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Is Vivid going to go out of business?
November 30, 2007 12:12 AM   Subscribe

"DVD sales are in free fall. Audiences are flocking to pornographic knockoffs of YouTube [NSFW], especially a secretive site called YouPorn [NSFW]. And the amateurs [NSFW]are taking over. What’s happening to the adult-entertainment industry is exactly what’s happening to its Hollywood counterpartonly worse."
posted by bigmusic (92 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
This will moneyshot.
posted by lekvar at 12:28 AM on November 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Even if there isn't a red cent to be made making porn, people will continue to produce epic quantities of it.
posted by mullingitover at 12:29 AM on November 30, 2007


48! Damn. What I really love is that everyone seems to know about it, but ... how did we find out? ... It's mysterious...
posted by blacklite at 12:33 AM on November 30, 2007


Interesting articles and hey, the porn's pretty good too!
posted by serazin at 12:38 AM on November 30, 2007


and rightfully so! I am tired of sucky music and whacko plots ruining my personal time.
posted by krautland at 12:38 AM on November 30, 2007


Good post. It is interesting to see how user generated content is affecting the adult entertainment industry.

*lights cigarette*
posted by chillmost at 12:47 AM on November 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


Forgive a serious comment when easy puns are probably more what we're looking for, but...

It seems to me that of all the industries that could be cleaned up by getting rid of the sleazy moneymen in the middle and shortening the path from artist to customer, this is probably one of the most deserving.

Call it a hunch, but I'm thinking your average internet porn "star" isn't exactly self-empowered.
posted by rokusan at 12:49 AM on November 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


Andrew Keen was right in The Cult of the Amateur: the internet is ruining our economy.
posted by rhymer at 12:53 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


many to many, baby!
posted by telstar at 1:04 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am tired of sucky music and whacko plots ruining my personal time.

Fixed that for you.
posted by rokusan at 1:08 AM on November 30, 2007


Variety is the spice of life.

And man, life is getting spicy!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:11 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like to watch.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:30 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


On the July morning when I visit, she had more than 500 videos to review, most of which had been red-flagged because their descriptions included words such as little boys, force, or rape. She says the community polices itself...

Jessamyn works there!
posted by Meatbomb at 1:50 AM on November 30, 2007


I am so glad I... ehem... stocked up.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:41 AM on November 30, 2007


Of course nobody's buying DVDs or giving their credit digits to shifty pay sites. I mean, why buy the cow when you can fuck her whenever you like? (Old Wisconsin proverb)
posted by louche mustachio at 3:05 AM on November 30, 2007


rokusan said Call it a hunch, but I'm thinking your average internet porn "star" isn't exactly self-empowered.

Well, it's equally as much of a hunch on my part, but my impression has been that on the contrary way, way more frequently than in any other genre or industry, the porn star as the actor or artist ends up owning the place. And tends to make way more money through making the transition than your average, say, TV actor or journalist who moves into management or delves into entrepreneurship.
posted by XMLicious at 3:26 AM on November 30, 2007


especially a secretive site called YouPorn

Secretive? It's the first bookmark in my list
posted by poppo at 4:34 AM on November 30, 2007


It is truly a golden age
posted by poppo at 4:36 AM on November 30, 2007


I've heard that the future of the internet will be long on tail.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:38 AM on November 30, 2007


Time to drag this one out again.
posted by bwg at 4:39 AM on November 30, 2007


The "long on tail" link didn't go where I thought.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:42 AM on November 30, 2007


Treehorn: Regrettably, it's true, standards have fallen in adult entertainment. It's video, Dude. Now that we're competing with the amateurs, we can't afford to invest the little extras like story, production values, ... feelings.
posted by moonbiter at 4:47 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Call it a hunch, but I'm thinking your average internet porn "star" isn't exactly self-empowered.

Actually, porn stars have long embraced (when you're writing about porn, everything sounds like a double entendre) the economic model that musicians are starting to come to (!): the recorded work is primarily valuable as an advertisement for the live performance. For many big-name porn stars, stripping is a more important revenue stream (!) than their movies, but it's the movies that get the audience into the clubs.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:55 AM on November 30, 2007


If you have made a personal contribution to porn 2.0 this thread is your opportunity to link to it. ;)
posted by caddis at 5:36 AM on November 30, 2007


Redtube is a pretty nice site. Like Youtube without the Diet Coke & Mentos.


