Steve Becker, who now works for Penthouse, ran a number of phone sex lines in New York.
The following are profiles of a few of the owners and operators of sex industry sites on the Web and their businesses.
Seth Warshavsky is the biggest pimp on the Internet. Founder and President of the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG), 25-year-old Warshavsky has been making money from the prostitution industry since he was a boy. While in grade school he ran a computer bulletin board; at age 17 he dropped out of school, moved out of his parents’ house and opened up a phone sex business with a friend using US$7,000 borrowed on credit cards.192 His first phone sex number was called 1-800-GetSome.193 In the beginning, if a buyer called the 800 number, an answering service would get the buyer’s credit card information, then page Warshavsky. He would have a woman call the buyer back. Soon after he started he was getting 50 to 60 buyers per day at US$39.95 per call. His phone sex business continued to grow so by 1995 he had an annual income of US$60 million.
He was able to draw on this money to go into the pornography and live videoconferencing business on the Web. In late 1997, IEG employed three programmers and eight graphic designers.194 One of the designers described his work as a “dream job” because any new technology was available for the asking. 195
His sites include stripping, live sex shows, and pay-per-view hard-core pornography.
ClubLove is the Video Theatre for downloadable QuickTime videos and pay-per-view movies. It was visited more than 7 million times per day in early 1998.196 At that time the “club” had approximately 600,000 members who paid the US$19.95 subscription fee. 197
The Dressing Room offers buyers background information on the web site performers and enables them to send the strippers email.
The Gallery offers pornography. The Yellow Pages lists phone sex numbers for audio prostitution
The Sexual Relief Map is a directory of strip clubs, adult bookstores and escort services in the United States.
The Arcade is the live-video section, and Warshavsky’s
section. 1997. 198 199
premier in mid-
Warshavsky’s IEG brought in US$7 million in revenues in 1996, which increased to US$20 million in 1997. In 1998, he claimed he would bring in US$40 million. He will not say how much of that is profit, but says, “We did turn profitable in the middle of ”200