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It’s probably not unrealistic to say that porn makes up 30% of the total data transferred across the internet.
April 10, 2012 5:38 AM   Subscribe

It’s probably not unrealistic to say that porn makes up 30% of the total data transferred across the internet.
posted by analogtom (81 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's an awful lot of wanking.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:44 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Only 30%?
posted by item at 5:47 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sorry...
posted by dave78981 at 5:51 AM on April 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


Seems low to me. Seriously.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:51 AM on April 10, 2012


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of a fast internet connection must be in want of some porn.

Really wish I could share this with the Austen professors I know, but I'm not sure they would enjoy it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:51 AM on April 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


That's an awful lot of wanking.
posted by GallonOfAlan


eponysterical?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:51 AM on April 10, 2012 [33 favorites]


Some of y'all are really bringing the average down.

Up! I mean up!
posted by Etrigan at 5:52 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, streaming video. And as usual, that 30% is probably down from previous years because these technologies have now trickled to the mainstream (netflix, hulu, etc.).
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:53 AM on April 10, 2012


The most interesting part to me was how short the average visit is on non-porn sites. When I hear about a viral video that's more than a couple minutes long, like the Kony thing, I always wonder what tiny fraction of those millions of viewers actually watched the whole thing.

(I did watch all of Eagles are Turning People into Horses, though.)
posted by pete_22 at 5:54 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


While it’s difficult domain to penetrate — hard numbers are few and far between

I see what you did there
posted by VTX at 5:56 AM on April 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


"If they took all the porn off the Internet, the only thing left would be one web site named 'bring back the porn.'" (paraphrased from Dr. Cox)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:56 AM on April 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


How do they pay for all this? I'm having difficulty believing anyone a) buys anything they b) found via an ad c) on a porn site.
posted by DU at 5:57 AM on April 10, 2012


Does that include the hours of crap broadcast via places like Chatroulette, Omegle, Stickam, etc?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:01 AM on April 10, 2012


Further proof that the Internet is a series of tubes. Some bigger than others.
posted by delfin at 6:02 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aren't most porn site ads for pay porn sites and online strippers? Isn't that more profitable sounding than say facebook's ads?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:02 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


C'mon, cute animal video watchers! We've got a lot of ground to recover!
posted by Zed at 6:07 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now wait a minute. Since there are at least twice as many cat videos and images on the internet as there are porn materials, this suggests that 90% of the internet is cats and porn!

Which may actually be correct, now that I think of it....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:08 AM on April 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Every now and again there's another article about how --shock horror-- it's the people in the US bible belt(s) who are the biggest buyers of porn and I always think that's because these are the very last people in the world to have discovered that the internet is full of free porn and are the only people left with subscriptions to penthouse.com.

This statistic sort of confirms that.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:08 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I read this a few days ago. It's pretty fascinating. They must have some seriously bad-ass sys-admins working in the porn industry. I'm also impressed that the online porn industry is money making, since it seems like there is free porn everywhere you look.
posted by chunking express at 6:11 AM on April 10, 2012


C'mon, cute animal video watchers! We've got a lot of ground to recover!

I have a friend who works for 'a large search engine company' and I asked them what percentage of the internet is cute cat videos.
They asked one of their internal technical email lists. Fist we had to define what was cute and we chose 'anything that's not a snuff video'. The ultimate reply from the people who actually know was, 'about 10% of the internet is Youtube and about 10% of that is cut cat videos'.

So, yeah the cute cat videos people have a long way to go to catch up with the p0rn.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:13 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know it may be hard to believe, but not everyone wants to spend a lot of time looking at pictures and videos of cats

(now naked people, on the other hand..)
posted by delmoi at 6:25 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


this suggests that 90% of the internet is cats and porn

That's a whole lot of pussy.
posted by fight or flight at 6:30 AM on April 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


Boobs and kittens? Which category does that go in?
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:33 AM on April 10, 2012


This is a bad thing?
posted by jonmc at 6:43 AM on April 10, 2012


Ceiling cat is pleased by your offering.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:49 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back in pre-WWW days, everyone knew 50% of the net was porn.

The other 50% was Star Trek.