(Actually I didn't check... Rule 34 pretty much guarantees there's a Diet Coke & Mentos video on Redtube)
posted by MtDewd at 5:43 AM on November 30, 2007


I've heard that the future of the internet will be long on tail.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:38 AM on November 30 [+] [!]


Eponysterical!
posted by kcds at 5:46 AM on November 30, 2007


Quite frankly the quality and content of videos on YouPorn sucks. I looked at it a few times and never went back.
posted by chips ahoy at 5:48 AM on November 30, 2007


I'm glad we have this new technology for porn!
posted by ALongDecember at 5:53 AM on November 30, 2007


gentlemen, I envision a jizz-based economy.
posted by Avenger at 6:08 AM on November 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Don't forget Xtube for the man-on-man action.
posted by desjardins at 6:10 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I blame Al Gore.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:13 AM on November 30, 2007


And the amateurs [NSFW]are taking over

Make a date with the brassy brides of Britain,
The altogether ruder Readers Wives,
Who put down their needles and their knitting,
At the doorway to our dismal daily lives

The Fablon-topped scenarios of passion,
Nipples peep through holes in leatherette,
They seem to be saying, in their fashion,
'I'm freezing, Charlie - have you finished yet?'

Cold flesh, the colour of potatoes,
In an instamatic living room of sin,
All the required apparatus,
Too bad they couldn't fit her head in
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:27 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus, does *anyone* at this damn site want to have an intelligent discussion about this? You could start by actually reading the articles. There's a reason YouPorn is described as "secretive," for instance, and the story of the reporter tracking down the guy behind it is hilarious, complete with lies and screaming threats of attack from "Google's lawyers." It's the first link to the Portfolio article, if you can pull your hands away from your dick long enough.

Great post, bigmusic. I was really surprised that PornoTube is based in Charlotte, NC.
posted by mediareport at 6:28 AM on November 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, it's equally as much of a hunch on my part, but my impression has been that on the contrary way, way more frequently than in any other genre or industry, the porn star as the actor or artist ends up owning the place.

If they're a female. But the whole point was that that was how things worked in the old model. In the new 'free bandwidth' model, most of the money goes to, well the site hosting the content.

In fact a lot of the 'amateurs' are actually real amateurs, actually just exhibitionists getting off by posting their stuff online once or twice.

The real problem with the porn industry is that their quality sucks ass. I think if a porn movie could bring high production values people would watch it. Of course they would all pirate it, so that presents another hurdle.
posted by delmoi at 6:29 AM on November 30, 2007


There's also an interesting section about women in the business in the first article:

Holland, a veteran in the growing ranks of female directors, believes women—and the men who want to watch with them—are customers she won’t lose to online viewing. “Women are more reliable, they are more loyal, and they spend more money,” she says. “For women, you have to make sure the girls have great manicures, great pedicures, and great lingerie—put them in La Perla or Agent Provocateur—and you can serve up some pretty explicit material.” Holland cites HBO’s new sexually explicit miniseries Tell Me You Love Me as evidence of just how mainstream pornography has become.

“It’s not just a man thing,” agrees Samantha Lewis, the C.E.O. of Digital Playground, who estimates that 45 percent of her Web-based sales (which include site subscriptions and DVDs sold online) are to women. “As each year goes by, we’re realizing, Oh my goodness. The percentages are climbing.”

The porn industry has long wanted to expand its female audience, but some producers concede it will take more than fancy sets, gauzy lighting, and a story line. “Women are just as unpredictable as men, only more so,” says Phil Harvey, the 69-year-old Harvard grad who 35 years ago founded Adam & Eve, a $90 million adult-film producer and sex-toy retailer based in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Harvey is a pioneer in marketing toys and videos to women and couples, having instituted a “sex positive” approach to pornographic retailing in the late 1980s. But as important as women are to Adam & Eve’s business—Harvey says 40 percent of its Web customers are female—he cautions against overgeneralizing. “At least five times we’ve tried to produce a women’s catalog, with cuddling and coupling,” he says drily. “It didn’t work.”

posted by mediareport at 6:30 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I read this post for the articles.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:31 AM on November 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


Damn, Youporn now has an Alexa rank of 40 and I've never even heard of it.
posted by aerotive at 6:32 AM on November 30, 2007


Jesus, does *anyone* at this damn site want to have an intelligent discussion about this?


Dude, chill out, its a discussion about whacking off to the internets...
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:37 AM on November 30, 2007


Whatever. The jokes have been made, to death. Now read the articles.
posted by mediareport at 6:38 AM on November 30, 2007


The first link is a great article, very interesting. And it explains why Youporn is 'secretive'. But how the fuck should anyone know that? I thought it'd be about DVD sales, since THAT'S WHAT THE FUCKING LINK SAYS.

