise. Whether it was the price of my live camming, my subscriptions, etc.
“My content has gotten better, my ability to post regularly has gotten better,” she continued. “So, my prices have increased, because you know what? Baby girl needs a raise. Right?” The enormous crowd of cam models cheered uproariously. “So, think about that. Let your fans know, ‘Hey, it’s January, it’s the first of the year, guess who’s getting a raise?’ And even if it’s only five or 10 dollars, they’re not going to care, they’re going to be happy for you.”
Leaning conspiratorially forward, Night jested, “As soon as I followed Ramona, the first thing she sent me was clown porn, because she was wearing this crazy makeup. And I was like, I don’t know if I’m turned on or terrified. Ever since then, she’s been one of my favorites. There wasn’t even a message, it was like, ‘yo, clown porn!’”
The conversation soon shifted to the various social media platforms available, and the differences between Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
“If you’re posting photos, Twitter is a little more difficult,” Flour began. “If you’re posting on Instagram, you can tag people up to 15 times, so what I do is I have my 15 hashtags saved in a ‘notes’ folder on my phone. When I’m going through, I just copy/paste those 15 hashtags into all my photos. That’ll increase your ability to be found on the internet and your visibility. Tumblr is a little bit harder.”
Chiming in, the effervescent Kush related, “On the topic of pre-scheduling posts, they do have prescheduling apps you can use. Some of them even auto-generate your tweets. If it does that, make sure you customize it a bit so it doesn’t come off robotic.”
Nodding, Flour said, “This is another thing I want to talk about. Work smarter, not harder. I have drafts with my photos and hashtags already uploaded. I’ve credited all of the photographers, so every day, I wake up around the same time and post my first Instagram of the day. Then, I go on Twitter, look at my drafts for the day and do the same thing there. Spend a few hours a week uploading everything for the week.”
Agreeing, Kush shared the results of her research into social media hashtags. “Over 15 hashtags on Instagram gets the most attention,” she revealed. “But, for Twitter, I wouldn't do more than three or four, tops, because people get sick of it and the engagement actually drops. And if you’re wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie, hashtag the brand on your social media — reach out to something that’s not adult, as well.”
Identifying posts according to commonly used search tags is critical as well. Flour elucidated, “If you are a redhead, a blonde, a lot of customers have a type of girl they’re looking for, so this makes things easier for them to creep on you.”
Ever ready with a quip, Night remarked, “If you hashtag anal all the time, eventually you’ll just become synonymous with anal. Tell your friends!” After the laughter died down, she added, “The hashtag ‘amateur’ is probably the most clicked on hashtag. More than ‘pornography,’ more than ‘porn.’ And if you’re also wondering what kind of hashtags are good, I know it can be difficult, but I want all of you to think about being intuitive. Go search for someone and see what you wrote. Try to understand the search psychology, first-hand. Feel it out, because I see so many ridiculous hashtags. Like, you made that up and it’s cool, but no one’s going to search for it. Someone is going to search for ‘boobs’ or ‘curvy,’ they’re not going to be looking for ‘vivacious’ or ‘voluptuous.’”
A lesser known form of hashtagging, Night said, are stickers. “When you put stickers on photos, did you know they’re basically hashtags?” Rhetorically, she asked, “You know that big purple veggie for dicks? When people click on it, it brings up all the tweets with that sticker.”
Pivoting away from the art of hashtagging, Flour shifted the convo to “shadow banning,” whereby a platform will make a user harder to find via searches, or not permit them to be included in the recommended accounts section — without any notification of the shadow ban. Flour has personally observed that despite her account qualifying above and beyond for Instagram’s favorability algorithms — which “goes by how many followers you have, how many you follow and how many likes you receive on a photo within how many minutes,” she is essentially shadow banned.
“There’s plenty of times I post a photo and 100 percent qualify, but I don’t appear on their recommended section, because my account is a sex worker account,” Flour offered. “Twitter is kind of the same way, so just think about that.”
