The Crazy Secrets Of Internet Cam Girls (NSFW)

If you think cam girls — those flirty naked characters that plague porn site pop-up ads — are raking in easy money, you're right. If you think cam girls are bleakly stripping online out of desperation, you're also right. Peel away the sex and pixels and money and you're left with the cloudy truth about the internet's relationship status with these on-demand entertainers: it's complicated.

If you've looked at porn online (which we pretty much all have), you've likely been propositioned by advertisements for cam girl networks. They invade your peripheral vision; they pop up behind your window. The women wait for you to start staring, and, just when you're interested, they hit you up for money. You've seen them sitting at their keyboards, wearing barely anything, winking at you, typing to nobody in particular with thin, lethargic arms: bored and conventionally beautiful. The ads, with flirty video that might be live or recorded years ago, shout at you with promises of "Live Sex Chat" and "Sex Shows", with both amateurs and "pornstars" alike. It's a web red light district, and unlike some gaudy Dutch strip or seedy sidewalk, you're completely anonymous. The sex comes to you.

The basic premise of the cam girl game is a simple one: You pay a girl for her time, and in exchange, she'll take off her clothes, talk to you, play with herself (and others), or any combination thereof. When your money is up, so's your time — the two of you part ways until you've got the cash and willingness to go at it again. And when that time comes, you'll have thousands upon thousands of girls ready to swivel and smile for you in real time. It's a massive catalogue of preening women of every variety: big, skeletal, black, white, Asian, American, Greek, Czech, etc. To find them, look no further than the Big Three of cam girl delight: Streamate, LiveJasmine and MyFreeCams. These three mega-networks advertise across the mainstream porn tube sites of masturbating ubiquity — PornHub, ClipHunter, etc — but are shells and shadows themselves. So how do you get in?

Becoming A Cam Girl

The requirements are meagre: a computer and internet connection.

Odds are, you're referred by a newspaper or website listing. Maybe a friend suggested you try it out. Maybe you're shifting from traditional strip club work to the online equivalent — a popular trend in wealthier countries. Maybe you're working in a brothel where web camming is just another expectation. Whatever the case, you'll have to stream yourself through a web cam portal, one of the massive sites that catalogues thousands of models and acts as a go-between between customer and model.

Next, you'll need to decide which cam network to use. They all offer more or less the same "service:" You supply the body, the network supplies the eyeballs — and takes a cut of what your viewers pay.

Each network will ask you to fill out a brief bit of biographical information — list your interests, and try to sound fun — and then check a box or pull down a menu saying that you're 18 or above. You'll need to submit some sort of identification proving your age, but with standards low, laws international, and documents scanned, forging such a thing is a cinch, making underage cam girls a real problem.

Streamate sells its models through a variety of repackaged and re-skinned websites, like PornHubLive — using the site's well-known brand as an easy in with porn consumers. In reality, it's the same old site in new clothes. Streamate itself is hard to pin down. Trying to find who actually owns it is dizzying: The domain belongs to Flying Crocodile Incorporated, which has a PO box in Seattle. Job openings point to a nebulous firm called NaiadDev, also based in Seattle (and hosted by FlyingCroc). But the company's custodian of records is one Rena Erotocritou, employed by "Ariel Secretaries Limited", a ghost of a company based out of Cyprus.

The massive LiveJasmin would have you believe it's owned by "Gestao e Investimentos, Lda", a company based in an autonomous region of Portugal — and has a host of fraud complaints lodged against one of its subsidiaries. But a recent tax bust against LiveJasmin's Hungarian CEO Gattyán György — one of the richest men in Hungary — and his corporation, Dolcer Holdings, shows just how muddled the corporate picture is. No doubt deliberately.

MyFreeCams, one of the most popular of the cam portals, has a domain registered to a Leo Radvinsky, and a legal contact in the Netherlands.

If you've got your own hardware and connection, you can essentially be self-employed, putting aside the big chunk each site will take out of your earnings. It really doesn't require much. Here's the cam setup from one Romanian model I spoke with at length.