A Venn diagram probably would have shown some...intersection.
posted by PapaLobo at 6:50 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


There are an awful lot of cute cat photos that don't come in video form. I'd agree that doesn't require much bandwidth, but maybe fairs better when considering total human attention span. Any statistics on page views for the larger meme sites vs. page views for the big porn sites? I'm sure email forwards contain more cute cats than porn, but that's distorted obviously.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:52 AM on April 10, 2012


Wow...what else is there?
posted by Postroad at 7:02 AM on April 10, 2012


A Venn diagram probably would have shown some...intersection.

Some?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:02 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mega-(tera-,peta-,exo-) bytes are a peculiar, and geeky, way to measure the significance of this. It is true that most porn comes as streaming video. That is a contingent fact about the domain. Say, for argument's sake, that 10 Mb of streaming video occupies your attention for 1 minute. Now think of the time you spend on the blue, which requires far less bits, but may (perhaps?) occupy your attention similarly for 1 minute. Writing this comment alone is occupying me for rather more than that. For sure, one way to view the internet is as a bunch of bits. But bits are meaningless. Attention paid is meaning incarnate. I suspect far less than 30% of the internet is pr0n if measured in any meaningful way.
posted by stonepharisee at 7:03 AM on April 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


So porn takes up 30 percent of Internet bandwidth, and Netflix takes up 32 percent (during peak hours). So at most, only about a third of the Internet is used for productive ends.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:04 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back in pre-WWW days, everyone knew 50% of the net was porn.

The other 50% was Star Trek.

A Venn diagram probably would have shown some...intersection.


Erm... that leaves for no intersection at all.

/pedant
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 7:10 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


only about a third of the Internet is used for productive ends

Some of us can't really be productive without the porn. So I guess, it's indirectly productive.
posted by gagglezoomer at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know it may be hard to believe, but not everyone wants to spend a lot of time looking at pictures and videos of cats

What kind of pervert are you, sir, to suggest such a thing!?!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2012


I love stuff like this that really underscores the human condition, way back when I was a teenager, I had part-time job at a pharmacy (this was just pre-internet era in the mid-80s), and I used to get tickled to no end when one of the pharmacists ran a Rx ranking on the fancy (for the time) in-house computerized customer database and Valium always was at #1 and Ortho-Novum (Birth control) were always at #2. It might've been the other way around with the birth control pills at #1 and the Valium at #2, can't remember precisely, but it gave this quite naked perspective of the neighborhood basically fucking and then taking valium until they had sex again, or taking both at the same time more likely...

It made me realize what a precarious and uneasy thing most people's lives are really situated exactly in those two psychic areas. But obviously that was the good ole days when people still fucked, because guys could still get it up because they weren't wanking until their penises were numb and exhausted. I expect at this point KY and hand lotion are in that #1 and #2 spot, followed by Xanax and more Xanax and probably Ambien or Seroquel (Sleep pills).

Less fapping, and more fucking people. Get on it!
posted by Skygazer at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, if we estimate (conservatively) that xvideos and youporn, the two largest sites, account for about half of all porn transmitted through the web (and remember, the web is only part of the whole internet and torrents, ftp, and other arcane porn transfer protocols are not being included in this estimate), and an average data size of 600kb for a second of video, that means that about 100,000 seconds of porn video are being transmitted across the web every second.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:24 AM on April 10, 2012


Jon_Evil, that seems incredibly low-- so only 100k people, in the entire world are looking at (video) porn at any one time?

For comparison, just the Chinese version of World of Warcraft has said they've had over 1 million concurrent users (1,000,000s of fantasy action per second)
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:39 AM on April 10, 2012


The internet is made of cats pussies.
posted by drlith at 7:43 AM on April 10, 2012


back in 92, it was common knowledge in the internet routing industry that about half of all traffic was porn. AVI and Quicktime probably caused a bigger (albeit quieter) sexual revolution than the pill.
posted by felix at 7:45 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Felix: I knew a fairly early cisco employee who (in the early 1990's) claimed he had shipped more porn than Larry Flynt. It seemed a very credible claim.

