UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - If there's one word to sum up the 2008 edition of Webmaster Access West, it's "network."
Whether it was in seminar rooms, meeting rooms or the lobby, attendees of the show could be spotted huddled in groups, putting in face time with current partners and striking deals with new acquaintances. And the buzz among friends was how important it was to network, especially with the economy on the downslide.
"We're all feeling it this time," said Harlan Yaffe, co-owner of PrideBucks. "We need to look for new ways to work together."
Those who weren't in meetings throughout the day found time to check out some of the networking power hours held Thursday or even attend seminars like "Choose Your Content Wisely."
Hosted by Raffi Vartanian of World Wide Content, panelists addressed newbies and veterans alike about how important it is to differentiate what a paysite offers as compared to a tube or torrent site.
Reena Patel, project manager for Club Jenna, said sites in their network focus on their branding, as well as providing higher quality content than surfers can find on free sites.
"We have created a fan-based social network as opposed to just another porn site," she said.
Jelena Jensen, who runs her own site and affiliate program Jelena Dollars, said she makes the effort to give her paying fans something a little more personal.
"I have the regular updates of photos and videos, but they can sometimes find that somewhere else," she said. "They come for the weekly member chats and the video diaries, where they know it's me answering their questions and not just some webmaster typing something in."
Following the business of the day, attendees headed up to the seventh and eighth floors for the Cocktail Cruise, with open bar suites sponsored by Digital Playground and FlashCash. In addition to the chance to hang out with friends, attendees were also treated to an appearance from a very visibly pregnant Jenna Jameson. The adult superstar took the time to meet with people, sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Webmaster Access West continues today with networking power hours scheduled for 11 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. and seminars on foreign traffic and cross sells. The show closes out tonight when participants can attend the third annual Playboy Mansion PJ and Lingerie Party.