So don't jump down people's throats for not reading the fucking article. That article should have been linked under 'secretive'. That's just basic FPP 101.

Good post.
posted by bluejayk at 6:40 AM on November 30, 2007


I have never heard of Alexa, nor Youporn, nor you aerotive.
posted by Mister_A at 6:42 AM on November 30, 2007


"... the advertising revenue was meager—about $120,000 a month."

This is not the world I live in.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:53 AM on November 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


Okay, a real discussion:

Yes, the cash cow of "film once-sell 20,000 times" is going away - boo hoo, it was only good for the industry anyways. Good riddance to it.

Let's take a look at the next generation of sites. There's a number of them already operating - in this example I'll use a fictitious woman named "Alice Angelic".

The Alice website sells for $20/mo and the orientation is very personal.

- You get a private blog, updated nearly daily with the life and (mostly vapid) thoughts of Alice.

- A message board for members where Alice participates constantly.

- Photo shoots every three days or so, with random video clips thrown in. The photo genres touch on just about everything, the beauty of it is that 98% of the costumes and themes are suggested by or purchased by members. You want a 'high-heel' shoot? Buy the outfit you want and send it to her.

- For Chrismas, she'll send you a signed Chrismas card with a personalized note and a spritz of perfume.

Membership is running at around 500-600 people. Do the math and she's making out just fine. I can easily see a proliferation of these smaller amateur sites that provide personal interaction with the girl. These will continue forever and make tons of easy cash.
posted by unixrat at 7:10 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


unixrat, that may work in some sense, but it will also encourage really creepy stalkers, which are endemic in porn anyway, but wow... still I think that many women will try this.
posted by Mister_A at 7:22 AM on November 30, 2007


Anybody know if there's a version of YouPorn that's for still images? I've never been into videos.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 7:29 AM on November 30, 2007


This is not the world I live in.

Yeah, $120k a month is, what, $1.44 million a year? Less than the $15 million Vivid says it makes from its site annually, but not bad for an upstart compared to a decades-old industry behemoth. Still, I don't blame the major porn players for taking a pass on buying YouPorn. The age verification is a joke, it seems - ripe for a headline-grabbing investigation. Add 1) copyright violations for the film clips *not* posted by companies to stir interest and 2) the fact that even Google still doesn't seem to get how to monetize YouTube, and you have major headaches without major benefit.

unixrat: Let's take a look at the next generation of sites. There's a number of them already operating - in this example I'll use a fictitious woman named "Alice Angelic" . . . Membership is running at around 500-600 people. Do the math and she's making out just fine.

The 'Adults Only' section at iFriends has been facilitating that kind of thing for years now.

[bluejayk: That article should have been linked under 'secretive'. That's just basic FPP 101.

Hello? The entire post is a direct quote of the first paragraph in the first article. It's hard to see how anyone could have missed that who bothered to click the first link in the post before rushing to post HURFDURF JIZZ JOKES comments.]

posted by mediareport at 7:38 AM on November 30, 2007


This thread is hilarious. Welcome to PunFilter.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:44 AM on November 30, 2007


It's hard to see how anyone could have missed that who bothered to click the first link in the post before rushing to post HURFDURF JIZZ JOKES comments

Ironically, one of the tropes of porn is a librarian letting her hair down. This post seems to be causing you to reverse the process.
posted by yerfatma at 7:56 AM on November 30, 2007


I found the freetimes article interesting, but it got ugly at the end:

Maybe if they look at enough videos of real women showing them off, men will finally be able to locate them on their own.

Could we have some journalism about porn that's written by people who really just enjoy sex? Or is this one of those deals where the people who enjoy something are off doing it while those who don't are writing about it?
posted by tkolar at 7:58 AM on November 30, 2007


A friend and I were talking about this just a few weeks ago.

I wonder if the seeming "takeover" by the amateur artists is due to demand, or if Say's Law is in effect and everyone watches it now due to it being omnipresent.

For me, I have a preference for amateur based porn, and so do several of my friends.

To me, there is something more enticing or stimulating about a girl who is (ostensibly) videotaping what her and her boyfriend do anyway, as opposed to the typical flaunted female porn star stats of 800 films, 1400 sex scenes with 700 partners or whatever.

