XBIZ: Top Adult Industry Newsmakers of 2010
2010 ushered in a frenzy of 3D TVs and the use of the technology in mainstream films making the transition into adult both as pioneering technology and a way to bolster lagging DVD sales. Productions have sprung up around the world including "firsts" from Italian director Tinto Brass, Hong Kong producers and of course domestically from studios Hustler, Vivid, New Sensations, Digital Playground that created a virtual 3D world on the web and Smash Pictures' new 3D logos. Playboy has even announced its first-ever 3D centerfold.
After a four-month hiatus, natural girl producers Abbywinters.com burst onto the E.U. scene from Australia landing in its new Amsterdam offices. The company released new shoots from Amsterdam on its special 10-year anniversary site and managed to update18 of its sites during the move.
ADAM & EVE
In its 40th year as one of the premier brands in adult, Adam & Eve kicked off the year by winning Feature Movie of the Year at the 2010 XBIZ Awards for "The 8th Day." Later in the year the company re-signed contract girl Alexis Ford to another exclusive contract while parting ways with its long-time contract performer Bree Olson. Adam & Eve also launched a sex-positive radio ad campaign featuring Mr. Marcus and began distributing movies for the popular reality-porn studio Shane's World.
Adult consumer expo Adultcon was hit with a lawsuit by rival Exxxotica claiming that it was cybersquatting on 19 domain names that were similar sounding to Exxxotica. On a more positive note, the expo and adult marketer D-Money's Marketing Firm partnered to create new sponsorship packages to attract Internet companies.
ADULT DVD EMPIRE
The online retail giant removed the restrictions and licensing processes that come with downloading videos online in 2010 that made its site more user-friendly. It also removed the download-to-own restrictions on its video partner studios' entire catalogs of movies. The company also debuted its own "AdultEmpire" VOD-only site with a 'search within results' search box that lets users drill deep into lists for exact results. Parent company Right Ascension was fined $78,000 and put on two years' probation after pleading guilty to mailing four "obscene" videos to an Erie, Pennsylvania address.
Parent company of Penthouse magazine and mega-dating site AdultFriendFinder, Friendfinder Network made the news this year indefinitely pulling its own $240 million IPO plans citing poor market conditions. In July it made a $210 million bid for Playboy that was initially rejected and recently received $551 million capital infusion to embark on what CEO Marc Bell calls "three big initiatives." In September, a California appeals court ruled that FriendFinder Network couldn't compel Epic Cash (a competitor) to arbitrate its claims over litigation involving Zango's pop-up advertising. The suit stems from a long-running battle over Internet marketing and the alleged FFN conversion of Zango pop-up ads and traffic to benefit its business.
ADULT TALENT MANAGERS
Adult Talent Managers and A-List Talent Management announced a merger that made it one of the largest talent agencies in adult entertainment. Adult Talent Managers owner Shy Love, who is also a performer and director, has nearly 10 years experience in the adult, while A-List owner September Dawn entered the business in 1994 and soon established herself as the go-to wardrobe stylist for numerous top producers. Their company now operates as Adult Talent Managers and is headquartered in Studio City.
ADULT WEBMASTER EMPIRE
AWE produced a public service announcement (PSA) for ASACP last year that featured Adult Webmaster Empire-Lalib Marketing Support Group's program director Mickey Bojcsik for the Restricted to Adults (RTA) Website Label. The PSA features Bojcsik reminding companies to protect children and to protect their business by labeling with RTA and is available for viewing on YouTube.com/ASACPRTA. "AWE's support of ASACP has been vital to our ability to help protect children online," ASACP CEO Joan Irvine said.
VOD giant AEBN began an exclusive content juggernaut securing a number of major producers including Metro Media, Immoral Productions and Smash Pictures. It also inked deals with gay companies Treasure Island, BoyCrush and Factory Video. Some of the company's technology highlights included the rollout of its RealTouch haptic device to the public at Exxxotica last May and the introduction of its Silverlight Media Player that eclipsed the use of RealPlayer among its users and added a boost to its HD theater presentations.
AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION
The Los Angeles-based proponents of mandatory condom use in XXX productions and legislation to protect adult movie performers made headlines by launching legal complaints with local health departments in Miami and Los Angeles this year. Citing the safety concerns of adult film workers, the organization's president Michael Weinstein targeted Hustler for producing 100 condom-less films and mounted a public protest against the company. An HIV scare in October also prompted the AHF to ask the L.A. City Council to stop adult productions in the city.
The notorious tabloid star became a professional porn star in 2010, signing an exclusive two-year deal with Dreamzone Entertainment. The agreement called for the New York native to star in eight hardcore movies over the next two years. She made her official debut in "Deep Inside Amy Fisher," which was released in October.
Google's Android smartphone operating system made a significant run at the Apple iPhone market in 2010 fueled primarily by its features, apps and buying options. And it's "porn friendly" app development posture made it a welcome alternative to Apple's no porn policy. In fact, even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he believes the product will dominate the global smartphone market.
The computer giant launched the iPhone4 and iPad tablet, both of which stirred the porn pot for adult producers. But despite early attempts to capitalize on the popular iPhone platform, Apple quickly pulled the plug on all adult apps last April when CEO Steve Jobs made it clear to concerned customers that there would be no porn apps developed for the device. Although porn apps were forbidden, video chat found its way onto the iPhone4 and a number of adult companies have developed iPad-compatible websites that fit well with its large format screen and high resolution.
The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) continued its valued efforts on a number of fronts. The organization bolstered its international stance with a Spanish language website, reported that its child pornography reporting hotline surpassed 500,000 reports, updated its Best Practices for Mobile Adult Sites and Mobile Applications, produced Restricted to Adults (RTA) public service announcements and site labeling and issued its comprehensive "Hotline Report: Online Child Pornography Data and Analysis" white paper. ASACP CEO Joan Irvine also announced the promotion of Tim Henning to vice president of technology and forensic research.
The Oklahoma native and former New Sensations contract girl continued her transition behind the camera, inspiring Mile High Media to launch a new Hardcore Parody studio to showcase her promising directorial efforts. She kicked off the studio's creation with the release of "Red Riding Hood" starring Lexi Belle and followed that up with directing Tori Black in a parody of "Wonder Woman." "She's actually an amazing director," Mile High VP Jon Blitt said. "She's very conscientious."
The reigning XBIZ Director of the Year for a Body of Work upped the ante this past year, producing and directing several more critically acclaimed parodies, a few of which were grandiose in scope. Braun inspired the Vivid Superheroes line with his superb "Batman XXX" parody, and then later directed the wildly ambitious "This Ain't Avatar XXX 3D" for Hustler Video, "This Ain't Glee XXX" and numerous other hit spoofs.
Baci Lingerie officially launched during April's International Lingerie Show in Las Vegas where the company flaunted its new collection with over-the-top marketing that included dominating the show with promotional videos, posters, giveaways and a massive booth. With plans to establish distribution partners on each continent, the company in August named Avelli its exclusive U.S. distributor.
Torture Portal operator Barry Goldman reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in July over obscenity charges. Goldman was indicted by a federal grand jury for distributing "Torture of a Porn Store Girl," "Defiant Crista Submits" and "Pregnant and Willing" videos through the mail in 2006 and 2007. Details of the plea were unavailable but sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 29.
In a wave of anti-piracy action multiple domestic and international adult content producers have filed thousands of lawsuits against John Doe bit torrent pirates in 2010, many of which are being filed by Chicago attorney John Steele's Media Copyright Group. The companies include Larry Flynt's LFP, Axel Braun Productions,West Coast Productions, Combat Zone, Third World Media, Patrick Collins Inc., Lightspeed Media Corp., Grooby Productions, Titan Media, Corbin Fisher, Michael Lucas Productions, Hard Drive Productions. CP Productions Inc., First Time Videos and Future Blue Inc. German porn producer Mick Haig Productions has filed suit against 670 pirates.
Bluebird was one of the talks of the town all year, sparing no expense on two of the biggest budget movies in adult history — "Bat FXXX: Dark Night" and "Bonny & Clide." Just "Bat FXXX" alone was an incredible achievement in special effects and stunt coordination for an adult movie. One of the questions for 2011 is what will Bluebird owner/producer/actor Paul Chaplin and CEO/director Nicholas Steele do for an encore?
Sex, social networking and sports converged into a frenzy of interest when Dutch adult star Bobbie Eden promised her Twitter followers a blowjob if her home country of the Netherlands had won the World Cup against rival Spain. The star posted her promise on June 28 in simpatico with fellow stars Vicky Vette and Miss Hybrid who made the same promise if their countries (the U.S.A. and England respectively) had won their games. Although her promise titillated a record 92,000 Twitter followers for a porn star and prompted her to launch a website in Vette's network, her team ultimately lost and no one collected the prize.
Penthouse founder Bob Guccione died on Oct. 20 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 79. Guccione launched Penthouse in 1965 in England, building it into one of the world's most popular magazines for men. He got the idea of Penthouse as a cartoonist on The London American, an American weekly newspaper, targeting the magazine to "regular guys." In its early days, the magazine operated on a shoe-string budget with Guccione himself photographing most of the models for the magazine. At one point in the 1980s, Penthouse magazine's circulation was set at more than four million worldwide. Guccione and his third wife, Kathy Keeton, who died in 1997, launched several other magazines, including Longevity, Viva and Omni. He also produced or financed several motion pictures, including "Caligula," "Chinatown" and "The Longest Yard." Guccione also was a world-renowned art collector.
