[iDC] netporn midlife crisis?

kevin palmer kevin at pointlessbanter.net
Wed Nov 14 15:42:35 UTC 2007

While this might not go directly with the porn thread I just wanted to share
this essay about the sex industry and their use of the social web.

The social web has rapidly evolved into a powerful marketing tool whose
reach has forced business to adjust their core philosophies and strategies
in order to more effectively reach their target consumers. The social web,
thoughrelatively young, was already considered a popular media by 2004,
though mainstream media and Corporate America have only recently taken
notice. When a Bausch and Lomb Executive was recently asked about his
attendance at a conference on blogging, his reply indicated that his company
lacked a presence in new media. Businesses and governments are beginning to
understand the power of the social web and have begun to embrace it,
including British Foreign Secretary David Milibland who launched a blog to
help people understand the diplomatic policy of England. One business though
has beaten all these titans to the bunch; the world's oldest profession has
been quick to embrace these new and exciting technologies. People in this
profession have been quick to grasp the strength of creating a community on
the social web.

We have been able to witness the growth of this trend, which mirrors the
growth of the technology and shares traits with any other sub-group on the
web. Web 2.0 concepts such as the creation of social networking websites are
being used by people within this industry as well as other technologies such
as bulletin boards, Craigslist.com <http://escorts.com/>, and instant
messenger have benefited both provider and seeker. These combined
technologies have helped create and foster a community. This has had
multiple effects on illegal activity: it has moved a lot of people off of
the streets, emboldened them to work for themselves, created a screening
process for both client and provider, and has created a path for law
enforcement to track it.

In examining the growth of prostitution online, it mirrors the type of
growth and activity of a typical subgroup. We can take fans of the Super
Bowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts for example. They have their own
social networking site designed by the team
On that site users can create their own profile and participate on message
boards created to specifically discuss the Colts. Beyond the message board,
featured users can share their thoughts via chatrooms, messaging services,
and blogs. They are also able to follow the news about the team as well as
being able to read blogs created by members of the team and coaching staff.
By using social networking the Colts have found a way to unite their fan
base and create a community. With these connections, you see a history
emerge of the interaction between the users. The users refer to other
conversations or make references to information about other users, which is
a display of familiarity. This is something that you see in a community; not
only is there interaction, but you have people with established
relationships referencing those relationships within their interactions with
each other.

When you examine prostitution online you can see the exact same type of
sites, albeit with different subject area and interests. Users still have
the creation of relationships and an ongoing discussion between clients,
just as the fans in the previous example. On top of their ongoing
professional conversations, providers also participate and interact with
their client base in a more casual context, beyond their immediate
professional concerns. This one on one interaction was a surprising
component of this sub-group. Unlike the Colts, where there is a wall between
fans and players, in this context there was no formal distinction or
distance. This isn't the case as providers are part of the conversations on
these sites in a way that demonstrates that they are members of the
community, not just the providers of a service. Unlike the Colts site where
the blogs are a one sided interaction (fans can comment on the posts but
there isn't going to be an ongoing dialogue created like on most blogs), on
these message boards there is an involvement with the desired subject. These
communities are built just like any other web communities, in a
collaboration of multiple sites or sites with multiple features that cover
multiple types of technology such as in house messaging, profiles, message
boards, photography, and other hallmarks of social networking sites.

For example escorts.com- a site which is a way for users to find providers
in their area- has a lot of the same aspects you would find on[image:
escorts] most social networking websites, but with a niche community like on
mycolts.net. Users can set up their own profile with their date of birth,
gender, sexual orientation, race, height, weight, smoking preference,
drinking preference, and other typical background profile information that
social networking websites ask for. Users can also modify their profile by
adding pictures (with a full photo gallery feature), configuring a headline
or greeting, and designing their profile layout in a manner reminiscent of
most social networking sites. The communication features of this site also
mirror large social networking sites in that you can instant message, send
long form messages, chat, and interact on message boards.

Besides the traditional social networking features of this site, there are
things that are specific to this niche such as reviews of providers and
clients. Also there is a paid membership feature that allows you extended
access that includes reviews with intimate details. This, in addition to
referral links to other adult services, is how the site is monetized.
There are multiple benefits of deploying this technology for this industry.

More information about the iDC mailing list