On her end, the website looks like this. This is where she sits and waits. (Click to expand)

But if you don't have this luxury — like a lot of girls across the world — you'll likely work for a "studio". That's basically a euphemism for another person's computer (probably a man), in front of which you'll perform on a tight schedule. You're still working through, say, MyFreeCams, but instead of only giving MFC a cut of your take, the studio owner takes a piece as well. Often a large one. If you don't stick to your mandatory hours, you'll be fired. You'll also be potentially living with strangers in conditions beneath the grimiest motel.

It's easy enough to read up on pointers from veterans.

A little research at mega-message boards like Stripper Web is fruitful — you'll pick up "Best Way to Recieve Money from Guys" muse in "Are you always beautious on cam?" And, of course, share war stories. One user started a thread spilling the most obnoxious, bigoted lines she'd recently been fed by "customers":

"Are you clean?" (As in STDs) "You'd make more money if you can ****." "Are you mix with white? You're music is different."

Sites do virtually nothing to curb or discourage this kind of treatment.

Entirely unsurprisingly, it's impossible to get in touch with any of the people who actually run these networks. None of the above entities from LiveJasmin, Streamate, or MyFreeCams responded to efforts to confirm that they do indeed exist and have some affiliation with the websites in question. All that's available is a semi-robotic technical support chat, which fields basic questions about how to use the site and credit card processing. These web cam kingpins might as well not exist. We don't know where the money goes.

And as a cam girl, you won't know where it's coming from. You'll get your split — typically around 35-percent, but sometimes upwards of 70 — siphoned to you via an innocuous credit card processing site like CCBill, while the site takes the rest of the cut. However you earn that cut is up to you. Some sites, like Streamate, allow actual sex to the point of orgy, while others limit your act to a solo show. You can do whatever you think will earn cash in the form of dollars-per-minute private shows or instant "tips". That's the formula. You're up against tens of thousands of women (and men, to a lesser degree) offering the same product in varying versions. That's a tough stab at making a living, even with your clothes on.

So who are these tireless women (or girls), these internet sex pioneers? Where do they live? Where did they come from? How did they wind up these poorly furnished, fluorescent-lit rooms in this oversaturated, low-res corner of the web? We wondered the same thing. So I talked to them.

Domino: Living the American Dream

"There's a lot of burnout in this industry," Domino tells me over the phone from one of the three houses she owns in Wisconsin — one of them a lakefront property outside of Madison. She says it with a serious voice that sounds a little tired.

I don't know her real name, and I don't get the feeling she's willing to tell. We just talk about stripping and streaming sex, her chosen field for the past couple years. There's not much point in digging, anyway — Domino is, for my purposes, more a brand and personality than a fragile and finite person like you or me. But a thriving one. She describes herself as:

"Not your average female. I'm the fabled nerdy, intelligent woman who plays video games, loves all types of movies and music, books, and other women. I'm hyper, I have a dry, dark, sarcastic sense of humour, and I quote movies. A lot. Imagine Wednesday Addams, Daria, Liz Lemon and Darlene Connor having an orgy. I'm the result."

Domino might not be something so dramatic as that, but she's certainly smart, replies to my questions without the slightest hesitation, and oozes the confidence of a professional from any field. She just pays her bills with a dildo now.

That wasn't always the case. Before she started stripping — both online and off — Domino was a suit: working at a Fortune 500 company as a graphic designer. She quit the firm out of boredom in 2010, and now mainly flexes her aesthetic skills to push her online sex shows. Unlike most cam girls, Domino isn't affiliated with a network like LiveJasmin. She's completely independent, streaming strip and fetish sex shows from her home studio, straight from a website she built herself. Stripping at a local joint came first, but after breaking her wrist, Domino segued away from brick and mortar clubs. She'd heard there was good money to be made doing pretty much the same stuff online — and she could be her own boss.

Domino wakes up at 8 am every morning and performs booked shows for clients paying between $US90 and $US120 an hour. That's about sixteen times her state minimum wage, and she doesn't have to leave her bedroom. If a client wants to book through MyFreeCams rather than sending money directly, Domino charges double. There's not a cent lost to a middle man. It seems like a pretty swell setup: "I love my job," Domino gushes. "I can work when I want to, as much as I want to, [and] nobody can tell me how to do my job." She's right. At her strip club, she was required to come in four to five days a week, spinning on a pole. Now, she can work all day. Or not at all. The last time we spoke, she was working on an ebook project, spending her time as she pleased.