Trying to edge out other web streaming TV set-top box devices and help catapult sales, Boxee announced its own store last summer to sell access to adult pay-per-view and subscription programs and channels. Boxee already had Pink Visual and Bang Bros on board and is banking on more adult companies signing on to access the company's network of more than 800,000 users. Boxee CEO Avner Ronan said the new platform is just one more way for the Internet to compete against traditional distribution models. "The Internet represents a great opportunity for the major media companies and for the independent content producers to create more engaging and immersive experiences around their content and for them to be paid for more eyeballs on yet another screen. The connected living room represents a new medium, one in which great value could be generated."
The marriage of online and video production studios continued as leading affiliate program provider Braincash partnered with top studio Elegant Angel Productions and launched ElegantAngel.com. Braincash project manager Joe Palmer said, "We are very excited to promote Elegant Angel's official website and feel it's a great product that our customers will enjoy."
The 2008 XBIZ New Starlet of the Year won $10K on April 3 when she was crowned Miss Free Ones. Then in October she earned the title of "World's Biggest Whore" in another fan voting contest on the "Howard Stern Show." Olson in August parted ways with Adam & Eve Pictures, where she had been under exclusive contract since 2007. Prior to the split she starred in the company's "A-Team" parody. And later in the year Olson landed lead roles in X-Play's parody of "Bionic Woman/Six Million Dollar Man" and New Sensations' spoof of "Scooby Doo."
The popular star took major strides with her mainstream company Discipline FilmWorks, premiering two independent films that she produced. The twisted indie thriller "Trick of the Witch" closed the Los Angeles International Independent Film Festival in November; and the thriller "Crumble" made its world premiere in July at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. Meanwhile, Andrews ended a three-year retirement from performing to star in Lee Roy Myers' "Sex in the City" parody for New Sensations.
CALIFORNIA EXOTIC NOVELTIES
In addition to participating in the Emmy gifting lounge, where the company got the opportunity to introduce its line of products to celebrities, CalExotics saw its Sexpert program flourish to 100 qualified bloggers worldwide and nearly 1 million views each month. The Sexpert blog program serves as a platform for sex-toy users to share their experiences and ease others into sexual exploration. Additionally, the company's partnership with BMS Factory led to the birth of CalExotics' luxury brand, Vanity.
California worker safety watchdog Cal/OSHA took center stage of the ongoing mandatory condom debate that included the adult industry, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), AIM and the Free Speech Coalition. The organization agreed to examine the state labor code by appointing a panel of concerned members to examine section 5193 of the state's safety regulations. A Cal/OSHA-formed subcommittee included adult industry attorney Paul Cambria, FSC representative and industry regulatory expert Kevin Bland, Hot House Entertainment CEO Steven Scarborough, Evil Angel General Manager Christian Mann, Traci Bryant, Dan Leal, Brian Chase, Peter Kerndt, Paula Tavrow, Denise Bleak, Gail Bolan and Frank Strona. The ongoing debates include areas of strict medical protocols and bloodbourne pathogen regulations for adult industry productions.
PrivateCamz.com became CamWorld.com in 2010 that included a newly rebuilt back end and affiliate program, DateCamCash.com. The new the program is powered by NATS4 and includes the dating site ILust.com and the male enhancement chewing gum site SexletsGum.com.
The 22-year-old adult performer became an overnight tabloid sensation in November when news broke that she was with actor Charlie Sheen during the early morning hours of Oct. 26 when he reportedly trashed his suite at the Plaza Hotel in N.Y. Anderson claimed that Sheen tried to choke her in his room following a dinner date, and Sheen later claimed she was attempting to extort money from him as an ugly he-said, she-said unfolded in media outlets such as TMZ. At press time in late November Sheen had filed an extortion suit against the starlet in L.A. County Superior Court, the same day Anderson appeared on national TV shows such as "Good Morning America" and "Nightline" talking about the incident.
Adult affiliate program CECash announced CECashMobile.com that includes12 sites including HD trailers, a large library of banners and downloadable video content. It also expanded payment options for webmasters with the additions of Paxum, Payoneer and I-Payout.
CHI CHI LARUE
DJing across the globe, partying with stars, championing safe sex, making top-notch films, bringing us Steven Daigle, winning awards for studly black gangbang videos…it was just another year in the life of goddess LaRue, whose C1R productions were as hot as ever (reunited with Dean Monroe and Roman Heart after five years…priceless!). The diva was also refreshingly honest about her fabulous new look, the result of a stunning weight loss that took years off her already youthful persona. It simply wouldn't be the same without LaRue's vivaciousness and candor, and this year was full of her indelible signature.
The reigning Exotic Dancer Master's Grand Champion and one of the most sought-after feature entertainers in the country performed a highly-touted comeback scene in "POV Junkie 3" for Vince Vouyer Unleashed. The New Orleans native delivered the first anal of her career — ending a three-year hiatus from porn — for Vouyer due to an overwhelming amount of requests for her movies from fans that attend her shows. The demand for Aguchi on the dance circuit started in October 2008 when she won the Spearmint Rhino Entertainer of the Year crown in Torrance, Calif.
COLT Studio's founder Jim French made an attempt to regain control of the company he sold to Prowest Media Corp. in 2003. French Studios attorneys tried to force COLT into Chapter 7 bankruptcy last September claiming it hasn't been paid the bulk of a multimillion-dollar promissory note related to the sale of the company. French is attempting to take over the company as it controls the voting power of the unsecured class of creditors.
Internet payment service provider CommerceGate added Mac & Bumble and Twistys to its portfolio of sites in 2010. The international processor also became one of The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) newest Corporate Sponsors.
Gay studio Corbin Fisher flexed some legal muscle going after DVD pirates the company alleged manufactured hundreds if not thousands of nearly 136 company videos. The company was surprised at the "old School' DVD counterfeiting crime but nevertheless asked for tens of millions of dollars from the defendants and eventually won a $990 judgment. The company also went after content pirate site PornILove.net offering a $1,000 reward for information on the principals. In addition, it sued tube site TnAFlix.com and settled with two companies after bringing cyber-piracy and trademark infringement charges against a number of sites that tried to hijack its name.
Online classified king Craigslist shut down its Adult Services Section that represented nearly a third of its annual revenue after pressure from state attorneys general and advocacy groups claimed the site didn't do enough to block potentially illegal ads and the promotion of prostitution.
Industry personality and marketing maven D-Money, aka Darren Blatt's D-Money's Marketing Firm partnered with Adultcon to create new sponsorship packages to attract Internet companies. D-Money was also tapped by BuiltToConvert to head up the company's branding and new affiliate development efforts..
DatingGold partnered with New Frontier Media in 2010 providing its white label dating service to the company's SmartBucks affiliate program. AK, Dating Gold's vice president of marketing and sales was "extremely enthusiastic" about the deal where SmartBucks uses WhiteLabelPros for implementation with several of their premium services, including sites like TenHookups.com. The company also debuted new technology that integrated its AmateurMatch dating platform with live cams.
Digital Playground's big year included the unveiling of a novelty line inspired by its historic Pirates franchise. The company in the fall rolled out a big-budget epic about firefighters called "Body Heat," which generated such a buzz that the trailer for the movie surpassed one million views. The company also signed Cuban hottie Selena Rose to an exclusive deal and became the first major studio to launch a virtual world on the Utherverse Virtual World Web platform.
The state attorney's office at press time dropped all felony charges against porn producer Dirty D, who was facing charges of promotion of a sexual performance of a child and two counts of the use of a child in a sexual performance. The allegations came after a performer, who goes by the name Kelsey Cummings, said she was underage during one of D's 2007 Tampa porn shoots for his GloryHoleGirlz.com site. Florida authorities seized years of content and cash from D's Florida offices during the investigation.
Gay producer DominicFord.com jumped into 3D by inking a deal with Euromedia Distribution to ship its titles. The first film, "Body Heat," was shot on location in Budapest in regular and 3D formats and included two pairs of 3D glasses. It also partnered with International Mr. Leather to create a live 3D experience for the Chicago event's audience. Visitors saw movie-sized 3D porn at the company's booth that played "Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerers Balls" and other 3D movies. The company also launched a 3D game show — SoYouThinkYouCanFuck.net — a Google TV site and a special industry anti-piracy watchdog service.
Elegant Angel announced the launch of a new lesbian DVD brand called Club 59 with the release of "Girl Crush" in July. The studio said it would be distributing between eight and 12 Club 59 DVDs per year. The movies will feature "real, sensual and passionate girl/girl scenes with a modern visual style and approach," the company said. Elegant Angel is also developing the brand's membership website Club59Girls. The company also made a splash with its second Superstar September promotion. It unveiled four "Superstar"-themed movies that included a host of performing firsts featuring top porn stars, Asa Akira, Jayden Jaymes, Rachel Starr and Tori Black.
