Let's Talk About Sex

Let's face it, whether you want to talk about it or not, sex sells... especially online. For years, the online porn industry has been a thriving business and those of us in online advertising have often shied away from the discussion. Don't get me wrong, this is not a column about the good, the bad, and the evil as it relates to this industry. However, it is meant to be an eye opener.

Recently in San Diego, an adult industry trade association (yes they have them too) is said to have its day in court. According to Wired News, under penalty of federal prison terms, new interpretations of existing regulations would require sites that feature photographs or videos of sexual activity to keep records confirming that performers are of legal age. Could this potentially harm the adult industry?

I think it is more of a speed block than a road block. Nonetheless, it is a step in the right direction. It will certainly necessitate copious amounts of paperwork. It also could put a stop to illegal pictures that are distributed widely online. "People are pretty freaked out," said porn webmaster Jim McAnally, who estimates that more than half of hard-core sites, including some of his, will have to dump significant numbers of photos and videos. "This will affect people from top to bottom."



If folks in this industry can't produce the paperwork, they risk a federal jail sentence of up to 10 years. The number of free porn sites is expected to drop as a result. Let's just hope the number of free porn site's adware will too.

Many sites will most likely fold because they are either practicing this, stealing content from other sites, or simply cannot produce the paperwork. One thing that made me chuckle was the reference to porn pre July 3, 1995. It is considered to be "vintage" and will be grandfathered. I'm sure this will produce an underground groundswell. Here are some statistics for the industry, courtesy of Internet Filter Review:

Size of the industry: $57 billion worldwide, $12 billion in the United States
Adult videos: $20 billion
Escort services: $11 billion
Magazines: $7.5 billion
Cable/pay per view: $2.5 billion
Internet: $2.5 billion
CD ROMS: $1.5 billion
Web sites: 4.2 million (12 percent of total Web sites)
Pornographic pages: 372 million
Daily pornographic search engine requests: 68 million (25 percent of total search engine requests)
Daily pornographic e-mails: 2.5 billion (8% of total e-mails)
Worldwide visitors to pornographic web sites: 72 million annually
U.S. adults who regularly visit Internet pornography sites: 40 million (72 percent male, 28 percent female)
Now the final shocker: U.S. porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion)

We all really need to take a look at our industry. Finally we have federal regulations trying to play catch up. Hopefully this will put a dent in illegal activity. We all know that people online always find an alternative. I strongly feel that P2P file sharing will continue to grow and make the "underground" in dire need of traffic lights.

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