XBIZ Berlin 2016: Day 1 Report

Sep 13, 2016 3:15 PM PST

BERLIN — The inaugural XBIZ Berlin webmaster conference’s educational series got underway Monday, anchoring the day’s schedule for the online adult industry’s most highly anticipated autumn event.

Presented by TrafficPartner and its family of leading industry brands, XBIZ Berlin runs from Sept. 11-14 at the Catalonia Berlin Mitte Hotel on 80-82 Köpenicker Strasse, where European adult industry leaders are gathering with their peers from around the world for learning, networking and fun social events.

Sponsored by NETbilling, XBIZ Berlin’s educational series features the industry’s top thought leaders as they provide their latest insider insights on current ways of generating and monetizing internet traffic.

Always well received, XBIZ’s seminar schedule received a remake for this event, when for the first time, the educational sessions were divided into topic-specific tracks that targeted key industry segments — with the first day focused on live cams and ad networks.

The live cam track revealed the top techniques for promoting cam sites, along with the latest trends in white labels, the newest innovations in cam network technology, and tips for working with cam studios.

Monday’s seminars kicked off with an afternoon session discussing “Promoting Cam Sites” featuring CAM4’s Jan Brockmann, Beatrice Kadar of Camplace, Marissa Ataliotis of PussyCash/ImLive, Supermen’s Douglas Richter, and Steve Hamilton of Cams.com, with moderation by HoloFilm Productions’ Anna Lee, as the panel focused on the newest moneymaking strategies driving cam market profits.

Next in the spotlight was “Working With White Labels,” a classroom-style workshop session hosted by CherryPimps’ Jack Avalanche and featuring panelists Jasmine Grant from Flirt4Free, Marissa Ataliotis of PussyCash/ImLive, Supermen’s Douglas Richter, Streamate’s Yuval Kijel and Steve Hamilton of Cams.com, as they tackled the ins-and-outs of profiting from these popular promo tools.

With their ascendancy to become a vital component of the live cam ecosystem, “Trends: Cam Studios,” looked at live content production and model relations today. Moderated by JuicyAds’ Alex Lecomte, the session brought together several of the most innovative studio operators and cam insiders, including MGroup’s Diego Hernandez, with Mugur Cosmin Frunzetti of Studio20, Mia Saldarriaga from JuanBustos, and Anthony from AJ Studios.

The final session in the live cam track looked at current and future market trends, with moderation by GameLink’s Jeff Dillon and an all-star panel including AliceX’s Fabian Frey, Supermen’s Douglas Richter, Beatrice Kadar from Camplace, and CAM4’s Jan Brockmann, as they discussed how new technology is pushing the cam market forward.

As expected, the hot topic was the marriage of camming and virtual reality.

Frey started the discussion by telling the audience that “VR is the perfect application for live camming,” explaining how consumers desire the feeling of a model’s presence in the room, and detailing the setup of the low latency cameras that AliceX uses for its own VR productions.

Richter says that while VR may be the future, it’s at least a year away.

“Technology drives sales,” Richter told the audience. “We look at the actual device penetration on the user side.”

Richter explained that not only is VR currently a micro-niche market, especially in context of his sites’ 10’s of millions of users, but the overall poor network connectivity in America (poised to be VR’s top marketplace), is only in the neighborhood of 1.5Mbp/s — far slower than needed to stream VR cams, making its uptake an issue of major infrastructure expansions — and that takes time.

“Sure, if you’re in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or Miami, you can get a great connection,” Richter explained, “but your customers are in Iowa and Aspen.”

Kadar agreed, noting that Camplace sees most of its VR customers coming from the U.S., and says that “To have a good VR experience, you need a really good internet connection.”

Brockmann says that its CAM4VR product is providing insights to the company on what consumers want.

“[VR cams] change the interaction between the model and the user,” Brockmann says. “A lot of viewers are looking for this more immersive, intimate experience.”

The panel agreed that it may be easier for a new or small company to focus on VR as a primary market, whereas it is only a small percentage of users on larger networks, whose resources need to be allocated accordingly, so until there is more consumer demand, there is little priority being given to development.