E.U. billing company eMerchantPay parted ways with CEO Craig Jury, who was instrumental in bolstering the brand by engineering a partnership with Playboy to co-host the revitalized Webmaster Access Amsterdam show among other accomplishments. Chairman and founder Jonas Reynisson assumed the role as CEO until a replacement was to be named. The company also secured the prestigious ISO 9001 certification — the recognized quality management standard and the preferred solution for more than half a million organizations in 159 countries.
In the wake of Craigslist closing its Adult Services Section Encounterslist.com filled the void , by announcing an online adult classified service that quickly grew to a number of cities along with plans for escort and adult employment sections. Co-founders Eli Grey and Marcelo Fuentes said they have long believed adult services and casual encounters classifieds needed to be in their own secure, well-organized adult-only environment.
Credit card processor ePassporte shut its doors in October citing a "lack of revenue and circumstances beyond its control." The announcement by CEO Chris Mallick came shortly after Visa released a statement saying that it blocked network access for prepaid cards issued by St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank and operated by ePassporte.com to address certain program deficiencies. The company said in a later statement that it expected all client wallet transfers to be resolved by mid-October.
Veteran online professional Eric Matis left his post as Playboy's vice president of industrial relations last May. Playboy retained Matis' services on a consultant basis to help manage and maintain GFY, as well as continue to manage GFY's advertising client list.
Adult content provider EroticVision.TV added its first stand-alone adult channel, PinkTV, for the Roku Digital Video Player. The company worked with PinkTV to perfect the delivery of the PinkTV brand and content through streaming media designed for viewing on televisions instead of constrictive and limited PC monitors — or as PinkTV co-president Bryan put it, "EVTV and PinkTV are bringing masturbation back to the couch," Bryan said. "We want to be the HBO of porn."
Started five years ago to bring the amazing Eurocreme line (spearheaded by the smash DreamBoy series from Max Lincoln) to the States, EuroMedia has now amassed an essential collection of exclusive lines that fans have been clamoring for. Joe Gage and Ray Dragon's D/G Mutual Media had one of the year's biggest hits with Dad Takes a Fishing Trip, while Dominic Ford's new line exploded with attention for Whorrey Potter & the Sorcerer's Balls. Throw in the Cocky Boys, and this is an easy sell.
After a nine-year run, global affiliate program EuroRevenue, known for its hardcore online and mobile niche sites shut its doors last summer but was quickly snatched up by the Manwin Group of Companies. Huda Mahdi, EuroRevenue's executive manager remained on board to continue to develop and expand the brand.
Adult talent, producer and rock musician Evan Seinfeld, in collaboration with Gamma Entertainment, launched RockstarPornStar.com, Seinfeld's official website. It features exclusive hardcore HD content and reality scenes with the industry's top performers. It also includes Seinfeld's blog, tour dates, live appearances, and a news section with testimonials from some of his celebrity friends. RockstarPornstar joined Gamma's FameDollars network of official performer websites and studios. Seinfeld late in the year also began recording a new studio album for his popular band Biohazard.
Representing Lucas Entertainment, VCX, Mick Haig Productions, LFP Internet Group and others, Dallas-based attorney Evan Stone has been a key leader in the ongoing battle against copyright infringement. At press time he had filed five bit-torrent lawsuits on behalf of his adult industry clients.
The big news at Evil Angel was the dismissal of owner John Stagliano's obscenity case and most importantly his courage in defending his First Amendment rights that played out on the national stage. The company also signed new directors Mike Adriano, Omar Galanti and Timo. Recently, EA announced that it's integrating the content of nine sites into other areas to make room for new sites being developed by the partnership of Evil Angel, its directors and Gamma Entertainment, the parent company of FameDollars.
FAME DOLLARS (GAMMA)
Gamma Entertainment's FameDollars launched new free tours for its PeterNorth.com, RoccoSiffredi.com, SilviaSaint.com, TeraPatrick.com, and studio websites WhiteGhetto.com, SilverstoneDVD.com and DevilsFilm.com. The sites, including newcomer EvilAngel.com also went mobile. Gamma also announced the launch of DaringSex.com, the official website of Daring Media, a label of the European retail chain Beate-Uhse. FameDollars also relaunched MyTeenOasis.com as an official premium site with downloadable and streaming HD content
FIRST MOBILE CASH
Adult mobile affiliate program FirstMobileCash announced the launch of its third mobile VOD platform in 2010, mPornVideo along with SexBookAmateurs and GaysPrivate. The company also hosted a pre-Eurowebtainment dinner party for industry colleagues and friends in Bratislava, Slovakia in November.
With the addition of two new exclusive models, Miami-based FlavaWorks has continued its commitment to providing the best in Blatino action. With appearances both domestically and abroad, Baby Star and Flamez helped grow the studio's popularity and reach. The successful FlavaMen magazine was joined by many popular continuing series in 2010, including Thugboy, Dorm Life, Snow Ballerz and Santo Domingo Uncut.
Howard Stern raved about the "Plug and Play Porn" FleshDrive USB flash-dive that provides a variety of instant and personal XXX content that can be held in the palm of the hand. The product's juggernaut continued over the year making deals with top studios including Elegant Angel, Red Light District, DVSX and others and spawned its own website. It prompted company executives to make a spokesperson offer to "Jersey Shore" reality star Snooki. FleshDrive is even iPad compatible. The company announced that users can watch videos from the device by connecting an Apple camera kit. "Take the convenience of the iPad with the FleshDrive and you have a porn match made in heaven," the company said.
In addition to the rollout of new products and Fleshjack Boys and Fleshlight Girls, which included molds of adult stars Lupe Fuentes, Stoya and Misty Stone, Fleshlight opened its arms to the European market with the launch of Fleshlight International S.L., based in Seville, Spain. The new manufacturing plant is designed to operate like its U.S. counterpart and serves E.U. clients directly to cut down on shipping costs and time. In July, Fleshlight filed patent infringement complaints against 25 companies to stop sales of sex toys in the U.S. that use its technology. The company later dropped several of the named companies from the suit, including CalExotics, PHE, Honey's Place and LFP, among others.
With awards for best film, videography, acting and screenwriting, there isn't much that Raging Stallion's "Focus/Refocus" didn't win in 2010. The film exploded this year, extending the studio's long-running success with event films like "Grunts" and "To the Last Man." The industry can't wait to see what (and who!) Chris Ward, Tony Dimarco and Ben Leon have up their sleeves next.
FREE SPEECH COALITION
Fighting against the government's revised 2257 record-keeping rules, mandatory condom use, content piracy and the ICM's proposed .XXX sTLD kept the Free Speech Coalition busy in 2010. Although a federal judge denied the group's motion to reconsider a previous decision, which threw out FSC's 18 U.S.C. §§2257 and 2257A lawsuit against the federal government, it vowed to appeal the move. On a more positive note, the FSC's Anti-Piracy Action Program (APAP) spawned a widely viewed PSA video and showed significant promise documenting about 287 million views on 1,700 tube-site videos identified with its spidering software. All told, 18 adult production companies participating in APAP have fingerprinted more than 5,000 titles with the software to track content and gather data from infringing tube sites in its first three months. The group continued its opposition of the .XXX sTLD and has challenged the ICM Registry's bid for ICANN's acceptance of .XXX. The FSC also continued to lobby against mandatory condom use at Cal/OSHA meetings on behalf of the adult industry and opposed the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's (AHF) attempts to influence Cal/OSHA decisions concerning adult worker safety.
Parent company of Penthouse magazine and mega-dating site AdultFriendFinder made the news this year indefinitely pulling its own $240 million IPO plans, citing poor market conditions. In July it made a $210 million bid for Playboy that was initially rejected and recently received $551 million capital infusion to embark on what CEO Marc Bell calls "three big initiatives."
The Germany-based company kicked off the year participating in the hottest awards gifting events, presenting its Love Yourself cosmetic line. FunFactory later took rechargeable toys to another level with the release of its Click N Charge technology, which allows for its products to be recharged with the Fun Magnetic Plug. And its Click 'N' Charge technology makes it environmentally friendly. The recharging plug features a metallic contact point that connects to the magnetic surface on the new vibes — located on the toy's FunFactory logo — and re-ups the item's power levels without affecting its memory.
Gamma Entertainment partnered with adult producer and talent Evan Seinfeld to launch RocktarPornStar.com as well inking a multiyear partnership with European retailer and distributor Beate Uhse to manage f its production arm website, Daring! Another strategic partnership was forged with Spankmo mobile for MaleDigitalMobile.com (from gay studios Elite male and U.S. Male) to power its entry into the mobile arena.
The founder of the Urban X Awards produced the third annual show honoring the best in ethnic adult entertainment, this time moving the lively ceremony to the 740 Club in downtown LA. On the heels of another successful event, Taylor announced plans for the first annual Urban X Expo in Atlanta in March 2011, as well as the fourth annual show in July.
One of the established leaders in lesbian porn traveled to Budapest twice this past year, shooting numerous scenes that make up the early volumes of the company's hot new "Budapest" series. Starring GFF favorite Elexis Monroe and featuring such local talent as Sandra Shine and Sophie Moone, owner/director Dan O'Connell also endeavored to add plenty of local color in addition to showcasing the intense sexual situations that have made the company famous.