When the clothes do come off, it can be damn lucrative: Domino estimates she hauls in around $US300 on a good day — although a bad day is zero dollars, and hours wasted. But it's enough for her to be completely self-sufficient, albeit weary of the whole thing sometimes. More concerning though are the handful of "true creeps" she runs into — the gents who aren't just pervs, but sexual threats. That's never OK, but the rest of the time, occasional criminals aside, the job sounds downright leisurely.

It also gives Domino a chance to indulge in her geeky professionalism: "I like being able to network with people who aren't my strip club customers, [and] it's a way for me to see how good I am at SEO and social media." This is fun for her. Domino says she's "always been a very sexual person," so while camming is tiring, of course, on-camera kink isn't onerous, if you can put the monotony aside.

Domino has it pretty good — an American with ample property and a cushy career based on sex she enjoys. Not everyone is Domino.

Anna: Former Indentured Stripper

I met Anna because she flatly offered to talk to me — clothed or unclothed — in exchange for money. She's Romanian, a model from a region with a reputation for sordid conditions and rapacious studio owners. If there were a dark side to the industry, she'd at least be nestled closest to it. But when her camera first flipped on for me, I didn't see the stained walls of a prostitute's den. Instead: a bright, modern apartment inhabited by a bright, modern girl. In her pink underwear. Anna embodies almost every delightful stereotype an American brain can hold over a young girl from Romania. At 24, she's clever — even cunning — sarcastically flirtatious in a way that makes you want to check your back pocket, and possesses stunning slavic beauty.

But despite fulfilling all my internet male expectations, Anna's impossible to really pin down. On both IM and video chat, she's prone to mannerisms and quips that make you want to pay for her time. A lot of it. She's beautiful without surfeit, an honest form that's pleasing even over a low-resolution video stream. Her English is fantastic, her personality disarming. She'll sit casually, like a girl the morning after a sleepover, musing about her cats and future. When she first "performed" for me on camera, discarding her herd of cats and cigarette for a bottle of baby oil, a few alarmed neurons felt like I should rush to Bucharest and wrap a blanket around her. Her innocence is a cool switch. The tokens evaporated.

But there's really nothing exotic about Anna. She's occasionally lazy and often messy, spending most of her days, as far as I can tell, puttering around her Bucharest apartment in pajamas, playing with her cats, drinking enormous plastic bottles of soda, working on coding an iOS game, and taking occasional trips out to pick up fried chicken and buy new underwear. She claims to have almost no "real" friends off of the internet, but is consistently cheery, and enormously talkative. While video chatting, she always asks if I mind before she smokes. Anna complains about having to take time away from Diablo 3 for her cam sessions, where she chats with regulars, masturbates, mouths along to pop songs, and waits, waits, waits for someone to send her money. And when it comes, it comes. Anna's a MyFreeCam loyalist, earning $US6 a minute via "tokens" — a clever way to obscure how much her customers actually spend. It's a lot easier to fork over 900 tokens than thinking about the $US75 you just spent in minutes. This is Anna's sole income, and what took her out of rural Romanian poverty and the whims of other men.

It took six years to reach this life of dilettantism and occasional sex work. Anna wasn't always free. She started camming when she moved from her backwater Romanian hometown to attend college in Bucharest for a degree in psychology. When she relocated, she knew no one and had no money. But, like Domino, heard things about the lucrative streaming flesh trade — a recommendation from a male friend who convinced her to strip from his cramped two-room apartment as he did the same in the other room.

Her friend, "gave [her] sex toys" and she was on her way, waking at 6am each morning in order to hit American-internet primetime. She hopped from studio to studio, at times living with her employers (and their unwanted advances), still far enough from self-sufficiency that she had to depend on them for support. One had a wife who insulted her constantly. She had to work, almost every day, on strict, long, tiring shifts, doing the same performances over and over and over again. She was an urbanite, but she was still a poor stripper in a small room. When one studio boss lost all of his money and had to move in with a friend, Anna had to go along, having lost her room, board and virtually all of her possessions.

