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January 17, 2016

GayVN@Internext Kicks Off With Keynote & Cocktails

LAS VEGAS—GayVN@Internext, the show-within-a-show held during the Internext Expo, kicked off today at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, and it turned out to be a true coming together of the biggest brands in gay adult entertainment. Representatives from CockyBoys, Cybersocket, Falcon, Helix Studios, Lucas Entertainment, Manhunt, Naked Sword, Next Door Studios, Oh Man Studios, Rascal, Titan Media and other companies congregated in the halls and meeting rooms of the Hard Rock for a program of seminars, socializing and soirees that adeptly mixed business and pleasure. Setting the tone for the show was a new feature: the first-ever GayVN@Internext Welcome Brunch, sponsored by Flirt4Free and Mr. Man, and featuring a keynote address by CockyBoys chief Jake Jaxson. As guests filed in to hit the buffet and take their seats, they found plenty of goodies for their swag bags, including a cozy Flirt4Free scarf and flashy Mr. Man socks. After brief introductions from Jeff and Jamie of Flirt4Free and Mr. Skin’s Sam Rakowski, Jaxson took the stage. As eloquent as he was entertaining, the CockyBoys entrepreneur gave an insightful address that would have felt right at home at a TED Conference, staying true to that non-profit organization’s mission statement to promote “ideas worth spreading.” In a passionate call for his industry peers to take more joy in the work they do, Jaxson shared his own story of being an “accidental pornographer,” talking about how he fell into the business, what inspires him about his work, and his difficulty in being open about his career. Throughout, he put several questions to the audience, including whether they shared his “accidental” status or had ever lied about their jobs. For Jaxson, his “outing” as a pornographer was very public: His name was unearthed in a lawsuit involving reporter Glenn Greenwald, and when mainstream reporters came calling, he had not yet told his parents what he actually did for a living. “They thought I was in marketing,” he said wryly. In the end, the experience was liberating. “The moment I said, ‘This is what I do and this is who I am,’ my business shot up like a rocket.” Once he realized the benefits of living “without fear,” Jaxson said, he instituted some changes when he signs performers. “My first rule is they have to tell their family what they do. ... I don’t want anyone working with me who lives in fear about what they’re doing and what they should be celebrating.” Jaxson also talked about what is important to him as a company owner. “I'm the worst business person in the word. I do not look at the analytics, I do not look at the charts.” When he first bought CockyBoys several years ago, he said, “I had never run a website, I had never produced porn.” And that freshness led him to question everything about the gay adult industry, he explained, including attitudes about the performers and the fans. While it can be easy to feel like “all they do is bitch ... and opinions are like assholes,” he put his own spin on it: "Everybody has an asshole—and they want it tickled." He also spoke about porn fans’ ambivalence toward the product they consume, because of prevailing negative attitudes about sex. “I'm still fucked up sexually. I’m fucked up about sex and I’m a pornographer. Imagine the people on the other end.” Part of the process of making people less “fucked up sexually” is to expose them to porn, Jaxson said. “I was realizing there was a disconnect between our companies and our customers. ... we're not doing enough to connect with our customers to tell them [porn is] part of sexual celebration and sexual health.” In his final question to the audience, Jaxson asked whether they believed “what we're creating has meaning, power and purpose.” He answered his own question: “I believe it does. I believe strongly that it does.” Fortified by the hearty brunch fare, attendees headed back to the Paradise Tower for a speed networking that drew a wide array of companies, among them AEBN, Adult Empire, BuddyProfits, CCBill, Data One International, JuicyAds, Mr. Man, Mobius, Netbilling, Oh Man, OrbitalPay, PornKing.com, Traffic Shop, Vendo and Verotel. After that it was off to Pink Taco for an open-bar happy hour sponsored by Manhunt and Verotel—and for the night owls, a trip to Share nightclub for the HustlaBall Las Vegas closing party. GayVN@Internext events continue Monday with seminars sponsored by Supermen.com, speed networking sponsored by Mr. Man and Flirt4Free, and the GayVN Lounge, sponsored by Cybersocket. Click here for photos of GayVN@Internext.

 
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