Notable news from Google in addition to its Android popularity and "no porn" guidelines for its app Market store included the announcement of its Chrome 7 browser that it claims is up to 60 times faster than Chrome 6, thanks in part to hardware acceleration. The company is also now offering users the option of turning on or off the threaded conversation view in Gmail. On the graphics front, Google announced its WebP graphics format, which it said could cut image file sizes by 40 percent compared to today's dominant JPEG file format. Last summer the company dropped is Wave social networking collaboration tool saying it "has not seen the user adoption we would have liked."
A single HIV case involving an unnamed performer in October prompted several companies to temporarily suspend production and also placed the adult industry on the defensive about its testing protocols. AIM Healthcare, the industry's medical foundation, quarantined and tested each of the performers who may have been exposed to the individual who was found to be HIV-positive. After completing testing for two generations of partners of the so-called Patient Zeta, AIM said that all performers tested negative for HIV on two occasions using multiple testing methods. Furthermore, AIM said it had established that Patient Zeta acquired the virus through private, personal activity and there was no transmission of the HIV virus from Patient Zeta to any performers.
Adult industry vet John Skorik is led the team behind the new MaxCash-backed HookupBucks affiliate program that launched in May. Skorik emphasized the new program's ability to be customized tools and promotional materials by affiliates and that its WeCanHookup.com line of dating sites is set apart from others by features popularized by mainstream social networking sites such as online games and gifts that will be incorporated as micro-transaction add-ons. Our main focus and what sets us apart is dealing one on one with affiliates to create custom tools catered to their needs and their traffic sources," Skorik said.
Famed director Steven Scarborough made his mark with "Skuff 4," while deadpan Hot House employee Sister Roma — the funniest nun ever — made everyone laugh. Meanwhile, the studio spread its heat with mainstream and fetish-themed hits, while its busy Backroom made the online world a better place (check out new hit "The Dude Show" — Reality Sucks!).
The FBI and local police raided and searched HotMovies' Philadelphia company headquarters in October. No one was taken into custody and no [federal] indictments filed. On a more positive note, after serving 10 months of a year and a day obscenity sentence at a Texas federal prison, Rob Black, the man behind Extreme announced that he's releasing movies to be solely distributed through Hotmovies.com.
The big buzz from Hustler Video this year was Axel Braun's parody blockbuster "This Ain't Avatar XXX 3D" one of the company's most ambitious film projects to date that came with a six-figure price tag, extensive special effects and makeup and a cast that included regular Hollywood crew. A number of other "This Ain't" parodies were also announced and released including "Star Trek 2," "Dancing With the Stars," "Glee,' "Charmed,' Cheaters," "Curb Your Enthusiasm' and more. Veteran director Paul Thomas also joined the company's production arsenal releasing his "Twilight Zone" and Pervert" features. Larry Flynt's company also announced a new Las Vegas mega-club, optimized its flagship website for the Apple iPad and Android, launched a dating site, re-launched its magazine site for digital devices and announced an Android app. Hustler magazine's February issue featured ousted Florida politician William Scott Janke's wife, Jazella Moore in a topless spread.
The Internet policymaking group was at the center of the .XXX sTLD controversy this year and the key to whether ICM Registry's Stuart Lawley will get his agenda pushed through. To date, its Board of Directors have agreed to seek more consultation and clarification from the Government Advisory Committee on ICM's application, in effect delaying any decision on .XXX until ICANN's next meeting that was scheduled for December.
At the center of the .XXX sTLD initiative and controversy (with some opposition from the adult industry) is Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry, the organization pushing for the adoption of .XXX as the domain designation of choice for the adult industry. Lawley petitioned the ICANN body this year with a registry contract after ICANN initially rejected .XXX. Lawley began selling the .XXX suffix in hopes that ICM would be the gatekeeper for the sTLD. Lawley also bought the domain name DotXXX.com for $25,000 for advertising purposes, redirecting visitors to its official site, ICMRegistry.com. The ICM Registry also created the slogan, "Let's Be Adult About It," which will appear along with DotXXX.com in all future media campaigns. ICM also owns DotXXX.com, LetsBeAdultAboutIt.com and LetBeAdultAboutIt.com, all of which redirect to ICMRegistry.com as well. The ICM Registry's contract is now out for approval. Findings were expected to be announced prior to the ICANN meeting in Colombia in December.
Early in 2010 Immoral Productions and Jay "XXXJay" Quinlan announced StraightDowntheTubes.com described as the "world's first advertising-supported exclusive content website." The company also signed contract stars Amy Brooke and McKenzee Miles to perform in its unique "Fuck A Fan" series. The studio also has announced a partnership with the Streamate live broadcast network where the company's live shows will be broadcast on the Streamate network. And VOD giant AEBN inked a deal with Immoral to stream the studio's content exclusively across its VOD network.
2010 marked significant expansion of the Intimate Organics brand. The company struck a deal with South African-based distributor Mystique Mistress to offer the full line of paraben-free, all-natural lubricants and lotions through DISCHEM, a pharmacy chain with locations throughout South Africa, in addition to South African-based adult retail stores and websites. Last month, Intimate Organics announced an exclusive contract with Marseille, France-based Lovely Planet for France and Belgium distribution.
Apple's revolutionary tablet was welcome with open arms by the adult industry and despite Apple founder Steve Jobs' "freedom from porn" stance, a number of companies including giants Digital Playground, Pink Visual, Hustler and Playboy as well as TopBucks Mobile, AdultCentro and Strictly Broadband all optimized their websites and products to work with the device. Even the FleshDrive USB drive and the XBIZ family of digital publications were made iPAD compatible.
The producer's obscenity trial saga that began in 2008 continued this year seeing a number of appeals by Isaacs' attorneys, a recusal by Judge Alex Kozinski and subsequent mistrial and his appeal to have the trial heard by the Supreme Court. Isaacs owns Stolen Cars Films and LA Media and faces multiple obscenity-related counts in connection with distribution via the mail the videos "Gang Bang Horse — 'Pony Sex Game,'" "Mako's First Time Scat," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7" and "BAE 20." Federal prosecutors allege that the films are obscene and have no artistic merit. But Isaacs claims the films have both artistic and political value.
Classic performer Jamie Gillis passed away on Feb. 19 in New York from cancer. He was 66. Gillis was a mainstay in the New York '70's porn scene having worked with nearly every top star of the era. He also was a pioneer in the amateur/reality market with his iconic series "On the Prowl." His "do anything" performances later led to darker films that contributed to him being best known for his work in classic BDSM roles.
JET SET MEN
Fans love a good ol' fashion pop culture and political parody, and no one knows that better than Jet Set. The studio has already solidified its hot jock persona (it never met a locker room or uniform it didn't like), making its forays into humor all the more exciting. Whether it's "Getting Levi's Johnson" or "Jersey Score," Jet Set had the savvy to strike fast, giving the fans two of the most memorable entries of the year. And with the debut of JetSetMen.TV last month, the company is staying atop the technology curve.
When Kelly Cutrone, Bravo TV star and high-profile publicist, gifted Jimmyjane products while on her press tour in Los Angeles, a mainstream media blitz ensued. Cutrone gave Chelsea Handler, host of E! Network's "Chelsea Lately," a FORM 2 Waterproof Rechargeable Vibrator, as well as a Little Gold Silent Waterproof Vibrator — which she noted was "Kate Moss and Dita Von Teese's favorite vibrator." Cutrone also brought the products to her appearance on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM radio show, and the two discussed the unique shape of FORM 2. In the summer, Jimmyjane unveiled FORM 3.
Continuing her reign as adult's alt-superstar, Joanna Angel's marketing savvy yielded DVD releases in conjunction with Vouyer Media, sponsorship of "The Hardcore Meets Hardcore Tour," featuring bands from Rise Records and Mediaskare Records, the creation of her company Burning Angel live cam site with PrivateCamZ and the debut of a print magazine bearing her name from Magna Publishing. Although her body graced a number of new video releases including a VOD horror and comedy spoof , the star also put her brain to work sitting on a Yale University sex panel with colleague Sasha Grey.
No stranger to controversy, Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis was accused of attacking two of his female employees, one of whom is pregnant. He also went on the offensive, filing suit against a former employee — Ryan Simkin — who he claimed breached a non-disclosure agreement regarding a "tell-all" book deal. More troubles hit when a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge threw out a defamation lawsuit he brought against Playboy Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole stemming from a fight at a West Hollywood, Calif., nightclub in 2009.
JOHN JACOBS (Drake Rock Media)
Company videographer John Jacobs completed his acquisition of gay content producer Drake Rock Media. "I have been directing and filming for the Drake Rock Media since the beginning," Jacobs said. "This acquisition allows creative control over all aspects of the company, from booking and directly interacting with the talent, to editing and marketing the final product."
Evil Angel's John Stagliano, Evil Angel Productions and John Stagliano Inc. were charged by the U.S. government with seven counts of obscenity in 2010, stemming from the mail and Internet distribution of two movies "Milk Nymphos," directed by Jay Sin; "Storm Squirters 2," directed by Joey Silvera; and a trailer from Belladonna's "Fetish Fanatic 5." The case was ultimately dismissed last summer, thanks in part to inept federal prosecutors who failed to meet the burden of proof, but the Washington trial took on national interest with Stagliano appearing on a number of news outlets including FOX News' cable TV show hosted by John Stossel. Outside the courtroom, Stagliano, perhaps joking, said he was "disappointed. [The government] didn't put up much of a fight. They were sloppy and not passionate and doing the prosecution for the wrong reasons." He added, "And karma is important."