It would seem to play to a voyeuristic impulse, but I don't seem to have that impulse in real life, or previously in porn consumption, so I think it is just a preference for the amateur "style".

I am hoping that once an entire generation comes up where 50% or more of them have made simple sex recordings with their webcams and porn consumption is entirely mainstream, we will finally be on the road to de-stigmatizing sex in America.

But I doubt it.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:18 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I am hoping that once an entire generation comes up where 50% or more of them have made simple sex recordings with their webcams and porn consumption is entirely mainstream, we will finally be on the road to de-stigmatizing sex in America."

Tough.

I rather wish you'd watch it in private, thanksverymuchifit'sallthesametoyou.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:30 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus, does *anyone* at this damn site want to have an intelligent discussion about this? You could start by actually reading the articles.

In particular, I recommend the Free Times story (second last link in OP). If I ever find myself teaching a journalism class, I'd hand this out first day, and tell the kids to memorize the first three paragraphs. That way, they'd have learned damn near every lazy-ass trick and trope in the book, they'd have a deep understanding of how to make a mess of an already awkward metaphor (a smoldering pit of ether and porn footage births Rosemary's baby?), they'd know intimately the perils of hamfisted neologism ("cyberborg"?), and most of all they'd learn that a good rule of thumb is that there's never a good reason to let just one or two words stand alone as their own paragraph.

Never ever.

Erin O'Brien of the Cleveland Free Times, you are truly the Pynchon of hack feature writing, and I salute you. The density of cliched phrasing and misused language in your prose will take you very, very far. You might indeed make it to the NY Times op-ed page one day!

(You wanted to discuss the articles? There ya go.)
posted by gompa at 8:42 AM on November 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


“Women are just as unpredictable as men, only more so,” says Phil Harvey

So what you're saying is that women are more unpredictable than men. Welcome to the human race Phil, here's your penis.
posted by Molesome at 8:43 AM on November 30, 2007


Interesting post about a fascinating industry. What's most compelling is "big porn's" inability to be the first to capitalize on new technologies. That's not a position they've found themselves in before. I think the problem that Youporn will run into is there is no barrier to entry to being in this market.

What youporn and (my favorite) shufuni.com are doing to Vivid some guy right now who's a sophomore at CalTech is going to do to them next year. That's why the guy wants to sell out fast. Forget $20 million though, for that kind of scratch Vivid could set up their own free file sharing service. I bet he'd unload it to the first entity that offered him three or four times his annual revenue.
posted by vito90 at 8:50 AM on November 30, 2007


Gompa,
Your New York Press link was terrific. Thank you.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:56 AM on November 30, 2007


Could we have some journalism about porn that's written by people who really just enjoy sex? Or is this one of those deals where the people who enjoy something are off doing it while those who don't are writing about it?

I have a feeling its one of those journalistic ideals mixed with some practicality - they can't admit to liking it, because it would either cause people to question their impartiality, or (worse) cause people to be offended and cancel their subscriptions.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2007


One of the advantages that the amateurs have over the Industry is this...

On quite a large number of these amateur sites, the chick makes it quite clear that every so often she fucks around with members of her site, and that could just possibly be you, hombre.

Porn has always pretty much been about the "fantasy", at least on the consumer's end. But, that isn't necessarily the case anymore... a "Swallow This" DVD might be entertaining to watch, but it will never, ever actually blow you.

Oasis, however, totally will!
posted by BobFrapples at 9:03 AM on November 30, 2007


Gompa,
Your New York Press link was terrific. Thank you.


My pleasure. The least I can do to help break the mass groupthink insanity that has convinced educated people that Tom Friedman is a serious thinker.

And now that I've inserted the words "Tom Friedman" into a thread ostensibly about porn, I'm off to spend the rest of the morning scouring the inside of my skull with industrial solvent.
posted by gompa at 9:05 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't think the reporter didn't enjoy sex! In fact I simply have no idea whether the reporter enjoys sex or not.

Surely, the idea of "reporting" is exactly that -- reporting what you see in as uncoloured a way as you possibly can?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:31 AM on November 30, 2007


It's sort of a Catch-22, at least if one is speaking of production values. The people investing the money want to see a return so they go for the guaranteed win - the stuff flooding the shelves of your adult video stores, the lowest common denominator stuff that everyone also says they're sick of.

In the 1970s, the market could allow someone like Radley Metzger (who incidentally had a history in the cheapest of cinema, re-editing grindhouse-type films for European release) to create masterpieces with great acting, gorgeous sets, nuanced & complicated presentation.

