The future of porn: $42K webcam shows?

OK, probably not. But Kink's sale of a one-hour virtual show for five figures shows there's big money in webcams

Topics: Pornography, porn, Sex, webcams, Editor's Picks,

The future of porn: $42K webcam shows? (Credit: Nikolich, Bruno Passigatti via Shutterstock/Salon)

Forty thousand dollars can buy you a house in some parts of the country. But an Australian man recently plunked down even more in an auction for a private one-hour webcam session with Kink.com dominatrix Maitresse Madeline. The adult website says it’s the highest amount ever paid for a webcam show, which enables a performer and viewer to interact virtually. As Kink’s publicist told me, this is porn for the 1 percent.

By the third day of the auction, bids passed $10K. The second-to-last bid was for $30,000 — but the winner apparently thought nothing of upping it by $12K. “As an hourly rate,” says the press release, “$42,000 puts Madeline in league with pop stars like Lady Gaga and Oprah.” Madeline told Kink’s BDSM blog, Kinky, ”People are paying for something they don’t get in their normal life, whether that’s a fetish that they are afraid to live out in real life or maybe their partner won’t give them what they desire and they look to cams to fulfill that missing part of their sexuality,” she said. “People want to remain anonymous and they pay for anonymity.”

You Might Also Like

This auction was a test case for a new way of marketing and profiting off of adult content. Maitresse Madeline plans on holding interactive auctions in the future, “featuring everything from webcam shows to pantyhose auctions and chastity keyholding services,” according to Kink.

Peter Acworth, the company’s founder and CEO, says that live and interactive porn is a growth area. “Customers’ connections to the Internet are improving and many want a closer connection to the performer,” he tells me. “One-to-one shows are very expensive, but some are willing to pay surprisingly large sums of money to get exactly what they want.” For those who can’t afford a one-on-one show, webcam portals offer customizable broadcasts to a chat room full of viewers. Kink also broadcasts many of its porn shoots, meaning viewers can pay to watch their porn sausage being made, or simply buy the end product.

None of this is to say that Kink is giving up on recorded content. “While it’s becoming progressively more challenging, we are building a new content distribution platform that will give personalized recommendations, like Netflix does,” says Acworth. “We think this service will be worth paying for even when there is so much free content available.”

At least for the 99 percent, the future of porn probably won’t be five-figure webcam shows. But the industry is banking on technology — the very thing that undid it — as its savior.

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...