Background[ edit ] A model demonstrates web broadcasting with a video camera and computer at an industry trade show. In an American college student and conceptual artist , Jenny Ringley , created a website called "JenniCam. The camera captured Ringley doing almost everything — brushing her teeth, doing her laundry, doing stripteases — and then broadcast its images live over the Internet. Amanda's site, like Ringley's, had multiple cameras around her house which allowed people to look in on her.
In private chat rooms, viewers pay by the minute for a private show. However, in free chat rooms payment is voluntary and is in the form of tips, thus providing the model with an income at a minimal cost for the multiple viewers of her chat room's video stream. The tokens can also be used to buy videos or souvenirs of the model. The websites provide the transactional platform, and then collects and distributes a percentage of the tips to the models.
For public chat rooms, the model's portion of a tip is a little less than half. Customers and performers are able to communicate with each other by using keyboard, speech, and two-way cameras.
Camgirls will frequently read and respond to the scrolling viewer comments. The Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre strip club is credited with the invention of the lap dance when during their new stage, New York Live, pioneered customer-contact shows with strippers that came off the stage and sat in the laps of customers for tips. And in the early 20th century sociologist Paul Cressey noted that within the hundreds of taxi-dance halls of America, "the traffic in romance and in feminine society" would become available when taxi dancers would offer their companionship and "the illusion of romance" for ten cents a dance.
Webcam performers are often highly entrepreneurial, and use mainstream social networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, and Tumblr to build and maintain relationships with their customers. Unlike traditional pornography, the interactive nature of the camming medium titillates with the promise of virtual friendship.
Kari Lerum of the University of Washington suggests that men are more open and vulnerable in cam rooms than in strip clubs, and can become very invested in relationships which only exist on the screen. When webcam models create their live webcasts , they perform the activity known as camming. A third-party hosting website which transmits multiple webcam models' video-streams is known as a camming site.
Webcam models mostly perform individually in separate video chat rooms , which are frequently referred to as rooms. The term "camwhore" was first used in print in November  , however the label is considered derogatory and pejorative. Camming revenue has been severely cutting into the profits of the pornographic movie business, which has also been eroded for a number of years due to piracy and the distribution of free sexual content upon the Internet.
But since camming only requires a video camera, broadband service, and computer, there has now been a power reversal and it is the female webcam performers who propel the industry while at home.
Theresa Senft herself became a camgirl for a year while doing four years of research for her book entitled, Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks. Many, in fact, are successful professionals in their field — whether it be law, the arts or academia. They want real, intelligent girls — like you. Some of these sites charge viewers a fixed fee per minute, although many allow free access for unregistered visitors.
Most cam models are independent contractors for camming sites, and are not employees. The profile page's virtual store creates a stream of passive income, meaning that even if a camgirl is not online and performing, she can still generate money while fans come to the ever-present profile page to purchase its wares. One of the most popular items are homemade videos that cam models make of themselves. The affordability and ease of new video recording technology has spawned new variations and genres of pornography, now that individual women as well as industry players can now create its content.
Big earners can get a bigger chunk of their tips. They may also earn money through advertising or earn commissions by convincing customers to sign up for membership at adult pornographic paysites. For example, one major free-access site, which only allows female models, fosters an environment where the camgirls are not necessarily obligated to do masturbation shows, or even display nudity.
Resources for performers[ edit ] Cam studios allow models to rent facilities outside of their home. These businesses can supply models with video equipment, Internet service, computer, lighting, and furniture.
One example was the pornographic film company Kink. The cam models do not have to pay to join this type of studio, but they are also not guaranteed a salary.
Various support websites, like WeCamGirls. Support sites also give advice about how to protect privacy, discourage piracy, avoid Internet security lapses, and how to prevent financial scams. And yet both laws will have no effect if the performances are streamed as opposed to being recorded. Stuart states of the legal conundrum in England, "Performing an explicitly pornographic act via a webcam carries no repercussions, but if the same show is recorded and uploaded, the performer can be liable to a fine.
Like camming's hosting sites, CD Baby is an aggregator of independent performers' digital media in the same way that camming sites enable cam models to sell their videos for tips. A politically alert camgirl, Melonie, states: However bandwidth hungry companies like Netflix and CD Baby nervously await the eventual Internet service providers' response to the new FCC ruling that they lobbied so hard to bring about.
She was then charged with public indecency after the show was recorded by someone who was watching MyFreeCams. The incident generated headlines around the country and landed Sunderland reported deals with Playboy , and a contract with Penthouse 's parent company Friend Finder Networks purportedly worth six figures.
According to the indictment he also purchased flowers, chocolates, electronic equipment, shoes, a TV, a handbag, laptop computer, and an iPod for some of his favorite camgirls.
Sex work researcher, Rachel Stuart, reported that while doing her PhD research she encountered webcam models who were concerned about viewers filming and sharing their performances on porn sites, or acquiring personal information which could be used to stalk or blackmail them.
She revealed that she had been cyber-stalked by a heavy tipper who started making threats and demands about what outfits she should wear. A short while later she found out that her real name and address had been posted on the Internet along with her cam name. When she complained to the police, they said that they could do nothing, because "putting real information on the Internet is not illegal. CNN referred to him as "in the language of cyberspace He made several hundred thousand dollars over five years before turning all information over to prosecutors in exchange for immunity.