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September 09, 2017

Webmaster Access Examines International Markets on Day 2

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands—The thought of what not to do when spending money on your business turned into a goldmine of practical advice Saturday at Webmaster Access. “I don’t think you should spend money where you don’t have the opportunity to share your message,” Brad Mitchell, CEO of MojoHost, told the audience during the lead-off seminar titled “Taking Charge in North America.” “When it comes to B2B marketing, some of the best promotion is absolutely free. Share your story.” Mitchell joined a parade of seasoned executives on the Seminar Stage at the DoubleTree by Hilton for a series of educational sessions sponsored by Stripchat with an international theme. With talk ranging from banking in Amsterdam to nightlife in Bucharest to granny porn in Germany, there was hardly a dull moment at the 13th annual conference. Panels dedicated to maximizing opportunities in various major regions around the world kept attendees engaged and informed on the second full day of the three-day show presented by iMonetizeIt, TopOffers and Aurora Global. Moderated by veteran industry attorney Corey Silverstein inside the jammed-to-capacity Leeds 1 Meeting Room, the discussion about doing better business in North America also featured Jamie Rodriguez (Flirt4Free), Jo Merlone (Kiwi Sourcing), Katy (BongaCash) and Todd Spaits (YanksVR). The founder and chief marketing officer of YanksCash, who holds an MBA from the University of Washington, said the foundation of his company is the 100-percent female-produced content on its flagship site, Yanks.com. “You need a compelling story,” Spaits said. “You need to have a narrative that people want to be involved in.” Switching topics, Silverstein noted it’s much harder than it used to be to make a profit in adult. “Just throwing something up isn’t enough,” Silverstein said. Mitchell agreed. The 17-year industry veteran, whose company manages an active client list of 700 but has an “inactive” list of 1000, remarked, “I think people don’t give enough thought to having a whole business plan or proper budget. …I’ve seen a generational changing of people every four or five years, and then there’s a portion of us you just can’t kill. “The best piece of advice I can give is to build something of lasting value, something that has shelf life.” Silverstein asked the panel to recommend what could be done to keep today’s affiliate intrigued. “Number One is personalized care,” said Katy, who is senior affiliate manager for BongaCash. “Every affiliate now has a personal manager. The Number One mistake of affiliates is they don’t speak enough with their affiliate managers. They register, but don’t really go deeply into it.” Flirt4Free’s Director of Product Jamie Rodriguez echoed the sentiment, citing an example of a new cam model who signs up for her platform but then doesn’t stay in contact. “You’ll see better results by having that clear communication,” Rodriguez said. Tucked between the lineup of international panels, Webmaster Access hosted a lively discussion with six industry heavyweights who took one of the most far-reaching topics of the weekend—“Age Verification and the U.K. Law.”  Tim Henning of ASACP moderated the panel that included Steve Winyard (AV Secure), David Cooke (AgeID), Vince Charlton (AdultWork), Rudd Apsey (VeriMe), Alastair Graham (Xcreds) and Eric Paul Leue (Free Speech Coalition). Speaking before a standing-room-only crowd, the group shared their knowledge about how to prepare for the U.K.’s Digital Economy Act, which takes effect in April 2018. Cooke, the director of digital & new media for AgeID in Mindgeek’s London office, said it was “incredibly refreshing” to be consulted by U.K. government officials who are crafting the Act. “They want to make a law that works,” Cooke said. Apsey, the managing director of VeriMe who is well-versed in dealing with regulators, consumers and the moral lobbyists in the U.K., suggested that the whole world is watching how the adult industry will respond to the law. “There are a lot of eyeballs on this,” Apsey said. “If we get it right in the U.K. the principle will be adapted in other parts of the world, like gaming and gambling.” That Age Verification session paved the way for an entertaining panel focused on how to establish your business footprint in Eastern Europe. Experts from the region including Vuk Popovic (Quantox), Igor Komarenko (Aurora Global), Alex Osminin (TrafficHunt), Max Akhlestin (LeadBit) and Mugur Frunzetti (Studio 20) took the stage for the high-energy exchange moderated by YNOT co-owner Jay Kopita. Frunzetti, who is based in Romania but earned his Master’s from Cal-Berkeley, owns a global network of live cam studios operating in Europe and the U.S. He called Romania one of the “safest” countries in the world to do business and “as long as you follow rules and get good written advice from your lawyer, you won’t have any problem” setting up shop in his country. Komarenko, who is based in Ukraine, pointed out that low salaries in Eastern Europe—the average is 300-500 euros per month—make it challenging to start something there. Quantox’s Popovic agreed, saying the average salary in his home country of Serbia is €400 a month. But that doesn’t mean there is any lack of talent in terms of finding talented web developers in Eastern Europe, the group added. “The quality is very high,” Komarenko said. Alex Osminin, the CEO of TrafficHunt, revealed that porn is actually illegal in Ukraine. “If you do adult in Ukraine, don’t tell anybody,” he joked. But fortunately the law is old and “nobody care” unless it’s out in the open, Osminin added. Komarenko, a native of Kiev, said a person technically could be jailed “even if you have porn on your hard drive.” Somehow, the banter shifted to the club scene in Eastern Europe, prompting Popovic to declare he has traveled the world and finds the only place with better nightlife than Belgrade is Bucharest. YNOT’s Jay Kopita concurred. “If I had the means and the time I would live in Bucharest,” Kopita said.  