I think a whole lot of people are interested in this same sort of thing, but that's nowhere to be found in the present day. So-called 'cutting edge' porn directors like Jack the Zipper or Michael Ninn come off IMHO as 'how much can you take?' freakshows by comparison.

I find it particularly bizarre that this situation exists in the Internet age, when theoretically one should able to access pretty much whatever you can imagine. I suppose that the sort of membership sites discussed in the first link might approach what I'm talking about, but having never joined a membership site - other than Metafilter, natch - I wouldn't know.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:41 AM on November 30, 2007


Jesus, does *anyone* at this damn site want to have an intelligent discussion about this?

Now, I've posted a few FPPs in my day, so I feel somewhat qualified in giving this advice: if you want to have an intelligent discussion — on anything really — don't link directly to porn (multiple times no less).
posted by chunking express at 9:44 AM on November 30, 2007


Ynoxas writes "I am hoping that once an entire generation comes up where 50% or more of them have made simple sex recordings with their webcams and porn consumption is entirely mainstream, we will finally be on the road to de-stigmatizing sex in America.

"But I doubt it."


Dear god, let's hope not. Some Most people are not my type at all, and I don't want to encourage them to flaunt their sexuality because I don't want to hear about it.

And btw, Megarotic > YouPorn.
posted by mullingitover at 10:51 AM on November 30, 2007


FWIW, I think there is some porn that's worth paying for, but I still avoid paying for it. It's just a poor fit for my market needs. I don't want to buy it if I'm not going to re-use it, and I don't want to subscribe to a rental service if I'm not using different titles frequently, and I can't rely on stores to stock what I want, so torrents are the place for me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:01 AM on November 30, 2007


Jesus, does *anyone* at this damn site want to have an intelligent discussion about this?

Well, now that I'm done jerking off I wouldn't mind some intelligent discussion...
posted by fuq at 11:15 AM on November 30, 2007


Oh, and for everyone complaining about poor production values, Andrew Blake has been shooting on film and usually wins awards for his directing and cinematography. He's worth looking up if you really believe nobody can make quality adult films.
posted by mullingitover at 11:17 AM on November 30, 2007


Gompa, thanks for pointing that out. Cyberborg? I don't know if there is a groan to convey the stupidity of that neologism. I'm trying to vocalize it, but it dies inside.
posted by Free word order! at 11:34 AM on November 30, 2007


Hello everyone and thanks to bigmusic for the link to my Free Times article as well as to all of you who commented on it. I urge all of you to email my editor with your comments for possible publication. Please include your full name and city. Frank Lewis is the editor. Here is the email:

editor@freetimes.com

I am so proud of Gompa's comment that I shall post it on my blog momentarily. Do drop in.

In the meantime, for those who wonder whether or not I like sex, all I can do is refer you to this article.

Well then, carry on, darlings.
posted by erinobrien at 12:58 PM on November 30, 2007


working link to article

Short answer: she does like sex, provided the sex involves herself and Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. She likes that kind enough to publish a whole article about it.
posted by contraption at 1:12 PM on November 30, 2007


An excellent summary, contraption.

You may find this stunning, but Mr. Rowe has still not responded to my query.
posted by erinobrien at 1:17 PM on November 30, 2007


Metafilter's own Pynchon of hack feature writing. We already have a Hemingway of hack feature writing. Perhaps we can collect the whole set!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:38 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Holland, a veteran in the growing ranks of female directors, believes women—and the men who want to watch with them—are customers she won’t lose to online viewing. “Women are more reliable, they are more loyal, and they spend more money,” she says. “For women, you have to make sure the girls have great manicures, great pedicures, and great lingerie—put them in La Perla or Agent Provocateur—and you can serve up some pretty explicit material.” Holland cites HBO’s new sexually explicit miniseries Tell Me You Love Me as evidence of just how mainstream pornography has become.

That quote makes me wanna hurl a little bit. There's nothing I hate more, nothing that will totally take me out of "sexy, watching porn, gonna get off" mode and straight into "critique" mode, than some girl with a ridiculous manicure, particularly if there's some sort of girl-on-girl action. Ouch.
Also, I couldn't care less about what lingerie she's wearing, generally I'd prefer nothing at all. Maybe I'm a weirdie.

