NetWinner Sponsors Porn Discussion…at a Dragon*Con Convention

April 29, 2008

Update, 5/5: I’m not a journalist; I’m a stay-at-home mom. Although I do try to think like a journalist when I do the research for my posts, I did make a mistake on this one: I posted earlier that Dragon*Con was a porn convention. I was wrong. It’s a gaming-related convention. My deepest apologies to Dragon*Con and its many fans and attendees.
Update, 4:42pm: Despite this information surfacing, two NW mods today insist, “This is a family game site.” The info below is being dismissed as “gossip” and irrelevant and members are being warned they will be banned if they discuss it. While I appreciate everyone’s support, please don’t violate NWC’s forum rules! This website has a much wider reach than their forum and the public IS being informed. Please see my response to this post below. Thanks, and best wishes to all unpaid members.
Someone sent me a very interesting link today, to a porn industry newsletter. Because I’ve always prided myself on being a (mostly!) family-friendly website, I won’t post the link but it’s available upon request. This is a cropped screenshot of the relevant part. Please note the part that says “sponsored by…Netwinner.com.”
nwsponsorspornpanel.jpg
I found this to be a very odd business decision. NetWinner doesn’t show porn ads during its games. I looked and couldn’t find where NetWinner had sponsored any other types of discussion panels…why a porn industry one? What was the significance of the porn industry to NetWinner?
I did some digging and found the following:
According to the North Carolina Secretary of State‘s office, a guy named Scott Coffman is NetWinner LLC’s registered agent for service of process (he’s the person you’d have to physically hand papers to if you intended to sue NetWinner). Whoever this guy is, he’s got a huge responsibility, so he has to be someone NetWinner trusts to stay in close contact.
So, who is this guy? According to his LinkedIn profile, Scott Coffman of Charlotte, NC is the president and owner of AEBN.
linkedin.jpg
This article, originally in Business North Carolina, says that AEBN.net “sells pay-per-minute porno online.” The article was co-written by a Steve Goldberg. Steve Goldberg is also the name of NetWinner’s Director of Communications, the PR guy (see the credits below their 4/15 press release) who also contributed to my February post on NetWinner. Coincidence?
What about the VP I talked to? Does he have a connection to AEBN? Yep! Google Matt Coapman AEBN and you’ll see that he used to be AEBN’s Global Marketing Manager.
What does all this mean? First of all, I’m not making any moral statements about porn; I’m a firm believer in a free market and staying out of the business of what’s done among consenting adults. I just question the business logic in having NetWinner co-sponsor a porn industry discussion panel as a PR event rather than, say, a NASCAR race. I don’t know much about porn discussion panels but I’d imagine that there aren’t many Fortune 500 companies sponsoring them.
It’s a shame that NetWinner’s not as successful as AEBN — according to Alexa.com, it’s the 255th most visited website on the internet with somewhere between one and ten million dollars in revenue.

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