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Internet pornography


Internet pornography is any pornography that is accessible over the Internet, primarily via websites, peer-to-peer file sharing, or Usenet newsgroups. The availability of widespread public access to the World Wide Web in late 1990s led to the growth of Internet pornography.

A 2015 study finds "a big jump" in pornography viewing over the past few decades, with the largest increase occurring between people born in the 1970s and those born in the 1980s. While the study's authors note this increase is "smaller than conventional wisdom might predict," it's still quite significant. Children born in the 1980s onward are also the first to grow up in a world where they have access to the Internet beginning in their teenage years, and this early exposure and access to Internet pornography may be the primary driver of the increase. The sex and tech conference series Arse Elektronika dedicated their 2007 conference to what they call pr0nnovation. The con presented a keynote by culture theorist Mark Dery and published a reader about the subject.

Pornography is regarded by some as one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the World Wide Web, like the camcorder VCR and cable television before it. Pornographic images had been transmitted over the Internet as ASCII porn but to send images over network needed computers with graphics capability and also higher network bandwidth. This was possible in the late 1980s and early 1990s through the use of anonymous FTP servers and through the Gopher protocol. At this time the internet was mainly an academic and military network and there was not widespread use of the internet. One of the early Gopher/FTP sites was at tudelft and was called the Digital Archive on the 17th Floor (List of websites founded before 1995). This small image archive contained some low quality scanned pornographic images that were initially available to anyone anonymously, but the site soon became restricted to Netherlands only access.

The method was also used to disseminate pornographic images, which were usually scanned from adult magazines. This type of distribution was generally free (apart from fees for Internet access), and provided a great deal of anonymity. The anonymity made it safe and easy to ignore copyright restrictions, as well as protecting the identity of uploaders and downloaders. Around this time frame, pornography was also distributed via pornographic Bulletin Board Systems such as Rusty n Edie's. These BBSes could charge users for access, leading to the first commercial online pornography.

On the Web, there are both commercial and free pornography sites. The bandwidth usage of a pornography site is relatively high, and the income a free site can earn through advertising may not be sufficient to cover the costs of that bandwidth. One recent entry into the free pornography website market are Thumbnail gallery post sites. These are free websites that post links to commercial sites, providing a sampling of the commercial site in the form of thumbnail images, or in the form of Free Hosted Galleries—samplings of full-sized content provided and hosted by the commercial sites to promote their site. Some free websites primarily serve as portals by keeping up-to-date indexes of these smaller sampler sites. These intents to create directories about adult content and websites were followed by the creation of adult wikis where the user can contribute their knowledge and recommend quality resources and links. When a user purchases a subscription to a commercial site after clicking through from a free thumbnail gallery site, the commercial site makes a payment to the owner of the free site. There are several forms of sites delivering adult content.

Linklists unlike TGP/MGP sites do not display a huge amount of pictures. A linklist is a (frequently) categorised web list of links to so called "freesites*", but unlike TGPs, links are provided in a form of text, not thumbs. It's still a question which form is more descriptive to a surfer, but many webmasters cite a trend that thumbs are much more productive, and simplify searching. On the other hand, LinkLists have a larger amount of unique text, so that helps them to improve their positions in search engine listings. TopLists are linklists whose internal ranking of freesites is based on incoming traffic from those freesites, except that freesites designed for TopLists have many more galleries.

Peer-to-peer file sharing networks provide another form of free access to pornography. While such networks have been associated largely with the illegal sharing of copyrighted music and movies, the sharing of pornography has also been a popular use for file sharing. Many commercial sites have recognized this trend and have begun distributing free samples of their content on peer-to-peer networks.

As of 2011 the majority of viewers of online pornography were men; women tended to prefer romance novels and erotic fan fiction. Women comprised about one quarter to one third of visitors to popular pornography websites, but were only 2% of subscribers to pay sites. Subscribers with female names were flagged as signs of potential credit card fraud, because "so many of these charges result in an angry wife or mother demanding a refund for the misuse of her card.

Server-based webcam sex shows spur unique international economics: adult models in various countries perform live webcam shows and chat for clients in affluent countries. This kind of activity is sometimes mediated by companies which will set up websites and manage finances. They may maintain "office" space for the models to perform from, or they provide the interface for models to work at home, with their own computer with webcam.