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Internet pornography: naked bodies are cheaper than ever before

From It is estimated that about 25% of total search engine requests are porn-related. Accessing x-rated material on the Internet is the fastest and most anonymous way to watch porn. Nowadays, it has also become very cheap. With the introduction of numerous free websites and torrents, the cost of online pornography significantly decreased.

Sex sells. It is estimated that the pornography industry in the United States earns over $10 billion each year. It is more money than the NFL, NBA, and major league baseball combined! Over $2 billion of that amount is spent on the Internet pornography, distributed primarily via websites, peer-to-peer file sharing, or Usenet newsgroups.

The high revenues of the online porn industry are the result of meeting consumers’ demand. The Internet offers a level of anonymity never available before. You can view x-rated material in the comfort and privacy of your home, concealing your interest from family members and coworkers.

It is interesting to consider the differences that the Internet has created between current and past pornography. The development of personal computers in the beginning of 1980s started the technical revolution. Innovative color monitors with better screen resolution coincided with the development of File Transfer Protocols, which allowed people to transfer files between computers.

That time online distribution of pornography often consisted of scanned photos from adult magazines uploaded by Internet users. Even though modem connection was slow, and the transfer of large files was expensive, online pornography was a great success. This type of distribution was generally free (apart from fees for Internet access).

Around this time frame, pornography was also distributed via Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) such as Rusty n Edie’s. They became a repository for numerous x-rated images scanned by contributors. These BBSs could charge users for access, leading to the appearance of commercial pornography online. For example, Rusty n Edie’s BBS charged users an $89 annual membership fee.

The invention of the World Wide Web in 1991 and opening of the Internet to the general public made way for a massive wave of pornographic distribution. Although domain names had been in use since 1984, the first major site for pornography – (it passed through numerous ownerships over the past decade) was registered only in 1994.

At the end of 1990s, when Internet advertising was booming, millions of dollars were spent for promotion of adult websites. Their owners made use of online e-commerce mechanisms such as catalogues and online payment systems, monthly fees and provision of free x-rated material to attract customers.

According to Forrester Research, in 1999 Internet users spent about $1.3 billion on online porn. That represented about 8% of all e-commerce that year. It was more money than people spent online on books or plane tickets. Back then, online pornography was the leading industry on the Internet.

The introduction of speedy broadband connections intended to transmit high quality videos led to the explosion in the commercial distribution of pornography. According to an October 2000 report in the New York Times, nearly 20% of AT&T broadband customers were paying to watch online sex, at an average rate of $10 per film.

The rise of pornography websites offering streaming media including video chats and live webcam access allowed greater access to pornography. A lot of women were selling one-on-one chat at really exorbitant rates. Instead of just watching videos of naked people, Internet users could chat with them, suggest ingenious activities for them to undertake, test their mathematic sills and whatever else struck their fancy.

Nowadays, accessing x-rated material online is as simple as typing ‘porn’ into a search engine box and sitting back, waiting for thousands of results to appear. Compare it with the time before the Internet appeared – any young adult was happy if he could find a Playboy magazine!

Experts say that tech advances and the growing use of broadband will fuel even more growth in the online pornography. The newest trend for adult websites is to cater to niche audiences. Nowadays there is a website for just about every kink.

The Internet has opened the door to far greater accessibility of pornography. You can watch x-rated material online any time, anywhere. It is available in much larger quantities than traditional porn and at a cheaper cost.

Some industry leaders have estimated that somewhere between 10 and 30% of all websites on the Internet are porn-related. They have 68 million hits a day. Every second about 28,000 Internet users are viewing pornography. An average visit lasts 11.6 minutes.

As you see, the Internet pornography is a big business. There are millions of adult sites on the web, with more being added each day. Some years ago the distribution of x-rated material was mainly (but not limited to) commercial. Nowadays, while some sites still charge a fee (the most common prices are in the range of $20 to $30 per month), you can also find a lot of free porn resources online.

There are several types of free adult websites:

• Amateur pornography. Many Internet users took advantage of the opportunity to build their own websites and post amateur pictures.
• User-supported websites, for example sex stories portals which contain prose stories written by their members.
• Usenet newsgroups. Even though they were the first home to x-rated material, Newsgroups tend to be poorly organized and flooded with off-topic or spam.
• Peer-to-peer file sharing networks, including torrents. While such networks have been mainly associated with the illegal sharing of music and movies, they also provide x-rated material for sharing. Many commercial porn websites have recognized this trend and started to upload free samples of their content on peer-to-peer networks.
• TGP websites. Trying to snag new customers, commercial website owners started to deal with free promotional “thumbnail gallery post” (TGP) websites. These resources contain a variety of small sample images (or videos) from commercial sites sorted by category. If a user purchases a subscription to a commercial site after redirecting from a free thumbnail gallery site, the commercial site makes a payment to the owner of the free site.
• Free hosted galleries. They provide samplings of full-sized content from commercial pornography sites.
• Link lists. They are categorized web lists of links to so called “free sites”. Unlike TGP sites, links are provided in a form of text, not thumbs. It is still a question which form is more descriptive to a surfer, but many webmasters think that link lists make searching easier.
Commercial adult websites employ a lot of methods to defend against free competitors. In addition to distributing a portion of their material available without charge, they often offer a single fee that includes unlimited usage of content for a prescribed period of time, typically a month. Having unlimited access, a subscriber has little incentive to seek x-rated materials anywhere else.

To further distinguish their paid services from free competitors, many Internet porn websites have started to offer adult materials in new formats. Besides commonly used images and videos, you can take advantage of interactive systems such as real-time “chat” communications, which are typically unavailable from free websites.

In addition, commercial websites provide content in very high quality. If YouTube videos typically show just 240 lines of video resolution, 49% of commercial porn websites have 480 or more lines of resolution. About 5% of porn websites offer videos with 720 or more lines of resolution (better than DVD quality).


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