WebCam girls have been performing live shows since the advent of Internet-connected cameras. But thanks to new technology and beefed-up bandwidth, the camming profession is experiencing a renaissance.
While online porn has suffered in the past few years from the “proliferation of free porn on the Internet,” adult business attorney Michael Fattorosi told the Daily Dot, camming has only become more popular for one reason: “live interaction.”
While porn sites take a product previously available offline and put it online, cam girls offer a service that’s only become possible because of the Internet.
“Getting a live show with your favorite porn star is like sitting down with your favorite actor or musician,” said Fattorosi, who offers legal advice to cam girls, porn stars, and camming studios, and is also engaged to marry a cam girl himself.
Tens of thousands of women around the world currently work as cam girls — also called “models” in the industry, Fattorosi said. The profession began to climb in popularity three or four years ago and is still gaining steam.
While we’re linking to websites discussed in this article, as with any adult material, some links may not be appropriate for work or children; please use good judgment before following a link.
With Web traffic like this, it’s no wonder cam girls are eager to cash in. They can make a pretty good living by performing live in front of a camera out of their own homes.
Fattorosi’s fiance, Vanessa Blue, brings in some $500 to $1,000 a day just by camming.
While not everyone makes that kind of money (Blue is also a porn star), exceptional cam girls can bring in $50,000 to $60,000 a month, he said.
The cam girls that the Daily Dot interviewed make anywhere from $300 to $1,000 on a good night, although some evenings, they might net a paltry $10. But most make enough to pay their bills with camming.
“Incomes seem to vary dramatically,” said Kayla, an AdultWork.com model. “How much someone makes seems to depend on their look, their strategy, the sites they work, and how often they work,” she said.
“Successful cam girls do tend to be attractive, but being attractive alone isn’t enough. You need to be engaging and you need to be smart about business.”
The women themselves are not the only ones who stand to make big money. Like actors, musicians and other performers, the cam girls usually only get a piece of the action.
The more players there are involved, the smaller the cam girl’s piece of the pie. The site for which the cam girl works takes a cut. An affiliate marketer, who drives traffic to the site, can get a piece of the action. And when cam girls work out of studios that provide them with a webcam and a workspace, those studios, of course, take another cut.
Still, the performers are left with a sizable income if they’re doing well.
Despite all the moving parts in the business, there’s perhaps surprisingly little legal action between cam girls and cam studios or sites, Fattorosi said.
If the cam girls don’t get paid, they either move on or work independently, said Fattorosi, who lives in the San Fernando Valley, a hub of porn production.
“One thing about camming is that it allows a girl to understand the adult business very quickly,” he said.“If she was supposed to be paid $300 and wasn’t, she’ll just chalk it up to a lesson learned and go cam on another site.”
Pay isn’t the only issue when it comes to sites. Ownership of material also is.
He and others warned women in the camming industry to always read the fine print.
“Most women don’t realize that when they sign papers to cam on a site, they are giving the site the rights to everything,” Fattorosi said. “The site can record their videos and use them for promotion and DVDs. They may come in and complain when their videos show up on other sites, but they signed the papers in the first place.”
Ownership is only one legal issue.
The profession itself lies in a legal gray area.
Fattorosi doesn’t know of cases where individual cam girls were busted while working from their own homes. But four years ago in Miami a studio for cam boys was charged with being in a residential area.
And given the popularity of camming and new technology on the horizon, legal issues may be on the horizon as well. Fattorosi believes that in the next five years, camming will start to get noticed in court. New technology, like a device that allows a cam girl to digitally masturbate a client, may allow cam girls to be prosecuted as prostitutes.
“Whatever she does will register on his side of the cam. She will literally be masturbating him through the device. We’ll have legal issues trying to figure out if it’s still prostitution even if she’s not in the same room.”
Camming is bigger and more profitable than ever, but Fattorosi says that it is certainly not for everyone.
“If you don’t want people to know what you do, don’t do it naked on the Internet. Yes, camming is lucrative, interesting and fun, but there is a downside — you’ll be seen by lots and lots of people.”
Still, he points out that mainstream media might borrow a page from camming.
“Why hasn’t Bono done a paid cam show? You could pay ten bucks to be online with him and have him answer questions for you in real time. How much money could he raise for charity?”
My life has never been that simple but first of all I am not complaining. I’m healthy by physical terms, big hearted, helpful and not at least some kind of intelligent even though you might doubt that last one after you’ve heard my story.
When I left school I chose to go to university. One day I met a man who needed help. For several reasons I decided to be the one giving him shelter. It turned over the following years out to be the biggest mistake of my life. I lost everything: My mental health, my money and in all my dignity.
I’m 19 years old, and I have a full-time job that would probably shock your grandma. I’m a cam girl. For those of you who don’t know, a cam girl is the digital era’s prostitute. The escort of the virtual age. Men (and sometimes women) come to me for companionship, consolation, conversation –– and most of all, sex. In exchange, I broaden my horizons. I get to interact on a very intimate level with people from all over the world. And, of course, I get money. And a pretty good amount of it at that.
