TEMPE, AZ—It’s about 2 am Friday morning on the first official day of The Phoenix Forum—i.e. Thursday. Following a perfect cloudless day, during which attendees continued to arrive at the Tempe Mission Palms for the popular three-day adult webmaster event, an enthusiastic smattering of people is still gathered in the center courtyard of the hotel and the Cybersocket welcome party at Rula Bula remains in full swing. The organizers have wisely held off the first seminars of the morning until 11 am.
Wednesday, the 7th Annual TPF Golf Tournament went off without a hitch, said Stephen Bugbee, who produced the event. Thursday featured a full day of events, workshops, tutorials, speed networking, and of course, parties, several of which will continue late into the morning.
The workshop track included Business 101 and Gay Business 101, and the new FAQLive track featured a morning billing seminar and afternoon legal seminar, though the term seminar was not preferred. The goal this year was to provide a more “conversational” experience as opposed to the static “talking heads” style that characterizes the typical seminar.
The legal panel appeared to meet the challenge. (The writer’s perspective is slightly skewed by the fact that he was called upon at the last minute to moderate the event.) Speakers included lawyers Eric Bernstein, Steve Workman, Gregory Piccionelli, JD Obenberger and Matt Collins, who engaged in a vigorous analysis of three of the most important legal issues facing the industry—piracy, obscenity cases and 2257.
The early evening featured the TPF Welcome Reception, held in the courtyard from 5-8 pm, during which CCBill founder Ron C engaged in the traditional bestowing of bottles of champagne to leading industry companies. It was a fitting finale to the first full day of another well-attended and fully appreciated Forum event whose one tragically sour note was the horrific fall Wednesday afternoon by an attendee from the second floor balcony of the Hooters restaurant across the street from the hotel. Tabitha Farmer, 26, who works for an adult affiliate program, was transported to a local hospital and is listed in critical condition.
Police interviewed several witnesses at the restaurant after Farmer’s fall and determined that it was an accident, but the horrifying event remained on the minds of many throughout the day as the magnitude of Farmer’s injuries became known and the seriousness of the situation sunk in.
A gallery of photos from Day 1 of The Phoenix Forum can be found here, courtesy of EarlMiller.com.