The gay adult industry publication JRL held its first annual Gay Film Awards on Sept. 19 at the Catch One Disco in Los Angeles. JRL CEO Christopher Thais remarked, "We have always had award shows that only targeted producers and studios and not the talent. JRL is determined to make sure that everyone in our industry is recognized for their accomplishments. There are a total of 48 categories plus the Hall of Fame class of 2010."
Jules Jordan, who won the 2010 XBIZ Award for Studio of the Year, continued to expand his premium brand of hardcore with the launch of The Ass Factory. The new line, which he introduced in the fall, is all-anal — a Jordan specialty — and includes titles such as "Gape Lessons" and "Deep Anal Drilling." Jordan also has a companion website at TheAssFactory.com and intends to showcase different directors going forward.
French-Vietnamese starlet Katsuni began selling her exclusive line of lingerie, Petit Coeur — which means "Little Heart" in French — online in France in early 2010 on the heels of making her first L.A. feature dance appearance. She also presented the brand in Athens, Greece in May, in Macao in August and Sydney in October. Petit Coeur is currently distributed in Australia, Belgium, Germany and New Zealand with more countries coming soon. Katsuni is one of the most decorated performers in adult film history with 29 international awards during her career.
Fetish content producer Kink.com entered the DVD market in a unique reality co-production venture with Private Media resulting in "Open Invitation: A Real Swinger's Orgy," directed by Kink's own Ilana Rothman and Andrew Sullivan. The movie was shot at Kink's San Francisco armory and included porn stars as well as real-life swingers. Kink CEO Peter Acworth also made the news after speaking at The Economist magazine's Innovation Summit in Berkeley, Calif.
Belgium VOD company Kudeta announced the opening of its U.S. office in Sherman Oaks, Calif. That's being helmed by Managing Partner, Amy Lew, who was a former V.P. of acquisitions and licensing for Pulse Distribution. The company also inked a distribution deal with Smash Pictures and a 3D content and distribution deal with Minka Studios in association with Pleasure Dynasty.
LA DIRECT MODELS
On the heels of celebrating his 10th anniversary in adult, LA Direct Models owner Derek Hay opened EC Direct Models, an East Coast office for his growing talent agency that is based in the heart of South Beach in Miami. The London native Hay teamed up with veteran agent Joe Max to launch EC Direct. Max has run Blue Max Models out of New York for the past seven years and is Hay's point man in Miami.
After more than 20 years of designing and manufacturing adult novelty products for women and couples, Toronto-based manufacturer Lady Calston launched the Man Line of products targeting gay men. The company also announced that its brand of products would be made available as complimentary amenities to guests of Stockholm's Berns Hotel. According to the hotel management, the Berns Hotel wanted to attract and please more guests by expanding the range of items offered in the regular room price, which now includes coffee, tea, water and sex toys.
Adult industry attorney Lawrence G. Walters formed a new law firm after nine years of a successful partnership with the firm Weston Garrou. The attorney's new firm, Walters Law Group includes current associate, Kevin Wimberly. Walters also formed an "of counsel" relationship with Jennifer Kinsley, who practices in Cincinnati with partners Louis Sirkin and Scott Nazzarine. "The move is just a natural progression for my growing practice," Walters said. "I am staying in my current office location and maintaining my brand name of FirstAmendment.com in my new practice." Walters has been vocal about the issue of "sexting" this year, claiming it's not criminal and not child porn but rather a social problem. "Sexting is the modern equivalent of students passing love notes to each other in class. Teens communicate with each other electronically more often than verbally. These communications are sometimes erotic, and that is human nature."
LEE ROY MYERS
Producer/director Lee Roy Myers in July announced the formation of his new studio Nightingale, which specializes in lesbian porn and released its first title "Miss Conduct" through Adult Source Media. Myers also helmed "The Human Sexipede," the darkest, most twisted parody of his career for Tom Byron Pictures. It drew significant mainstream attention due to the cult classic status of "The Human Centipede."
The designer brand of intimate products captured the attention of mainstream this year with an expanding collection of non-graphic-looking toys that crossed over via a New York-based gynecologist named Dr. Andrew Scheinfeld, who began selling LELO products out of his office, which was later reported on by Elle magazine. The company furthered its mainstreaming with the adoption of its products into the trendy RONROBINSON boutique at the Fred Segal shopping center in Los Angeles.
Heavyweight performer/producer Lexington Steele stepped into a couple of high-profile parody roles, notably making his presence felt in "This Ain't Avatar XXX" for Axel Braun and Hustler Video. He also was tabbed to play the Darth Vader character in Braun's "Star Wars" upcoming parody set for 2011. Off camera, he announced a move into publishing with the launch of Black Diamonds through an agreement with Blue Horizons.
The rift between Hustler founder Larry Flynt and brother Jimmy Flynt continued this year over ownership of LFP. Jimmy Flynt filed suit in Ohio, claiming among other things that he's a partner in LFP and was instrumental in keeping the company afloat after Larry Flynt's medical problems resulting from the 1978 assassination attempt. At that time Larry Flynt said his brother has no equity position or stock in the multimedia empire. The case was recently dismissed by the Ohio judge who said the proper venue for the court battle is California and not Ohio. Jimmy Flynt's attorneys said they still believe Cincinnati is where the case should be litigated. "The fight will go on," Jimmy Flynt's attorney Robert Hojnoski said. "They're partners now and they were partners then and we intend to prove that."
This year, Liberator's expansion came through a series of co-branding partnerships. Liberator kicked off 2010 with partnerships with LELO's chief designer Eric Kalen for the Tickler brand; Zini, a South Korea-based manufacturer, and Tenga for the U.S. distribution of the line of masturbators for men. Liberator also partnered up with retailers, including Castle Megastore for the launch of Liberator boutiques within Castle Megastore locations, and Pornhub for the launch on an online Liberator store.
Lizzy Borden stepped back into the director's chair for the first time in three years since her incarceration, teaming up with Tom Byron Pictures for the Halloween release "Creature Feature." The movie was a series of horror movie vignettes based on classic fright films. Borden and her Extreme Associates partner, Rob Black, entered a guilty plea on obscenity charges in 2009. The case has been waged for much of the decade and began when an undercover U.S. Postal Service inspector bought porn videos through Extreme Associates' membership site in 2002.
LUKAS RIDGESTON AND BEL AMI
While his own line (distributed by EuroMedia) was the talk of the town, the house Lukas helped build was still going strong. Bel Ami has helped turned its star model into a star director through its online wing. And there's a reason the colorful studio wins awards for best marketing — its fun, athletic twink is perhaps the strongest brand ever built, and the company has introduced a few dirty surprises over the years to keep things fresh. 2010 saw both of their names grow even stronger.
Lupe Fuentes signed an exclusive contract to become the newest Wicked Girl and introduced her third Fleshlight toy, her mouth. Fuentes also was crowned Miss XFANZ Summer at the bikini pageant in June based on audience applause.
The Manwin Group of Companies acquired Brazzers, Mofos and a large collection of adult tube sites that included the rights to all exclusive intellectual property, as well as MovieBox, a VOD membership site, and dating site Sex in Your City. The company also acquired Spankwire and took over EuroRevenue after it closed its doors in March. Its copyright infringement battle with Ventura Content, parent of Pink Visual Productions, ended in a settlement in October. As part of the agreement, Manwin has agreed to implement — and is already testing — the copyright filtering software offered by Vobile Inc., on its various tube site properties. But more trouble arose when Corbin Fisher parent Liberty Media Holdings filed suit against tube site Spankwire.com, operated by Manwin Canada, for copyright infringement. The suit also names 200 John Doe individuals, companies and a person that goes by the alias Rooney Rocks, as infringing parties.
MARC DORCEL TOYS
This year French adult film producer Marc Dorcel partnered with Lovely Planet to develop its first range that consists of 11 luxury sex toys, including vibrators, plugs, cock rings and rabbits with names such as Expert G, Orgasmic Rabbit and Power Clit. According to the company, the launch was meant to bring Marc Dorcel's brand of "Pornochic," which currently transcends TV, VOD platforms, websites, magazines and boutiques as part of the company's goal of making sex chic and accessible to the maximum number of people.
Metro underwent a makeover, re-branding itself as Metro Media and re-launching its classic Cal Vista line of high-end movies with high-profile releases such as Alice. Starring Sunny Lane in the title role, the movie was co-directed by Erica McLean and Carlos Batts.
The popular star became the first TS performer to have a complete sex toy collection released in a groundbreaking deal with Pipedream Products. The novelty heavyweight launched Mia Isabella's Big Secret Collection at the eroFame and Venus adult expos in Berlin in October with a total of 11 products.
The actor/director/businessman was his usual busy self in 2010. His columns for The Advocate gave the Lucas Entertainment founder a vital voice on a number of issues affecting the gay community — including some international topics that often go overlooked. He's also become a sought-after speaker, while his commitment to finding new talent across the globe has helped diversify his New York-based company even more. A tour of Israel and an eye for fetish fun cemented his unique stamp on the industry.
