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Thank Sex For Making The Internet Hot
March 7, 2010 3:21 PM   Subscribe

You can thank sex and early Internet porn kingpins for popularizing many of the computer technologies you use every day, such as video streaming, secure online credit card transactions, and, of course, filling our inboxes with spam; China's stance, obligatorily.
posted by Tlery (31 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Still waiting for the one-handed keyboard...
posted by Elmore at 3:26 PM on March 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


In Communist China, porn watches you!
posted by The White Hat at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2010


I just heard that story in the car. If you are wondering where the pr0n industry is headed think Avatar.
posted by caddis at 3:40 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I recently got my hot little hands on a fascinating documentary called "Pornography, the History of Civilization". It is a highly involved examination of how pornography has been one of the driving forces behind making technology better and more user-friendly. It starts with the discovery of Pompeii and moves right on into the digital age, highlighting advances like photography and VCRs. This post is right in line with that, those interested should definitely check it out.
posted by the_royal_we at 3:41 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Elmore, I know you're kidding, but actually: http://blog.xkcd.com/2007/08/14/mirrorboard-a-one-handed-keyboard-layout-for-the-lazy/
posted by archagon at 3:42 PM on March 7, 2010


Didn't they kind of bury the lede here? Is pr0n actually falling down the list in terms of internet popularity?

The Web research company Hitwise says adult sites accounted for about 6 percent of all U.S. Internet hits that month — putting the adult category in eighth place, with social networking sites in first.

But Hitwise general manager Bill Tancer says that in the not-too-distant past, adult sites used to get the most hits of anything on the Internet. "If I go back to when I started tracking this data in 2004, that was the highest of any category," he says.

posted by chavenet at 3:45 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Still waiting for the one-handed keyboard...

What, you mean the appropriately named Twiddler?
posted by Nelson at 3:52 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Porn was an early adopter of Internet technologies because they offered such a perfect, anonymous (or anonymous enough) venue for the sale/viewing of sexual, arguably transgressive material.

But now other industries are getting onboard, finally, and we can expect to see porn's Internet dominance drop down to the level of dominance that it has in the wider, offline world. Porn ads don't make up 80% or 90% of the amount spent on offline advertising; it was an aberration back when that was the case online.

What's going on is basically mean reversion; porn isn't necessarily becoming less popular, in an absolute sense — there are probably as many or more folks viewing nekkid people online as there ever were — it's only declining relative to the rest of the Internet, which is falling into line with the offline world.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:55 PM on March 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thousands of years of civilization, culture and technology and we've arrived at the ultimate state: anyone, anywhere in the world, can watch someone shove vegetables up their ass at any time.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:56 PM on March 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


With sweat beading on my brow, eyes unblinking, heart pounding, I enter my card number. Soon, that lolcat coffee mug will be in my hot little hands.
posted by longsleeves at 3:59 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Didn't they kind of bury the lede here? Is pr0n actually falling down the list in terms of internet popularity?

It's those damn amateurs. Who needs professional porn sites when you have your neighbors posting their own vids?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:00 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


...venue for the sale/viewing of sexual, arguably transgressive material.

Sure, but the hetero stuff is still my favorite.
posted by hal9k at 4:09 PM on March 7, 2010


Now that the internet is basically the perfect venue for porn, does this mean that we're hitting a dead end? I mean, yeah, I guess we could work on VR stuff for the tactile stimulation and all, but aren't the gains from further technology kind of diminishing? Will a quantum computer really manage porn that much better?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:19 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's going on is basically mean reversion; porn isn't necessarily becoming less popular, in an absolute sense — there are probably as many or more folks viewing nekkid people online as there ever were — it's only declining relative to the rest of the Internet, which is falling into line with the offline world.

Agreed, and the other thing part of this is how much the internet has migrated since even as recent a time as 2004. The internet was once something most people all but exclusively interfaced with at home. That's no longer true: The internet is now something people use in public all the time. I don't think the average person is looking at porn on his/her mobile internet device, and definitely not from his/her workplace.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:22 PM on March 7, 2010


If you are wondering where the pr0n industry is headed think Avatar.