But it’s not all peaches and cream. It’s not like you can take off your shirt and suddenly the financial world is your oyster. Being a cam girl is deceptively hard, and camming really is a full-time job. It’s about promoting and marketing your own business, creating a name for yourself, finding that little niche in the grand scheme of things where you fit in –– all the while being the product, the showgirl, the bread and butter. Websites promise you “$10,000 a week from home in just a few hours a day!”, which lures thousands of young girls into showing their stuff and being very disappointed with the payout. The truth is, it takes years to build the fan base that will turn over that kind of income. It takes hours upon hours of grueling labour, replying to thousands of messages a day from needy clients who live in a fantasy world where they’re your only priority. At the same time, you’re maintaining your body, your hair, your face, your image, to stay presentable, fashionable and on top of the trends. There’s no time for a sick day if you want to make real money. Even when you’re not on camera, you are still working. It doesn’t stop. Camming is a 24-hour-a-day job.
I had to leave university for he forced me to do so. The reason is that I started working as a webcam girl to earn the money I needed to help him. He didn’t earn anything. Being a student was time consuming – a reason for which I couldn’t spend all my time working on cam earning money.
A day in my life consists of waking up around 8am. I go straight to the gym, where I work out for about two hours. I come home, shower, and get directly to work. My Skype account gets turned on and I’m monitoring my Twitter account while I put on my face for the day. Hair, makeup, and body maintenance take about 3 hours, between updating social media and replying to clients who just can’t seem to wait for me to get online. When that’s done, I take about 30 promo photos that can be uploaded during the day to keep my profiles on different sites relevant and fresh. I update my Twitter: “Hey guys, getting ready to sign on –– come join me!” Then, it’s finally time to start my real work day.
By the looks of things, you’d think that this job is easy. It’s really just girls sitting around and looking pretty, isn’t it? In reality, cam girls go through a lot to pay our bills. We deal with “trolls”, freeloading clients who will join our chat for the sole purpose of making our day hell. They’ll taunt us and tease us, make fun of our looks, our body, anything they can get at. After spending at least five hours on appearance by this point, those remarks cut deep… almost as deep as the constant hatred from “anti-porn” advocates who think that cam girls are degraded wastes of potential and talent. In reality, a lot of us are smart, business-oriented women and men. It varies just as any other job does. Then there’s the work we do while we’re actually on camera, enjoying the job itself. You have to catch the right angles and make sure you look attractive and seductive at all times. Cameras can make for some seriously unflattering angles, let me tell you. On top of that, you need to know how to keep your balance in interesting positions. I’ve fallen backwards off a chair, ass in the air, and pulled down all of my lighting on top of me in front of hundreds of people; I’ve gotten phone calls from my mother while upside-down using a dildo; and I’ve faceplanted while trying to bend over in 6 inch heels. Oops.
Since 2006 I am suffering from a serious breakdown and depression and I still am forced by circumstances to work on camera. Sometimes I don’t know how much longer I can take it. Over the past four weeks I broke down six times and needed severe medication.
There are an infinite number of fetishes out there. The saying is, “If it exists, there’s a fetish for it.” It is so true. Every minute spent with a paying client entails assessing that client’s personal needs to find out what will satisfy them and bring them back for more. Some fetishes are very dark and difficult to deal with, but we do them anyway –– it’s better to have a pedophile acting out his fantasies on a legally-aged cam girl than to not have an outlet and turn to the real thing, right? We smile and we accommodate them, and smile more and pretend we are whatever they want us to be. I’ve been a dominatrix; I’ve been a submissive slave. I’ve been years younger than my real age and I’ve been years older. All of these things are just a daily part of our lives. It’s not all darkness and despair; sometimes there are really great days, days where it all pays off –– where a sweet regular client will give you a “just because” tip, or a new client will come along who has a really awesome personality and is buckets of fun, or an anonymous follower of your profile on some social media site will buy you something nice from your wishlist. Like any job, webcam modelling has its ups and downs –– and that’s what makes the whole thing so much fun.
So please – if you want to help me and if you have a big heart and if you can afford it help me. I have never been someone asking for help but in this case I don’t see any other way. I’m 32 by now and it’s not too late for me to start a new life but time is running and so am I trapped in my hamster wheel.
I really do adore my job. I love meeting new people and encouraging them toward sexual release. I love showing off the body that I’ve worked so hard on. I love the endless stream of compliments. I love the friends I’ve made and the connections I’ve discovered with coworkers from all of the ends of the earth. In fact, my best friend is a cam girl and she lives thousands of miles away from me. Yeah, I love the attention. I’d really love for people to come away from this realizing that sex workers are people too. We work our 9-5 jobs just like everyone else –– and sometimes, we work a lot more than that. We are deserving of love and respect and admiration and praise: the same as the next person. And camming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it’s a fantastic job and I’d never trade it for anything else in the world… but it takes a certain mindset, and a certain work ethic. It’s not for everyone.
It’s not just about sitting there and looking pretty.