By Ken Knox, reprinted with permission from
(August 7, 2006) - Seminars weren't the only place for webmasters to get practical advice at Internext. A series of workshops provided show attendees with insight and direction on issues of particular importance right now.
Joan Irvine and Tim Henning from the ASACP were both on hand for Saturday morning's surprisingly scantly attended Web Labeling workshop, a gathering intended to educate adult-site owners on the importance of placing warning labels on their sites to discourage children from seeing adult material.
Several industry players also participated in the workshop, including
Mo Botero, Justin Mattina of the
WebsiteRating and Advisory Council (WRAAC)
, Cydata Services' Brandon Shelton, and industry attorney Larry Walters, all of whom agreed it is in the industry's best interest to agree to use a standardized label, something that the ASACP is already in the process of creating.
Irvine spoke of the pending law that will require adult webmasters to appropriately label their sites, but counseled attendees not to rely upon the law. "It's a good idea for us to use our own labeling system to show that we are serious about protecting kids from adult content," Irvine said.
Botero agreed, offering his own point of view as well, saying that "It's just good business practice" for adult site owners to get on the labeling bandwagon. "The government really just wants us to be responsible, which we should be doing anyway. We should do this so we can go on with our happy lives and make some money."
Walters also warned against waiting on the government to come up with a label to use. "It's not 100 percent that they're going to get this law approved. If we're able to dodge the bullet this time, however, we should still adopt our own system of self-regulation. If we have our own system, we will have an excellent argument to go to congress with to say, 'There's no need for this. We've done it on our own.'"
A portion of the hour-long workshop was devoted to a discussion of the WRAAC's recently launched Parental Control Bar, filtering software that makes it possible for putting the power back into the hands of parents who wish to shield their children from pornography. Walters agreed that the software was a good idea. "Parental responsibility is a recurrent issue when it comes to protecting kids from porn," he said. "In the real world, however, that's not how it works. The government's stance is that kids know more about technology than their parents do."
Still, Walters maintained that the adult industry must step up to the plate and prove how responsible it could be. "We see operating in the adult arena as a right; the government sees it as a privilege. We have an opportunity to retain that privilege," Walters stated, adding that adopting our own label is the industry's "last chance" to prove its mettle.
Wildline!'s Jonny B., one of the few webmasters who turned out for the important workshop, bemoaned the lack of attendance. "This is probably the single most important issue facing the adult Internet industry," he commented during the question and comments section toward the end of the workshop. "I'm shocked that more people didn't come out for this."