As for porn being 30% of the net ... These days, I disbelieve that. I think the rate is lower. There's enough popular high-bandwidth non-porn applications (ranging from LOLCat pictures to Netflix/Amazon streaming video to bittorrent) that it's swamping the porn.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:50 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even 30% is surprising to me. The existence and popularity of internet porn has been greatly exaggerated. As people seem to be doing in this thread. For instance, it's pretty clear (by the data in the article linked) that there's been no point in time when porn accounted for 50% of internet traffic.
posted by koeselitz at 7:52 AM on April 10, 2012


also news: 30% of numbers circulating on any media are made up numbers
posted by elpapacito at 8:01 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


DU asked the same question I wonder about. That's a crapton of bandwidth. Even if the hardware it commodity cheap/mostly one-time costs, the bit-pushing over the wire costs have to be huge.

Are the sites free and ad supported or is there some subscriber revenue model? I'm guessing google/double-click (from TFA) are who underwrite the ads ? Amzn S3 only has "call us" for volume rates higher than 350 tb/month.

Kuro5hin, a long while back, had a long article that was something along the lines of "so you want to make money in the pr0n business?". I'm sure it is highly dated by now, but went through the economics of getting material, posting/managing content, getting $ etc.
posted by k5.user at 8:07 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


they don't appear to have been able to make a living in the Kuro5hin business
posted by jfuller at 8:16 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's swamping the porn

This sounds like it has to be a euphemism for something but I can't for the life of me figure out what.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:22 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


elpapacito: "also news: 30% of numbers circulating on any media are made up numbers"

Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forty percent of all people know that.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:34 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does anybody have the link to the Forrester report on pornography that was done by Mike Hardy(?) That was an interesting report because it also talked about billing processes and infrastructure. I want to compare the stats between that report and this one.
posted by jadepearl at 8:41 AM on April 10, 2012


Another cute early-net story I can share is that I once worked for a small ISP in California whose owner took GREAT pleasure in, every night, running a program to physically place the data used by a very large (at the time) pornography website right next to (and sometimes, at his whim interspersed with) the data used by a very large (at the time) fundamentalist church website.

It amused him to no end. It still amuses me to this day.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:49 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm having difficulty believing anyone a) buys anything they b) found via an ad c) on a porn site.

Yes, how do you think the porn industry survives if no one pays for it?

Think again.

"In 1998, Forrester did publish a report on the online 'adult content' industry, which it pegged at $750 million to $1 billion in annual revenue."

- source

it must be what, 10x that now?

I suspect far less than 30% of the internet is pr0n if measured in any meaningful way.

Yes, but this article is about the MB, i.e. the data. I get what you're saying, but it's not relevant here.

So at most, only about a third of the Internet is used for productive ends.

If you don't think that porn can be productive, you too need to think again.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:01 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd expect bottorrent porn alone adds another couple percentage points because bittorrent consumes 13% of consumer downstream traffic, down from 30% before youtube, megavideo, hulu, etc., and consumes 53% of consumer upstream traffic. All those non-porn streaming sites who don't police their content, ala megavideo, must add another few percentage points too.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:09 AM on April 10, 2012


Are the sites free and ad supported or is there some subscriber revenue model?

Have you never seen a commercial porn site? There are tons of revenue models. Aside from the obvious subscriptions (hook users into opt-out trials that automatically renew), there are DVDs and digital video sales, pay-per-view events (live performances, etc) ... used panties? ;) Anyway, it's easy to make money off horny men, and it's easy for people to pay for things online. (There oughta be a law ... wait a minnit ...)

In May 2001, Forbes put annual online revenue at 1 billion.

(I suppose it's not surprising why it's hard to get good data.)

Good article:

"I don't think anybody really knows," says Gerard Van der Leun, director of Penthouse.com. "If you talk about the whole industry, from Penthouse.com to a small foot-fetish site -- how you go around and make a real figure on that is beyond me. [Ackman] needs to smoke the clue-bong as much as anybody."

The Perils of Covering Porn

it must be what, 10x that now?

Hyperbole. More like 2.5x.

A study from 2008 puts annual online revenue at $2.5 billion.

"In 2008, according to research done by Kirk Doran, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Notre Dame:

* 14% of the online population of America visit adult sites and spend an average of 6.5 minutes per visit.
* 80% to 90% of these people only access free pornographic material.
* The remaining 3 million Americans who pay for Internet pornography pay an average of $61 per month; this generates $2.5 billion in annual revenues for the Internet porn industry."

