May 03, 2007
Interesting Aside About Porn Industry
Posted by Christine Hurt

In the NYT Magazine last Sunday, a fascinating article depicted the world of online pornography, profiling one company that at least by those quoted was seen as being a very good employer.  Employees have benefits, including 401(k) plans, and the headquarters reaches out to the community.  Prof. Bartow doesn't believe all the press and writes about it at Feminist Law Professors.

What interested me about the magazine article were two small tidbits:

First, the payments systems for online pornography have become more complex, paralleling the payment systems for online gambling.  PayPal apparently exited the pornography industry in 2002, one year before it exited the online gambling industry.  Credit card companies preceded PayPal in denying charges to porn sites.  However, unlike funding online gambling, funding pornographic viewing was not seen by financial institutions as potentially illegal, but as potentially uneconomic.  Porn sites apparently have a huge "charge-back" rate -- the rate at which users complain to credit card companies of overcharges or fraudulent charges.

Second, in quoting someone about the difficulties in creating payment systems for porn sites, the article quotes Gary Kremen, who it describes as the person "who founded both the porn site and the dating site in the mid-90s."  I don't think I'll ever look at those commercials the same from now on!

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