And I'm right there with everything Ambrosia Voyeur said.
posted by primalux at 1:40 PM on November 30, 2007


I can't wait to get home from work to check out erinobrien's links
posted by MtDewd at 2:26 PM on November 30, 2007


I urge all of you to email my editor with your comments for possible publication

Can he read? I had assumed otherwise.
posted by yerfatma at 2:46 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ha! Some really funny comments in this thread. Cause I love puns. Maybe I will favorite a few of them so that I can find them later. To come back and read the comments. Just the comments. I don't need to save the whole post or anything though. I won't need the links later. Just the funny comments. Ha. So good.
posted by Ugh at 3:10 PM on November 30, 2007


I used to work at Vivid. Well, for Vivid really. In an outsourced web company - the team of about 8 people I was a part of had but one client : Vivid. I've dealt with Hirsch personally (helluva nice guy, btw. I've got nothing but nice things to say about him) and it makes sense he'd have no interest in buying YouPorn (or anything similar).

Vivid advertises their movies and websites on billboards. In full public view. They bought a 50 foot vertical banner in Times Square showing Jenna Jameson. For these reasons, we weren't allowed to put ANY nudity on the public pages of Vivid's various network of sites. When I rebuilt Vivid.com's front pages (we call it a "tour" in the industry), I made about 20 separate 5-minute clips straight from their A-list of films, to let the user know that Vivid.com allows access to almost every single film in the Vivid archives - included in their entirety with every membership. Alas, I had to edit every frame that showed so much as a nipple. It took me about 80 combined hours to make all those clips, but our subscriptions went up quite high. Hirsch personally congratulated me at our Christmas party that year.

In 2005, the industry was scared shitless because new 2257 laws meant that every single videoclip, every single image (even if it was an anonymous leg showing in the border of a site's tour pages) had to be accounted for in full. If "the man" came-a-knocking and said "Who's arm is this on the 2nd page of your tour?" you had about 24 hours to find everything you had on that model : driver's license, birth certificate, release forms, you name it. So, we undertook the task of cataloguing everything. It took about 4 months of round-the-clock work to get it all finished. But, we were compliant (and they still are).

YouPorn has no such records. That would be a huge liability for Vivid, and especially for Steven. He's the one mainstream newspeople run to when they want an opinion/blurb about changes in the adult industry. He gets held personally accountable for things completely out of his control. When the 2257 law changes were coming through - Vivid was at the top of the watch list.

How YP (et al) plan to get around the 2257 laws remains to be seen. Being out of the country helps. The owners of BMEZine.com moved to Mexico when these changes came down the pipes, to avoid prosecution. The way many of these sites usually make money - beyond subscriptions - is by selling ads for paid adult websites (which you can see YP, at least, is doing) but it's hard to convince people to pay for what they're already getting free.

It's an interesting sea change, but I wonder if it'll last. Certainly, like any other market that's dealing with piracy and near-piracy, there's something to be said for paying to get it from the source : higher-quality, higher download speeds, instant access, a larger library of content, knowing someone will help you if shit goes wrong, etc. And Vivid doesn't even use DRM on their videos on their site (at least, they didn't about a year ago - i don't know if they've changed that. But while I was there, I vehemently argued how badly we'd lose to the free porn world if we penalized the paying customer).

All in all, I think we'll see sites like these go offline and another clone pops back up - much like any similar system. You can't sustain your site without making money, and if people stop visiting their advertisers to buy any porn - they'll lose out. Companies like Vivid, Digital Playground, Hustler, et al. will stick around because their business model is self-sufficient.

So, it comes down to that - if you just need casual porn here and there and aren't too particular about where and when you get it - YouPorn (et al) is for you. If you want the highest-quality porn you can get (yes, there's porn connoisseurs out there) and you don't want to worry that you'll have to troll around looking for the next YouPorn knock-off - you'd stick to the big guys.

What that means for Vivid? Who can say. Surely, a chunk of their revenue will suffer for this. But, they're a relatively small company and making hand-over-fist, so they'll find a way to survive and profit for many years to come.

At least until we can download pornstars into blank robots ;)
posted by revmitcz at 3:19 PM on November 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


On the flip side, you have companies that instead of trying to fight to keep a dying model, go with the flow. Kink.com {nsfw, duh}, based in SF does live content streams of sex acts and sexually charged 'sports events'. So if the stream is captured, big deal, there going to do another event tomorrow.

{disclaimer: I'm friends with some of the employees; and have interviewed them on my radio show}
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:36 PM on November 30, 2007


That was some comment revmitcz. Thanks.

As I researched this topic, I thought that the brilliant stroke might be to advertise something other than porn on YouPorn et al. Not sure what, but something regular people will spend their money on. After all, it's regular people visiting the sites and one hell of a lot of them.