- source (PDF)

10-20% paying porn customers ain't bad, and $2.5 billion puts to rest the notion that no one pays for porn online.

The "free" pornography online is mostly unauthorized copyrighted material, right? Paid for by other porn customers (or costs eaten by producers)?

There's tons of "free" music online too. But I can believe people still pay for it.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:20 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I kind of think the internet does more than transfers porn. It also transforms things into porn. Pinterest, Tumblr and even metafilter have been come porn. Arousal and satisfaction can now be found online in almost any imaginable form and from any imaginable and sometimes unimaginable thing without having to actually participate. I can live in a beautiful apartment. I can have stylish friends. I can enjoy witty and witless banter. I can consume fantastic meals from exclusive restaurants or I can cook delicious and beautiful meals. I can travel the world. The imaginary world I have created for myself is awesome. And all this better than the holodeck because I can do it sitting down with only a small amount of wrist and finger movement.
posted by srboisvert at 9:23 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've wondered about the profitability of online porn too. I can think of two explanations.

(1) There are a lot more paying customers than you think. One reason for this is, there's a taboo against admitting in public that you've ever paid for porn. Most paysites cater to one of two sets of people. Either they're going for big-time porn consumers who just want a whole lot of porn in one place, or they're going for people who are in some sense "connoiseurs" — either they've got a specific kink or they've developed a specific crush/attraction/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for one particular model. If you fall into one of those categories, then a paysite subscription is going to start looking like a rational investment — no weirder than the fact that serious or semi-serious TV buffs might pay for DVDs even though there's free shit on Hulu. But there's a lot of stigma against belonging to either of those categories, and I suspect a lot of the people who do belong to them are going to deny it and be like "OH YES OF COURSE I TOTALLY JUST BEAT OFF TO ANY RANDOM NUDIE PIC! NO SPECIAL TASTES HERE! I CAN GET EVERYTHING I WANT FOR FREE JUST BY GOOGLING 'NAKED LADIES'!"

(2) I also wonder whether there's a sort of Amway aspect to it. New paysites that are starting up must have to pay an awful lot of money to established sites in order to get any eyeballs at all — either they're buying ads-that-are-obviously-ads, or they're paying to get aggregators or thumbnail sites to link to them, or something else along those lines. I wonder how significant that is as a source of profit for the big established sites. I'd be willing to bet, like with Amway, that a fair number of people look at the big successes and say "Oh, running a porn site must be easy money! I could totally do that!" and underestimate the difficulty of ending up far enough upstream that they'll actually turn a profit, and they end up just handing over a bunch of money to the big sites and then folding.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:39 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


An aside, for whatever it's worth...

To the best of my knowledge, almost no large streaming video site- whether Netflix and Hulu or the porn titans- host their content directly. They host the master sources only, the (secured) single copy of the videos they are offering. The content, in particular the predictable top 50/60/80%, can be pre-cached or dynamically cached with services like Akamai or Level 3. Akamai for example have Google/Microsoft/Amazon numbers of servers, but co-located a few here and a few there across just about every datacenter and network hub in the world- and were started out of MIT so have a pretty smart set of minds to run things. Porn sites don't need huge datacenters and super smart developers/sysadmins; they can just pay companies that have those resources to host their content, and focus their efforts on duping young women into perform horribly degrading acts on camera for my other people's debased enjoyment.

Akamai started by serving up localized and loadbalancing DNS results* but have for years hosted the heavy lifting services like streaming video. See, they've got all those otherwise idle servers in all those datacenters and internet exchange offices, and since any bandwidth on the internet that isn't used in any giving any second is wasted... so why not re-sell it? Why not offer to host other people's content in cache across your many servers, improving performance and responsiveness to the end user? Charge people by usage, and rather than a fuckton of modestly experienced sysadmins solving the bandwidth/hosting problem on a company-by-company basis- be it Netflix/Hulu/Youtube or the porn sites, or imgur et al- you can get the very best in the industry to work in scale with the underlying network providers, growing and managing network traffic and capacity in response to demand and patterns you or I would never even understand were occurring.

