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  #1  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:27 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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How do "free" porno sites make money?

First of all,"porno sites" are places on the Internet where people go for their sexual gratification, stimulation, whatever (just thought I'd make that clear for the Dopers who've never seen one).
Many are pay, but a zillion are free, and every so often they do a bait and switch, and send you to some alternate universe of dirty pictures, also free.
I can't see the webmasters doing this out of the good of their heart (although maybe I'm too cynical). Plus, each site has a list of other sites for you choice, usually in the same field of interest to the user.
Many of the sites do not have ads on them, so that's not the usual incentive for a site-force jump.
What is the financial strategy in this?
NB: I have only heard tell of this state of affairs.
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  #2  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:34 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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The most obvious ways are: They also sell stuff (like DVDs or sex toys) or they have a premier (ie, paid) membership to view the really good stuff. Or so I've heard.

Last edited by John Mace; 02-27-2011 at 07:34 PM..
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  #3  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:39 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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Name a free porn site that doesn't have ads.

Last edited by AClockworkMelon; 02-27-2011 at 07:41 PM..
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  #4  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:40 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Even if they don't have ads directly on the site itself, they'll often redirect links from the page to some other page that has paid them for this service. And usually the free samples will include links to where more of the same can be purchased.
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  #5  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:43 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
Name a free porn site that doesn't have ads.
I could, but the mods would swoop down and eat my liver. They're obviously beyond NSFW.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 02-27-2011 at 07:44 PM..
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  #6  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:44 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
I could, but the mods would swoop down and eat my liver.
Why would they do that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo
They're obviously beyond NSFW.
I didn't ask you to link to one. Just name one.

Last edited by AClockworkMelon; 02-27-2011 at 07:46 PM..
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  #7  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:56 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Actually, even the URL would be fine, if it's broken, or if it's in a spoiler box and clearly labeled NSFW.

I have in the past seen a few genuinely-free, no-ads porno sites, run by hobbyists (sometimes they'll accept Paypal donations). They don't seem to last long, though.
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2011, 08:44 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is online now
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If they don't have ads, it's probably because they are ads.
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2011, 08:50 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Advertising. The main successful business model is Persian Kitty. They provide links to porn sites, and the linked sites pay to be listed there. Regardless of whether the linked site is successful or not, Persian Kitty makes money. It's the same model you would find in classified ads. This is also why many sites are just links to links to links.

So I've heard.

Last edited by Superhal; 02-27-2011 at 08:51 PM..
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2011, 08:54 PM
astro astro is online now
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It's ads on some, but for many sites a good chunk of cash flow comes from the fact that they get paid a nice fee by the subscription based file uploding services (ie hotfile, depositfiles, rapidshare, filesonic, megaupload, etc.) if someone signs up for the service via their site. Porn sites usually have a restricted list of file downloading services they allow on their site as some sleazy ones are front ends for SPAM and viruses. Vigilant and protective of their customers are the porn sites. They really are like the Taliban about the purity of the allowed file sites, that's their bread and butter.

If you are not a subscription file file service member you can still DL the files one at a a time, slowly, with ads, and with lengthy timeout delays between allowed downloads. If you really want what the porn site offers it's much easier to pay the 6-9 dollars a month to a file service company for full bore access that allows multiple downloads and high speed bandwidth. Under optimal conditions you can pull down a 1 gig movie in 20 minutes or so. Some otherwise free porn sites also offer the option (for a small monthly fee) to have the porn site use some special downloading software that allows you to (via that one site specific subscription) to use *any* file service the site allows.

Last edited by astro; 02-27-2011 at 08:57 PM..
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  #11  
Old 02-27-2011, 09:02 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Their income comes from advertising. I've never seen a non-member pornsite that doesn't have advertising.

And they have low overhead. So they don't have to earn all that much to stay in business.
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  #12  
Old 02-27-2011, 09:11 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
I could, but the mods would swoop down and eat my liver. They're obviously beyond NSFW.
I don't understand why people think this. The rule has always been that mentions of NSFW sites are fine as long as no direct links are made.

Just as it's true that you can use any of the four-letter words, like fuck, as long as you don't use them as insults outside the pit.

So you need to provide examples. Lots of them. I don't believe in "free" porn sites that don't have ads or aren't paid for links anymore than I believe in television channels that are free. Someone is always paying in the background.
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  #13  
Old 02-27-2011, 09:14 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Most have ads everywhere. And many are user upload sites so the cost of doing business does not include licensing fees, so overhead probably isn't terrible.
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  #14  
Old 02-27-2011, 11:32 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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I think people don't notice the ads, because the ads on porn sites are for porn. And so they just look like more porn.

And probably your brain has been trained over years of internet usage to just mentally block out the ads. I never notice ads on any website, unless they're animated. If you're looking at some pictures of tits, and there are smaller pictures of tits over on the left hand corner, it doesn't really stand out.
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  #15  
Old 02-28-2011, 12:14 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
I could, but the mods would swoop down and eat my liver. ....
Clearly, you are the Prometheus of Porn.
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  #16  
Old 02-28-2011, 12:28 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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In my experience, many free non-hardcore sites (celebrity nudity, vintage, comix etc.) seem to be run by enthusiasts rather than professionals - while there may be ads or subscription portions, the people behind them do it as a hobby rather than a real source of income. Like the SDMB, but with boobies.
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  #17  
Old 02-28-2011, 01:45 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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With wonderful timing, New York magazine just ran a long article detailing the new Internet porn tube financial structure, The Geek-Kings of Smut.

http://nymag.com/news/features/70985/

I broke the link because there are pictures, even though there is no nudity let alone actual sex.
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  #18  
Old 02-28-2011, 03:12 PM
ripopgome ripopgome is offline
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Haven't read the NYT article but generally these sites make their money off commissions for referring people who do eventually subscribe to one of the larger paid sites, or at least that was the deal 6+ years ago. And yes many of these sites have shockingly low overhead (again, old info but probably still valid). "TGP" (thumbnail-gallery-preview I think it was) sites were often churned out nearly programatically, with only a tiny amount of effort required to start a new one, update content, etc. The guys running these things were also very savvy, heavily metric-driven, and ruthless optimizers.