But would a legit advertisers want their product next to a parade of pudenda and fellatio and coitus? Or this? (NSFW)

The porn ads do seem redundant. After all, why should viewers pay for porn when there is a sea of free flesh before them? Isn't this amateur stuff just as good as the pro stuff? Good question.

It's a rich topic. I agree that it's anyone's guess what will happen. Maybe the amateur stuff will improve. Maybe the 2257 laws will take down the free stuff.

And sorry about botching the link above. I thought I tried it in the preview section.

As for the sarcasm and mean comments. Is that really necessary?
posted by erinobrien at 3:40 PM on November 30, 2007


Support the troops: send them porn.
posted by homunculus at 3:49 PM on November 30, 2007


There's a FORTUNE to be made in teaching better lighting techniques for amateur work.
posted by shoepal at 3:59 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]



I almost did a post on lukeisback.com. And I would have if more of his stuff was on a par with his best stuff. Luke is a smart non-observant Jew who by all accounts shouldn’t care much about porn, but he does, and his take on the porn industry falls somewhere between Jerry Springer and John Waters.
posted by Huplescat at 5:49 PM on November 30, 2007


I work in media and deal with more general entertainment. In the technology space, we often discuss as to what the 'adult people' are doing.

In the brief history of the web, the adult film industry has led innovation in several areas such as video streaming, paid site membership, affiliate based marketing, and even user generated content. On the back end, they dove into prosumer grade video production and non-linear editing well before mainstream media.

In the current debate over Blu-Ray / HD-DVD, a common question is "What is the adult film industry going to choose?"

As a technologist, there's a lot to be learned from the paths the adult industry has tried, from both their successes and failures.
posted by Argyle at 5:50 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am hoping that once an entire generation comes up where 50% or more of them have made simple sex recordings with their webcams and porn consumption is entirely mainstream, we will finally be on the road to de-stigmatizing sex in America.

But I doubt it.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:18 AM on November 30


Both people who commented on this seemed to misunderstand so I must not have communicated correctly.

I don't mean mainstream as in playing on the plasmas at your local sportsbar, or mainstream as in on network TV at 7pm.

I mean porn seems to be very quickly approaching a tipping point, especially with the "younger crowd", of no longer being that big of a deal, and not really shameful or a guilty secret pleasure.

Also, due to the sheer volume of stuff out there on the net, it seems like a measurable percentage of people under 30 are filming themselves having sex, and distributing it. What do you think the ratio is of people who tape themselves having sex but never release it to people who post it online? 10,000 to 1? 100,000 to 1?

The stigmatization of sex is one of my least favorite things about America, and one of the last vestiges of our Puritan heritage.

I am simply hopeful that as another generation or two come up around easily accessible porn, with less shaming, that it will be good for everyone.

That's all I meant. I don't want to watch you and your husband on my bigscreen. Promise.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:25 PM on November 30, 2007


Once you’ve seen one woman naked you want to see them all. I get that part. What I don’t get is people getting off on watching other people fuck.
posted by Huplescat at 7:10 PM on November 30, 2007


What's most compelling is "big porn's" inability to be the first to capitalize on new technologies. That's not a position they've found themselves in before.

I suggest you re-watch "Boogie Nights".
posted by dreamsign at 7:56 PM on November 30, 2007


I've heard that with the 33% decline in revenue, porn companies have shifted from traditional sexual positions to ones like the 46.

ok, bad joke, and obscure, but I had to, sorry.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:24 PM on November 30, 2007


Huplescat, I don't think the actual fucking is what gets people off, it is the fantasy of people not being in control of their passions, and/or degradation.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:26 PM on November 30, 2007


sorry, I meant depiction of fucking.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:27 PM on November 30, 2007


I said Well, it's equally as much of a hunch on my part, but my impression has been that on the contrary way, way more frequently than in any other genre or industry, the porn star as the actor or artist ends up owning the place.

delmoi responded If they're a female. But the whole point was that that was how things worked in the old model. In the new 'free bandwidth' model, most of the money goes to, well the site hosting the content.

But how often is the site hosting the content run by an ex-porn star? I've personally known two women who went that route, from being an entertainer in the genre to becoming an entrepreneur making six figures running a fleet of adult content and services sites. Sure, those anecdotes aren't exactly the YT, web-2.0ish model, but my point is that contrary to rokusan's insinuation that being a porn star is disempowering somehow the contrary is pretty frequently true. And in fact the frequency with which you come across an empowered actor / artist / content author seems to be greater than in other genres. Old model or new model, whatev.
posted by XMLicious at 8:36 PM on November 30, 2007


Pichunter is a good free site for looking at photos of people's naughty bits.

