Updated: Nov 2
My takeaways from attending XBIZ Amsterdam, TES Prague, and the AWSummit Ibiza
Blog Post Written By: MelRose Michaels
As most of you know, I traveled through Europe for two weeks in September 2023 to attend XBIZ Amsterdam, the TES Prague Conference, and the AWSummit Ibiza. What I experienced over those two weeks was profound. I know many creators don't have the opportunity to attend conferences overseas because it's costly and cost-prohibitive, so I want to share what I learned with you in hopes that it will shed some insight into the unique challenges European creators face. Additionally, I want to share insights I learned to apply to your business and game plan on how you can to these kinds of conferences in the future.
The first thing I want to discuss is my experience at XBIZ Amsterdam. I've never done an Expos in Europe or an Expos outside of the L.A. or Miami conferences. And upon arriving there, my first impression was how much bigger this conference was than the US. Expos conferences. There were way more creators in attendance at XBIZ Amsterdam than I was used to seeing in the U.S.-based conferences. And also, there was just a lot of different information available. You also get exposure to other platforms that are different from U.S.-based platforms. So that was insightful for me as well.
The biggest takeaway was how many more creators can attend EU conferences than American ones. And this had never crossed my mind before because, in reality, it's challenging for anyone outside the U. S. to travel to the U. S., right? Most countries require a proper visa to come to the U.S., not just having a passport. So that, by and large, is inherently a massive barrier to entry for many EU creators even to attend the U.S. conferences. I only just now thought about that when I attended XBIZ Amsterdam because when I was there, I was exposed to so many more creators than I'm not usually exposed to.
Additionally, when I was talking to these creators and asking them why they don't attend the U. S. conferences, this kept coming up, and it was something that I had yet to think about. I'm privileged to be an American citizen holding an American passport. I can travel to most places wherever I'd like without having to worry about a visa or going through an embassy or anything like that. So this was a big wake-up call for me that, as a primarily American creator, I am missing out on many opportunities and collaborations with EU creators who just can't make it to the US because of that significant barrier to entry. That was a big wake-up call for me when I was attending XBIZ Amsterdam. There are a lot of creators outside the American market that we could be collaborating with, and we could be making content with. We could be gaining access to their audience and fan bases and exchanging theirs for ours, which is very valuable in terms of leverage.
Everyone wants to access the U. S. fan base in the U. S. market because they tend to spend high amounts of money in U. S. dollars, which goes pretty far. But we could be collaborating with creators outside of America and outside the U.S. It could also be highly beneficial to us, which is something that I should have taken the time to think about or process.
Additionally, there were many companies I had never heard of before that I got to get acquainted with. And there was a lot of insight into technology. Compliance is also different from the U. S. For example; there were AI panels and panels around technologies that I attended. I heard magnificent conversations around the technology itself, like AI, for example, and the compliance piece that accompanied it. How these technologies are regulated in EU is so different from how they're regulated in America. I was getting that perspective by attending an EU conference.
I want to move on to the TES Prague and AWSummit conferences I attended. So, the following two conferences aren't really for creators. I was only in attendance because I was there promoting my company, Sex Work CEO, and my other data company. Creators don't typically attend these because they're not creator-based. They're more for traffic partners and affiliates. Because I now have these companies that I'm trying to build, it made sense for me to attend. There are takeaways that creators could benefit from learning, even though it's not worth your time to attend these two conferences as a creator.
The things that I found to be interesting were the traffic and affiliate summits. And what you can gain from them is traffic partners, which all creators need help with. As for affiliates, the average creator needs help understanding the affiliate business model. However, affiliates can be a massive piece of your business. If you can find a way to contact or talk to affiliates, you can gain the advantage of working alongside them. So what does this mean? So, at these summits, I met major traffic partners. These are people pushing traffic to agencies or platforms in the adult industry.
Because I was there and could speak to them from my company's perspective and as a creator, I have potential leads on traffic partners for myself. I will wait to mention who they are and what they are because I want to test everything before bringing it forward to my audience here and other creators. I want to make sure they're legitimate. It was interesting because I would have never had access to these traffic partners if I wasn't in attendance at those conferences, which aren't creator conferences. Most traffic partners prefer to work with platforms and companies other than the creators because it might be less lucrative for them to work directly with creators. This opened my eyes to the fact that if we can find ways to make it lucrative for traffic partners to work directly with creators, there's a way to market a business model that would work for us.
On the affiliate side, most people need to understand how affiliates work in adult. Affiliates drive clicks or traffic and take a revenue share commission from doing so. Almost all adult platforms work with affiliates to drive traffic to their page. These can be pay sites, platforms, companies, products, etc. But adult creators don't often do this in the same way as the average creator or influencer we see on Instagram and TikTok. I'm working with an affiliate model now, and I'm testing their product where all of the traffic or clicks that they bring to my adult pages, depending on the revenue made from those clicks, I will pay them out of commission.
If this works out and it becomes lucrative, or it makes sense, I could see independent adult creators working with affiliates directly in the future to do something similar for their businesses. So those are some of the biggest takeaways from attending XBIZ Amsterdam, TES Prague, and the AWSummit in Ibiza.
It wasn't what I expected going into the summits. I was very comfortable at the Creator Summit and very uncomfortable at the TES affiliate in the Traffic Summit. And that's because I have this self-limiting belief that I'm not just more than a creator at this point. I have these companies I am here to represent. It was uncomfortable to walk into a situation where I might still be viewed as only a creator, especially when they are not creator conferences. Even with the people I spoke to, I was getting feedback from people in the industry saying many people are intimidated to come up and talk to me. They weren’t sure about what businesses I run, and they're just not sure how to start the conversations. So, I had to learn to come out of my shell to make those connections and build those relationships, which doesn't come naturally to me.
Suppose you ever attend a conference that isn't a creator conference. I suggest working on that in that case because that's a struggle for me. I could have been more effective had I had that feedback sooner because it felt outside my comfort zone to be at a conference with few creators. That's one piece of advice I wanted to share from my experience over the last two weeks.
Overall, my recent journey through Europe to attend XBIZ Amsterdam, the TES Prague Conference, and the AWSummit Ibiza has been an eye-opening experience. It exposed me to opportunities and collaborations I had previously overlooked. The sheer scale of XBIZ Amsterdam, with its diverse attendees and different market perspectives, highlighted the significant differences between European and American conferences. This trip made me realize the privilege of being an American creator and the barriers European creators face when attempting to attend US conferences. It's clear that there are countless opportunities to collaborate and exchange audiences with creators outside the US, which can be highly beneficial.
Attending non-creator conferences like TES Prague and the AWSummit Ibiza was also uncomfortable but worthwhile. I learned the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone, primarily when representing my companies and making connections beyond the creator space. These experiences have broadened my horizons and offered valuable insights into the adult industry. I hope that by sharing my experiences, other creators can also consider the untapped potential of international collaborations and the benefits of attending diverse conferences. The world is full of opportunities waiting to be explored, and I encourage all creators to think beyond their comfort zones to reach new horizons.
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