Adult entertainment app store, MiKandi.com celebrated its first anniversary in 2010 debuting its totally redesigned version of its app store for Android, along with its own virtual currency system and paid application support that rolled out to more than 300,000 existing installations of the app store. The company said its new store has more intuitive navigation, better search capabilities and support for video. The MiKandi theater supports streaming over 3G as well as WiFi. Mikandi in 2010 also released Pink Visual's Android app and landed the Android app distribution for Sex Chat Live's video chat product.
The native of Spain in April joined Evil Angel's all-star stable of producer/directors. Company founder John Stagliano said, "Mike is a director/performer who lives for his work. He understands the erotic value of POV. Through his lighting, framing and choice of women he creates ass images of voluptuous perfection. He is a true fetishist, exploring ass, tits and oral sex with intimate power." His series include "Nasty Anal Tryouts POV," "Anal Overdose" and "American Anal Sluts."
The daughter of Emmy-winning actor Laurence Fishburne became a hot tabloid topic during the summer months when news broke that she was starring in a self-titled sex tape for Vivid Entertainment. As a result, the then-19-year-old Fishburne's movie opened at No. 1 on adult sales charts. The controversy surrounding the tape centered on her lack of contact with her famous father during the media frenzy.
Performer Mr. Marcus, who turned 40 this year, began the year by publishing his first book, The Porn Star Guide to Great Sex, through St. Martin's Press. Five years in the making, the instructional book included his sex tips and thoughts on what women want, among numerous other anecdotes from his travels as one of porn's most prolific studs. In the fall, Marcus signed with Adam & Eve to be the voice of the company's new radio ad campaign.
NakedSword began streaming the first episode in its gay web series "Golden Gate" on its Silverlight player platform last November. The gay membership site also announced a full lineup of original productions including the feature-length version of the critically acclaimed "I Want Your Love," and the100th episode of "The Tim & Roma Show" among others. Zach Sire joined the as the editor of the site's blog — The Sword — and serves editor-in-chief and manager of all social media platforms as well as assisting in production of original content.
NETbilling president Mitch Farber announced that his company added three new merchant account banks in the U.S., Asia and Cypress. Farber also debuted the Virtual Terminal App, giving clients the ability to process credit cards through the NETbilling payment gateway directly from an iPhone or iPad. The free app processes transactions from anywhere with an Internet connection, in any currency, for any card type, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner's Club and JCB.
NEW FRONTIER MEDIA
Adult pay-per-view and website company New Frontier Media made meaningful progress in 2010 towards its fiscal 2011 objectives, according to chief executive officer Michael Weiner. The company announced a five-year license agreement to rebrand and distribute three new international linear pay-per-view channels that serves Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and areas of Northern Africa. It also added storage equipment to support international content packages.
New Sensations launched its Sappho Series, which was named after the lesbian Greek poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, featuring movies written for women by women. Meanwhile, the company reached one million downloads for its parody website, AXXXParody.com, which also was optimized for the iPhone 4 and iPad. The company made an impact in the novelty world, unveiling the Bzzz Buddies line of vibes that was inspired by anime cartoons and designed as collectibles. The mainstream friendly collection was introduced with a soft launch during the summer trade-show season and shipped in November. In addition, New Sensations Novelties debuted the Shane Diesel Big, Black & Realistic dildo and Ashlyn Brooke's Perfect Pussy.
Prolific gay production and distribution house Pacific Sun Entertainment launched its affiliate program, PacificSunCash.com in early 2010. It also debuted its first membership site — HugeCocksAndJocks.com — in conjunction with Braincash. CEO Pritam Sinha marked 2010 as a year of substantial growth also pointing to the company's DVD preview site and mobile site — Gay4Mobile.com — in partnership with PornMonkey.mobi. Adult veterans Jeffery Hawkins and Dani Vargas joined the Pac Sun team as international and domestic sales managers respectively.
PARADISE MARKETING/CHRISTIAN AUDIGIER CONDOMS
This year marked high-end designer Christian Audigier's foray into the realm of sexual lifestyle products. And Paradise Marketing became the exclusive distributor of the world's first line of designer condoms. Christian Audigier condoms are packaged using the designer's telltale flashy-design aesthetic; and they are made with the same quality found throughout his collections of luxury street wear apparel, shoes and lifestyle accessories under the Ed Hardy, Smet, Crystal Rock and Paco Chicino labels.
Award-winning director Paul Thomas signed with LFP for exclusive distribution of his movies beginning with his "Twilight Zone XXX Parody," and followed by "Pervert." His new productions have been darker and more perverse than much of the fare he produced during his two-and-a-half decade tenure at Vivid Entertainment. They are released under the Paul Thomas Presents banner.
After a long struggle to carve out a successful niche for itself, Peach Entertainment Network — whose CEO is Vivid co-chairman, David James — got the green light from a bankruptcy judge to sell off its inventory that included more than 200 master DVDs and office furniture. In December about 200,000 Peach DVDs were sold to Red Tooth Services for $20,239. Red Tooth is owned by Robbie Conley, a former Peach employee. At an auction in March, Red Dragon Holdings, run by CEO Dewi James was the top bidder for the Peach masters and rights at $22,000. The Van Nuys, Calif.-based company operated Peach DVD, PeachDVD.com, Red Static, Late Night and Red Dragon Releasing.
It was a year of nagging lawsuits for Perfect 10 publisher Norm Zada. File-sharing service RapidShare filed a counter-suit against the company accusing it of being a "copyright troll" that runs "essentially a paralegal service masquerading as a porn company." Five years after it was filed, Perfect 10 and Amazon have settled their copyright infringement lawsuit but no terms were disclosed. A federal judge also cleared Google of most of the cached images copyright infringement claims filed by Perfect 10 against the search engine giant. Zada maintained however, that Google exploits other people's property and the rights of copyright holders and celebrities have been substantially impaired.
Adult webmaster powerhouse PIMPROLL celebrated its win as "Affiliate Program of the Year" at the XBIZ Awards in Hollywood. It continued on its 2010 "roll" announcing a slew of new membership sites including ChubbySistas, PregnantSistas, Lethal Hardcore's LethalInterracial and LethalCougars, HugeCockGloryHoles, a tranny megasite, the merger of MakeBank's sites, mobile tours and more. PIMPROLL also developed new active-sync technology for video streaming that adjusts video quality during the stream. Last spring, the company also announced its merger with affiliate program Massive Dollars bolstering its portfolio with a number of high profile domains, according to vice president, Phil.
VOD and live-cam content provider PinkTV relaunched PinkTV.com and debuted a new affiliate program. Dan Recio, president of PinkTV, said the relaunch and new affiliate program aren't the only moves for the company — PinkTV also has ambitious plans to stream over the Roku digital media player and is in development stages for an iPhone app. PinkTV was also added as the first stand-alone adult channel for EroticVision.TV's Roku Digital Video Player.
Pink Visual made mainstream headlines when celebrity gossip site TMZ reported that the porn company had offered former "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien a job. Ventura Content, Pink Visual's holding company, also filed suit against the owners of Brazzers, alleging that four company-owned tube sites poached content from 45 copyrighted movies and have streamed them "tens of millions of times." In turn, Mansef has filed suit against Ventura Content and its Denali Holdings unit, claiming copyright infringement from the alleged use of Brazzers' trademark. Pink Visual also took a stance on content piracy by hosting an adult industry-focused Content Protection Retreat in October, where attendees learned about effective means of combating content piracy and protecting their intellectual property.
With so many celebrities making the news this year, Pipedream Products banked on pop culture with the release of parody blow-up love dolls of Tiger Woods, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Lady GaGa. While Tiger Woods and Kim Kardashian responded with legal complaints, Pipedream responded with joy as the company basked in the mainstream spotlight that resulted from all the media attention. Pipedream Products also was welcomed into mainstream with products appearing on NBC's "Outsourced" and E! Network's "Married to Rock." Kicking off 2010 as the XBIZ Awards' Manufacturer of the Year, Pipedream continued on its winning streak with a three-peat as StorErotica's Manufacturer of the Year, as well as earning the same title from Sign Magazine and at the first-ever eroFame Awards, where Pipedream picked up another three honors.
Content piracy was hit broadside in 2010 by adult producers as thousands of lawsuits were filed against bit torrent abuser John Does. The Free Speech Coalition spearheaded its own Anti Piracy Action Program (APAP) in conjunction with copyright infringement software company Vobile and recognized copyright infringement attorney Gill Sperlein. It also produced an anti-piracy PSA video. Other actions included a Pink Visual-hosted anti-piracy retreat and an anti-piracy bill passed by U.S. Senate that gives government agencies the power to go after foreign and domestic website infringers. The measure has the backing of several leading entertainment companies, groups and corporations but it also has critics like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the bill "Internet censorship" that could harm the credibility of the U.S. and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden who is siding with free speech advocates, vowing to block the bill claiming it gives the government too much power.
PJUR GROUP'S MED LINE
The introduction of the German-manufactured med line of all-natural personal lubricants and sexual enhancers was featured by CNN in a report about the El Asira online sexual well-being retail store, which targets Muslim couples, and pjur's med line is among those that the are offered as Shariah-compliant products. The company further embraced its consumers with a high profile sponsorship of the eighth annual Gay Games in Cologne, a quadrennial sporting and cultural event organized by and for LGBT athletes that was held July 31 through Aug. 7.
