The Porn Report

First published March 2002

(See also: How Rupert Murdoch uses porn to push right-wing propaganda.)

about me

Amongst other things, I once ran a very popular website called ‘Celebrity Bestiality‘. Because of the way the site was armed, optimised and supported by the online community, I scored top search results across the board for a wide number of bestial-related search queries. (I know, I’m so very, very proud of myself…)

My best result, (being the one that generated the most traffic), was this top result in Google for the single search word ‘bestiality’. This result fluctuated between the No. 2 and the No. 4 spot for three years running.

This one search result alone attracted anywhere from 100-200 new visitors. Every. Single. Day. The number of total new visitors to the site was in excess of 150,000 a year. Large companies spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a month hiring search engine optimisation experts to achieve this kind of result. Over a quarter of a million other websites were vying for this same position to attract a similar level of traffic, yet it was only Celebrity Bestiality that rode out every storm and every algorithm change until publication ceased.

Getting a top result like this amongst so much competition is one of the toughest challenges in the online porn industry. I’d overcome it in spectacular fashion, but didn’t sell or promote porn through the site.

However – and this is the guts of it – I’d been contacted by a lot of people who have gone down the porn route, often asking why this was the case (and, usually, if they could advertise on my site). The exchanges that followed nearly always ended up the same. I told them it wasn’t not worth it; they didn’t believe me.

Occasionally, some of them would get back to me a few months later to admit that I was right. I’m a nosy bastard, so I usually asked for details. You’d be surprised how often I heard the exact same story.

You’re about to find out why it’s not worth starting your own porn ‘empire’ – and hopefully make a decision that will save you a lot of wasted time and money.

about you

So, here you are, keen and eager to make money through Internet pornography. I’m here to impart one very special message before you do.

That message is: “don’t“.

You heard me – don’t bother, it’s simply not worth it.

The sale or promotion of Internet pornography is unsustainable for all but the biggest of companies. This includes affiliate schemes, but we’ll dig into that can of worms in a moment. First, I’ll address the issue of running your own site.

running your own site

There are a number of things you should know about before you decide to run your own porn site. It is not as easy at is looks, and nowhere near as profitable as you might think.

Hosting

No right-minded ‘free’ hosting company will tolerate your using their facilities to host porn or direct traffic to it. Trying to do so will only get such sites withdrawn from service. If you think you can sneak something past them, don’t. Someone will always take the time to complain, and one complaint is all it takes.

Hacking

Even if you manage to find an affordable hosting solution, you have to keep in mind that there’s a widespread culture of porn theft on the web. Very large groups of individuals spend a lot of time hacking sites and swapping passwords. Only the most robust systems can handle this kind of attack.

Cheapskates

An industry standard has been set whereby all porn sites are expected to provide some sort of free preview (these days, usually in the form of a promotional collection of thumbnails). There are so many people trying to sell a wide variety of porn in this way that the savvy web user can download all the porn his hard drive can handle, purely by cruising for thumbnails pages, and there are countless portals that catalogue such listings.

The end result is a lot of visitors to your server (that you have to pay for) that aren’t paying their way. Before too long, the money coming is dwarfed by your server and/or administration bills, and you’re losing money hand over quivering fist.

promoting other sites (affiliate schemes)

OK, so you leave the hosting to somebody else and find a porn company that will pay you to bring customers to their site.

Very few porn companies will offer an affiliate scheme ‘per click-through’. Most will insist on a conversion (payment), for which you get a percentage. More often than not, there will also be a threshold you have to reach before they will bother to send you a cheque. If you don’t reach this threshold, you don’t get paid.

I’m here to tell you that you’re not going to reach that threshold, and they don’t care.

Think of it as trying to keep a damp barbeque alight by throwing lit matches at it. A dozen or so matches aren’t going to help at all, but once you start throwing hundreds or thousands of little flames at it, you have real bonfire going. That doesn’t help you much, because you’re just one match. You light up and burn yourself out – and for what? So a big company can make money from your efforts without having to pay you a cent. Doesn’t make much sense, now does it?

You might be asking how the large porn sites keep their affiliate activity going if this is the case. The answer is; hope springs eternal. Every day, thousands of people just like you finally reach that point where they think; “Hey, I know. I can make money selling porn!”

