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January 18, 2016

Day Two of Internext Ramps Up With Education, Networking

LAS VEGAS—The city of entertainment became the destination for world class education about the adult digital market on the second full day of the Internext Expo. The pulse of the show quickened Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where a parade of experts took center stage for an array of seminars that explored the industry landscape. On the heels of Saturday’s tone-setting Meet Market and Traffic Dinner, the 15th edition of Internext blossomed with separate panels examining the future of billing, mobile, dating, live cams and traffic.   The panelists took the stage at the Monterrey Room inside the Paradise Tower, which has been taken over by the original adult digital conference with more networking opportunities and branding than ever before.  Things got underway in the mid-morning as Karen Campbell (OrbitalPay), Thierry Arrondo (Vendo Services), Chris Rodger (Payze), Harmik Gharapetian (Epoch), Wendy Nelson (Netbilling) and Matt Mund (Mobius Payments) joined moderator “Actual Mike” Ackerman (Actually Helping) in a session about the latest trends in billing and payment services. The discussion quickly turned to the issue of some U.S. banks turning away adult-oriented companies. “I think it’s important when you have an adult company that you don’t have an adult company name,” said Campbell, the vice president of OrbitalPay, a division of Global Electronic Technology, Inc. that has been in the processing industry since 1998.  Vendo’s Managing Director Arrondo, who was born in France, told the audience, “don’t hide from your bank. Some are adult friendly, some not. Adult is not illegal.” Gharapetian, the vice president of sales and marketing for Epoch, reasoned that banking ultimately comes down to “a relationship with the manager at the end of the day,” because the buck stops with him. “Make sure you have a backup solution,” Gharapetian noted. “Even if you do have good banking, try to have a backup solution.” The panelists also agreed the dynamic pricing based on regions is something companies should be considering.  Affil4you Managing Director Joey Gabra led the mobile panel, bouncing questions off Jeff Wilson (Flirt4Free), Chris O’Connell (Mikandi), Michael O’Sullivan (TheHubPeople) and Fabian Frey (Cargo Media). “A big push for us in the next couple years is to make the mobile experience as good or better as the native experience,” said O’Connell, the co-founder and CTO of Mikandi.  Gabra told the audience the future of mobile is going to be "education, technology, gathering data and how we collect money.” “That’s what we need to focus on for the next year and a half,” Gabra said, emphasizing that companies need a sound mobile strategy to thrive in today’s environment. “I keep harping on wanting us to be educated. It works better for the ecosystem. Whether it’s mobile, VR, tablets, desktop—they’re all melding together.” He said he has plans in motion to launch a “mobile university” called Mobidemics that will facilitate expert analysis and ultimately be an outreach tool for industry professionals. Veteran adult digital pro Greg Dumas, a marketing consultant for Cargo Media, moderated the lively dating panel that included insights from Jenny Gonzalez (DatingFactory), Kristell Perez (FriendFinderNetworks), Alfonsus “AK” Kusuma (Madzuma) and William Soares Pinto (TheHubPeople). The group discussed challenges such as obtaining high-quality female profiles for dating sites. “It’s very easy to get male profiles. You open a site and they just starting uploading them,” Dumas cracked.  Gonzalez, the VP of sales and marketing for Dating Factory, said her company has found a way to combat dating profile spammers. “Once you find them and block them they always come back, so spammers have a separate site they’re on,” Gonzalez said. “We send them to a special environment where they talk to each other, which is awesome.” Dumas asked the group to discuss media buying vs. affiliate traffic. “Nowadays it seems like the guy that mows my lawn has an ad network. Five years ago everybody had a tube site. Now everybody out of a job has an ad network,” Dumas said with tongue firmly in cheek. He noted that a great free tool is Google Analytics, “where you can see whether the traffic is working for you.” “No one can just grab all your traffic and do magic,” Gonzalez said. “That’s a big fat lie.” Dumas added, “You have to be smart with your traffic. It’s like money. It’s a commodity. You have to use it wisely.” Sean Phillips from SexyJobs led the seminar on live cams, introducing the panel by estimating that between 10,000-20,000 models are camming at any given time and there are approximately a quarter of a million models in the world who do live camming.   The seasoned panel included Carole Wood (ImLive), Shirley Lara (Chaturbate), Jamie Rodriguez (Flirt4Free), Liz Rekevics (Streamate) and Kristell Perez (FriendFinderNetworks). The panelists discussed how to recruit and retain bankable cam models in today’s ultra competitive cam space. Lara, the COO of Chaturbate, suggested using a profile name that’s easy to spell and remember such as Chaturbate's Ramona Flour, who is known for her cooking shows. “She’s capitalizing on her personality,” Lara said. Perez said steady payouts are important because “each one of the models really has their own company.” All agreed that cam models have arrived and are now part of pop culture. “It’s completely socially acceptable,” said ImLive’s Wood. Because of the constant flow of cam models, it’s that much more important to maintain that edge, Rodriguez said. “Models have to step up their game and make their room that much more interesting,” she said. “They aren’t just the hottest girl on the site. There are lots of hot girls on the site.” But Wood noted, “You don’t need to be a stunna to be a top name. Or young and fresh. A lot of the older girls are bringing it in.” “They all watch each other and are learning from each other,” Rekevics added, noting that Streamate does not do exclusive agreements with models “because it’s almost impossible to enforce.” “My goal is to offer them a platform that makes them the most," she said. Lara said camming is not unlike TV; it’s crucial to continue evolving. “You wouldn’t want to watch the same TV show over and over again,” Lara reasoned.  She said there are plenty of inexpensive ways to do that, including doing a black light show.  “People pour into those rooms,” Lara said. Perez suggested camming with interactive toys is “the next step” in live cams. The traffic panel capped off the day in impressive fashion as a packed house watched Webquest VP Eric Helsel lead an all-star panel through the session titled “Master’s Class: How to Become a Traffic Heavyweight.” Jimmy “Wizzo” Foreman (JuicyAds), Kelan Stone (Grand Slam Media), Remi St. Maur (TrafficStars), Lee Robinson (ExoClick) and Trevor Lakier (Mistral Society) threw down lots of knowledge on buying, selling and analyzing traffic during the fast-paced session. The 18-year industry vet Wizzo noted that traffic is a serious investment and one must be prepared to lose some money in order to gain the data necessary to realize profits in the long run. “Adapt or die is really what it comes down to,” Wizzo said. All agreed that retargeting is one of the best ways to optimize traffic “Retargeting is a huge component of scaling,” Helsel noted. As the panels wound down, some Internext attendees prepared for the annual invite-only CEO Dinner and VIP Live Jasmin Experience set for later that evening. Internext concludes today with panels on media buying, the future of digital media and legal issues as well as the keynote address by Mr. Skin Jim McBride. Pictured from left: Dating panelists Greg Dumas, Jenny Gonzalez, Alfonsus Kusuma, Kristell Perez and William Soares Pinto.

 
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