Q: How big is the porn business?

Be prepared for astonishment. Because pornography companies are almost exclusively privately held, exact figures are difficult to calculate. However, business analysts estimate that the total porn business (including Internet, videos, DVDs, sex toys, gentleman’s clubs, escorts services, etc.) generates in excess of $40 billion every year in the United States alone. To put that into perspective, that’s a lot more money than is generated by the professional sports industry, or by the entire mainstream entertainment industry. The Internet segment of the porn industry is responsible for around two billion dollars a year, making it the single most profitable retail business on the Web.

Q: How porn sites make money?

Five ways. The first way is simply through selling a product, such as a DVD, a soiled panty, or a giant ribbed vibrating dildo. The second way is by charging you a membership fee to view and/or download naughty videos, pictures, cartoons, and stories. The third way is through affiliate programs. In this case, the webmaster makes money whenever a consumer “clicks through” to a pay site and then purchases a membership. The fourth way, unique to escort sites, is to charge “providers” to advertise on the site. Finally, some sites charge a fee to allow members to enter and answer personal ads.

Q: Why are there so many porn sites?

Good question. Porn webmasters are, in general, crappy business people. Even the ones that make a lot of money never bother to do market research or to find out what consumers really want. Instead, they all splatter out dozens of pay sites and hundreds of so-called “free” sites (which feed into pay sites) in the hopes that a consumer will stumble onto their network of sites and eventually end up purchasing a membership. In addition, having a lot of “free” sites, all linked together is a ploy to convince search engines into thinking that their sites are more “relevant.” Every porn webmaster wants to be the first site returned when someone types in “teen sex” or “free porn” into a search engine. If that webmaster has hundreds of sites pointing to each other (even though they are all accessing the same content database) the search engine rates the site has highly relevant. Sir Rodney believes that porn webmasters would all be better served (and make more money) if they spent more time filling their pay sites with great content rather than choking up the web with multiple sites that all have the same content.

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