No matter the downsides, social media presents an abundance of opportunities, chief among them the power of analytics. “You can get really creepy with those analytics,” imparted Kush. “They tell you which are your top tweets, who your top followers are that engage, who your most famous or most followed people are. So, I like to creep and be like ‘oh my god, that famous person is following me.’ You can be a real internet lurker. Those analytics are what’s up!” The audience chuckled.
Stepping forward, Night explained, “It’s actually quite recent that analytics have been opened up to us … ‘sluts.’” Guffawing resounded. “Click on your face for the drop down menu and then ‘analytics,’” she pressed. “When you tweet, there are also three little lines you can click on to gauge the engagement. This is very good, because as we all know, in camming, the only recognition we usually get in terms of how well we’re doing is money. It’s frustrating, like stabbing in the dark.
“There used to be no concrete numbers,” she recalled. “Or statistics. So now, I highly recommend you go into your analytics and what I really want you guys to do, is you can go in there and look at all your followers, and then you can do … sneaky shit.” The crowd smirked appreciatively. “You can find out how many are dudes, where they came from. Apparently, it’s L.A. and London for me. You can find out the language they speak. For some reason, they even tell me the cell phone carrier.
“It tells me whether or not they like sports, drama movies, this and that,” she confided. “So, if I know I have a billion followers who like soccer in London, next time a sports team is doing something there, I’m going to casually have the jersey on and be like ‘oh my god, blah blah blah.’ This can also inform what time zones you should target, when you should get on.”
As the minutes melted away, Night and Kush nearly broke the panel with a few entertaining demonstrations. Night implored everyone to do a Google search with their names, plus the phrase “glamor shot.” The result? Hilariously awkward 80s-style shots of not-so-glamorous folks. She then instructed everyone to use #XBIZGlam to share their photos, and for the next three minutes, it was bedlam in the room.
Quieting down the chaotic cam models, Kush discussed how to take selfies without the standard handheld shot. “I shoot almost all of my own professional photos and I’ll be sharing all my secrets with you on the tools you need to do this for yourself,” she enthused. “This is a Bluetooth remote, extremely cheap. I got mine as part of a selfie stick, which I detached. I set up this little tripod and I can go far away to take pics. It does mess up or disconnect occasionally, but if you want to have both of your arms in the photo, do it like this.” As she narrated, Kush positioned her body accordingly. “I put my hands (holding the remote) behind my hair and click on it there, or I put it under my foot to press down,” she showed. “Also, Canon and Sony are the two companies that I know for sure have an app to preview your shot before you take it, if you want to save even more time.”
The three panelists then coaxed the room into a fabulous group photo, as Kush snapped away, courtesy of her remote control and a tripod camera set up on her panelist stool. Smiles beamed from every direction, as dozens and dozens of cam models piled up to be included in the shot.
Next up, was the naughty “Kink & Sex Toys” panel, with Flour, Callow, Faubel and Bensimon.
Consent was the first item on the to-do list, as Flour said, “I want to talk about the ‘terms of engagement’ with kink and fetish, and consent.”
Establishing those boundaries is critical to safely creating an environment of mutual pleasure, even if a bit of pain is involved, she underscored. Then, with a wink, Flour advised, “Rub their back after, be sweet to them, because if you beat the shit out of someone, what will you do after? Think about that. Regardless, fetish play is going to open you up to a whole new array of customers and revenues.”
She then reviewed tips on how to say “no thank you” to acts that cam models may be uncomfortable performing, as well as common terms like “bondage,” “impact play,” “top/dom,” “hard/soft limits” and “sensory play.” With a blend of agreed upon non-verbal commands and safe words, burgeoning fetish cam models can cultivate a sex-positive and lucrative atmosphere, she summed.
Transitioning to the proper care and use of sex toys, Flour encouraged the pleasure products representatives to shed light on topics like “porous toys and gear,” how unclean toys can spread STIs and the nuances of different materials (such as rubber vs. silicone).
