Interview with Jay "LAJ" Kopita of

One of the things that I love most about being a writer is getting to interact with some pretty awesome people. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jay Kopita, or LAJ, the Editor-In-Chief of YNOT News, and the VP of Marketing and Communications for YNOTMasters. Here is what Jay had to say about working for YNOT, his recent Internext trip, and what is happening in the industry.

Muffy: My standard first interview question: How and when did you get started in the online adult business?
Jay: I made the transition from working in the mainstream entertainment industry to the adult Internet in May 2000. Before I made the jump I was doing PR for B-list television stars, syndicated television programming, and various production companies and studios to major mainstream publications. After doing my time in that for a few years and often promoting products and people I didn’t often care much for, I was ready to make a major life change, and did so when I answered an ad to work for an adult Internet company in their PR department. So here I am almost 3 ½ years later and I haven’t looked back!

Muffy: You are part of one of the most popular adult Webmaster resource sites. What is it like to be a part of the YNOT crew?
Jay: To put it simply, it is extremely satisfying and rewarding on a daily basis professionally, socially, financially… the whole nine yards. YNOT Bob (one of the owners) has always been like a big brother to me. At YNOT Masters we are given free reign to do our best work and truly be part of a team. It’s also very satisfying to know that the majority of all of the old-timers and many of the biggest players today in the industry got their start at YNOT. Since the YNOT Adult Network began in 1996, and was the only hangout on the Internet for adult Webmasters, I’m very proud to be a part of a company with such a long and respected history. It also doesn’t hurt to be recognized at every show either by my face, company or both!

Muffy: How has YNOTMasters changed or evolved since you started there?
Jay: We’ve become more efficient and streamlined as a company over the years. We are constantly adding products and services and changing with the times to meet the needs of Webmasters. Our ethical standards and business practices have remained constant, and I believe that we continue to raise the bar and set the example for Webmasters and adult site operators everywhere.

Muffy: This past year has been one of turmoil, conflict, and change for adult webmasters. Do you feel that in the end the industry will suffer because of it, or do you think this year will result in an overhaul of the industry for the better?
Jay: I have always felt that whatever house cleaning the industry needed that it couldn’t or wouldn’t do for itself, the government or some other external forces would do it for us. Regardless of how much suffering our industry will endure due to the latest issues in billing, legal and copyright, etc., I think those of us who are here for the long run will benefit as a result. Those who can’t handle the changes and turmoil will be weeded out. The unfortunate thing here is that we will also be losing several good Webmasters and companies over the next year as things play out either because of misinformation, lack of funds, or even “bad luck.” This industry is a perfect example of how the illegal and selfish actions of a few can affect everyone.

Muffy: Which of the following do you feel has been more damaging to the industry and why? Visa or Acacia?
Jay: From a financial standpoint, definitely Visa. Companies and individual Web site operators have been going out of business left and right largely because of their lack of compliance with the newest Visa regulations. The bottom line is, the adult Internet needs Visa… Visa doesn’t need the adult Internet. You have to pay to play, and unfortunately a lot of people just don’t “get it” which has been evidenced by the downfall of several companies, and Webmasters scrambling at the last minute to find alternative payment processing. I think the Acacia situation is damaging enough, but by comparison is something that our industry has a legitimate fight against, and organizations like the IMPA have been spearheading this fight.

I think Acacia went after the adult Internet figuring that they would have a series of easy settlements and banking on our industry being fragmented and in many cases, dealing with people who lack good business sense and maturity. Acacia is going to need all of the victories they can get to give them more of a legal leg to stand on in my opinion, but also to deal with all of the opposition that they are being met with. I think the adult Internet has a “winnable” battle on its hands.

Muffy: You recently attended the Internext convention in Hollywood, Florida. How did that particular show compare to previous Internext shows held elsewhere?
Jay: Well, I’ve always been more of a fan of the smaller shows like Cybernet Expo and The Phoenix Forum, but as far as Internext shows go, I thought business-wise that the recent show in Florida was one of the best ever for YNOT. Not to mention I really had a great time at this last show and enjoyed visiting Florida and the beautiful Diplomat hotel. I don’t care much for the Las Vegas shows or the Venetian Hotel. We usually get tons of business done at the winter Internext, and it’s absolutely necessary to attend, but I’d rather there was more of a theme and held in a different city. If they must be in Las Vegas I’m really hoping for a different venue one of these years.

Muffy: Were the effects from the changes over this past year clearly visible at this past convention?
Jay: Absolutely. For starters, it gave everyone something to talk about. Each show automatically brings with it a different vibe and a different crowd than the previous show. There were a few key players missing this year from last, the usual high turnover rate and personnel changes with so many companies, and fewer newbies present. The party atmosphere was certainly there, but people who really want to stick around in the years to come in this industry seemed to be a lot more concerned about the important issues than they did a year ago. The seminars were MUCH better attended this year than last… particularly the legal seminar.

Muffy: What additional transformations do you predict will happen in the online adult industry over the next year or two?
Jay: More regulations, more prosecutions, more innovation, and more companies going under. If Bush is re-elected in 2004 we can certainly expect his administration to throw billions of dollars towards actively prosecuting anything under the sun that they go after in our industry. Time is running out for all of the Webmasters who haven’t been “playing by the rules” all this time.

Muffy: Do you think that this industry is still profitable for newbies who wish to start from scratch? Or, is it now an industry where only the bigger adult companies can flourish?
Jay: Of course! People were saying there was no money to be made for newcomers a few years ago, and yet strangely enough some of the biggest program operators have only been online in the last couple of years. I’m not sure what the numbers are, but there are thousands upon thousands of people getting online for the first time every DAY somewhere in the world. This means more consumers and more potential Webmasters. Big companies go under just like small ones do as we have seen over the last few years. There will always be new moneymaking opportunities for newbies in this industry.

Muffy: Ok, last one. What is your favorite adult website and why? What is your favorite non-adult website and why?
Jay: If you are referring to porn sites, then there are too many to mention! Let’s just say that I have been a connoisseur of porn since a very young age, and any day that I am hit up to review a Web site featuring models that I enjoy looking at… that’s a good day!

My favorite non-adult Web site is Yahoo!, hands down. I’m there every day and it has everything I need for all of my non-adult needs… search, news, sports, maps, games… it’s all there.

Muffy: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. I have always enjoyed reading YNOT News and it was definitely a pleasure hearing some opinions on the state of the online adult business from such a respected industry member.


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