Her conditions at the next studio were bare at best, and at times the most personal privacy she had, while performing for strangers on live camera, were a few hanging sheets separating her from the others walking in and out of some rundown flat. Although she was the frequent victim of what would certainly qualify as flagrant, physical sexual harassment in any other business, Anna stuck through it, priding herself on her ability to talk a path out of a "bad situation" with male employers.

Others aren't so lucky, she says, referring to her peers' dips into coerced sex and assault. "Guys who are in charge of these business, they don't respect the girls, because of this job. A girl who does this doesn't deserve to have respect — that's just the mentality." But at the same time, Anna downplays the prevalence of studio abuse as "exceptions", or even complete fabrications — ploys for sympathy and the money that might trickle with it.

This comes off as somewhere between cynicism and naive denial, but the fact that she knows of any girls at all who've raped and beaten suggests that it is, at the very least, a real occupational hazard.

If abuse were such a big problem, Anna says, then why would any Romanian girls bother with it at all? Why wouldn't they just find some other job? In a country whose GDP only stopped shrinking two years ago, with 20 per cent of the population living below the poverty line and personal income levels far below Kazakhstan, Iran and Gabon, that question answers itself. There's a reason Anna's so happy to be independent from her former employers, a status she equates with nothing less than her "freedom".

Today, things are different. After saving money and learning enough savvy to avoid continued exploitation, Anna is done with money-sucking studios, and so she works only about five days a month, from her own home. Five days of camming per month allow her to match the Romanian per capita income of roughly $US12,000 per year with a minuscule fraction of the labour. If she wants more money, she works more days.

She's got camming down to a science. "It's all about saying to people they are sweet," she smiles. All a man needs is attention, when he wants it, and he'll be Anna's until the tokens run dry. Regulars will sit in her room for hours, pouring money away — these are the lonely ones, Anna says. "They want to hear that they're loved... that they're sweet... that they're kind... that's how you keep them coming back." It might sound mercenary, but these guys are getting exactly what they're paying for. Only a man in the deepest bog of delusion truly believes the cam love is real — if you're spending hundreds of dollars for a companion on your computer monitor, you have to be willing to suspend disbelief. Plenty are willing — particularly Americans, who for whatever reasons (Anna chalks it up to a sort of cultural shamelessness), are more "generous" than Europeans, and more likely to buy into the act — and pay for the privilege of watching something interactive.

There are still big ticket European customers these days, men who Anna is reluctant to call "addicted", but "spend more time... you need to entertain those people who are going to stay for hours and hours in your room, even if they finished what they came for — they want to get to know you." Either way, camming keeps Anna in comfy sweatpants and Fanta.

Mila: The Superstar

Mila Milan is as close as camming gets to producing a celebrity: a renaissance woman boasting ownership of a private resort in Thailand (below), a Porsche, an industrial design firm, nine cats, eight dogs, an impending book deal, a small child, and what she says was "one of the biggest tips ever in cam history — 260,000 tokens, which meant $US13,000 for me."

She started in the German porn game at 17, and moved on to cam modelling years later in Bangkok. Two years ago she was the number one rated model on MyFreeCams — meaning her link was at the very top of the site's barren layout — bringing in around $US37,000 per month. These days, girls in those top slots can earn up to an insane $US75,000 per month. The competition is cutthroat. The MFC ratings battle is ruthless, as tips beget more tips: if you're being paid well, you move up the totem pole, ensuring a snowball effect of even more attention and money.

At times, it's hard to believe Mila even enjoys the work. I stopped by one of her more recent shows, and she sat, almost motionless, with her top unbuttoned, literally wincing. She seemed to be mumbling to herself, narrowing her eyes and ignoring her customers. Mila told the hundreds of slobbering men in her chatroom that they'd need to deposit thousands of tokens before she'd take her shirt off entirely. Money trickled in. She says the last three weeks have been "the slowest in three years...very bad." Still, she's a rich woman in an industry of destitution.