One way to look at it is that any bandwidth capacity that is unused for any given second is a wasted opportunity. So long as you the content provider can monetize your streaming content to a certain amount per megabyte, you essentially become a reseller of the bandwidth of these massive distributed networks, taking your few cents per megabyte off the top as you deliver porn/movies/tv shows/cat videos to end users. When for example Telco Inc. lays some thick fiber pipe (heh heh) down from San Francisco to Seattle, it costs a fortune- but once installed, it's extremely cheap (comparatively) to maintain, and has N terabytes per second available whether anyone uses it or not... so the more they can sell that available capacity 24/7 to companies like Level 3 and Akamai the better off they are- and those companies then seek out lower level customers to use as much of that content as they can, and on downward, with everyone trying to get a few percentage points of profit from the blitzkrieg of 1's and 0's.


* As an aside, when the company I was with engaged their services, they denied my theory that the name "akamai" is derived from "I am A.K.A." backwards, a sly joke on being a DNS cname service- claiming it's a Hawaii'an word or something. But I stick to my guns that my theory is the real answer.
posted by hincandenza at 9:39 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Except for the part, of course, that you're just... sitting in front of your computer in your dull apartment eating cereal for dinner and none of it is real.
posted by jokeefe at 9:40 AM on April 10, 2012


Erm, that was in response to this comment.
posted by jokeefe at 9:41 AM on April 10, 2012


Sigh. This comment.
posted by jokeefe at 9:41 AM on April 10, 2012


On the plus side, the cereal's delicious.
posted by Zed at 9:43 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Except for the part, of course, that you're just... sitting in front of your computer in your dull apartment eating cereal for dinner and none of it is real.

The concept of "real" is awfully ambiguous. My problem was more with the unconventional definition of "porn,":

It also transforms things into porn. Pinterest, Tumblr and even metafilter have been come porn.

??

Pinterest porn, maybe. Tumblr porn, duh. But MetaFilter porn? No.

Porn is tough to classify, particular if you try to differentiate it from "erotica." One person's "porn" collection might be pictures of men in sweaters, etc.

But "something that makes you happy" or "something addictive" or "something virtually rewarding" is not "porn" in any sense, imo.

I kind of define "porn" and "erotica" identically - graphic, explicit portrayal of sexual material (which for some again, might be men in sweaters) for the purpose of sexual arousal.

I can have stylish friends. I can enjoy witty and witless banter. I can consume fantastic meals from exclusive restaurants or I can cook delicious and beautiful meals.

Really not sure what you're getting at ... I can also virtually manage a team of professional baseballers or shoot zombies or find work online, but that's not porn.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:28 AM on April 10, 2012


Imagine if you will, as a planet, how this factoid must appear to all those visiting UFOs
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:35 AM on April 10, 2012


There are tons of revenue models.
And I'm sure a lot of them burned out and are now doing porn.
posted by PapaLobo at 10:46 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fupped Duck: Imagine if you will, as a planet, how this factoid must appear to all those visiting UFOs.
Well... it’s probably not unrealistic to say that 30% of the total data transferred to the alien mothership is anal probe porn.
posted by hincandenza at 10:58 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It doesn't surprise me that people pay for it. The free stuff on the Tube sites are frequently teasers - if you want to see the whole video, you have to pay for it. Maybe a 5 minute video is good enough for a guy, but I take a bit longer to warm up. I don't feel like spending my money on the full-length stuff, but I've been tempted because I want to see "what happens." I wouldn't torrent it because I'm afraid of getting a virus, and frankly I'm not experienced enough in torrenting to know where to go.

I had a subscription awhile back because it provided a reliable source of high quality stuff in a somewhat minor niche. It's easy to go through dozens of free videos on the Tube sites before you find one that does it for you. Why not pay a bit to get a sure thing?
posted by desjardins at 10:59 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Imagine if you will, as a planet, how this factoid must appear to all those visiting UFOs

It's not nearly as bizarre as the Home Shopping Network, hanging your body on nails, trepanning, or Troll dolls.

I think the UFOs have plenty to ponder.

I wouldn't torrent it because I'm afraid of getting a virus, and frankly I'm not experienced enough in torrenting to know where to go.

If you don't want to torrent, FilesTube dot com is a decent search site for the web-hosting services like Mediafire, 4Sync, etc., that provide (ad-supported) direct downloads, but imo, it's actually not that easy to find a specific video for free online (mostly because the catalog is in the jillions).

If you do want to torrent, well, there's lots. The Pirate Bay is a decent place to start.