Personally, I've always hated the fact that in 'professional' pornography the people who weren't actually offering up their orifices (and phalluses) to the world were making shitloads of money, whilst paying a pittance to the players on the stage.

I find it much more titillating to look at things that I can imagine people doing because it's what they want to do, not because the director told them to do it. Jaysus, that's what I pay Hollywood to give to me. Set pieces can be nice, absolutely, but give me some ballsout actual lust for material to rub myself raw over.

(I fully admit that this may be too much information).
posted by h00py at 5:50 AM on December 1, 2007


What I loved about that Redtube link is that it has a sidebar showing me girls purportedly from small towns in mid-Michigan, where I live: hot "exotic" Asian girls posing like professional models but labeled "Dimondale" and "Eaton Rapids." Hilarious--but relating to what someone said up-thread about the fantasy that you could actually end up with one of these girls IRL.
posted by not that girl at 10:59 AM on December 1, 2007


Horace Rumpole: Actually, porn stars have long embraced (when you're writing about porn, everything sounds like a double entendre) the economic model that musicians are starting to come to (!): the recorded work is primarily valuable as an advertisement for the live performance. For many big-name porn stars, stripping is a more important revenue stream (!) than their movies, but it's the movies that get the audience into the clubs.
I just had to favorite this, and respond. Whenever the "torrents are murderous theft!" arguments come up, I'll now have a nice comparison argument to make. This is so, so true: with the exception of a Jenna Jameson or a Danni Ashe, the vast majority of the time the "artist"- the soulful musician or the cum gargling slut- is paid a pittance for the recorded media compared to the actual profit. Making $1 per copy minus advance for an album, or $1000-1500 a scene for a DVD that grosses orders of magnitude more is the most exploitative part.

But in porn, it has long been the case that the rise in the porn ranks was really just a gateway to getting crazy money touring at strip clubs, or even escorting, etc. It is part of that same element that BobFrapples notes here; yes the digital recording is nice, but it won't really replace the live concert experience or the actual act of sex, or even just meeting in person the woman you've rubbed one out to innumerable times. Let your hot album hit the internet for free and have as many people listening to it via word of mouth, and you'll pack every venue you play in. Let people see you in ~30 scenes a year, downloaded from cheggit.net for free 10,000 times, for what amounts to a month's worth of work, and you can charge $5000+/weekend to be the feature at various strip clubs around the country, or make $1500/hr screwing well-to-do clientele in their posh hotel rooms in Vegas or LA. Or even just a small "boutique" site, with personal touches to the paying customer, where 1,000 people x $10 month is a hell of an income working your own hours and having fun. I read that one male porn star did 300 scenes in one year, and despite making "only" $600/scene that means he took in $180,000 that year to have (on camera, and not exactly passionate) sex 300 times with usually reasonably attractive women. I work more hours, make less money, and there isn't nearly as much sex in my office as his.


No one's forcing anyone to be either a musician or a porn star, but if you're going to do it, and want to make a living doing it, then the long-established economic model of the female pornstar is not a bad one for musicians to emulate now. Turns out technology has freed us from actually needing either the musical or pornographic middle-men industries at all, either as producers or consumers.
posted by hincandenza at 5:48 PM on December 1, 2007


hincandenza,

I hear you, but I have to say I feel sorry for the electronic musicians out there. The "make CDs to get word of mouth, do live shows to make a living" model is great for bands, but for one person programming 10 parts, putting on a live show often becomes kind of a sham: either you're just being a DJ, or you're intentionally stripping out single parts of your music in order to play that single part live. It's kind of an artificial affair.

Sure, admittedly, nobody's forcing them to be a musician. And I certainly love the torrents and hate the RIAA. But it would be a shame if a lot of the music I liked were no longer made because the music didn't lend itself to live performance. And, yeah, those same musicians could make some other kind of music which is more conducive to live performance, but it would suck to lose works like Pelinpala's "My CD has landed on the nextdoor neighbours dog" because Pelinapala was instead working on solo live-friendly music.

None of this is defending the current model. It's just pointing out that while the current model sucks, the shift to "CD-as-promotion-for-live-performance" model also has its drawbacks.
posted by Bugbread at 6:08 PM on December 1, 2007


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