You have seen the future, and it is Furries?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:26 PM on March 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's those damn amateurs. Who needs professional porn sites when you have your neighbors posting their own vids?

My ears are burning!
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:37 PM on March 7, 2010


You missed the perfect opportunity to use the teledildonics tag.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:37 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You missed the perfect opportunity to use the teledildonics tag.

The fact that we have three posts with that tag fills me with a type of quiet glee that is difficult to express in words.
posted by maqsarian at 4:50 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


chavenet: “Didn't they kind of bury the lede here? Is pr0n actually falling down the list in terms of internet popularity?”

Only slightly. Porn has never made up a significant amount of traffic on the internet, and the notion that it does is really just sensationalism.
posted by koeselitz at 4:53 PM on March 7, 2010


Still waiting for the one-handed keyboard...

Not a problem if you happen to have a stewardess fetish.
posted by sourwookie at 5:23 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who needs professional porn sites when you have your neighbors posting their own vids?

Who needs that when you have a telephot lens and a third-floor apartment?
posted by jonmc at 5:37 PM on March 7, 2010


Now that the internet is basically the perfect venue for porn, does this mean that we're hitting a dead end? I mean, yeah, I guess we could work on VR stuff for the tactile stimulation and all, but aren't the gains from further technology kind of diminishing?

Storage. Fidelity. Developing DRM that is sensible and user friendly. Embedded tagging to intuitively retrieve specific moments of video, possibly using heuristics. Improved transmission, 4 and 5g broadband wireless data transmission.

Every time you find yourself wondering what more we can achieve, and what more we can use, remember: 640K ought to be enough for anybody.
posted by Jilder at 7:06 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


One handed keyboard right here. Really- not a joke.
posted by filmgeek at 7:07 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


koeselitz Only slightly. Porn has never made up a significant amount of traffic on the internet, and the notion that it does is really just sensationalism.

I dispute this. Back in the mid-to-late ninties when I was doing tech support I distinctly recall doing a search for "Eudora Error Messages" and half the results were porn sites. And not really being surprised by it.

Ah, the good old days pre-safe search enabled search engines.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:19 PM on March 7, 2010


me: “Porn has never made up a significant amount of traffic on the internet, and the notion that it does is really just sensationalism.”

[insert clever name here]: “I dispute this. Back in the mid-to-late ninties when I was doing tech support I distinctly recall doing a search for "Eudora Error Messages" and half the results were porn sites. And not really being surprised by it.”

I despise The Straight Dope with a passion, and I've known them to be dead wrong on several occasions, so it's with some sadness that I have to link to them, since their numbers and general tenor on the subject seem to be correct: the idea that most online traffic is porn is a myth. Of course, that was from 2005, but as this study shows, it was and is still true.
posted by koeselitz at 8:31 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you are wondering where the pr0n industry is headed think Avatar.

Unobtanium?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:10 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you are wondering where the pr0n industry is headed think Avatar.

Unobtanium?


That was what the unobtanium was for!
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:36 AM on March 8, 2010


~It's those damn amateurs. Who needs professional porn sites when you have your neighbors posting their own vids?

~My ears are burning!


I really like the new drapes in the family room, AZ.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:10 AM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The Internet has been sexualized even before it was the Internet," [Violet Blue] says. Back in the days of bulletin board systems, some people would exchange what was known as "ASCII porn."

"This was essentially people using characters by hand on their keyboard to create what look like explicit images, and then send them to each other through bulletin board systems," she says.
Does Violet Blue really think that people masturbated to the image of a penis made with asterisks? (Of course, people will masturbate to things like a woman in high-heeled shoes stepping on insects, but you know.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:05 AM on March 8, 2010


Halloween Jack - ASCII porn is quite detailed... GIS for ASCII art (sfw).
posted by porpoise at 4:12 PM on March 8, 2010


After all this hot talk can you resist looking at some horny females?
posted by Jericho at 6:10 AM on March 9, 2010


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