Other topics the panelist addressed included issues of performer compensation and avatar licensing in a virtual world, the use of haptic devices as an incremental revenue stream and a need to balance budgets between technology acquisition and marketing efforts.

For example, Richter discussed his intense focus on developing query strings, based on his expert insight and niche knowledge, which he says led to the exponential growth of Supermen.com. Kadar echoed this investment, discussing how Camplace is building the infrastructure to support tighter niche camming.

For his part, Frey is looking forward, casting an eye out to 2035 and the promise of high-end sex robots, as pointing the way to camming’s interactive future — with the panelists expressing optimism over the prospect of such immersive offers.

Taken as a whole, XBIZ Berlin’s live cam track provided a comprehensive view of this dynamic business and its future.

Running concurrently, was an executive track on working with ad networks, designed to empower both advertisers and publishers with the latest information on profitably buying and selling ads, along with a look at the newest trends in ad network technology, and the current state of internet traffic acquisition and monetization, all carried out through a series of roundtable workshops.

First up was a look at “Buying Ads,” with Alisya from TrafficShop, Peter from TrafficHaus, and Laura from TrafficPartner, followed by a workshop on strategies for “Selling Ads,” also with Jake from TrafficHaus, and joined by JuicyAds’ Alex Lecomte and Wouter Groenewoud from TrafficCompany.  

Next came a look at “Ad Tech Trends,” profiling innovation in ad networks, and featuring Peter from TrafficHaus, Mint’s Yasuhiro Kawashima, Laura from TrafficPartner and Karll Cloutier from MindGeek.

Finally, an examination of the “State of Traffic” presented JuicyAds’ Alex Lecomte and Karll Cloutier from MindGeek, along with a roundtable of industry operatives representing a range of experience including a month-old startup and the some of the most profitable brands in the business, revealing the realities of this increasingly sophisticated arena.

The group tackled the pros and cons of self-serve ad sales versus working with an established network, as well as the fundamentals of valuing the ad spots a publisher’s site might offer.

“Whatever CPM you’re generating is a reflection of the kind of visitors that you are getting and their willingness to spend money on something, to make a purchase, and that drives the CPM,” Cloutier says. “Once you realize that, you’ll know the value of it.”

The subject of fraud and its many facets was raised, with considerations of everything from artificially generated ad clicks, non-human traffic, and outright criminal activity on tap.

“We have an internal department devoted to fraud protection that costs us a fortune,” Cloutier confides — a necessary step in preventing bad actors from using ad networks to spread malware and scam offers, which sometimes result in salacious media stories that spread fear and hesitation among consumers.

“People are very concerned about their identity while they surf the internet and check porn, dating and affair sites,” Lecomte says, noting that the problems are not usually caused by the serious players that make the investment in this business to come to the shows.

Dealing with these inept and malicious clients can become more than annoyance and puts ad networks in the middle of disputes between advertisers, publishers, and rights holders.

“When an affiliate creates a new campaign using banners that are not his, he is not ashamed of stealing that content,” Lecomte adds. “The vision they have is not how we do clean and sustainable business.”

Lecomte calls the cat-and-mouse game between ad networks and fraudsters “a vicious circle,” saying that companies need to invest in their own resources to protect their brand and build their traffic and notes that “This investment is why some companies are more successful than others.” 

In addition to traffic from ad networks, the latest in social media marketing, including how cam models are leveraging it to their benefit as a traffic source, plus search engines and more, were also discussed.

“It’s quality traffic because the guy’s looking for it,” Lecomte says. “It’s not something that just comes out of the traffic bin.”

And it is another example of the diversity of discussions underway at XBIZ Berlin.

In addition to its seminars, XBIZ Berlin offers a range of receptions and daily sponsored happy hours, including the Mix & Meet Happy Hour, and more, with event attendees enjoying an end to their first day at Epoch’s Oktoberfest Bash, celebrating the firm’s 20th anniversary.

Another full day of seminars is set for Tuesday, as is WIA’s Power Brunch giving female executives the opportunity to build global relations, while a night of intimate debauchery at the notorious KitKatClub will ensure an entertaining time for all XBIZ Berlin attendees.

For more information, visit XBIZBerlin.com.

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