This kind of money and naked fame is the rarest exception for a camgirl. The rest of the many thousands struggle to make any money at all under what appear to be demeaning, even dangerous conditions. After eight years of observation, Mila says, straight up, that camming is a criminal business on an international scale:

"With the Feds closing down and tightening the control on casino and poker sites, some of those [criminal] elements have found a new way of doing business: the Cam Industry. Let me make clear that this is in no way an MFC problem where I work. This is an industry-wide problem which will need to be addressed if this industry wants to survive."

The Dark Side

The racket is money laundering:

"Cam sites are ideal for laundering. The studios are being used to have girls online accepting a financed hand that uses 'dirty' money to buy the private time. The studio gets paid for the private session, the girl gets her (very small) part and so the money comes back clean," Mila says. As a result, "most Russian and Romanian studios are Mafia owned", a claim she extends to the wider developing world. The picture becomes clearer when you remember how scattered and obfuscated these networks' financial structures are — it'd be easier to confusingly launder money through a company that's somehow simultaneously based in both Hungary and Portugal.

The Eastern Bloc countries that so many cam girls call home are repeatedly mentioned in sex trafficking reports as both sources and conduits of illicit sex work — MyFreeCams has gone as far as banning all models from the Philippines, where conditions are said to be the most brutal.

The reasoning isn't mentioned, but is easy to surmise. Moving the exploitation online, where girls are under "contract" to stay in a room for half a day at a time with dubious legal recourse, makes criminal sense. Unfortunately, not a single NGO I contacted that deals with issues of sex trafficking, abuse, prostitution, human rights, or anything that might've pertained to these weary faces had data or commentary on the cam industry.

(NakedSexAssasinDUO1on1, Philippines)

As far as quality of life goes, Domino is the upper top tier — happy, healthy, not without worry but relatively unstrained. A bourgeois sex worker. But stroll through any large network like MyFreeCams or Streamate, and you'll see how the other half lives. Poorly.

Stream after stream reveals someone on the other end of Domino's spectrum, far from the web sex metropole. They almost follow a template: garish makeup, harsh lighting, dingy rooms, generic techno wafting through the air, and almost certainly some piece of cheap fabric serving as a make-do backdrop. Pure Soviet Bloc chintz. They're almost always employed by cam "studios" — operations that vary in legitimacy wildly, from large, on the level companies to some dude's back room. It's a simple business, and a thriving one. Studios are pervasive throughout poorer countries, where a decent computer and broadband connection are harder to come by. The owners provide the facilities, and, in return, receive a hefty cut of a woman's takings — sometimes more.

The look is undeniably that of a brothel or a close approximation, and the ambiance is decidedly bleak. And it's decidedly Third World — there's a critical mass of prized white, American models, but the rest of the catalogue spans the economic stale crusts of the globe: Russia, Colombia, West Africa, Thailand, Czech Republic, the Ukraine, Romania. For reasons that were never quite clear, Romania was a capital of pay-for-play sex shows across every major cam network.

Regardless of nationality, almost all of these women stare the vacant look, a disquieting blend of boredom and despair. You'll see none of Domino's eager, entrepreneurial zeal in their eyes — sometimes it seems like they forget they're even on camera. Although silent, they sure don't look like they want to be there. But some of them talk, online, anonymously, where it's safe. On one message board, SassyLisa shares her story from Bucharest:

Working in a studio as a webcam model its like keeping a wild beast into a cage...You have to work a number of hours,you don't have legal working papers...sexual harassment(yes...it sucks!when your boss is calling you in the middle of the night asking you to have a quickie,otherwise you'll take the consequences!

While hopping between these obviously studio-owned streams, I tried to get the women who are clearly down and out to talk about their work.

Most refused to discuss where they were, who they worked for, how they got there, or anything else. Some, with an alarmed expression, said they weren't allowed to discuss their studio. Some just sat looking away blankly, with canned text responses typed by someone else — off camera — popping up intermittently. Take a spin through Cam World, and you'll see women in catatonic states with a male partner — a "boyfriend" — for whom they clearly have no affection, but with whom they're expected to have sex (and everything else) on demand. Their faces are pathetic and worn. They sit online in makeshift chambers for most of the day, in the same complex as who knows how many others just like them, serving as a sort of dragnet for internet chump change — every once in a while someone will pop into the room.

