We all know it. Sex sells. And since the very first email was sent, porn online quickly became one of the most profitable ventures the World Wide Web has seen. I remember days when there were panels on the sex industry because it was a model for how to generate revenue (and eyeballs) that others tried to emulate. (ex. Austin, TX South By Southwest March 2000 panel "Where the Skin Trade Goes, Does The Rest Of The Web Follow?") When the little Internet industry grew up and became a raging monster, porn just became one of the noisy children clamoring for attention. And now that it has quieted down again, the porn industry has shown it never lost any ground in the online race.
For instance, in the last two weeks two skin-mags have held events promoting their online entities with much fanfare. On February 20th Larry Flynt opened his new Hustler nightclub in San Francisco (http://www.hustlerclubsf.com/), which created a media frenzy and featured press-only receptions with the "Hustler Honeys." This week, Penthouse lured guests to its soiree with its Pets as featured guests at Grand Central Station's Metrazur restaurant on Monday, February 25th. I stopped by the "AlcoholReviews.com-Penthouse Magazine Vodka Festival 2002" to find out the motive behind Penthouse's party and how they came to align with the Uniformed Firefighter's Association Scholarship Fund. While the perimeter of the restaurant was lined with Vodka vendors offering shots of their product, waiters aggressively passed around crab cakes and fried dough to soak up bellies full of cocktails. Fellows in suits mingled and oogled at Penthouse Pet March 2002 Courtney Taylor and 2002 Penthouse Pet of the Year Megan Mason and I busied myself by chatting with Engine 40 Ladder 35 firemen Mike Kotula, Anthony Rucco, Brian Duffy, Ray Pfeifer and Robert Menig about the fund. This fund will go towards helping the education of children who lost affected by the WTC disaster. Happyhours.com publisher Stephen Gilberg was beaming as he told me he had just raised money for his business and the check came in this day. NY Post photographer Sylvain Gabourg was busy clicking away at the models, and I snapped a few too: http://cyberscene.fotki.com/2002/alcoholreviewscom-p/. Despite the temptation to stay, I decided that I should temper my Monday evening activities and promptly made my way home (with a goodie bag of many product samples)!