The “Profiting in Germany” panel, led by Porndoe’s Head of Business Development Yannick Ferreri, featured insights from Francis Kinder (TrafficPartner), Sebastian König (Exoclick), Patrick Friedrich (ECardon Payments), Andy Wullmer (SGM Media); Lars Bleck (affiliate) and Paul Kluzak (CCBill). Kluzak, the European sales executive for CCBill who has been with the Arizona-based firm for 15 years, said his grandfather immigrated from Germany to the U.S. “You need to have a bank where your traffic is,” Kluzak said. “If you don’t, conversions will be shit.” Francis Kinder, the senior sales manager for TrafficPartner who has worked in marketing since 2011, shared that in his view, “Age is more important than geo.” “Age targeting is also important,” said Kinder, who is responsible for the acquisition of new traffic sources for TrafficPartner, one of the largest operators of Casual Dating communities in Europe. “There’s a big difference between an 18-year-old user and a 60-year-old user. A product targeted for an older audience will make the most money.” The panel emphasized “localization,” or focusing on niches that perform better in specific regions. “In Germany, the granny stuff never gets old,” cracked Lars Bleck, who started with an international online advertising network in 2005 and this month began working as an independent affiliate with a focus on dating and media buying. “It’s true,” Ferreri added. “It sells like fucking crazy.” Sebastian König, the German market specialist for ExoClick, said, “For us, granny dating is the big thing. Germans are kinky fucks.” Ferreri stressed the importance of having translators for each country to keep pages true to the native language and way of speaking. “If you don’t have that native speaker they’ll spot you very quickly,” Ferreri said. “Blowjob is different in every language, but the sign language is the same.” In the hometown favorite “Navigating the Netherlands” panel, AVN Hall of Fame webmaster Patrick The Hun, founder of The Hun’s Yellow Pages, said “it’s hard to get a loan” here if you own an adult company. “They only give you a loan if you can prove you don’t need it,” The Hun said, drawing laughter from another wall-to-wall audience. He was joined by moderator Norman Hauwert (Leaseweb) and fellow panelists Bram (DatingCash), Jacco Kwakkel (YourChoice.nl), Mike de Jong (Verotel), Leon Dijksman (Telefuture) and MojoHost’s Brad Mitchell, who recently set up a Dutch corporation for his industry-leading web hosting company. “We thought we would be serving our customers better if we set up Dutch banking,” Mitchell reasoned. “An LLC in Netherlands is a BV. It’s a lot more paperwork here than in the US.” Hauwert, a hosting veteran also known as “The Batman,” noted “it’s easier to receive your customers outside of Amsterdam.” “Getting here—parking your car here—it’s a nightmare and expensive,” he said. “Make sure you stay in the area of Schiphol [Airport], especially when you’re doing international business.” Mike de Jong, who does global business development for Verotel, said in The Netherlands credit cards are the last form of payment citizens use.   “We’re active in 22 countries doing carrier billing and this is the worst country,” de Jong said. It is legal to shoot porn in a private residence in The Netherlands, the group reassured. “Be careful about shooting in church,” cracked The Hun. In a first for Webmaster Access, Japan received a spotlight as the team from Japanese media giant DMM.com—parent company of R18.com—delivered a special presentation about their remarkable market share in the country. Angela Azzarone led the discussion with her colleagues Paolo Ragone, Mingchang Tsai, Alain Garcia and Haruka. Garcia, a native of Spain who is DMM’s overseas department manager, said DMM.com—founded in 1999—boasts 25 million registered users, employs 3000 people and did $1.8 billion in sales last year. They offer a whopping 40 different products and services, including adult videos, Manga, solar panels, robots, games, live chat, dating, adult toys and more. Without disclosing specific sales figures for their adult division, Garcia estimated it is in the “hundreds of millions of dollars a year.” Garcia kept the startling figures coming, noting DMM began releasing virtual reality content last December and already has 2000 VR movies in its library. “Sales for VR last month was three million dollars—just for VR,” Garcia added matter-of-factly. DMM releases 2000 adult movies—each two to three hours in length—every month. Perhaps most notable, Garcia said adult performers’ genitalia is censored in Japan—in other words, it’s illegal to show it. “Japanese porn is the weirdest porn in the world, even more than German porn,” said Paolo Ragone, a native of Italy who is the global marketing planner in charge of DMM’s affiliate management system, campaign optimization and traffic acquisition. “It’s traumatizing to work in the Japanese porn industry, but it’s fun,” Ragone added with a grin. Haruka, who is in charge of social media and events, said DMM is placing more emphasis on content creation for blogs going foreward in addition to maintaining a specific strategy for Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Responding to a variety of audience questions, Garcia revealed that in Japan “99 percent” of the cam girls log on at a studio location “like it’s their office.” “They don’t like to do it from home by themselves. They think it’s a joke,” Garcia said. Mingchang Tsai, a native of Taiwan who is global marketing division chief, told the audience that “we don’t sell traffic” from DMM.com. “We do have some exclusive publishers working with us and we sell their traffic—billions of impressions every single day and millions of clicks,” Tsai said. With six seminars complete, attendees got ready for the Big Bash at the Sea Palace, the country’s first floating restaurant, across from the hotel. Sponsored by Epoch, Stripchat and Gamma, the bash went off on the second floor of the scenic landmark, characterized by Chinese pagoda-style architecture and its authentic Cantonese cuisine. Amsterdam-based DJ Nafthaly Ramona kept the party moving, while guests enjoyed the open bar and views of the canal and skyline. The final full day of Webmaster Access gets underway at 11 a.m. with Speed Networking and the “Up Close and Virtual” seminar. For additional coverage of WMA, click here.

 
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