Hugh Hefner's empire continued to struggle in 2010 after talks broke down with potential buyers Iconix, FriendFinder networks (owners of Penthouse magazine) and others interested in owning the Big Bunny. Hefner's attempt to take the company private is still being reviewed by a special committee set up by Playboy Enterprises that will weigh Hefner's $185 million bid. Some bright spots for the aging brand included new Asian and European licensing deals, the announcement of new London and Macau Playboy Clubs, the launch of a work-safe (TheSmokingJacket) website, a 50th anniversary art celebration, its first ever 3D centerfold and a new video gaming label.
The Urban X Male Performer of the Year suffered a rare "broken penis" — or torn urethra — on Aug. 23 while doing reverse cowgirl with Bethany Benz in a sex scene for West Coast Productions. The Chicago native and CEO of Silverback Entertainment made a full recovery after undergoing emergency surgery and at press time was back to making high-level porn.
PrivateCamz.com became CamWorld.com in 2010 with a rebuiltNATS4-powered back end and affiliate program, DateCamCash.com along with dating site ILust.com and male enhancement chewing gum site SexletsGum.com. Earlier in the year the company announced a strategic partnership with Clips4Sale.com, created BurningAngelLive.com, announced the update of its live cam system to employ Video Chat Management Script (VCMS) and adopted the ClickTruth.com technology platform for its live chat network.
A battle between former Private CEO Ilan Bunimovitz and Private owner Berth Milton erupted this year after Bunimovitz was ousted from the top spot. A complex legal battle continues after Milton was named CEO and Bunimovitz — who owns 1.9 million shares of Private stock — and a group of investors claim they own more than 50 percent of the company's stock and thus hold a majority interest in Private. In the meantime, the company renewed its contract with Playboy TV, launched a re-branded Mansize gay brand and hinted at a new online affiliate program and improved IPTV and VOD with Scandinavian VOD provider Voddler Group AB. Private also recently co-produced a reality swingers film — "Open Invitation: A Real Swinger's Orgy," — with fetish company Kink.com.
Leading affiliate program PussyCash offered webmasters an opportunity to get their own co-branded ImLive mobile cam site by adding their own domain name last year. ImLive also broadcasted a number of live Celebrity Event porn star chats with high affiliate payouts, some reaching as high as $300. PussyCash also added adult webcam site Sexier.com to its affiliate program.
Gay content producer Raging Stallion expanded its distribution into the general retail market by releasing a mainstream version of its XXX gay feature "Focus/ReFocus." The company also began providing its content Raging Stallion Studio's content will now be offered in Maleflixxx.TV's worldwide online theaters. On a lighter note, the studio offered pop star Ricky Martin $1 million to perform in a sex scene with exclusive performer Austin Wilde.
One of the "kings" of online content production, Reality Kings had its share of legal problems in 2010. Most notably was the controversial DareDorm.com debacle it faced with Florida A&M University. The college filed a lawsuit after Reality Kings released its "BigRattler77" hardcore production allegedly depicting that the sex took place in one of FAMU's dorm rooms. Reality Kings said the movie did not use FAMU students or property but ultimately settled with the college paying $105,000 to fully fund two scholarships in addition to $15,000 in attorney fees. Parent company RK Netmedia also agreed to write an apology letter and added in the letter, "We are honored to provide scholarships to deserving students." That wasn't the only trouble for RK. The company is defending itself over multimillion-dollar copyright infringement claims by 26 recording company plaintiffs, saying it had no part in filming the 193 videos at the heart of the suit.
The San Diego native turned in a big year, making her Hollywood feature film debut in the thriller "Piranha 3-D" in which she did a sexy underwater nude scene with actress Kelly Brook. Then later in the year Steele hosted G4TV's two-hour special on South Africa's Sexpo.
Adult webmaster affiliate program RIVCash.com announced the expansion of its U.S. presence with the launch of RIVCams.com. The company said its program has grown from a small community with a few hundred members to one of the best-known webcam communities in all of Italy and Europe
After serving 10 months of a year and a day obscenity sentence at a Texas federal prison, Rob Black, the man behind Extreme Associates, returned to making movies — solely for distribution through Hotmovies.com. New Extreme 2.0 titles are now available on HotMovies monthly. "I could not be more appreciative of the guys at HotMovies, who had my back during the trial and my incarceration, and were the first to ask me for new product when they let me out of that place," Black said. "HotMovies will remain the only place to see my new product for the foreseeable future."
The adult star's innocent Twitter post about attending the Kansas-Kansas State college basketball game on March 3 on the KU campus sparked a full-court media press that made her into the No. 1 story on AOL.com in addition to news outlets from the HuffingtonPost.com to ESPN.com writing about her porn-KU connection. Ryan landed courtside seats to the game courtesy of KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend after a chance meeting on a plane trip from LA to Kansas City several months earlier. Then in June the six-year veteran performer landed a sponsorship with one of the largest online poker card rooms in the world, UltimateBet, which backed her in five World Series of Poker events in Las Vegas.
Sasha Grey continued her mainstream crossover success, landing a recurring role on HBO's iconic series "Entourage" playing the girlfriend of the lead actor Vince (Adrien Grenier). Grey also became what is believed to be the first porn star to grace the cover of Playboy magazine when she headlined the October issue with a six-page layout inside the publication.
After four years of searching for new buyer, the Sex.com domain name went on the auction block in early 2010 and was finally sold to Clover Holdings Ltd. for $13 million in November — $1 million shy of its 2006 purchase price paid by Escom. The site's sketchy history and questionable value even included it being hijacked from its original owner, Gary Kremen, at one point. Caribbean-based Clover Holdings was chosen from among 12 bidders after making the "highest and best offer." The deal was handled by domain broker Sedo.
Leased content provider SexEntertain announced the launch of its fourth generation Direct Feed video content delivery system that enables webmasters to embed any movie from SexEntertain's content library directly or into any mobile site pages under its control. Also announced in 2010 were new gay 3D animated web and mobile content feeds for Adult Source Media, mobile video feeds for gay producer Falcon Studios and JapanAnime feeds for mobile devices.
Affiliate network SIC Cash and VIP earnings ceased operations last August citing "the current economic circumstances and significant shifts in the adult industry." The company stated, "It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of SIC Cash. We would like to thank all our webmasters for your years of hard work. Thanks to you, this has been a rollercoaster of a ride." Veteran Brad Shaw and his parent company Shaw Investments, owned and operated the SIC Cash affiliate network.
Gonzo studio Smash Pictures rolled into mobile inking a deal with Europe's Night Mobile and a deal with German-based affiliate program SexGoesMobile that built its mobile site and feed for affiliates. Smash continued to deliver its fan-pleasing niche lineup of hardcore titles adding "gonzo king" Jim Powers to its stable whose directing debut included feature film "Friends & Family." The company also entered the parody fray with a "Divorce Court" spoof. A new 3D logo was also added to all of the company's productions hinting that 3D may well be in the company's future.
In July, a company press release delivered the news of President Stephen Bergquist and Vice President Laurie Bergquist's departure from the company after having represented Spartacus's manufacturing division for 17 and 22 years, respectively. Days later, it was announced that Spartacus co-founder Lynda Bedrosian (Laurie Bergquist's mother) had returned to Spartacus to manage the day-to-day operations.
The busiest stud in the business lent his massive services and confidently cocky attitude to virtually every major studio under the sun, yet no one will ever tire of seeing this superstar in action — or hearing that signature husky voice that makes men weak in the knees. Reed knows how to keep things fresh and exciting, and he easily deserved some performer of the year accolades. He's a winner no matter what the award shows say.
As accessible and friendly as they come, the former reality TV star — who charmed viewers during the 10th season of Big Brother on CBS in 2008 — made waves with his transition to porn in "Steven Daigle XXXposed," one of the most talked-about films of the year. He's worked with the best and shown a few different sides to his sexuality to keep things fresh. An appearance on Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta" (and an unfortunate arrest at a viewing party) have kept him in the headlines.
The award-winning, Louisiana-born performer/director announced on April 15 that she would not run for the U.S. Senate seat held by then-embattled David Vitter. Daniels said in an email that she could not afford to run against the GOP incumbent who in November was re-elected. Last May, Daniels announced the formation of a Senate Exploratory Committee not long after her fans began a movement to draft the star into running against Vitter, who was previously involved in a prostitution scandal.
STUART LAWLEY (ICM REGISTRY)
At the center of the .XXX sTLD initiative and controversy (with some opposition from the adult industry) is Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry, the organization pushing for the adoption of .XXX as the domain designation of choice for the adult industry. Lawley petitioned the ICANN body this year with a registry contract after ICANN initially rejected .XXX. Lawley began selling the .XXX suffix in hopes that ICM would be the gatekeeper for the sTLD. Lawley also bought the domain name DotXXX.com for $25,000 for advertising purposes, redirecting visitors to its official site, ICMRegistry.com. The ICM Registry also created the slogan, "Let's Be Adult About It," which will appear along with DotXXX.com in all future media campaigns. ICM also owns DotXXX.com, LetsBeAdultAboutIt.com and LetBeAdultAboutIt.com, all of which redirect to ICMRegistry.com as well. The ICM Registry's contract is now out for approval. Findings were expected prior to the ICANN meeting in Colombia in December.