Half the time they'll pop right back out. Otherwise, they'll go to the usual line of lobotomised demands: "tits", "show me dis", "I wanna hav that", to which the desperate model has to play along if she hopes to eke out a dollar or so. For them, the prospect of a $US13,000 tip is beyond comprehension — it's doubtful they'll make anywhere near that much in an entire year. If they do, it'll likely be by pandering to the sordid whims of bullying customers — those who, as Anna laments, watch a show before calling you a whore. So if you're just a single woman in the sea of Eastern European cam girls, rather than strip, perhaps you'll just stay naked all day as a way of attracting attention — an option that's allowed on MyFreeCams, but not on Streamate, where it'll get you the boot. There, you'll just dwell in a state of near-undress. Or flaunt the rules.

But then you notice everyone else is naked too. What's left to do besides demean and disrobe?

(ForePLAYadik, Philippines)

This is maybe the saddest truth for the struggling cam girl: that rock bottom isn't a destination but an expectation. The majority who struggle will sit, naked and unnoticed, waiting for a chance to degrade themselves, while American women demand top dollar to even speak with you.

"This is the irony," explains Anna. Going out of your way to lure and satisfy customers, the willingness to do any act, no matter how uncomfortable or degrading, gets you nowhere — because all of your Third World competition is doing the same thing. Everyone's price is driven down. Exponentially less permissive American women can earn a living just by stripping down. "Girls who do less, they get paid more. People who are willing to do all sorts of stuff, they barely get paid," Anna says. The desperate bodies of the Third World are locked in a state of mutual ruination, competing with each other to the point of almost entirely diminished returns. Whether by the force of subsistence, an overbearing studio boss — or, if Mila is right, the Russian — the women that populate our porn pop-up ads aren't there to please us or have fun. They're there because they have to be. And because our money's there too.

And this naked dingy daily grind, occasionally lucrative or otherwise, might simply be the best thing they have going. When last I spoke to Anna, I asked if she saw herself still camming in five years — and if not, what it'd take to make her quit. She refused to answer without more money. For most cam girls, that might be the best answer there is.


Comments

    This is probably the best thing Sam Biddle has written, ever. I just wish he'd stop writing the same idolatrous "I LOVE MY IPHONE" posts.

    2 many wordz not enuf pitures...agggghhhhh

      I think you kinda missed the point of the article.

    A good Article no doubt. It would have been better in video form. As in Sam explaining the story in video form. Like a report.

    This is not just a great article, it's a damn good piece of journalism.

    I really really really liked the writing, the topic, and the honest way it was covered.

    Good work Steve!

    Eh, if you do it right it looks like nice easy money. Wish I was a girl.

      Outted, ozoneocean is a wanna be tranny.

      dont wish you were a girl ... its not easy money even for americans we dont just hope on cam and go okay lets have fun guys .... its hours make sure your place looks okay and you have the kind of toys and clothes they are going to want to see you in your make up doesnt look garish and over done like some do and thats just to get on cam he's right its a buisness we promote ourselves offline talking to followers and regulars about anything and everything that they want to keep them happy and in there fantasy world .... "can i marry you" "tell me you love me" "leave your boyfriend for a real man then you wont need to cam!" these are things we hear daily i constantly have to gentally nudge my regulars and remind them that as much fun as i have and how sweet they maybe Im not in love with them and sometimes they understand .... sometimes they dont and it crushes me that its that way but its much safer that way. We are a dime a dozen (camgirls) everyone viaing for the top spot some never seeing beyond a silly Cam score ... Im lucky i do this for fun i dont give a shit if my score is 1200 one day and 500 the next as long as i had fun and my customers had fun but many arent that lucky dont think what we do is easy and dont wish you could do this for a living it takes a strong person to do this and come out smiling everyday

    A brilliant article, thanks for writing it.