Anyhow, back in the day there were paysites that paid out crazy commission %ages (50%+) to the referring sites. So if a site was $25/month for a subscription and you managed to refer 500 people to sign up each month, that's $6250 income for not a lot of work. Multiply that out to many (10s/hundreds) of similar "feeder" sites, always switching who they're sending traffic to (to maximize their commission) and it's pretty lucrative, pretty fast -- but there's a lot of competition for those horny eyes, as well.

I guess this is the point where my denial of any direct knowledge of this seems inauthentic, huh? It was a long time ago, and tech jobs weren't so easy to come by
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  #19  
Old 02-28-2011, 04:38 PM
astro astro is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ripopgome View Post
Haven't read the NYT article but generally these sites make their money off commissions for referring people who do eventually subscribe to one of the larger paid sites, or at least that was the deal 6+ years ago. And yes many of these sites have shockingly low overhead (again, old info but probably still valid). "TGP" (thumbnail-gallery-preview I think it was) sites were often churned out nearly programatically, with only a tiny amount of effort required to start a new one, update content, etc. The guys running these things were also very savvy, heavily metric-driven, and ruthless optimizers.

Anyhow, back in the day there were paysites that paid out crazy commission %ages (50%+) to the referring sites. So if a site was $25/month for a subscription and you managed to refer 500 people to sign up each month, that's $6250 income for not a lot of work. Multiply that out to many (10s/hundreds) of similar "feeder" sites, always switching who they're sending traffic to (to maximize their commission) and it's pretty lucrative, pretty fast -- but there's a lot of competition for those horny eyes, as well.

I guess this is the point where my denial of any direct knowledge of this seems inauthentic, huh? It was a long time ago, and tech jobs weren't so easy to come by
I think something that has changed in the last 5 years or so is that while certain sites tend to focus on certain areas most of the larger nominally "free" porn sites really are insanely comprehensive within the range of what they offer, and a paid site would REALLY have to be offering something amazing or extremely specialized (IMO) to justify the $25-$30 or month that they charge for access. There's really almost no point in going to a paid site unless you have a very specific fetish of some kind.

I don't think there are nearly as many people willing to pay the full boat paid site access cost as there were 5+ years ago. While ads are still a driver I really believe that most sites are relying more and more on file service money these days.

Last edited by astro; 02-28-2011 at 04:39 PM..
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  #20  
Old 02-28-2011, 05:48 PM
astro astro is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
With wonderful timing, New York magazine just ran a long article detailing the new Internet porn tube financial structure, The Geek-Kings of Smut.

http://nymag.com/news/features/70985/

I broke the link because there are pictures, even though there is no nudity let alone actual sex.
That's an excellent article that explains great deal.
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  #21  
Old 02-28-2011, 06:23 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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I agree that revenues are way down. Remember when people thought porn+internet was a license to print money? Those days are long over. When the marginal cost of a porn pageview approaches zero, the amount you can charge for that pageview approaches zero. I believe the majority of porn sites don't make any money, but they don't cost much either.
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  #22  
Old 02-28-2011, 06:27 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Waitaminnit...there's FREE porn on the internet?
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  #23  
Old 02-28-2011, 08:05 PM
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is online now
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Tangentially related, I guess, but what's the deal with sites that beget new sites, sometimes 3 or 4 at once, when you try to close them? I'm not necessarily talking about porn sites, although when this occurs, in my experience, you're ultimately brought to porn sites whether you intended it or not.

My question is what's the point? So I click on a link on an admittedly dodgy page out of curiosity, and suddenly have 8 (or whatever the number is) loud, gaudy, and trashy porn pages up on my screen, blinking and flashing away, right? Now, perhaps I haven't investigated closely enough, but I don't see sign-up prompts, offers of memberships, requests for cash, or anything like that; just pages of thumbnails which, upon clicking, opens yet other pages of thumbnails. What am I missing?

Last edited by Onomatopoeia; 02-28-2011 at 08:07 PM..
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  #24  
Old 02-28-2011, 08:54 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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The person running the Hell-page has advertising deals with someone-or-other (possibly porn pages) to get paid every time one of the payer's ads show up. If the Hell-page can make 500 windows pop up when you click a link, the Hell-webmaster gets paid 500 times. I think advertisers have mostly caught on to this now, though, so it doesn't really work any more.
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  #25  
Old 02-28-2011, 09:27 PM
MrFloppy MrFloppy is offline
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Someone mentioned that the sites are cheap to run. I don't think that is true. The bandwidth on some of the tube sites must be horrendous.
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  #26  
Old 02-28-2011, 09:35 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Waitaminnit...there's FREE porn on the internet?
"Free" and "good" aren't synonyms.
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  #27  
Old 02-28-2011, 09:37 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
I think something that has changed in the last 5 years or so is that while certain sites tend to focus on certain areas most of the larger nominally "free" porn sites really are insanely comprehensive within the range of what they offer, and a paid site would REALLY have to be offering something amazing or extremely specialized (IMO) to justify the $25-$30 or month that they charge for access.
I remember there was a movement a few years ago to make mini-monopolies. The model would be exclusive to one site, and the only way to see this model in action was to sign up with that site. I doubt it lasted, but it was a good idea at the time.
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