The girls don’t need anybody." Once viewed as a small niche in the world of adult entertainment, camming today has become "the engine of the porn industry", according to Alec Helmy, the publisher of XBIZ, a sex-trade industry journal. Theresa Senft herself became a camgirl for a year while doing four years of research for her 2008 book entitled, Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks.
Senft has described herself as "the first academic camgirl" while becoming a “camgirl writing about camgirls.”"The men I meet online rarely fall into the category of anonymous asses who have abandoned all social etiquette, nor do they resemble the pasty, calculator-wristwatch-wearing forebears of chat rooms past.
However this is not the first time that conversational interaction had become a boon for the erotic entertainment industry.
The Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre strip club is credited with the invention of the lap dance when during 1977 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.
The websites provide the transactional platform, and then collects and distributes a percentage of the tips to the models.
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For public chat rooms, the model's portion of a tip is a little less than half.A webcam model often performs erotic acts online, such as stripping, in exchange for money, goods, or attention. Since many webcam models operate from their homes, they are free to choose the amount of sexual content for their broadcasts.In 1996 an American college student and conceptual artist, Jenny Ringley, created a website called "Jenni Cam." Her web camera was located in her dorm room and automatically photographed her every few minutes.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.Additionally, the pornographic film industry used to be male-dominated except for the performers.Enabled with this new revenue stream for strippers, the strip club industry went through a period of extreme growth during the 1980s.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.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.Todd Blatt, who once produced pornographic movies in California and has several Ferraris to show for it, declared: "If you’re the middle guy who has been eating off this industry for 20 years, it’s a big change.Much of the success of camming owes to its ability to move beyond the borders of erotic video performance, and into the everyday social lives of camming customers, or fans as they are known.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.