Porn 2.0: Is the porn industry missing out on Web 2.0?

I was listening to NPR this weekend and out of the blue there was an interview with the Sex editor of Wired Magazine. She was talking about Web 2.0 and the porn industry.

The gist of the interview was this: historically, sex and porn have been technology drivers. But for some reason, the porn industry seems to be lagging in Web 2.0 options.

The first premise is obviously true. Nobody with half a brain seriously thinks that the internet and broadband would have developed as quickly as they did were it not for porn demand.

But you can go back even further. Porn was a major driving force behind VHS and home movies (privacy and secrecy) – guys didn’t have to go out of their homes to get a porn fix.

The fact is that porn has driven technological advance. I say that without a moral judgment. It’s just a fact.

So why might porn be lacking in Web 2.0? Well, a few answers were given:

1. The porn industry has historically relied on static, easily produced, non-changing content that is passively consumed.
2. There are major legal issues with giving users full control over content development (age restrictions, etc.) Policing content is notoriously hard to do.
3. Web 2.0 would decentralize and potentially destabilize a multi-billion dollar industry
4. Porn has historically been a “fleecing of the lambs” industry that caters to basic instincts and doesn’t need complexities

What would Web 2.0 porn look like?

It would include mashups, user provided soundtracks, user created content, social voting to highlight the best content, etc. All of this takes power of delivery away from the money makers and holds them accountable to the product they are producing. That, and the legal issues, are the main repressive forces that are causing the lag.

18 thoughts on “Porn 2.0: Is the porn industry missing out on Web 2.0?

  1. New social porn sites are popping up all the time! Unfortunately half of them are simple reinventions of the wheel and don’t offer much in terms of ‘member-only’ content. The biggies, such as xtube & redtube, are more interested in turning out profits than providing a unique porn experience.

    The only unique, web 2.0, ajax intensive adult I’ve seen so far is fapshare ( They have some awesome features and I love the keyboard shortcuts.

  2. Like aidantrent, I have a search engine for free porn videos. Porn 2.0 IS catching up. Your third point is interesting:

    “Web 2.0 would decentralize and potentially destabilize a multi-billion dollar industry”

    There are parallels between what’s going on in the other media industries and the porn industry – the content providers are losing out and the content aggregators are winning. This is just technology taking it’s course – adapt or die. But it still doesn’t explain why youtube came before youporn.

  3. I’d say the porn industry is slow to get to the bat, but they are participating….I’ve seen ton of porn blogs and portals that have adult content and many have social bookmarks and other tools that are 2.0ish. I don’t think there is a lack of porn 2.0 but the 2.0 to porn is a different thing, just because a logo has a 2.0 look doesn’t mean its 2.0 or new…this blog has a few nice features though

  4. 2257 legislation was just ruled on by the 6th circuit court of appeals in favour of user generated Porn 2.0 sites like PornHub. Thank goodness the courts seem to have made the right decision regarding Porn 2.0 sites like YouPorn and These sites represent a new level of social networking and it is time that the “establishement” realizes that sex is not inherently dirty. Long live Porn 2.0!

  5. As the creator of a new porn search engine, I agree that it’s surprising much of the industry hasn’t embraced Web 2.0 technologies. With EveKnows, I’ve tried to implement some AJAX techniques for automatic search suggestions and added custom RSS feeds, allowing surfers to be in control over how the content is delivered. It may not have the social community of many other Web 2.0 sites, but I feel incremental improvements like these will be coming to more porn sites in the future. They’ll pick and choose the useful bits, while ignoring the more community-oriented ones. As others have said, user-generated porn is just a whole legal headache waiting to happen, especially with the uncertain interpretations surround the 2257 legislation.

  6. seeing the popularity of certain types of user-generated content on youtube, i’m sure it will rock if done *well*

  7. pornotube? anyone? xtube? adult friend finder? Fleshbot? The adult industry may not be leading the web 2.0 revolution, but they’re definitely taking part.

  8. Being capable of being more social isn’t the question. It’s whether anyone would want to be. I shudder to think what “user generated content” refers to here 😛 Excuse me while I wash my mind.

  9. the porn industry, despite people have moral issues with it, is a booming business and very much capable of being more ‘social’. Their needs however have been met so far with porn 1.0 (just porn, without the fluff). I suppose that someone with a tech fetish would enjoy the widgets and bells and whistles but as your point #4 states, no one goes looking for the AJAX at a porn site.

  10. “And people don’t “enjoy” porn and share it with their friends, etc.; it’s not a social platform.”

    And what college did you go to?

  11. The three pillars of web 2.0 are: user generated content, user to user communication, and online applications.

    The entire point of the porn industry is to make money from their content. So, like other content generating industries, they are very slow to change this business model to user generated content.

    On the other hand, unlike the RIAA, the porn industry just continued to churn out more content all the time, knowing full well that the content is infringed mercilessly. There is simply a lot less money to be made in providing space for content mixing and so on then there is for selling the content.

    And people don’t “enjoy” porn and share it with their friends, etc.; it’s not a social platform. It’s just consumed in private. Few people want to join porn social networks, unless privately.

    That leaves online applications, which surely would benefit the porn industry, but apparently it simply hasn’t been necessary, as you note.

    Of course, there are exceptions, such as Pornotube, Naughty America and so on. Ick. I have to go wash my hands.


  12. You also have to think the lack of women that would contribute to a 2.0 makes it very hard for a possible success. Most of the adult contents isnt made for women and wouldnt be attractive for them to go on website and share with millions of “needy” men…

    The time spent on adult website is also very short compared to what people usualy spend on facebook or myspace.

    a gay 2.0 website would be very easy but not for the average heterosexual

  13. I have to agree that I don’t think the industry as a whole needs to go “2.0”. I struggle to understand what that would achieve? However, I can see value in some niches adopting some 2.0-like techniques. I’m sure the amateurs niche could find a way to gain some traction with user submitted content + reviews + community rating etc.

    The biggest stumbling block would be policing content to ensure all activity was legal and consensual. That would be a mammoth task.

  14. Porn isn’t the only industry that is lagging behind in web 2.0 – in fact there’s a large chunk of the internet that let the web 2.0 craze pass by because they weren’t ready / weren’t interested.

    Some ideas would work, some probably won’t. A niche social media site would probably work and any user-generated content would work wonders as well.

  15. I started my old “Chaos Review” print mag at almost the same time as Wired, with the same intent in mind, but without the capital. I remember they often wrote of telepresence and other virtual tools, including “teledildonics” – virtual reality sex.

    Anyway, porn webmasters have supposedly driven many bleeding edges for the web. I know that’s a bit cryptic, but they learned to drive traffic, to funnel it, etc. The question is, is there any need for them to implement Web 2.0 tech on their sites? I mean, is the average horny 19-29 year old male going to give a damn that hot-milfs-in-red uses AJAX? Are they going to want a social network where they compare notes? I personally don’t think they would, and thus pornmasters have no compelling need to do anything in that vein.

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