In an effort to expand its streaming service to a larger audience, SugarVod announced that it added Microsoft's Silverlight VOD player to SugarVOD.com and SugarDVD.com. The company said the new player is Mac compatible and allows visitors to stream more than 50,000 movies. Both sites also offer a Windows Media player option. "The Mac market is growing and we want to ensure that these visitors are able to seamlessly watch any video on demand movie on our sites," SugarDVD CEO Jax Smith said.
THE SCREAMING O
The fun, youthful brand that is The Screaming O continued to charm young adults this year with sponsorships and participation in mainstream events and appearances on popular mainstream TV shows. The Screaming O's collection of products was showcased weekly on the Oxygen Network's "The Bad Girls Club," whose cast nicknamed The Screaming O's Rock On Sexy Elixir "horny juice." The Screaming O also appeared on FX's "Sons of Anarchy" and Oxygen Network's "Love Games."
Salacious news of the numerous extramarital exploits of the world's most famous athlete impacted adult in numerous ways. Once it became public that a handful of his alleged mistresses were former or current porn stars, parodies soon followed. Adam & Eve released "Tiger's Wood" and Wicked Pictures distributed ZB Ventures' "Tiger's Got Wood." Vivid Entertainment, meanwhile, cast alleged Woods mistress Joslyn James in "The Eleventh Hole."
One of the hot new directors to emerge in 2010 was an Evil Angel discovery named Timo, whose "reality porn from Russia" found a distribution home with the EA label Buttman Magazine Choice. Upon the release of his second movie "In Like Timo" in October, Evil Angel owner John Stagliano said he was inspired by Timo's knack for creating sexual spectacle. "I asked him to make a movie in St. Petersburg, Russia, his home. It is the city with arguably the most beautiful women in the world. He delivered a movie shot in exotic Russian night clubs, on speed boats and motorcycles."
TONY BUFF AND TITANMEN ROUGH
You won't find a nicer or better-spoken stud than Buff, one of the industry's greatest spokesmen. That makes what he creates on camera so shocking. Not only has the actor/director helped build Titan's fetish line Rough into a must-see event with every release (Kennel Masters? Fantastic!), but his hard work — which also extends to the studio's more mainstream fare — has earned him well-deserved awards and nominations throughout the year. His charisma alone has helped extreme content flourish, and the porn world is far better for it.
Affiliate powerhouse TopBucks celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010 with a number of announcements that included its new TBMobileServices B2B division (that created WastelandMobile and others), its flagship mobile site, iPad-optimized membership and VOD sites, an SMS referral program for affiliates and a partnership with XBIZ.net to provide enhanced attendee listings as part of its mobile show guide services. The company also released a mobile white paper based on propriety data it gathered from the Pink Visual network of mobile sites, as well as from third-party sources.
Among Topco's steady flow of new product releases, the company's launch of the Vida line of luxury vibes in January was celebrated in Hollywood style with a party at Voyeur nightclub that attracted a slew of popular mainstream celebrities, including the entire "Jersey Shore" cast, Sofia Vergara and Carmen Electra among others. The company's Agent Vida campaign took the line to many mainstream events, which also included the South by Southwest music festival. During July's ANME Founders Show, Topco gained notoriety with the presentation of its Fucked line that included items such as the CyberSkin Bleeding Pussy Stroker, Vomiting Mouth Stroker and Hermaphrodite Cock, Pussy and Ass. Topco Sales President Scott Tucker defended the line, saying, "Detractors should understand these toys are an outlet for people who have these fantasies. There is an educational component to them. Research shows there is a significant segment of the population with such paraphilias and these toys are in concert with their desires."
UKNAKEDMEN/PACIFIC SUN ENTERTAINMENT
Pacific Sun made one of the strongest additions ever in its long history with UKNakedMen this year. Ever since the release of "Are You Being Serviced?" in January, the web-to-DVD content has been lighting up the sales charts and garnering positive reviews, with titles like "Getting Ahead in Business" and "The Spurt Locker" (tee hee!) offering top quality productions to a new audience. The British are indeed coming, and the Americans are eating it up.
Live video chat giant Video Secrets' 14 years in adult saw the company enhance its affiliate program with new marketing tools and a streamlined user interface. It also launched BigCamTube.com it described as "a new kind of tube site that features thousands of videos recorded during live shows on the Flirt4Free webcam network." A new "tipping system" for live performers was unveiled as well as an enhanced broadcast system for performers who use Apple Macs.
VIVID ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
The industry giant continued with its industry strong suit by releasing celebrity sex videos of baseball mistress Mindy McReady, Playboy Playmate Karissa Shannon, "Girl Next Door" star Kendra Wilkinson and Hollywood daughter Montana Fishburne. Vivid's PR machine was also busy offering Octomom Nadya Suleman $500,000 to perform one scene and a job on its production crew, a porn directing deal for reality stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt and a performance offer to Russian spy Anna Chapman. Its traditional video machine announced its superhero parody line helmed by director Axel Braun that included the release of "Batman XXX" and a lineup that will include spoofs on "Superman," the "Hulk," "Spiderman" and others.
Standard Innovation Corporation, the company behind the We-Vibe couple's vibrator, this year expanded into a new headquarters in Ottawa and was approved for patents in Canada, the U.S., and other countries. The company expanded on its flagship product with the release of the We-Vibe II in teal and ruby colors, as well as three new designs: the We-Vibe Touch, We-Vibe Tango and We-Vibe Salsa vibrators.
Adult content provider Webmaster Central announced a Secure XML white-label gateway for gay HD content in 2010 that the company said provides access to scenes as well as metadata such as thumbnail, scene duration, title and niche. It also launched six fetish feeds: Pregnant Pounders, Me Myself and I, Bi Bi Boys, Foot Frenzy, Naughty Nurses and Ebony Booty and announced that its library of movies can now be viewed on every major mobile device. A new Webmaster Central Blu-ray series was also unveiled that's compatible with every major mobile device, and available wirelessly off of the Sony PlayStation 3 gaming console.
XBIZ saw continued growth and support from all sectors of the adult community in 2010 with another successful XBIZ LA event and Awards show, the Summer Forum and the XBIZ.net Santa Barbara gathering. With the success of the company's 2nd annual XBIZ.net London and first-ever XBIZ.net Paris gatherings, XBIZ announced plans to expand its European presence in 2011through all of its media products. Domestically, XBIZ announced a new Retail Expo and Conference to be held in Los Angeles in February dedicated to the adult retail sector in association with the premier adult retail chains of North America representing more than 200 establishments. The media company also took the lead in publishing technology adding a new "view in" feature to its digital publications and adding the digital editions to the Apple iPad platform. It also launched the XBIZ.net mobile B2B mobile social network. XBIZ Premiere and XBIZ World also added industry veteran journalists Bob Johnson and Dan Miller to its editorial team.
XBIZ announced the debut of the world's first-ever outdoor adult consumer event, XFANZ Summer Expo held last June, poolside at the world famous Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The show featured more than 100 adult top stars including MC Ron Jeremy, Lupe Fuentes, Joanna Angel and more. The show also introduced a raucous Bikini Pageant won by Fuentes who was also crowned the first-ever Miss XFANZ Summer. Guest judges on the day included adult stars Sunny Leone, Ashley Fires, Kagney Linn Karter, Lisa Ann, Evan Seinfeld and Sex Toy Dave. TMZ.com, 944, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Weekly all included print and web pieces at the unique outdoor event that allowed attendees to mix pleasure and a little. TMZ's headline blared, "Porn Fans Go to Hard Rock," and included photos of Riley Steele, Elizabeth Starr, Kayden Kross, among others.
AEBN social networking community, xPeeps celebrated four years of service in 2010 with the launch of a mobile version of the site for remote connection. The mobile xPeeps platform is available at m.xPeeps.com and offers a streamlined interface by which members can access the site's major functions, such as checking or sending messages, according to the company.
X-Play, one of the recognized leaders in the parody genre, signed a distribution deal with New Sensations/Digital Sin that began with the September release of "Not Charlie's Angels XXX." Owned by Jeff Mullen and Scott David, X-Play also continued to make parodies for Hustler Video, including "Not M*A*S*H XXX," and "Not the Bradys XXX: Bradys Meet the Partridge Family." At press time the company had just completed "Not the Bionic Woman Six-Million Dollar Man XXX," with no announcement on who would distribute.
A newly formed company, led by industry veteran Connor Young and backed by a private European investment group, took control over YNOT.com and Cybernet. The acquisition also included the newly launched YNOTEurope.com. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
ZERO TOLERANCE ENTERTAINMENT
The company announced plans to release dozens of thriller film parodies in an effort to capture a younger audience. It began the endeavor with director Gary Orona's "The Official Friday the 13th Parody." Future spoofs included porn versions of franchise films and horror classics such as "Scary Movie," "Scream," "Psycho," "Fatal Attraction," "Silence of the Lambs," "Halloween," "Basic Instinct," "Deliverance" and more.
Internet Payment Services Provider (IPSP) Zombaio announced the launch of a free website certification program targeting the online adult industry. The "Zombaio Certified Site " program is free for participating client merchants, and according to the company, websites that use its Certified Site seal on their main, tour and join pages will increase sales by 10-20 percent. The company also signed as an Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) corporate sponsor.