I totally agree with this:

Either they're going for big-time porn consumers who just want a whole lot of porn in one place, or they're going for people who are in some sense "connoiseurs" — either they've got a specific kink or they've developed a specific crush/attraction/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for one particular model. If you fall into one of those categories, then a paysite subscription is going to start looking like a rational investment — no weirder than the fact that serious or semi-serious TV buffs might pay for DVDs even though there's free shit on Hulu. But there's a lot of stigma against belonging to either of those categories, and I suspect a lot of the people who do belong to them are going to deny it and be like "OH YES OF COURSE I TOTALLY JUST BEAT OFF TO ANY RANDOM NUDIE PIC! NO SPECIAL TASTES HERE! I CAN GET EVERYTHING I WANT FOR FREE JUST BY GOOGLING 'NAKED LADIES'!"

And I agree with this too:

I had a subscription awhile back because it provided a reliable source of high quality stuff in a somewhat minor niche. It's easy to go through dozens of free videos on the Tube sites before you find one that does it for you. Why not pay a bit to get a sure thing?

If you are looking for a specific fetish or an even more specific subset (say you want attractive Indian women in diapers but *only* cloth diapers), you can spend hours trying to find it for free or spend $ to get loads of high-quality content at your fingertips. Cable TV costs like $50/month or $300/year? (and most of that content is "free" online too). How much is quality porn worth? Most subscriptions for high-quality sites are like $30/month, which does seem high to me, but they are generally skewed for bulk discounts ($199/year etc.)

I'll admit I've paid plenty for porn--magazines, tapes (VHS!), DVDs, online subs--because, yes, not all porn is equal. For me, specific pics, videos, and stories are worth 1,000x the stuff that doesn't do it for me. I've also paid for cock rings, vibrators, lube, condoms, and other sexual paraphernalia. Do people get that stuff for free too? ;)

What always interests me is that people who use online porn but don't pay for it (excluding those trustful users who only peruse free sample content) are essentially "stealing" content the same way music downloaders do, but nobody (even the porn industry?) cares about that unauthorized use of copyrighted content.

Does the AFAA even care about piracy? I did a quick search and found nothing.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:43 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh, duh, $50/mo. would be $600/yr.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:44 PM on April 10, 2012


Cash4Lead: "So porn takes up 30 percent of Internet bandwidth, and Netflix takes up 32 percent (during peak hours). So at most, only about a third of the Internet is used for productive ends."

Hey now some of us are very *ahem* productive when watching porn.
posted by symbioid at 12:50 PM on April 10, 2012


Static Vagabond: "Jon_Evil, that seems incredibly low-- so only 100k people, in the entire world are looking at (video) porn at any one time?

For comparison, just the Chinese version of World of Warcraft has said they've had over 1 million concurrent users (1,000,000s of fantasy action per second)
"

Is that the new unit of porn bandwidth? FAPS
posted by symbioid at 12:53 PM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Infrequent commenter here, parachuting in to agree with desjardins and mrgrimm. Sometimes it's not even a matter of having a particular fetish (and that's a pretty flexible category--for example, preferring women who have pubic hair and aren't very thin and haven't had breast augmentation, which used to be the norm in mainstream porn magazines thirty years ago, is something of a fetish now), but of having a particular model catch your eye and wanting pretty much everything that they've done, and not wanting to risk using a torrent service and ending up on the receiving end of a robolawsuit umpteen months later. And sometimes it's not even a matter of subscribing long-term, depending on how much content the site has, you might just subscribe long enough to d/l everything of interest to you and then cancel.
posted by Deja Stu at 1:06 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your date: "So...what do you do for work?"
You: "I'm a system administrator for a Website called YouPorn."
...
...
...
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra at 1:10 PM on April 10, 2012


By the way, that would likely be an amazing date. The devops folks for YouPorn would be doing highly technical work on the cutting edge of internet video provision and learning a bunch of amazing new things never seen before every day. I bet they have stories like you wouldn't believe, and I bet they have a pleasingly low number of hangups. I'd also wager that they're, if anything, less weird/asocial/screwed up than your average software developer.
posted by felix at 4:03 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't verify this at all, but funnily enough I've heard from a guy, who claims to know the guy who started Youporn. Apparently it was a startup and just grew from there and suddenly his entire family got involved in the business, from his brothers and sisters to his mom to his dad. I suppose the family must have a pragmatic view of things (it's just "business") but as far as family run businesses go this must be a very strange one to have to explain to friends and relatives.
posted by xdvesper at 4:13 PM on April 10, 2012