“Back in the day, we used to always put dildos in the dishwasher, but now a lot of cleaners are enzyme-based,” conveyed Perfect Fit’s Callow, whose chemistry expertise was evident to all as the panel progressed. “And they’ll eat away at the product, making it less functional and not look so good.
“I really don’t recommend using dishwasher detergent,” he detailed. “Steam pretty much kills anything, and we don’t have an issue for using alcohol on our products, but someone mentioned boiling which works with some products. However, a few of our toys will turn into soup if you try putting them in boiling water. So, there are great toy cleaners on the market you should buy specifically made for this.”
Faubel shared how each pleasure product requires its own particular kind of care, and that customers should research the best means of doing so.
Adding to the chemical complexities, she explored how during masturbation, lubricants present their own difficulties in the ideal sex toy equation. “Use the right lubricant for your toys,” Faubel said.
And whereas many of Callow’s Perfect Fit products are okay with alcohol, not all novelty items respond so well to them.
“Something that doesn’t have alcohol in it is best, like a mild soap,” he said. “But a lot of those antimicrobial ones, like Dial soap, can ruin toys over time, because they start out as non-porous then become porous. Make sure to air dry, and if not, pat it gently. If you’re investing in these products you want to invest in your care."
One frequently used lube is coconut oil, which Faubel described as “amazing,” observing that “you can use it for anything, but not all vaginas are the same, they’re like unique snowflakes.” The cam models snickered. She then added, “I personally use the pjur brand lube with aloe. It’s water-based, but it’s long-lasting. Anything where you’re dealing with your body or your partner’s body, feel free to reach out to a company if you’re unsure about chemical compositions. If they’re not getting back to you, then that might be indicative they don’t want to answer your questions. But, bottom line, go to the source.”
When it comes to air-drying toys, Bensimon implored users to be cautious about excessively hot steam, lest toys end up damaged. And, if proper steps are taken, then the joys of stimulation abound, he enthused, before explaining the virtues of Satisfyer’s uniquely designed gadgetry.
“You will find something you’ve never sensed in your life, because it goes around the clitoris without touching,” he said. “So, the sensations you had as teenagers that put a mark in your brain, the good ones will come back and the overstimulation will disappear. There’s a mechanical action that creates a sensation, and most of our customers around the world, who are women, have multiple orgasms within a minute or so, if not sooner.”
Faubel concurred that Satisfyer definitely satisfies. She then brought up the first-ever Clandestine Devices product, the Mimic, aptly named for the way its ergonomic design mimics the hand’s shape.
“This is our first product,” she said. “We are a company started by Jules Jordan, who wanted to tap into the pleasure products market. He’s got an eye for beautiful things and knows how to make everything look good. So, he and I designed our flagship product, the Mimic. And, I’m someone who, although I masturbate constantly, I don’t often use sex toys. Mind you, I’ve been on the retail side selling adult products for 13 … 14 years, before this venture, so I’ve used a lot, seen a lot and I’ve been disappointed by a lot.
“That’s why I wanted to create a vibrator for people who don’t usually use vibrators,” she concluded. “Our product mimics the shape of the hand and the up-bump goes into the palm of the hand. We had a show in Amsterdam, where there was this older lady who has rheumatoid arthritis and she was like ‘I can use this!’ I almost cried. But that’s the idea, to make something ergonomic. It’s not app-functional — it’s like retro innovation, that’s really comfortable."
Thus equipped with social media insights and sex toy sophistication, the overflowing room of cam models chirped away excitedly, seeking out the in-person advice of the panelists afterwards and engaging in animated discussions. And while a great many braved the sunbaked pool and played beach-friendly games outside, quite a few snuck away into the sanctuary of their air-conditioned hotel rooms, eager to try out the newfound pleasure products and … perhaps … share the delightful sensations live on cam. Hashtags, tokens and orgasms ensued.