Thank You, Porn! 12 Ways the Sex Trade Has Changed the Web

8. Naughty: Browser Hijacking

Artwork: Chip Taylor
Among the earliest instances of browser hijacking occurred when slime lords would use spyware and adware to hijack a browser's home page or change a user's default search engine, redirecting the hapless surfer to bogus "search engines" loaded with pay-per-click ads for adult sites. The owners of these pages would receive a few pennies every time some the rube clicked on one of the links--a commercial arrangement that might translate into tens of thousands of dollars in revenue each month.

9. Nice: Traffic optimization

Long before blogs appeared--or aggregation sites like Digg and Reddit, or affiliate ad networks like Link Exchange, or even Google Adsense--X-rated online venues were building massive site traffic by sharing links, customers, and revenues among themselves.

"The porn folks have led the industry in traffic development and monetization," says Ariel Ozick, chief of operations for Wired Rhino, a search marketing optimization company. "They developed the concept of top sites linking to generate traffic and were among the first to develop an affiliate revenue-sharing model."

Since the dawn of the Net, adult sites have been sharing customers, says Frieser. "Back in the '90s, if you subscribed to an adult site and left after three months, you'd get an e-mail offering access not only to that site but to three other networks for the same price. There was a lot of that going on."

Now Frieser says that the phenomenon is starting to regain strength, in part because pay-to-view adult sites are losing their audience to a plethora of free smut on the Net.

10. Naughty: Domain-Name Hijacking

There's probably no more egregious example of someone filching someone else's domain than the circumstances prompting the legal battle over Sex.com. In 1996, Stephen M. Cohen allegedly used a faked document to convince Network Solutions that legal ownership of Sex.com had been transferred to his name. He then operated a wildly profitable porn operation on that site. In 2001 the domain was returned to its original owner, Gary Kremen, and Cohen was ordered to pay him $65 million. Cohen refused and is still at trial for contempt after going on the lam for five years; Kremen sold the domain in 2006 for an estimated $14 million.

11. Nice: 3G Mobile Services

Pocket porn is the new frontier. Just as adult content helped push the propagation of cable and DSL connections, mobile porn will undoubtedly arouse demand for high-speed 3G data services.

Last June, iRoticNet launched a service that lets iPhone 3G users choose from a library of more than 1000 adult entertainment clips for a flat fee of $10 a month. There are already "a few hundred" iPhone porn sites available, according to Farley Cahen, a vice president for adult industry trade group AVN Media Network. Juniper Research predicts that the worldwide market for mobile porn will swell from $1.7 billion to $4.6 billion by 2012.

Frieser, who helped launch a relatively tame mobile service built around XXX star Jenna Jameson in 2005, anticipates a sharp rise in wireless porn, especially as smart phones surge in popularity.

"I think we'll see a big spike in interactive services," says Frieser. "Look at the European market, where you can do one-on-one cam chats using your mobile. To say that's not the future for the U.S. market would be foolish."

Is that your cell phone vibrating or are you just happy to see me?

12. Naughty: Paris Hilton

Artwork: Chip Taylor
Be honest. Where would her career be without "1 Night in Paris"? This lurid sex video from 2004 still contains some of her finest work, according to cineastes of the form. And anyone who ever tried to spend quality time watching "The Simple Life" on the boob tube would be hard put to disagree, even without attempting a head-to-head comparison.

When not researching porn (just for the articles, honest), contributing editor Dan Tynan tends his blogs, Culture Crash and Tynan on Tech

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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