Imagine if the porn sites had gotten all the best but trivial digital video delivery patents? WC3 might be run entirely by porn techies. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 4:16 PM on April 10, 2012


And .5% of the books found in the romance section of your secondhand book store will be highly specific -intentionally- BDSM (as opposed to captive pirate sheik lords) featuring one woman and multiple men. It's a wild and wooly world of human sexuality.
posted by Phalene at 4:21 PM on April 10, 2012


mrgrimm - Does the AFAA even care about piracy?

In interviews and stuff, producers and porn-stars-cum-owners all say that piracy is really hurting their bottom line, blah blah. A lot of porn gets hosted, without license, on file servers like megauploads or oron and stuff who's primary business strategy is charging subscriptions for higher speed parallel downloads. There are companies who are presumably hired by the porn companies to find and request take-downs of the unlicensed material, which are usually linked to from various fora on the internets.

On the-place-which-shall-not-be-named, I've seen non-malicious fakes - sometimes done with a fair amount of sophistication - that masquerade as the unlicensed material and sometimes floods to obscure the legitimate unlicensed material, kind of like one of the strategies used to shut down filesharing services back in the day.
posted by porpoise at 4:59 PM on April 10, 2012


Does the AFAA even care about piracy? I did a quick search and found nothing.

The only example I can think wasn't really about piracy, per se -- the Perfect 10 case against Google.
posted by aaronetc at 6:20 PM on April 10, 2012


This reminds me of an AskMe posted a while back from someone who had worked as a developer for an unnamed porn site... If, as the article suggests, these sites handle traffic loads within the same echelon as the Googles and Facebooks of the world, are those companies recruiting porn veterans? If I can list on my resume that I'm the head infrastructure dude for xvideos, will it get catch the eye of the recruiters at Hulu or Netflix? Makes me wonder what the career path of former/past/future porn sysadmins is like...
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 8:19 PM on April 10, 2012


Even 30% is surprising to me. The existence and popularity of internet porn has been greatly exaggerated. As people seem to be doing in this thread. For instance, it's pretty clear (by the data in the article linked) that there's been no point in time when porn accounted for 50% of internet traffic.

Speaking as a relatively early cisco employee (but probably not the one that felix knows) I believe you're wrong there. It can't be proven of course, but given the backbone samples that were taken in 1992 it seems likely that porn was > 50% at that time.

One thing to remember is that the early web was almost entirely text. The digital camera had not really arrived yet so what pictures there were had to be scanned in, and even then the extremely low bandwidth made loading a page with lots of pictures torture. In fact most browsers had an option to turn off images entirely or at least to load them last. So most pages were 20k at most.

The pictures people were willing to wait for came largely from the San Fernando Valley, and they were huge. You could figure 2MB (2000k) for a picture ... 100 times the size of a normal page.

There was also no eBay, no Amazon, no Facebook. At cisco we were using a Usenet group to interact with our customers. Surfing the web was more about finding what crazy new site someone had put up, and whether there was any Coke in a particular vending machine at MIT.

So: Huge Porn files with a hungry audience, tiny text files with a casually surfing audience. The fact that porn dominated isn't terribly surprising.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:12 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really not sure what you're getting at ... I can also virtually manage a team of professional baseballers or shoot zombies or find work online, but that's not porn.

It is once it gets its own tumblr.
posted by srboisvert at 9:35 PM on April 10, 2012


But bits are meaningless. Attention paid is meaning incarnate.

Good luck selling that line to your sysadmins and hosting provider.
posted by sophist at 10:40 PM on April 10, 2012


But bits are meaningless. Attention paid is meaning incarnate.

Good luck selling that line to your sysadmins and hosting provider.

They might indeed choose to differ, but the advertisement peddlers might care more about attention than bits. And where they go, the cash goes.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:35 PM on April 10, 2012


One person's "porn" collection might be pictures of men in sweaters

Only one ?!
posted by chavenet at 10:44 AM on April 11, 2012


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