    My ex who I split up with last year, worked for [edited] in Sydney, a phonesex company. She was with them before we met, and was trying to get away from the life. It's a shockingly low paid job. They may charge 5.95 per minute but the average girl gets only rouglhly 50c per minute. Add to that that girls are put on 'levels of priority' depending on the amounts of calls coming, the amounts of calls they take per month, they have to perform over 500 minutes per week (only 8 hours I hear you say? Believe it or not its DIFFICULT.). It completely, absolutely, killed our sexlife. Hearing how men, and some women, treat these people on these lines is abhorrent. It's like they forget they're human too. While I understand they're in the sex industry (not hookers but still, phonesex workers), they don't deserve to be degraded the way some people can do. Conversely I've also seen first hand via some other operators how they manipulate and flat out rob clients, it's unbelievable. The sex industry in Australia most definitely needs better regulation, it needs better control. The girls and guys involved in it are used, abused and thrown out like trash regularly in the phone industry alone so god knows what else they're doing in the other areas...

    Oh and when you ring a phone sex line?

    There's usually some dude listening in on your calls while you talk to her assessing her 'performance'. Or your calls are sold to overseas companies and played back via audio for other people to listen to at slightly cheaper rates... sucks hey?

    Just thought you might like to know.

    Very interesting article, Sam. I am always interested to hear how things work. This is an unusual addition to that genre.

    Great article - devoured the whole thing and forwarded it to some others. More articles of this standard please!

    Great piece.

    great article! all i could think of was Taken when reading about the mafia owned shit

    This should have been on The Global Mail! Awesome piece of journalism!!

    WoW Actual Journalism!? WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE! But really, great article, not as NSFW as you might think. Quite interesting.

    It might be an "awesome piece of journalism" but what are any of you effers going to do to help these women? Nothing, that's what. Nothing at all. Awesome piece of journalism, BTW.

      Well I for one can do something: not use webcam sex sites. I can also forward this article to many places and people. But ultimately it is up to each person to take responsibility and free themselves. "Free your mind, your ass will follow". And yes this piece is the best I've read on the net for quite some time. It's not just journalism - it's INVESTIGATIVE journalism, and that is sadly lacking these days. Kudos.

    Excellent - thanks!

    Quality journalism, one of the best articles I've read on Gizmodo. Nice job

    Great job!

    Im a cam - model, a very well paid one..
    i think u dont really get what means being a cam girl cos u make it sounds simple and poor.

    and many things u say about how is to get this job is a bullshit. big time.
    and many other things, u know? makes me sad to read something like that in 2012...

      Thats true im a cam model aswell and some off the points from the article are hard to read .

    Two points-

    Firstly the porn industry as a whole has always had a huge tendency to exaggerate the money being made and the turnover of the industry as a whole, Forbes done a pretty thorough article on the subject and concluded the real turnover was between 10%-15% of the actual numbers claimed, its the same with this tentacle of the porn industry,aswel as the stripping sector of this whole porn industry.
    Secondly, vast majority of visitors to these sites are non paying visitors , a small percentage do impulse buy, they may be browsing and decide to buy a show with a women, but the amount they are paying will be on average $20-$30 per show and are very unlikely to pay or return again. This is due in no small part with the fact that they can record any show they have on their screen to watch in the future at their leisure so have no reason to pay again. The real punters these women are after are an even smaller percentage of visitors who return night after night and stay loyal to one or two models. The only way to get these guys hooked is to convince them they are in a relationship with you, or at least some sort of promise that there is a chance of one in the future. One further point that MilaMilan woman mentioned in article is facing 10 years in jail for drug offences in Thailand along with 2 European men.

    After a pretty great career my life changed when I became a stalking victim (of the police known Psychopath and Stalker Marc Veith, Germany).

    To cut a long sob story short: after 8 years of stalking when not able anymore to leave the house I had to start to work as a webcam model too. A job where you do not have to leave the house.

    What fascinates me.....out of which holes are all of this creatures crawling who spend money on 70 % forced women and 30 % sluts. ...... you are supposed to pretend you like those gross guys. Few of the men are just lonely. 80 % are married and just gross. The other 20 are seriously disturbed people in urgent need of therapy. Those are your best customers.

    It is one of the worst jobs in the world. Most of all because you learn a lot about men. I am sure a high percentage of webcam model is Single.
    There is nothing sexy about this business. The idea of paying people for sex )or the fake illusion of it) is pathetic and sad really.

