Day Two of the GAYVN Webmaster Retreat

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Day two of the first annual GAYVN Webmaster Retreat got started with a seminar called "Billing: Dollars and Sense." Moderator Brent Meredith of Maleflixxx led panelists Brian Silver of NetCash, Laurie Biviano of CCBill, Mitch Farber of NetBilling, and Jeff Thaler of Epoch through a discussion on merchant accounts and third-party processing, among other topics.

When asked what a webmaster should look for in an ideal payment processor, Thaler stressed, "Know who you're doing business with and what their track record is.... There are some payment types we at Epoch choose not to use. That's something you need to research for yourself. And know what they're going to charge you."

Farber pointed out to take into consideration the longevity of the company you're going to work with and for companies to do their homework. He added, "Don't join a company just to save some pennies or to save a processing fee."

Silver said, "You have to look at your business and decide how much risk you're willing to take."

There was also discussion of European transactions, how expensive it is to bank in Asia, the perils of telephone billing, and cascading systems, which both Epoch and CCBill are using. Cascading billing is what happens if one processor denies a transaction. The transaction info (aside from credit card number) then goes to another processor, which will ask for your credit card info and then may approve the transaction.

The second seminar was "Alternative Revenue Sources: Let the Good Times Roll." Moderated by Farley Cahen of AVN Media Network, panelists Brett Drysdale of Fleshlight, Gary Jackson of CCBill, Joe Sterner of PrideBucks, Rachael Jones of Netbilling, and Jack Shamama of Titan Media and discussed upselling, how to grow your audience, the relevance of customer service, and incentives to keep customers who are on the verge of cancelling their accounts.

Jackson stressed what became a theme of the discussion: the importance of knowing "the core of your business," knowing your customer.

Jones said that you should do whatever you can to keep a customer happy. If someone calls to cancel a membership, it's better to offer them a membership for half price than let them go entirely, because if they leave, you get nothing. If they stay for half price, you're at least getting something. Sterner added that if you can't get a customer to stay, you can make offers in the cancellation e-mail to the customer.

Sterner stressed that any up-sell items need to go with the content you already provide and said that you need to ask two questions when considering adding something for your members: Is this benefiting my site at all? Is it adding an extra bonus to my members?

Drysdale said that it was important to think outside the box and related that when he was at Jet Set, they held the first world premiere party for an adult film ("The Hole") at Virgin Megastore on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The third seminar, "2257 Legal Specific: What You Need to Know," was moderated by attorney Clyde DeWitt, with panelists Mark Kernes of AVN Media Network, Joan Irvine of ASACP, and attorneys Chad Belville and Jeffrey Douglas. The discussion revolved around ways to comply with 2257 to protect yourself and your company.

DeWitt stressed that despite 2257 having been ruled unconstitutional, it's still important to comply, in case, for example, a relative of a minor comes along and sues you. There was also a general consensus among the panelists that the government will overturn the recent 2257 ruling.

More than just looking over a model's ID, a good tip from the panel was to tape the model with their ID stating their personal info. DeWitt told a story of a girl who had "seller's remorse" and tried to sue a producer after having performed in a film. DeWitt, the producer's lawyer, showed the girl's lawyer a tape of her with her ID stating her personal info and the case was dropped immediately.

Some tips included keeping a copy of your paper files, cross-referencing real names and stage names, and alphabetizing the names. To remain compliant, you must have the records at your place of business, even if that is your home (no P.O. boxes). Another tip was to put your name as an image file on your site; a search engine won't pick up an image file.

A handout was also made available with tips and info on 2257 compliance.

After the final seminar, attendees gathered by the hotel's pool for a cocktail party thrown by the retreat's title sponsors,, Channel 1 Releasing,, and The GAYVN Retreaters mingled and networked as the Hollywood moon rose over the hills and live reggae music was performed for their entertainment.