LAS VEGAS, Nev.—Internext's move to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino appears to been the right decision by trade show organizers. The Paradise Tower facilities pretty much belong to the adult webmaster event, and the response by attendees to the new digs and the (mostly) smooth running of the event has been nothing if not enthusiastic. Attendance has been extremely robust, seminars have been packed and engaged, and the day and a half of networking and marketing events that have already taken place have been bustling and productive.
The slightly unorthodox scheduling this year has also paid off. The show started Sunday with a half-day schedule that included the X2K Golf Tournament, the YNOT Grand Prix and the opening-night party at the Hustler Club, sponsored by BrokerBabe, EroAdvertising and UpForIt. But the day also included a three-hour Meet Market, an event that traditionally takes place later during a show. Putting the first version of Meet Market (another took place Monday) at the beginning of the three-day event was noticeably appreciated as a great way to bring people together, however.
Another modification was starting the educational schedule later in the day than normal, leaving the morning hours for meetings and Speed Networking, which attracted so many people that an overflow room needed to be added. Even with that, some people were unable to get and will have to try their luck this morning. In between Speed Networking and the first seminar at 2 p.m., another shorter Meet Market took place that was even busier that the first, after which the four-hour, two-track schedule of seminars kicked off.
The only departure from the planned schedule was moving two of the day’s seminars from the smaller (and hotter) fourth floor rooms to the larger (and much cooler!) Festival Hall room off the first-floor hall, which though slightly confusing for some turned out to be the right move considering the number of people in attendance. The first two seminars were What to Do With Your Mobile Traffic (small room) and Big Tubes, Big Traffic, Big Profits (large room), each of which was packed.
The mobile panel, moderated by Christian Kreul of AdXpansion, featured a conversation dominated by questions about making money in other countries, including the necessity to strip down content and maximize speed in delivery for mobile users, and a lively discussion about SMS billing vs. credit cards that stressed the essential need for this type of billing outside of the United States. The speakers argued that conversion rates are so much higher for SMS billing, it offsets the big bite mobile carriers take out of the revenue stream. The hour offered a great many other insights into a burgeoning mobile marketplace so ripe for adult exploitation, with a general consensus among the expert panelists that that expense and effort needed to enter new markets also serves as a barrier to entry for competitors, allowing determined entrepreneurs the freedom to operate with less competition.
The Tube seminar, moderated by JT of DreamStarCash, offered the packed room a vision of tube sites as consumer-friendly content-delivery and marketing platforms that continue to evolve past their initial problematic ways to a more legitimate and inclusive way of doing business. Each of the panelists offered explicit suggestions on how to work productively with tubes to gain more sales and drive traffic to adult websites, but as always, some questions from the audience revealed strong residues of resistance to a model that has had such a problematic history in the adult entertainment industry in particular.
The second hour of seminars featured the State of the Industry panel (big room) and a special presentation on Protecting Your Online Brand: Trademarks, Licenses and Affiliate Agreements prepared and presented by industry attorneys Larry Walters and Corey Silverstein. The latter offered detailed information on protective measures webmasters can take to secure their trademarks and service marks, invaluable information at a time when ICANN is considering the rollout of hundreds if not thousands of new TLDs, and webmasters are already trying to figure out how to protect their brands in the aftermath of the launch of .XXX.
The new TLD was also a subject of discussion on the State of the Industry panel, which was moderated by Wasteland’s Colin Rowntree and featured CommerceGate’s Bjorn Skarlen, Evil Angel’s Christian Mann, Hustler’s Michael Klein, Dating Gold’s Allan Henning and Theo Sapoutzis of AVN. It would be fair to say that the majority of panelists took an extremely dim view of not only the TLD’s underlying business model but also the manner in which the registry running it had engaged with them in negotiations and conversations over the past year. The hour-long discussion also covered the now-dead SOPA legislation, piracy in general and the recent move by the Los Angeles City Council to impose mandatory condom usage on adult productions.
The day’s four remaining seminars—AdultCentro Market, Power Billing, Hosting Porn on a Cloud and State of Piracy—all took place in the fourth-floor seminar rooms, and each featured enthusiastic panelists and audiences engaged in spirited and targeted discussions of the salient topics of the day, and in one case a highly effective demonstration of content delivery (courtesy of the fertile mind of Colin Rowntree) featuring ping pong balls, angel’s halos and one of those air guns that shoots a ping pong ball at the speed of light. (No injuries were sustained during the demonstration.)
The above-mentioned seminars were but part of a day-long schedule that also included the opportunity to settle back in the cavernous Saboom lounge for networking and drinks, in the modern Mojo Host lounge or in other suites belonging to Manwin, IMLive and other companies having meetings throughout the day and into the evening, which was capped by the Traffic Dinner, presented by Manwin, and the late-night GFY Party at Body English, presented by PussyCash and Adult Webmaster Empire (AWE).
The final day of Internext features more Speed Networking and seminars, and culminates with the exclusive Keynote Address by Fabian Thylmann, managing partner of Manwin, followed by a farewell reception by Webzilla, the CEO Dinner, presented by Commercegate and AWE, and the Pornstar Tweet Party, presented by AdultCentro and Reporo.
As always, the show organizers express their thanks and appreciation to the event sponsors, which include AWE, CCBill, Manwin, Paxum, PussyCash and Saboom.