Internext Begins with a Bang

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Internext Summer 2007 got off to a rousing start Thursday evening.

The early-evening welcome cocktail party at BarSu in the lobby of the swank Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa provided everyone - from industry moguls to newbies - an opportunity to exchange greetings and business cards, renew old acquaintances and make new ones, and connect for business in inimitably Internext fashion. The atmosphere and drinks were cool, and the company was hot.

"This already is one of the most interesting and engaging conventions I have attended," Sounds Publishing Chief Executive Officer Brian Oliver-Smith told AVN Online. "I look forward to speaking at the ‘iSex' seminar [Friday], and I know this will help to spread knowledge throughout the industry. The welcome party was a class act and did not disappoint."

"This is as much fun as it is important," Sam Irwin of SearchBoxxx said. "I am looking forward to gaining as much from this convention as possible."

A little later, the GFY Warm Up Party was the place to be. The bull-ridin' fiesta, packed with newbies and veterans, embodied the essence of a reunion.

"We wanted to create what we do every year at Internext: a party that is a networking environment that starts the conference off hot," said host Eric Matis, a Playboy division vice president. "The mechanical-bull riding always makes for good entertainment."

Among those in the act of catching up was Wasteland Chief Executive Officer Colin Rowntree, who launched his BDSM-and-fetish website in 1994. Rowntree said he was looking forward to participating in the "iSex" panel discussion.

"I will discuss how Web 2.0's user-generated content is out there, yet no one has figured out how to monetize it outside the perimeters of MySpace and YouTube," he said. "We will figure it out. As Rich Botto with MaxCash said in 1997, ‘We are pornographers; these are our shows. It's our profession. Be proud!'"

Overheard during the soiree was word that FlashCash has purchased a new office in Toronto, Naughty Allie relaxed before the trade show by taking a day hike, and Stroker Serpentine (who has initiated a lawsuit that will test the bounds of trademarks and copyrights within virtual worlds) and Epoch Communications Director Rand Pate discussed doing business after bumping into each other for the first time.

"I'm excited about the potential to merge the mediums of mainstream porn - including DVDs and streaming - with Cybersex," Serpentine, a first-time Internext attendee, told AVN Online. "We will be bringing pay-per-view into the virtual world."

Pate interjected that Epoch has a billing solution for pay-per-view.

As the party continued, people began circulating on the outside balcony in the 86-degree weather under a glowing orange moon.

Not bad for a first night.