Step forward sucker number 8,562,321. For every adult webmaster who fails, another signs up, ready and eager to take their place. Almost all fail but, funnily enough, not many of them like to talk about it.

attracting traffic

All of the above doesn’t worry you, because you have a new angle, a better deal, a secret weapon (right, you and about a million others). All right, just for laughs, let’s say that you can run a sustainable pornography site or affiliate page. The key to doing this is getting visitors to your site. Let’s take a closer look at that, shall we?

Search Engines

There’s a search engine optimisation term you should familiarise yourself with before I start. That term is ‘saturation’. ‘Saturation’ is a term used to describe the level of competition for a certain search query. Take the search query ‘sex’, for example. While a very popular search query, this can be described as having extremely high saturation, as literally millions of other websites are all vying for the top spot – and unless you’re in the top ten for this, you can forget about getting a decent amount of traffic.

OK, so you think you can beat it by coming up with unique and/or convoluted search terms for all manner of sexual diversions (right, you and about a million others – again). The simple fact is that there are millions (think about that word; ‘millions’) of people just like you already bashing their head against this particular brick wall – and you have to compete with them for attention.

Directories

One favourite trick of porn affiliates is to set up a porn ‘guide’ that’s nothing but a collection of affiliate links. Others are cheeky enough to actually take a single affiliate code and try to submit it to a directory as the core URL for the site concerned. It won’t work – trust me. I’ve worked as an editor, and even the dumbest of us know what’s going on. Actually, most of us will take the time to report you to the affiliate administrator. Terms and conditions for just about any affiliate scheme state that if you try stuff like this you will have your account withdrawn. Trust us when I tell you that the administrator of the affiliate scheme will do so, and will do so without paying you a cent.

Spamming (Email)

Right, so you fork out your hard-earned money for a list of email addresses. Why? Most of these addresses will have been harvested without the recipient’s consent. Any Spam that arrives as a result of it will be most unwelcome – especially pornographic Spam. Even the simplest of web users now has access to Spam reporting tools like Spamcop, a service that automatically generates complaint reports by digging all sorts of information from the email you’ve sent. An abuse report like this will not only be forwarded to the email provider you use for the return address (no real loss if you use Yahoo etc., I will admit) but also the network hosting administrator of any email address or URL that appears in the Spam itself.

Think about that carefully. You have to include your URL(s) if you want to make any money, right? Once a valid complaint is sent (and again, all it takes is one complaint) you can kiss your hosting and/or affiliate scheme goodbye.

Spamming (Usenet)

Spamming Usenet is particularly hazardous. While there are many ways to mask where the Spam came from in a Usenet post, again you have to include some kind of pointer to your earning site, right? Keep that in mind, because not only are many Usenetters much more adept at this kind of thing than you, they are also more likely to track you down and give you a very public lesson in what isn’t tolerated in Usenet. Think I’m joking? I’d say ‘try it and find out’, but I wouldn’t be doing you any favours.

There might only be one so-called ‘Netcop’ who spots your Spam and decides to take action against you, but that one might not stop at a few abuse reports. He might decide that you’re worth more personal attention, and will more than likely have the ability to take the fight directly to your door.

Personal details such as your name, address and home phone number are surprisingly accessible to someone like this. There have been countless cases of Spammers who think that they’ve posted anonymously, but end up getting tracked down by such individuals and publicly shamed in Usenet (often with a posted message that is archived for all to see – for years to come).

conclusion

So, here we are at the end of the report. Now you know why I don’t bother selling porn, despite being able to get top results for core search queries. It’s not only economically unsustainable; it has a bad effect on your karma.

If you’ve just rolled you eyes at that, then there’s probably nothing I can say to convince you, and I’m sorry about that. In fact, if you’re that determined to make money from porn, then this report wouldn’t stop you if it were 200 pages long and included proof that doing so gives you cancer.

If, on the other hand, you consider karma to be a valid factor and you’re not the type of person to sell porn on a street corner, then don’t go thinking that selling it on the Internet is any better, easier, or more anonymous.

It isn’t. Don’t do it.

Take a closer look at yourself, see what skills you have to offer the world and try to translate this to the web instead. You’ll make more money, and you’ll be able to look your family in the eye.

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The contents of this report are protected by copyright laws and international treaties. No part of this report may be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any form or by any means without expressed written consent from the author.

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