    Another sad thing is how many men never seem to have seen a woman climaxing and fall for the fake sh...

    I also think the article is well written.

    Probably because the author is a guy too ("have we not all been there" NO!!!! ) he did not focus so much on the customers. Maybe he is one himself.

    I am not sure if this jobs destroys your view on men or just gives you a realistic outlook on how they really are.

    Those creatures who are willing to pay for a forced woman or a slut. As well as most Psychopaths are male so are most porn site customers. Hmmmmmm

    But I knew what to expect so I keep praying every day that the Psychopaths dies and I can get back to a great life and career.

      Wow that is a very jaded way of looking at things Im slightly sad for you Yes some men are jerks and some pervs but to single them out and put them in to little defined categories like you have the right is asinine. And as for your assessment of the girls who do this work Fuk off seriously .... I am a healthy mid 20's woman with a BA in culinary and a healthy relationship with my fiance of 7 years i have a beautiful 6 year old boy and im neither a slut or forced into this .... there goes your little 70-30 theory .... you like so many can only see to the end of your own clouded nose and have no room to talk of others as if you know. its hard work and i enjoy it im not a slut i dont sleep around i have fun entertaining guys and girls on the internet safely in my own home with or without tips

    I enjoyed reading this article, although as a cam girl, I did find a few discrepancies in the research.

    This article is based mostly on European, South American, and foreign webcam models as opposed to North American models.

    You did interview Domino, but she's a little different from the rest of us because she works independently.

    I am a Canadian webcam model and I work only on Streamate. I make, on average, $125/hour. I love my job.

    I'd like to address something that was not in the article: There are TWO different types of STUDIOS. "virtual studios" and "physical studios".

    Physical studios are exactly what they sound like... A big building sectioned off into rooms that cam models either rent out to work in as an independent contractors, or they are actually employed by said studio owner.

    Virtual studios are a type of white label company under Streamate. Anyone can own and start a virtual studio. They recruit people online to be cam models and they sign them up to Streamate through their white label. Mostly they take about 10%, but they do offer models tech and customer support as well as better placement on the site for this cut. While employed by a virtual studio, the models sets her own schedule and works from his/her own home. They are NOT controlled or manipulated by said type of studio.

    Although there are certainly a few physical studios in North America that offer models a place to work if they can't from home, physical studios are based mainly in Europe, Africa, and South America. whereas virtual studios are actually pretty popular on Streamate in the North American webcam model community.

    I do feel like this article has brought to light some very terrifying and true facts about the foreign camming studios, however, I also feel like it has grouped all cam models into the same category. There are a lot of really amazing women who cam as their full time job and who are not mechanical droids sitting there waiting for you to "give tip bb", a lot of us are REAL people in our REAL apartments.

    Anyways, I hope I've cleared a few things up here. There is nothing wrong with cam sites, and it's not new information that impoverished countries have a disgustingly high amount of sexual slavery and abuse. I'm not trying to diminish the hardships that I'm sure some of these men and women have gone through, I just wanted to clear some stuff up.

    -Nicky. Webcam model. 23 years old. Canadian. Work as an independent contractor on Streamate.

      Thanks so much for posting this!! This article is well written, I'll give it that. But its not entirely accurate. I am a cam model and I live in the US. I work through a virtual studio and and no way abused or degraded on a daily basis. I average about $250-350 a week. An honest living and I live with my fiance. He works full time and I work between 11-2010 hours per week. I am by no means a drone or a lethargic sex slave. Yes there are assholes on these sites. But I find that my customers treat me with more respect than anyone I have ever worked with. Oh, and You can block people who are verbally abusive on streamate. Before you go judging this industry, consider that it's not just black and white. You highlighted the maybe too 5% to really hit top dollar and the bottom percent of girls being used and abused overseas. Oh, and I have a very healthy relationship, sex life, ansd lifestyle. And when/if I do leave this industry, it wont be because it "burnt out". It will be because I choose to make a change ansd move on to a different path. This article is very one sided and to be honest, its more directed towards slandering the cam industry and turning people off, than actually giving us facts. I have a feeling that the writer of this article has a more deep seeded disgust for the industry than just an unbiased journalist interest in the topic.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now